SU Rendering

Dave Richards

SE Minnesota
Rendering is the process of giving a more realistic look to a computer generated drawing. It's also what you do to beef fat to make lard but that's a different forum. ;)

Here's an example of the first sort of rendering.

There are a number of software applications out there that do rendering. Like anything they have a bit of a learning curve. There is a very nice, fairly easy to use renderer called Kerkythea. It's free which is a good thing. There's a little hangup with the free version of SketchUp, though. It has no native facility for exporting a file that can be opened in Kerkythea (get it here)--or other renderers. There is a solution, however. You can get a Ruby script called SU2KT here: SU2KT ZIP file without lights. or The executable installer with some light fixtures included. This script makes it easy to export your SU model so Kerkythea can open it.

Now there's an even easier albeit somewhat limited way to make a rendered image of your model. It is designed for those who have no experience but want to get that rendered look from their models. This is only a beta version and the final version won't be free. The beta version is limited to 640x480 output but for most things that's not so bad . Go to and download another Ruby script--it comes as an EXE file which you run to install it. Then you can make your render directly in SU. When you open the renderer, called Podium, there's little dialog box. Click on the arrow in the upper right corner and choose Help to get some instructions on how to make it work.

This image was done this morning in about 3 minutes using Podium.

It's not perfect but considering the little bit of time I have invested, I think it turned out alright. Note that I did add a background wall for this version which isn't present in the higher res render done in Kerkythea.

If you're really interested in the other sort of rendering here's a link for that, too. Hey Lardboy! :D
Thanks Mike. The first render was done at some huge resolution setting and with higher anti aliasing and other settings. It also took several hours to render as opposed to less than 1 minute for the second image.
Just thought I'd post a little quickie here about how I get lights into a model for rendering. Attached is a rendered image showing the "lights". These are simply large rectangles angled to face the model. their front faces are toward the model and assigned light values in Podium. The back faces are black because that is the way renderers work. they won't render a back face no matter how you paint it. Keep that in mind when making a render. Hope this gives you some ideas.

In the Morris chair image, I built a room around the furniture and added rectangles on the left wall, the ceiling and the wall behind the camera and to the right. These were each assigned a light value. The walls and ceiling help to keep the light in and reflect some of it back to the model.

I made another image of the house model showing the lights so I figured I'd post it to hopefully further clarify the lighting thing in case there are still some questions.

Here's the Morris chair set up. The black rectangles are the backs of the lights. The room box is turned with its front faces oriented inward which is why it renders so dark. The hole is a window for the "camera" to look through.

The rendering stuff is too cool, Dave. I'm wishing I could carve out an hour or so per day to devote to improving my SU (and related software) skills. Maybe after the holidays and the workshop orders start to wane a bit. :eek: