Looking for a quick and easy (and free!) way to turn your SketchUp models into high quality, photo-realistic renders? Try Kerkythea!
Updated April 29, 2021

Looking for a quick and easy (and free!) way to turn your SketchUp models into high quality, photo-realistic renders? Try Kerkythea!

Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 7 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Kerkythea

Kerkythea is our go-to rendering software for turning SketchUp models into life-like renders. As one of 4 employees in a family owned and operated real-estate development company, it is critical to our business that potential customers and clients are able to clearly visualize a proposed project without the high cost of procuring renders from an external consultant. With Kerkythea, we are able turn a decent looking 3D model into a photo-realistic image, allowing the client to see the finished product before construction begins. Design issues can be addressed prior to engineering, reducing time and cost overall.
  • Kerkythea seamlessly integrates with SketchUp, eliminating the need for costly and complex 3D modeling software.
  • Kerkythea has a simple to use interface and does not require extensive training to learn how to use.
  • Despite being easy to use out of the box, Kerkythea is also very powerful for advanced users. This allowed us to achieve fast results, but also to constantly improve the quality of our rendered images as we have gained knowledge and experience
  • The Kerkythea plug-in for SketchUp has an incredibly easy to use lighting feature. Spot lights and flood lights can be added, adjusted and manipulated easily, giving a much more professional looking end product.
  • The user community support for Kerkythea is vast. From tips and tricks to free, downloadable materials packages, there are an incredible number of peer-to-peer assistance options available.
  • The default viewing mode for Kerkythea is wireframe. This makes it hard to view the model upon opening, however it is easily changed using "View/Adjust/Solid Rendering" in the menu bar. My preference would be for the software to default to Solid Rendering from startup, or to have a way to save the interface settings (If that option exists, I am not aware of it).
  • When exporting a model to Kerkythea from SketchUp, it usually takes a very long time to open the Kerkythea software. This only happens when selecting "Yes" in the dialog box that asks, "Open exported model in Kerkythea?" The quickest way I've found is to answer "No", open Kerkythea manually and then open the desired file from Kerkythea.
  • While there are many free, user contributed materials packages available online, it would be nice to have a larger materials library pre-installed in the software.
  • While it is impossible for me to give a firm number, I can definitely say that the images produced by Kerkythea are an excellent selling tool for projects presented to potential clients.
  • As freeware, Kerkythea has allowed me to achieve quality results without spending a fortune on software. Being self-employed, this is wonderful.
  • Kerkythea has allowed me to display professional materials without a major cost or time investment in training. This has allowed me to focus on creating floorplans and designs rather than spending all of my time getting the presentation of said designs to look good.
  • Blender is a free 3D modeling and rendering package. What I liked about Kerkythea is that it integrates with SketchUp, while Blender does not. This allows me to use modeling software that I was already familiar with rather than having to learn something new.
  • Autodesk 3D Studio Max and Autodesk Maya are also very powerful 3D modeling and rendering packages, however they are not free. They do have free trials, and the software is excellent and powerful. Guaranteed these are both better modeling packages than SketchUp, however with the work I do, SketchUp is easier to use and lower cost. If you're looking at doing more free-form modeling as opposed to basic rectangular buildings like me, you will need different modeling software than SketchUp. While Kerkythea can be used for many model types (*.kzx, *.xml, *.obj and *.sia at the time of this review) from any modeling package, it might be easier to use the rendering features built into 3DS rather than exporting to Kerkythea.

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SketchUp, Adobe Acrobat DC, Apache OpenOffice, Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365), AutoCAD, Google Authenticator, Google Backup and Sync, Google Drive, Shared Contacts for Gmail, Dropbox, OneDrive, GIMP, Skype, Zoom, TeamViewer
Kerkythea is a powerful, yet simple to use rendering package that integrates seamlessly into SketchUp and other modeling programs. My experience is only with SketchUp, but the combination of these two packages (I bought SketchUp Pro and use Kerkythea for free!) is the best bang-for-your-buck way that I have found to produce high quality images of 3D models. I have seen some extremely photo-realistic images online, but I am not sure if a paid rendering engine would be able to produce higher quality or be easier to use. If you are looking for a free way to get higher quality images from your SketchUp models I would highly recommend Kerkythea.

Using Kerkythea

1 - I am a mechanical engineer and part-owner of a small, family owned development company. My role is to provide initial design concepts for new projects and then to see the projects through construction and support them during start-up. This allows our company to go after a number or projects at once without spending money on outside modeling or rendering.
1 - I am a mechanical engineer who is self taught in CAD, modeling and rendering. I have no other support within my company, but rather rely on the vast online support groups available for software such as Kerkythea. Being freeware, there are many excellent resources and user contributed content available when learning and using this software.
  • Cost - we simply could not make a business case for purchasing rendering software that is not being used full time by a dedicated employee.
  • Ease of use - As a small business owner, I have a large number of roles and responsibilities and simply am not able to invest significant time in training for something that we use for 1 or 2 products per month.
  • Quality deliverables - Kerkythea does a good job of delivering much better quality images than SketchUp does while meeting the other critical criteria of low cost and ease of use. Other rendering (and modeling) packages will do a better job but require more output up front. For us, this is an excellent way to improve our presentation materials to the clients.
  • Kerkythea is a handy program to have for personal projects as well. I have used it to create more visually appealing images of things I've modeled to have 3D printed.
  • I have also used it to render personal building projects such as garden sheds and that dream garage addition I'm still chasing.
  • I would like to try using Kerkythea for animations in addition to rendering still images.
  • I would like to add more scenery and backgrounds to my rendered buildings rather than having plain backgrounds.
  • I would like to build my own materials library of interior and exterior finishes (such as wall siding and cladding, interior building materials, etc). The main goal here is to utilize some of the more powerful features, such as bump mapping, to make the renders even more realistic while (hopefully) vastly reducing the amount of time and detail in the model.
At this point, I have not found myself limited by using Kerkythea. It is easy to use and has not required a huge amount of time investment to get results. I have been able to utilize 3D modeling software that I am already familiar with and that is also cost effective. The quality of the finished product that can be achieved using Kerkythea is still beyond the abilities that I have, however I continue to learn and grow in my competency as I use the software.