Blender to kerkythea
by Abhisheque Gupta

Since the development of Yafray has slowed down a little, I was frantically searching for some other external renderer which could be used with Blender. So for the past few months I have been trying my hands on renderers like PovRay, SunFlow, Indigo etc. Then just a month ago I bumped into Kerkythea which does have a bit support for blender too. But why kerkythea?

  • It has a good development pace
  • It’s the most feature rich renderer for Blender.
  • Has six different global illumination methods
  • A very easy to use G.U.I. (this is the best part).
  • A superb physically accurate material editor.
  • Layered material support
  • Download-able materials
  • Has a python exporter from blender
  • Has a Blender build with Kerkythea integrated just like Yafray.
  • Supports windows and Linux platform

That’s really great. But still it has got some glitches which can be easily sorted. Here are few to name

  • Its integration with blender is not on par unlike Yafray.
  • Its separate build and exporter are still in W.I.P. So if you want a renderer that is tightly integrated just like Yafray, than kerkythea is not for you.
  • Currently Kerkythea is good for stills only.

But even after all these cons, the result I got from my initial renders are so good that I just couldn’t ignore it. So here is my tutorial so that everyone can try Kerkythea. This one is going to be a basic global illuminated render. So hopefully every one should be able to follow it.

Requirement for this tutorial

Kerkythea 2007
Blender to kerkythea build
dlls for the blender build
That’s it

PART 1: Modeling and setting up the scene

I have chosen a very simple scene which I have re-created from the tutorial for Sunflow renderer (another very good renderer) which appeared few months ago in Blender magazine. First fire up the Blender to Kerkythea build. Create the simple scene as shown in the figure (fig 1). Assign basic diffuse colour to all the spheres. Place a light in the scene and select lamp button. In the Kerkythea shadows and photons panel, clik on enable and shadow button. Alos go to the world button select blak colour as the world colour. I will be explaining later on why blak world is chosen.

PART 2. Exporting

Now press F10 and go to render panel. Here you will see a drop down menú just below the big render button. Clik it and select kerkythea from it (fig 2). After clicking it you will see two more tabs will appear in the render panels. Select kerkythea from it. Move your mouse towards the 3d windows and clik on the display type (fig 3). Select user preference. Clik on the file path button. Go to the YFexport panel and assign a directory of your choice. Now come bak to the render panel. In the kerkythea tab de-select Exec. Kerkythea button. Hit the render button.

What the hell happened?

You just exported a file in a format which will be read and understood by kerkythea. Why I have gone for such a painful procedure? because all the settings like material editing etc. will be done in Kerkythea itself.

PART 3. Importing

Here comes the fun part. Fire up Kerkythea 2007. (This is the latest at the time of writing this.). I will be really brief about what you are seeing right now. The Kerkythea is divided into about four panels. On the left side is the tree for all the objects in the scene. In the middle is the 3d view. On the right there is a material library selector and below it a quik preview panel with a small green render button. This is going to come in handy. On the top is the usual file open, save etc. menú. The rest I will describe as we move along.
Clik on File>>Open or just press [Ctrl+O], navigate to the location where you have saved your export from blender and hit OK.

PART 4: scene setup

Welcome to Kerkythea! After loading the scene you should notice two major changes. On the left pane you should see all the objects from the scene. In the middle you should see a wireframe view of the scene.
Move on to the right side and clik the render button (yes the green one). Congrats on your 1st render. Now for the magic. In the left pane double clik on the name of one of the spheres. A star should appear in the left indicating its selected (See fig 4). Now right clik on it and select edit material from the pop up menú. Now we are in the material editor button. Material editor has lots of tricks up its sleeve so I will leave that for you to explore. For now just reduce the specular by clicking and dragging on the dial towards left side under colour tab. Press apply and close editor. Do this with all the objects.

PART 5: Global illumination

Remember I asked you to make the sky colour black? I did it on purpose. To understand that, here is a little insight on G.I. (global illumination). GI is a lighting technique which takes into account not only direct light from light source present (like the lamp in our scene) it alos takes the sky colour and light that bounces off the objects. Since I didn’t wanted the objects to receive light from the sky I made it black. You will understand it more as we proceed.

In the top panel select render and then setup. In the ray tracer tab clik on the AA method dropdown menú and select production AA. In the software shadows menú select medium. Now clik the global illumination tab. Kerkythea has lots of choices for a global illumination method. In the method panel select Photon Mapping + Final Gathering (SW). Set the no. of photons to many. In the final gathering menú select very many under rays tab. Set the accuracy to very good. Set the gathering depth to 2 and press OK.

Now clik on the render button. Sit bak and relax as this is going to take lots of time depending upon your system speed.

After the render is complete you can view the result and save it by pressing window in the top panel and selecting rendered image. Now look at the subtle bleeding on the floor and on the edges of all the spheres. Look at the shadows which are not that darque thanks to global illumination (see figure 5). Isn’t it beautiful? This is the best result I have ever seen in an external renderer for blender.

Kerkythea is a very advance renderer and support a lot more than you just saw. In the future I am looking forward to the following changes:

  • 1.A very good integration with blender so that a lot more parameters can be tweaked from within blender.
  • 2.Hopefully with the new upcoming UI changes in the blender, a lot more tweaquíng will be available for external renderers like kerkythea.
  • 3.The GPU accelerated global illumination is made available.

Till then happy blending and rendering

Abhisheque Gupta

I am currently pursuing C.A. (chartered accountant) which does take my most of the time. But thanks to blender it has given me the power to pursue my dreams.