Kerkythea: SketchUp rendering tool
In my previous post Why I think Google SketchUp is invaluable, I spoke of the reasons why I thought SketchUp is such a powerful tool in my design arsenal: its ability to successfully present simple and complex design ideas quickly and with ease.
Where SketchUp falls down is its lack of a good native rendering tool. Its basic presentation style is fine for casual presentations, but when you require a little more professionalism, it simply wont cut it.
Luckily help is at hand, and the developing community (as they so often do) spotted the gap and filled it! There are a number of rendering programs out there, some more advanced than others. My rendering tool of choice is Kerkythea, created by the immensely talented Ioannis Pantazopoulos, along with plenty of help from the open source community that has grown up around the application.
It isn’t the easiest of applications to install on a Mac, it requires the use of X11 (a window based GUI) to run. Once you have X11 up and running, installation of Kerkythea itself is fairly straight forward. The Key though to making Kerkythea work is making sure it can interact with SketchUp itself, and this is done through the installation of Kerkythea plugins within SketchUp itself. Again, not the easiest of installation processes, but if you know your way around the Mac file system, setting these up should take no time at all.
Along with the app itself, the community that exists around Kerythea have developed many different add ons that expand greatly on the abilities of the program. Whether it be materials to add realism to your model, or advanced lighting systems, you can find extra plugins to help you achieve the levels of detail you require.
The program truly is useful, and a great addition to your SketchUp tool kit!