v2020 (8.0) Shaderlight Pro for SketchUp


Shaderlight Pro for SketchUp


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Shaderlight Pro for SketchUp

Take your SketchUp models to the next level with Shaderlight

Shaderlight is an interactive rendering software plug-in to SketchUp that lets you create high quality images, quickly and simply. Now with even more simple to use features, Shaderlight now gives you even more control over how you render your SketchUp models, with the ability to animate your SketchUp scenes and render to the cloud.

Whether you’re using Trimble SketchUp Free or Pro, Shaderlight fits seamlessly with your workflow so you don’t have to be a SketchUp rendering software expert to get great results.

Whether you’re an architect, interior designer, 3D rendering expert or using SketchUp for fun, the simple to use yet powerful technology behind Shaderlight will bring your designs to life.

Shaderlight Pro for SketchUpShaderlight Pro 2020

SketchUp 2020 Support

Shaderlight Ltd, the developers of Shaderlight for SketchUp, the popular rendering plugin for Trimble SketchUp, are pleased to announce the release of Shaderlight 2020. The new release fully supports the release SketchUp 2020, released yesterday.

In addition to SketchUp 2020 support, Shaderlight 2020 (v8.0) now offers a new way to accurately render light emitting objects such as television screens or neon signs.

Light Emitting Material Type

The new material type combines the features of the old Self Illuminating material type and an associated area light and both visibly glows and emits light that illuminates other surfaces, making it much easier to achieve the desired lighting result.

Designed with workflow in mind, the Light Emitting material type has two modes of operation – one that uses the underlying SketchUp material to define the emission color and another that allows the colour to be specified in terms of correlated color temperature.

Shaderlight is the only rendering partner you’ll need for SketchUp.

Simple to learn and easy to use, Shaderlight brings your images to life in a few simple clicks. We’ve taken the complexity out of SketchUp rendering so whatever your profession, you can focus on creating better images and animations straight out of SketchUp.

Flexible rendering

Our new Timed Access Licenses let you pay for the rendering time you need – whether its to boost rendering capacity for a large project, render a one off image or simply spread the cost of rendering your SketchUp models.  Choose from 30 day, 3 or 6 month licenses.

Cloud rendering

This innovative SketchUp plugin enables users to render high resolution, photorealistic Shaderlight visualizations in record time – without tying up your desktop or requiring investment in costly new hardware. Find our more about Shaderlight Cloud Rendering.


There is really only one choice of renderer for SketchUp

Shaderlight is now available for both Mac and Windows and will run with both SketchUp Pro and SketchUp Make. For the best results run Shaderlight with the latest version of SketchUp but Shaderlight will run with Windows 8.1 or Mac OS X or later.

Interactive rendering

  • Shaderlight gives you a choice of rendering modes to optimize your workflow. Choose from progressive rendering with auto-updates for interactive feedback, on-demand updates or single (tiled) mode to render at full quality.

Simple interface

  • Our close integration with SketchUp will make you feel right at home – render directly from your SketchUp toolbar, there’s no need to import your model first.

Replace Me

  • Shaderlight’s fantastic new Replace Me feature lets you render detailed models without filling your SketchUp scene with geometry.  Choose from our library of Replace Me models or create your own with the Replace Me creator plugin.

Light fixture library

  • It’s now even easier to create real-world lighting using Shaderlight ready light fixtures with embedded IES files to give you the exact light and shadow detail the manufacturer intended.

Refine your image

  • Even when rendering you remain in control. Use zoom and pan to explore the detail of your image or capture your work in progress renders with the ‘snapshot’ feature

Real world effects

  • Add accurate materials and textures to your 3d model with simple presets directly from SketchUp, then use the adjustable settings to get the perfect finish.

Accurate lighting

  • Illuminate your scene using SketchUp’s sun, image-based lighting or our physical sky. For realistic interiors simply add a point, spot, area, portal or IES light from Shaderlight’s simple light editor.

Photoreal finish

  • It’s never been simpler to show your 3d model in its real-life setting using image-based lighting or physical sky and your own background image.  Professional lighting images and backgrounds are included in Shaderlight Pro.

Scene animation

  • Create photorealistic animations direct from SketchUp with this brand new feature available in Shaderlight Pro.

Presentation tools

  • Render plans, elevations, and isometric viewpoints or choose Chalk Render mode to produce form studies for a quick, clear presentation of your design intent.

Scatter support

  • Using Skatter’s Render Only option, an almost unlimited number of object instances can be rendered in Shaderlight without bogging down SketchUp. Instead of creating all of the instances within SketchUp, Skatter will send the specifications for the instances directly to Shaderlight.


  • Whether you’re on a Mac or a PC, running SketchUp Free or Pro, if you’re modeling in SketchUp then you can render with Shaderlight.

  • Full support for SketchUp 2020
  • Skatter support

Shaderlight has been designed to work with both free and pro versions of SketchUp.


  • Windows 8.1 or later,  Mac OS X 10.9 or later
  • 2 GB RAM
  • SketchUp 2014
  • Internet Explorer 8 or above is required on Windows platforms


  • 8 GB RAM (If you are rendering larger resolution images you will benefit from more RAM, especially if you are working in Auto Update mode. Single (Tiled) mode uses a lot less memory and can be used to render high quality high resolution images)
  • 2GHz+ quad-core processor
  • SketchUp 2014 or later

Some things to consider

  • Shaderlight will make full use of a multi-core processor and will use all cores of all CPUs.
  • Shaderlight won’t use the GPU for rendering. SketchUp can use the GPU for its own display, so interactions in SketchUp might benefit.
  • Any given render will require a certain amount of RAM, and having more will not improve render times. Having less than that amount will dramatically increase render times as memory is swapped on and off the hard drive. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to predict the amount of RAM needed in advance. In our experience, 8GB is enough for most small-medium complexity scenes at resolutions below 1920×1080. 16GB is enough for more complex scenes at 1920×1080.  As it’s difficult to know beforehand how much RAM you’ll need, it’s worth planning an upgrade path for your future needs.

Shaderlight 2020 (v8.0)

SketchUp 2020 Support

Shaderlight 2020 will install to and run from within SketchUp 2020.

Light Emitting Materials

Shaderlight now offers a new material type that combines the features of the old Self Illuminating material type and an associated area light. The new material both visibly glows and emits light that illuminates other surfaces, making it much easier to create accurate light emitting objects.

The Light Emitting material type has two modes of operation – one that uses the underlying SketchUp material to define the emission colour and another that allows the colour to be specified in terms of correlated colour temperature.

Light Emitting is intended to replace both Self Illuminating materials and area lights because they produce the most physically accurate results for less effort. The old material type and area lights have been retained so that existing models continue to work and to support particular non-physical effects (such as invisible light sources).

Fixed some dialog layout issues on Windows

Some Windows machines with certain versions of Internet Explorer installed displayed the Shaderlight dialogs (such as Render Settings and the Light and Material editors) with incorrect layout and inoperative controls, making them difficult or impossible to use. We have addressed all of the problems that we could reproduce on our systems but we would be interested to hear of any remaining issues.

Fixed incomplete exports of models with certain texture types

Certain texture types are unable to be exported by Shaderlight and the presence of such textures would prematurely abort the export process, resulting in renders with missing elements or crashes of the Shaderlight render process. These models should now export and render to completion, although the affected textures are still not exported – geometry with the affected textures will render with a flat colour for now. We continue to work on addressing the actual texture export.

Read the press release for Shaderlight 2020

What’s new in Shaderlight 2019 (v7.1)

The latest release of Shaderlight has full support for the latest release of SketchUp and includes some new additions to improve your workflow when rendering with Shaderlight.

What can you expect to see when you upgrade to this release?

SketchUp 2019 support

Shaderlight supports the 2019 release of SketchUp.

Colour temperature picker for lights

You can now specify the colour of Shaderlight lights by correlated colour temperature, making it easier to render real-world light fixtures that are specified by colour temperature.

White balance setting

A new White Balance control allows you to adjust the white point of renders by allowing the white point to be specified and produce images without strong colour tints.

Shaderlight light tool remembers most recently selected light

To make it easier to create lights based on existing lights in a model, the Shaderlight light placement tool now consistently uses the settings of the most recently selected light.

Transparent objects can now remain transparent in chalk renders

In previous releases, the ‘chalk’ render mode would make all objects appear white and opaque. In this release, there is a new ‘Transparent glass’ option when chalk mode is active, which makes most transparent objects render in their non-chalk mode. This can make form and massing studies more intuitive when large areas of transparency are used.

Shaderlight’s render settings can now be saved independently for each SketchUp scene

The Shaderlight Render Settings dialog now has an option to save the current settings with the active SketchUp scene, making it possible to save different settings for all or some of the scenes in a model.

Shaderlight now prevents your computer from entering idle sleep mode while rendering

If a long-running render has been started, it will no longer be interrupted by the computer entering idle sleep mode. Idle sleep is re-enabled after the render completes and the computer can always be forced to sleep manually.

Shaderlight now suspends App Nap for the plugin while rendering on macOS

On macOS, the operating system can put a process into ‘App Nap’ if none of its windows are currently visible. This drastically reduces the amount of CPU time it receives and, in Shaderlight’s case, effectively pauses rendering if you switch to another program and cover up the Shaderlight render window. Shaderlight will now ask the operating system not to put it into App Nap while a render is in progress, to ensure that the render completes in a reasonable time.

Addition of a 4K UHD output resolution preset

This increasingly common resolution is now easier to select.

The Shaderlight Message window has been tweaked so that it remains legible when macOS’s dark mode is in effect

The previous release of Shaderlight introduced a warning if you attempt to close the Shaderlight render window while a render is underway, to help prevent unintended loss of progress. This release extends that warning to the use of the ‘Quit Shaderlight’ menu option.

What’s new in Shaderlight 2019?

  • Full support for SketchUp 2019Transparent objects can now remain transparent in chalk renders.
  • Shaderlight’s render settings can now be saved independently for each SketchUp scene.
  • macOS Mojave’s dark mode is supported in the Shaderlight render window.
  • Shaderlight prevents a computer from entering sleep mode while rendering.
  • Shaderlight will now suspend App Nap for the plug-in while a render is in progress on macOS.
  • The addition of a 4K UHD output resolution preset.
  • Shaderlight warns when using the ‘Quit Shaderlight’ menu option on macOS while rendering.

What’s new in Shaderlight 2018 (6.2)

  • Precise adjustment of environment rotation – the addition of a numeric entry field now makes it easier to get an accurate match of the lighting environment and background image between different SketchUp models.
  • Warning when closing during render – to prevent accidentally losing the progress of a long-running render, Shaderlight will now warn if you attempt to close the render window while a render is in progress.
  • Keep Shaderlight ‘Always on Top’ – if you select the ‘Always on Top’ setting Shaderlight will now keep the Shaderlight window above other windows between sessions.

What’s new in Shaderlight 2018 (6.1)

  • Render soft shadows with IES light profiles – In this latest update to Shaderlight 2018, we have added support for the size specified in IES light profiles, which will enable you to greatly enhance the realism for scenes using photometric light data.

What’s new in Shaderlight 2018 (6.0)

  • SketchUp 2018 Support – Shaderlight 2018 has full support for the latest version of SketchUp Pro and SketchUp Make.
  • New transparent material feature – Shaderlight 2018 features a new transparent material feature designed to deliver greatly enhanced realism when rendering transparent materials such as large bodies of water and thick, solid glass objects.

What’s new in Shaderlight 2017 (5.1)

  • Skatter support – Shaderlight now renders Skatter’s render-only instance lists, so you can produce renders containing thousands of Skatter instances without bogging down SketchUp’s viewport. Skatter is a third-party plugin for SketchUp available here: http://getskatter.com.
  • Render-only instances won’t render on the Shaderlight Cloud in this release.
  • New self-illuminating materials – Three intermediate self-illuminating material intensities have been added to make it easier to make materials representative of modern TV screens. These are the TV (Low, Medium and High) settings for 500cd/m², 800cd/m² and 1000cd/m².
  • Bug fix – Fixed a problem that could cause unwanted shadows to appear on the ground when SketchUp’s ‘On Ground’ shadow setting is used in combination with portal lights.

What’s new in Shaderlight 2017 (5.0)

  • Shaderlight 2017 (v5) has full support for SketchUp 2017.
  • Soft shadows for point lights and spot lights: You can now specify a diameter for point lights and spot lights, which will produce soft-edged shadows when set above zero. The larger the diameter, the softer the shadows will be.
  • Fix a problem where slider controls in the Shaderlight dialogs didn’t work on some Windows configurations.
  • Fix a problem which caused Shaderlight’s automatic material enhancements not to work with SketchUp models created in SketchUp 2016.
  • Fix a problem which caused incorrect shadows from area lights in certain situations.

What’s new in Shaderlight 2016 (4.0)

SketchUp 2016 Support

  • Shaderlight 2016 has full support for the latest version of SketchUp Pro and SketchUp Make.

Section Plane Rendering

  • Active section planes in the model are now rendered by Shaderlight, if the render is started from SketchUp 2014 or later.  This much requested feature will enable users to render photorealistic floor plans or sectional views directly from SketchUp.

New Skylight Portal Placement Tool

  • The old skylight portal placement tool has been replaced by a new version that allows you to pick any pre-existing face as a template for the portal. This makes it possible to create portals of any shape that you can create using any of SketchUp’s built-in drawing tools, or indeed with many third-party extensions.

MOV Files Saved With Background Visible (OS X only)

  • When rendering an animation to a MOV file, Shaderlight now saves the movie with the background visible instead of black.

What’s new in Shaderlight 2015 (4.1)

  • Shaderlight’s skylight portal placement tool is now easier to use with a number of improvements made to this popular new feature.

  • Shaderlight’s Cloud rendering plugin user interface has been optimized for users wishing to send their renders to the Shaderlight Cloud.
  • Shaderlight’s rendering resolutions have been updated and now include two additional pre-sets optimized for iPad and iPad Pro screens making it easier to present Shaderlight renders to clients.

What’s new in Shaderlight 2014 (3.2)

The latest version of Shaderlight fully supports SketchUp 2015.

If you have a Shaderlight 2014 (v3) license, simply download the new software and your existing license will activate the new features.

What’s new in Shaderlight 2014 (3.1)

Shaderlight 2014, which we released in March this year, gave you full support for all the new things in SketchUp 2014.  We are now pleased to make available the first update to Shaderlight 2014, which includes sought-after improvements to key features.  The release focuses on delivering you even more impressive rendering straight out of the box.

So what can you expect to see in this update?

Improved auto-exposure in scenes made up entirely of dark or light objects

Shaderlight’s auto-exposure system enables you to to achieve photo-realistic exposure with the click of a button.  It has now been enhanced so that it doesn’t try to excessively lighten dark objects, or darken light objects when rendering.

Improved behaviour of background brightness control when auto-exposure is enabled

In another update to our auto-exposure feature, Shaderlight provides greater control of background brightness by no longer compensating for the changes you’re making when auto-exposure is on.

Export animations as movie files (.mov on OS X, .wmv on Windows)

Shaderlight’s popular animation feature has been improved by the ability to export animations directly as movie files.  It is now possible to render your frames and create a .mov or .wmx file all within Shaderlight.

Improved rendering performance

Shaderlight now delivers faster rendering.  The extent of the improved performance will obviously depend on the size and complexity of your render but you should see a marked improvement on the average render.

Global illumination now affects areas not enclosed by Skylight portals

Shaderlight’s GI setting can now be used to render scenes where Skylight portals are not being used.  While we continue to recommend the use of Portal Lights to enclose interior areas for maximum quality and performance, this new feature is particularly useful when rendering the undersides of roofs and overhangs.

Elimination of GI flares/light leaks

You may have experienced the appearance of annoying light spots or flares when rendering internal scenes using global illumination.  Well, no more.  Thanks to the further improvements we’ve made to Shaderlight’s global illumination feature, the majority of light spots have been eliminated.  The images below show a before and after illustration of this fantastic update.