Use a Raytracing Renderer to Make Photorealistic Images
Once you’ve modeled something in Sketchup, it’s hard to resist the temptation to show it off to anyone who’ll look. But even with a wealth of style and lighting options, it’s hard to really make an object in Sketchup look great, or anywhere near photorealistic. Fortunately, there are 3rd party renderers that make up for this deficit.
For a free option, you can try Kerkythea. It's a freeware renderer with a Sketchup plugin available and can put together some pretty decent renders. For more information about how to setup and use Kerkythea with Sketchup, check out this blog post .
Image By: Alex
If you’re ready to move onto something a little bit more powerful, there are some relatively affordable renderers available, such as SU Podium, which has a free evaluation, and sells for $180. Unlike the previous renderer, SU Podium works directly within Sketchup, so you don’t have to start up a separate program, then export and import a sketchup model to make a quality render.
Image By: Evil Elvis
Of course there are also more advanced, general purpose renderers such as V-Ray that can be used to make photo-realistic images of your models, but these carry an industrial-strength price tag, sometimes running into the thousands of dollars.
Image By: tranganhhp