I am a fan of Twilight Render for doing conventional architectural rendering because it is cheap, easy to use and if you only do the occasional render every few months, it is quite easy to pick it up again if you have forgotten the processes.
They have introduced a new feature descriptively named “render-to-texture” which must be purchased for an additional US$45 and added onto your existing professional licence. The plugin promises to give you baked lighting inside your Sketchup models by rendering out the effect of lights and shadow on surfaces and reapplying it as textures in your models.
Having experienced Lightup and its amazing realtime render-to-texture functionality, my expectations were high.
Unfortunately this plugin is somewhat disappointing when compared with the aforementioned competitor. The first issue was that you have to select the individual faces that you want to bake, which is a real nuisance if you have created groups or components; i.e. the normal way that you would model and keep your Sketchup model in order. So what this means is if you want to bake all of the textures of your model, you have to explode everything back down into its primary geometry.
The plugin uses conventional raytrace rendering so the baking process is slow. I also found the results to be underwhelming too and using the art gallery model that you would have seen in my previous Lightup example, my attempt at baking the complex ceiling geometry produced a very dark smudge, as well as glitches from some other texture map in certain spots. The baking process also only appears to cater for lighting and shadow effects; in comparison to Lightup which can handle reflections and other effects in realtime.
It is only the first iteration of the plugin but it has a long way to go if it is going to be anywhere near as good as Lightup. So I can only advise that if you are after realtime rendering and decent texture baking, this is not the solution to go with. Purchase a license for Lightup instead.