Thea for Sketchup v1.5

Quick Start



Use the provided Bundle installers that contain Thea Studio and SketchUp plugin.
Install with administration rights by right-clicking the installer and selecting ‘Run as administrator’.
The installer will automatically find SketchUp’s path.


Use the provided bundle installers that contain Thea Studio and SketchUp plugin.
Select SketchUp versions.
The installer will automatically find SketchUp’s path.
If you Mac has an Nvidia GPU, make sure you install Cuda Drivers.


The first thing that you will notice after installing Thea for SketchUp is a new menu entry under Plugins > Thea Render.

From there you can click on “Show Thea Tool Window” to open the Thea Toolbar in case you accidentally closed it or was not open.

Another way to open it is by right-clicking on the top toolbars and select “Thea Render”.



From the Rendering tab of the Thea Rendering Window select one of the engines supporting interactive rendering like IR-Presto (AO)IR-Presto (MC) and IR-Adaptive(AMC). Make sure the Interactive option is checked and select in SketchUp Window.

There are 3 more options to choose from when rendering in Viewport:
in SketchUp with edges, Blended with SketchUp, Multiplied with SketchUp.


There is the option to render interactively right inside Thea Rendering Window. You just need to select the “in Thea Window” option from the Display drop-down and press Start.


To start rendering in Production Mode, click on the Thea Rendering Window icon and select a render engine from the Engine drop-down menu.

If you have selected a render engine that also supports interactive rendering like Presto AO/MC, Adaptive AMC, be sure to uncheck the Interactive check-box.

The rest of the render engines only work in Production Mode (Unbiased TR1/TR2, Adaptive BSD)

Settings the final resolution:

To define the final resolution that will be used in Production Mode go through the following:

  • Open Thea Tools.
  • In Camera Tab use the Resolution section to set the size of the image.


Thea for SketchUp uses the Native material system to apply materials to the scene. Just start by clicking on the Create Material… button from the Materials Tab, give it a color or texture and apply it to the scene.

In order to modify a material as a Thea one, you have to open the Thea Tool window. Now with the window open, you will notice that the cursor has changed from an Arrow to the Thea Cursor. If you now click on an object that has a material applied to it, the Thea Tool window changes to the Material Tab with the material selected.

You can now use the drop-down to select any of the Presets and change them to your liking.

Quick Notes:

The SU of the color button in the material tab means that it will use the Color or the Texture that has been selected in the SketchUp material. To override it, just right-click on it and select Use Color or Use External Texture.

Working with Front & Back Faces

Since SketchUp allows you to paint the Front & the Back face of a surface, use the following as a guide when rendering with Thea:

  • A material has been applied to the Back face of a surface.
    Thea will use the Back face material.
  • A material has been applied to the Front face of a surface.
    Thea will use the Front Face material.
  • Different Materials have been applied to the Front and Back faces of the surface.
    The Front face material will be used.

There is an option that can be found in Thea Tools > Preferences called “Use back face material when front is absent”.
If a material has only been applied to the Back face then with this option disabled, Thea will ignore the Back face material and render it with a basic white material.

Have a look at this knowledge base article about Front & Back face materials.


You may control Physical Sky & Image Based Lighting from the Environment Tab located in Thea Rendering Window.


The first two icons in the Environment Tab are for enabling/disabling Sun & Sky. By default, Thea will use the position of SketchUp’s Sun but you can easily override it by selecting Sun from the Edit Settings drop-down. Turn on the Enable checkbox and uncheck SU Position.

You could change Thea Sun position by using the Polar Angle and Azimuth but there is also an interactive way to do that by just clicking on the 4th icon.
A new small window will open, showing the current Sun position. Click anywhere to change it.


If you want to light your scene with HDR or EXR images, you can do this by selecting IBL from the Edit Settings drop-down. After disabling the Sun & Sky buttons, you can click on the EXT button of the Illumination Channel to load your image.

IBL can also be used along with the Sun. Follow these steps:

  • Click on the Sun icon to enable it.
  • Load an image in the Illumination Channel of the IBL.
  • Click on the 4th icon to open the Environment Preview window.
  • Now you can see both Sun and the IBL image.
  • Click in the preview window to align the Physical Sun with the sun that may be present in the IBL image.


To start adding lights to the scene, do the following:

  • Open Thea Tool.
  • Switch to the Light Tab.
  • Click on one of the four icons at the bottom.

After the have been created, you can always come back and modify their settings. To do that:

  • Open Thea Tool.
    Windows Cursor changes to the Thea Cursor.
  • Click on any light to focus on it.
  • Thea Tools now display the Light tab with the light selected.

The following video shows in detail how to use the Light Tool.


Be sure to check the following Getting Started tutorials that will guide you through the process of converting a simple model to fully textured one, with vegetation and physical lighting.