Sebastian Marticorena was an illustrator at Fat Pencil Studio from 2014-2016.
Over the years we've dabbled in rendering software, but have generally found them to be too technical and time-intensive for the type of explanatory diagrams we create. But recently we started using a rendering plug-in for SketchUp called Visualizer, and have been impressed with its ability to rapidly generate model views of striking depth and material quality.
It has swiftly progressed through four versions, the most current of which is now free (!). Of course, at such a price the program does have its limitations: the only light source is SketchUp's sun (but you can adjust light/dark settings), so you can't add any other lights. However, you can control the focal point, exposure set-point and focal length. And with the latest release, you can assign material properties and render images up to 10,000 x 10,000 pixels.
With these features, SketchUp's line styles and some tasteful Photoshopping, you can do quite a lot. Here are some images from recent projects we did using Visualizer as well as some remastered projects. Take a look!