Kerkythea Sketchup Plugin

Twilight Render and Kerkytheaare based on the same render engine technology.We can share materials and scenes between them.Go to and under downloads,click on Resources.Scroll downand you'll find Material Librariesamong other things.Let's download one of these libraries.Let's say New Wood.It downloads a Zip file.Go to the Exercise Files folder.

Updated: April 19, 2011

  1. Kerkythea is a standalone renderer, using physically accurate materials and lights, aiming for the best quality rendering in the most efficient timeframe. The target of Kerkythea is to simplify the task of quality rendering by providing the necessary tools to automate scene setup, such as staging using the GL real-time viewer, material editor, general/render settings editors, etc., under a.
  2. Kerkythea is a rendering plug-in which is free in SketchUp. This plug-in provides the users with high quality renders. Nothing needs to be spent on this software for licensing. Kerkythea, the software is considered to use materials and lights which are physically accurate.
  3. Google SketchUp Importer plugin To export your models from Google SketchUp to Kerkythea, you will need SketchUp Importer. Optionally, you can also download lighting fixtures, which are also worth exploring. The Importer is a ruby script, which you need to copy into the Plugins directory of your SketchUp installation.
  4. Google SketchUp Importer plugin To export your models from Google SketchUp to Kerkythea, you will need SketchUp Importer. Optionally, you can also download lighting fixtures, which are also worth exploring. The Importer is a ruby script, which you need to copy into the Plugins directory of your SketchUp installation.

The day of reckoning has finally come. Today, you are about to witness the transition of my superb 3D galleries from Google SketchUp models with somewhat not so realistic skins and colors into perfect models in Kerkythea, rendering with stunning real-life precision and quality.

In this article, I'm going to show you how you can use Kerkythea to import models created in Google SketchUp and then render them into marvelous, breathtaking pieces of art. I will also showcase some of my models with fresh new skins and lighting effects. In fact, I've redone the entire section with extra images, so please make sure to spend a few hours gazing at works of beauty. Now, let us commence to enjoy.

Google SketchUp Importer plugin

To export your models from Google SketchUp to Kerkythea, you will need SketchUp Importer. Optionally, you can also download lighting fixtures, which are also worth exploring.

The Importer is a ruby script, which you need to copy into the Plugins directory of your SketchUp installation. Once you launch the program, there's going to be a new toolbar available, allowing you to export your models, materials or lighting to Kerkythea.

For example, my upcoming spaceship model:

Then, you simply export the model:

And open it in Kerkythea:

The imported models are basically huge XML files. My SketchUp modes, which are normally 4-5MB bloomed to about 50MB in size. You can easily gobble a lot of disk space, especially if you have several versions, with different shadows, lighting or textures.

Pay attention to the left column, which lists your materials. This is really neat. And we'll see how we can edit those soon and make our models look even better than normally, although, if you've chosen your textures wisely, you won't need much editing in Kerkythea.

But now, the fun part ..

Render models in Kerkythea

Kerkythea is a very reasonable program. Its default rendering options are light and quick. A fairly modern machine will produce good-looking renders in just a few short minutes. You should always start with the defaults until you're satisfied with the result, before trying more complex rendering options.

Kerkythea can use one or more cores. For instance, here's a lightweight rendering:

And here's one kicking in with all four cores on my HP machine revving to max:

Memory wise, Kerkythea is not that ravenous, although it can eat 1-2GB of RAM easily. However, the single most important piece is the CPU power, which you should have in plenty. P.S. Kerkythea works on Linux, too, so you should check that, as well.

And here's a sample product, nothing grand yet, just work in progress:

Nothing spectacular so far. We need to work on the background, the skin materials and more. Plus, more detailed rendering options will yield even better results. BTW, while you're waiting for your model to complete, you can get the first impression by taking a look at the Quick View window in the right corner or even open the Image window, which updates more or less in real time.

Renders can take as little as one minute and they can also stretch for a long time. For instance, with some of the more aggressive settings, your rendering time can easily turn into weeks of work. See my sample below; 3/10000 pass running, with 7 minutes time elapsed. If you do the calculation, we're talking four cores revving at 100% for 20,000 minutes, or roughly three weeks! That's a lot. You need a dedicated machine for that, you don't want to melt your laptops doing some fine 3D art.

Sweet galleries

And then, things start to look like this:

I can't possibly showcase all of the models here, but hop into the individual galleries and you'll see a plenty more. Each model and its own special settings. Plus, I'm going to write followup articles, as my renders improve and my GIMP-ing skills grow. You will enjoy progress even as I enjoy enlightenment.

Credits ..

Kerkythea Sketchup Plugin

Some third-party images were used for model backgrounds. I would like to thank the original creators for their beautiful and inspiring work, which made it into my models.

Ice background from Wikipedia (public domain).

Kerkythea 3d

Planets image from NASA (public domain).

Lighting and materials

Yes, you will need to be careful what materials you choose. Some will end up looking plastic-like, others will infuse your model with a real-life texture. For instance, early work prototypes of some of galleries.

And this is only a teaser! Go into the each gallery and enjoy yourselves! Like I've mentioned earlier, the galleries will constantly be updated, as I discover new render techniques, better materials, better lighting and background, as well as allow my CPUs the time to create these lovely works.


Kerkythea is a bliss. There's nothing more I could ask for. Well, there is, but metaphysically speaking, for art geeks, this is the best of the best. Converting your models from Google SketchUp, where they already looked fairly decent, and see them breathe a new life. It's amazing.

My promises sometimes take a while to come true, but there you go. I hinted at having my models reborn in Kerkythea, and this is what I did. Now, this is only a beginning. We have other programs to explore. Don't forget POV-Ray or anim8or. And I have a few more goodies hidden up my sleeve. And yet more models and whatnot. I will even try to render my wife's interior design work into real-life stuff.

Welcome to the revolution.


SketchUp Animations

In SketchUp saved camera info (which includes more than just station point and focal point) is called a 'scene'. If your model has scenes defined, you will see a series of clickable buttons across the top of the model window, as shown below left. Click them to restore the saved view conditions.

You can also use the 'Scenes' window to view, add, delete and reorder scenes. Open that window with 'Window > Scenes'.

You can create scenes by clicking on the circled-plus-sign in the upper left of the Scenes window, by using 'View > Animation > Add scene' or it's keyboard equivalent.

You play an animation using 'View > Animation > Play'. The animation is created according to settings in the Model Info dialog shown at left and accessed via 'Window > Model Info'. If Enable scene transitions is checked, in-between frames are created by interpolating between scenes. The number of frames in the interpolation is controlled by the Transition: time value. At the end of each scene-to-scene transition, the camera dwells on a scene for the amount of time specified in the Slide delay:time.

Pure SketchUp Animations

Once you've defined your animation, you can render it with SketchUp itself by selecting 'File > Export > Animation ..'. In the export dialog you'll be able to select the format (.mov will get you a QuickTime movie), and (using the 'Expert' settings within the 'Options' dialog) the codec, the frame size, the frame rate, etc. Of course, you can't employ any rendering features that SketchUp doesn't usually provide (fancy textures, multiple lights, etc.) For those, you need Kerkythea.

Here's a couple of sample animations. Both are 122 frames, 320x240 pixels. The file on the left was compressed as 'Photo JPG' and is 1.1MB. The one on the right is 'H.264' and only 414k, or about 40% of the size of the Photo JPG file.

Notes on SketchUp Animations

SketchUp lets you animate the camera, the sun, and (in theory) the 'face me' components. That's it. No geometrical changes during the animation (moving or growing geometry, moving cars, etc). No texture changes (no live TV screens). Those are limitations, but when you're doing an animation about a building, most of it doesn't need to move.

A Helpful Tutorial on Kerkythea Animations

Download Kerkythea Sketchup Plugin

Notes on the Tutorial

  • Set your SketchUp animation preferences ('View > Animation > Settings') to have no 'Scene delay' or you will find that the finished Kerkythea animation includes the pauses at each scene boundary.
  • I recommend you save the SKP model to a new folder to start the process. Let's say you call the folder (animation) and let's say you call the file (model). So folder (animation) contains file (model).skp at this point.
  • When you're ready, first use 'Plugins > Kerkythea Exporter > Export Model' (geometry & textures). This will create (model).xml in your (animation) folder. Open it in Kerkythea. Maybe render a frame and make sure the render-settings are what you want.
  • Now use the plugin to Export the Animation Path. DO NOT ask for 'face me' component animation (or, go ahead and try it and if your export fails, try again without it). Same for sun/light motions. This should create a (model).kst file in the (animation) folder. It will also create an 'Anim_(model)' folder, containing many .xml files sequentially numbered 0000.xml, 0001.xml, and so on. These describe how each frame is rendered.
  • The exporter will ask if you want to open/generate the animation in Kerkythea. DON'T (it tends to open a new Kerkythea window, without a model, and render blank frames -- no harm, but no progress either). Instead, bring the Kerkythea window to the front and pick 'File > RunScript..' and pick the (model).kst scrpt file that you saved a second ago. This should begin grinding through the individual frame, creating a 0000.jpg 0001.jpg (etc) in the Anim_(model) folder. You can open one or two of the finished frames and check that (a) it's rendering with the right settings, (b) it's the right dimensions, and (c) if you compare a frames, you ought to be able to see changes between them. If all is well, relax and let it render.
  • When it's all done, you'll need to put the individual frames together to make a movie file. There are expensive ways to do this, and cheap ones. One way, requiring QuickTime Pro (available on the Macintosh computers in the Digital Commons--use QT Player 7 located in the Applications > Utilities folder), is to 'Open Image Sequence..', pick 0000.jpg, set the frame rate, view the animation and save-as (model).mov (or whatever) to make a quicktime movie out of it. This does require the QT-7 player, so it may not be an option for you (or come talk to me). There are other ways to do it, including using Adobe Premiere, which we'll be looking at soon, but that's a big (expensive) hammer for a fairly simple task.
  • A Sample Kerkythea Movie

Kerkythea Plugin For Sketchup

Saving Time on Long Animations

Kerkythea Sketchup Plugin

Watch Khichdi Online | Full Series: Every Season & Episode. IF you have multiple computers available with Kerkythea on them, you can place a duplicate of your (animation) folder on each, edit the (model).kst text file to divide the work between computers, run the animation scripts on each, and then merge the folders of finished frames back together to make the final animation. If that sounds like something you might want to do, read on ..

Each of your rendering machines will need the same setup, including any special textures, etc. Each will need a copy of the (animation) folder, but each will need an edited copy of the animation script, which is in the (model).kst file. The (model).kst file itself is pretty simple. It looks something like this. The 'messages' are script commands that Kerkythea executes and the general pattern is 'merge a frame-definition (xml) file, render the frame, save the frame'. If you keep the first few lines intact, you can delete groups of merge/render/save commands to avoid rendering those frames.

So, if you have two machines, you need two versions of the (model).kst file, one for each machine. If you're doing 200 frames in total, you could edit the first file to do frames 0 through 100, and modify the second file to do frame 0 plus frames 101 through 200. Put one script on machine 'A' and one on machine 'B' and follow the instructions above for running the script on each.

If you are rendering in such a way that you are re-using light-cache or photon-map data from frame to frame, you may need to pre-render and save a complete photon-map prior to splitting the kst script file into parts.

How To Use Kerkythea Sketchup Plugin

Last updated: April, 2014