Under Construction


The video describes the steps I use when creating a base image for architectural illustrations. Kerkythea is simple to get started with, but has sophisticated settings to produce very professional final outcomes.

Kerkythea and the Sketchup Plugin can be downloaded HERE. The Plugin can be found under Integration along with easy install instructions

If used correctly, Kerkythea can be quick. However, as you fine tune the rendering settings, add more lights, soften the shadows, give the material textures and bumpmaps, you will quickly find out that the rendering times exponentially grow. I will most often do the bare minimum, to get my rendering times down, then put more effort in post processing. However, there are times when spending the extra effort to add nice textures and lights outweigh the time it takes to post process in photoshop. Either way, it's good to know what pieces significantly alter rendering time.

Things that extend rendering times:

Multiple lights. Adding more lights slows the rendering time. Lights that are made up of many surfaces, such as a sphere, make it even worse.

Lots of geometry. This one is obvious, but using a lot of trees or just really big models will really increase rendering times. Deleting part of the model so that only objects in view remain is something I do a lot.

Complex textures. Textures with a lot of reflection or shininess really slow things down. Use these textures sparingly.

Soft shadows.

Presets. Choosing the right preset makes a big difference. Photonmap-High+AA03 seems to be the quickest for me. Metropolis Light Transport looks the best, but can take days to render.


Reader Comments (44)

Quick question, can you export Revit Architecture and/or Rhino files into Kerkythea? If so how?

May 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterQuinton Brown

Im sure you can, although I have never done it. I know rhino files will, not sure about Revit though. Kerkythea takes .3ds files which I know rhino can export.

May 12, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlex Hogrefe

Do you think that Kerkythea is better than 3ds Max for rendering???

May 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterQuinton Brown

hi alex,

i've saved my scene and imported the model into kerkythea. however, when I render i notice that my default UV lighting from SKU isnt there. and yes, iv checked the "Default UV" setting in SKU b4 exporting. any idea on how i can fix this?

cheers :)

June 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterT

Hi T,
I apologize for not getting back to you sooner. The "default UV" in the SU exporter controls the UV mapping of your material and has nothing to do with lighting. Im assuming your talking about the sun location. When you export the model, make sure "shadows" are on in sketchup. This will give Kerkythea the sun information when you export

June 11, 2011 | Registered CommenterALEX HOGREFE

thanks alex!

July 25, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterT

hi alex, just got another question.

im trying to render a sketchup elevation, but wen export it into kerkythea, it turns into perspective view. how can i prevent this?


August 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterT

Im not sure why that happens, but it does happen to me time to time. You can toggle on and off the perspective/parallel projections at the top next to the cycle button which seems to take it to the view you had in sketchup. Or you can go to View>Adjust>Parallel.

August 27, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlex Hogrefe

1 quick question ... why do you use Kerythea and not V-ray for sketchup ?? I'm curious because this is the first time I heard of this render program

All the best !

October 28, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterdaniel

Do i really need to add materials in sketch up, or can i just export the raw model and then, add materials in kerkythea (sorry if its hard to understand, english is not my mother language :S)

December 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSparkas

I use Kerkythea first because its free, so its nice doing tutorials on it knowing that anybody can go download it and render with it. It also integrates well with Sketchup, and has settings to do fast test renderings and final renderings.
You can, but if you applying the materials in Sketchup, you can better control how the materials are mapped onto the surfaces. Applying materials in Kerkythea can get really messy.

December 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlex Hogrefe

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December 20, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterfgh

hi there,

i'm struggling when i import my model to kerkythea alot of the textures don't seem to work and appear 'black' any ideas on how to sort this out? the scene is very detailed with lots of components....



December 30, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermark scott

Double check that all of your faces in the Sketchup model are oriented correctly i.e. switch to the "monochrome" face style and make sure that there are no blue faces showing. Materials will not render on the blue face, only on the white faces.

December 31, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAlex Hogrefe

@ mark

i had the same problem and managed to fix it by copying my kerkythea scene into the folder named 'TX-my kerkythea scene"

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermeril

i was wondering if you could help me. my kerkythea concrete diffuse texture is grey, but when i render it becomes bluish! got any idea how to solve this?

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermeril

It might be the blue sky environment giving it the bluish color. Try changing the sky color to grey, and I bet it will solve your problem.

January 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlex Hogrefe

you're right, thanks :-)

January 19, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermeril

thanks for help Alex. Just wondering, have you ever done any small scale interior renders?

January 19, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermark scott

Hi Alex -

I exported my SU model with the shadows turned on, but they are still not rendering. They appear fine in SU. I have even tried manually adjusting the sun in Kerkythea, which didn't work out either. Is there something that I'm overlooking? Thanks!

February 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKesia

What great works, Alex! Keep 'em up!

June 15, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterfrank

Hi Alex.. I wanted to know that there used to be a section on the right side of your page that used to have links to materials and all that u use...that was a great help and now its not there........

June 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterZohaa

Super curious, what are all the plug-ins up in your Sketchup tool bar? Like the one you used for sunlight/etc?

I'm trying to set up sketchup for kerky and I just can't seem to set up the plugin correctly :-S any chance you could explain that to me?

Thanks! And your work is amazing!

June 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJes

Hi Alex

I was wondering whether you have tried using v ray for sketchup at all and whether you could do some tutorials for it if you have.

I would just like to thank you also for the great tutorials you do they have really help me learn.


June 22, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTom C

How do i 'apply' a material in kerkythea? Standard materials are not appearing in the Kerkythea menu

August 17, 2012 | Unregistered Commentergeek girl

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