Monday, March 21, 2011

AutoCAD, SketchUP and Shaderlight

I spent the last month seriously debating Softplan, and I almost bought it... While browsing the internet for what I consider the most professional looking rendering (as per my taste) I have decided to stay with SketchUP  and  AutoCAD with a plugin. This is a good time to throw in the fact that all of these programs run on Mac and PC, with Mac being a leap I plan to make here soon.

In my eTravels searching for the "look" I admire most, I found Shaderlight. This is plugin for SketchUP. It is so easy to take a floor plan or elevation from AutoCAD ( $900.00 for LT) throw it into SketchUP  (FREE) and run Shaderlight in SketchUP (FREE) Take a look at the examples of the renderings shared from everyone in posts above and then look at what shaderlight can do with a sketchUP drawing. I was floored, and even more amused when I tried it on one of my previous SketchUP projects.

I love to invent, draw my ideas, furniture and other crazy ideas I dream up daily. I do not want to be tied down to an expensive program that only draws house plans. ($3185.00 )

The only flaw in my plan is not being able to kick out a detailed material list.  This was a major factor I considered.  If anyone knows of an alternative, I would appreciate your input.

UPDATE 2015:

After looking at what can be done with Lumion 3D, I switching to a different rendering program. Shaderlight does not seem to be customer friendly and has not advanced in features. Lumion has an extensive library and works with multiple programs. I have decided to start using Revit, along with SketchUp Pro. Lumion will work with both programs.


energy management said...

Have your home design is such a way that there is a sunlight comming to your home. It will not only save energy cost but it will also make your house a lot brighter

Wade Fox, AIBD said...

Absolutely! Two key factors are southern exposure and properly sized overhangs. The idea is to capture heat from the sun during the day and release it at night. Trombe walls and various flooring choices help as well.

DanT said...

Very interesting post Wade. I currently run AutoCAD and am looking for some way to do the 3D design for my clients. I have read many different views and tried out several different programs (ArchiCAD, AutoCAD Architecture, Sketch Up Pro). I was looking at Softplan as the next option to try. So far I was leaning as you have done to stay with AutoCAD and Sketch Up. I am glad to hear that it works well for you.

Wade Fox, AIBD said...

Thank you for your reply Dan. Check out Shaderlite's gallery at

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