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  1. #21
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    Thanks Aaron. BTW - if you go to the Kerkythea website....all the materials in the kerkythea repository will work with Twilight as well. Twilight is essentially Kerkythea integrated into SU. There is also a material library that comes with the the program, as well as templates which will give you a starting point to quickly make your own materials. Certain things, like a translucent material, will automatically get translated into a glass material when you render in Twilight.

    Personally, I don't spend too much time fussing with materials. Usually, I will drop a bump map (normal map) in with any stone, paver, mulch grass etc...I'll tweak water and glass and add reflection values to any metals, like grills, etc. Other than that I don't spend too much time with all the possible material tweaking. For my bump (normal) and displacement maps, I use a program called Pixplant for photoshop. I can take any texture and make it seamless, then instantly generate my maps. Only takes a few minutes.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuirView Landscape View Post
    BTW - if you go to the Kerkythea website....all the materials in the kerkythea repository will work with Twilight as well. Twilight is essentially Kerkythea integrated into SU. There is also a material library that comes with the the program, as well as templates which will give you a starting point to quickly make your own materials. Certain things, like a translucent material, will automatically get translated into a glass material when you render in Twilight.
    I figured out how to write new Template Materials in Twilight; they are just predefined settings, so all you have to do is write a new setting in the C:\Program Files\Google\Google SketchUp 7\Plugins\Twilight\materials.dat file.
    But I cannot figure out how to integrate or import any Kerkythea library materials. I have tried putting them in C:\Program Files\Google\Google SketchUp 7\Plugins\Twilight\Materials; and the code in the .xml Kerkythea materials are virtually identical to the Twilight Library Materials.

    How do I use Kerkythea Library (repository) materials? Obviously I know I can use the .jpg maps, but it would be nice if we could use them with all the settings in the xml file.

    Thanks,
    -Aaron H.

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    I had trouble too, but figured it out by taking note of the existing hierarchy of the other material folders.

    First, here is a link to a thread with a compiled list of hundreds of great materials for Kerkythea, that can be downloaded for Twilight using these steps - http://www.kerkythea.net/joomla/inde...pper&Itemid=76

    1. Download and save the file. Will be called - materialname.mat.zip

    2. Rename the file to materialname.zip (removing the .mat extension) - per page 31 of the Twilight manual

    3. Open the .zip file and take note of the name of the .xml file

    4. Create a folder in your Sketchup/Plugins/Twilight folder and give it the same name as the .xml file (without the .xml) The .xml file has a calling function that will link the library that you see in Twilight with the library in the folder, so the name on the .xml file, has to match the name on the folder exactly.

    5. Extract the .zip file into that folder

    6. Restart sketchup and the new materials will be in the Twilight library. There is a little down arrow next to the library that will show them all to you.
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    Last edited by MuirView Design; 09-11-2009 at 09:53 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuirView Landscape View Post
    ...per page 31 of the Twilight manual
    ...I searched and searched online; leave it to me to forget the obvious 1st place I should have looked. :noidea: Typical guy.

    Thanks Adam. I will give it a shot.

    Although Vray and Max will probably always be in your arsenal, do you see yourself favoring Twilight? I suspect that Twilight is a great option for low invested design work, but Vray's control (UVW Mapping, extensive material mapping, etc) would be better for high-end invested designs (i.e. customer paying).

    Is there an equivalent for UVW Mapping in SU?

    Hope you are feeling better,
    Thanks...yet again :) ,
    -Aaron H.

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    No problem! SU has some built in UV mapping controls, with the right click / texture / position and projection options. There is also a UVW plugin written by Whatt on SCF that will do cylindrical and spherical mapping. This is generally enough to work out any texture aligning necessary. I usually only use the UVW modifier in Max if my import texture get's screwed up on the way in, or if I notice something askew that I missed while texturing in SU.

    Twilight is a good option for quick turnaround and decent quality. It's biggest advantage, and at the same time it's biggest downfall, is that it works withing the Sketchup UI. If sketchup was able to handle a higher poly count, I wouldn't need to use Max as much. For quick turnaround (low paying) design work, I previoiusly used Podium, which is way too unstable or Vray for SU, which takes way too long to process a scene before it starts rendering. Twilight will be a good replacement and fill that need nicely.
    ~Adam
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuirView Landscape View Post
    4. Create a folder in your Sketchup/Plugins/Twilight folder and give it the same name as the .xml file (without the .xml) The .xml file has a calling function that will link the library that you see in Twilight with the library in the folder, so the name on the .xml file, has to match the name on the folder exactly.
    Worked like a charm. Just a note for others: create the folder the materials subfolder of Twilight:
    C:\Program Files\Google\Google SketchUp 7\Plugins\Twilight\Materials

    Thanks Adam!
    -Aaron H

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    Quote Originally Posted by MuirView Landscape View Post
    The structural upper patio and walls are existing on this project. We would be doing the lower patio, firepit, steps and waterfall. Here's a pic.

    There is also a new version of Indigo Render out and it works really well with Sketchup. There is a free version that will allow to render up to 1000x700 resolution, but you get a watermark in the lower left. You could go render a wider view and crop out the watermark. It's even easier than Twilight to setup and the results are ultimately better, but the renders take longer to "cook". http://indigorenderer.com/home
    I'm very interested on your thoughts as to using indigo or twilight. Besides what you've mentioned above, is there any other advantages from using one or the other that would allow us to make a more informed descision? Which is your preference and why? disregarding the render time and cost difference please.

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    Steve....go with Twilight.

    When you look at all rendering solutions, there are two option on the market, Biased and Unbiased.

    Here's how I understand the difference to be between the two.

    Biased render engines have a lot of settings which will determine the amount of sampling and the quality of the interpolation that takes place. Unbiased engines have less settings with no interpolation.

    When a render engine processes your scene and adds shadows, reflection and light bounces to your model, what it is really doing is systematically analyzing the pixels in your scene and assigning them a new value based on the material and light settings you choose. Every wall, window or plant, just equates to pixels to the render engine. Each pixel contains information about it's color, it's relationship to the light rays and it's influence on the surrounding pixels.

    A render engine has to run an exorbitant number of calculations in order to process all the pixel data. It will generally do this in passes. Each pass will sample certain pixels from the model data and transform them into their new rendered output.

    In a biased render solution, the pixels are analyzed in way that can be described as a calculated bias. Certain pixels deemed as more important are favored over others for sampling and the render engine sets out to find only that percentage that it feels necessary to accurately predict all the other pixels. The lower the settings the fewer the pixels it samples, the higher...the greater. Based on the information those primary pixels return, the surrounding secondary pixels are all interpolated as to their proper appearance. This way the renderer can achieve much faster render results as it is only really sampling a fraction of what is there and interpreting the rest.

    In an unbiased engine...there is no interpolation. The render engine will sample every pixel in a continuous loop, until you tell it to stop. An unbiased engine will be 100% physically accurate, because it doesn't guess. You will have better results, but astronomical render times.

    Indigo is an unbiased renderer. It has a plugin that connects it to sketchup but is not built in. It's a great renderer, but it's slow, because it's unbiased. Other popular unbiased renderers are Maxwell and Fryrender.....and soon to be Thea Render (Kerkytheas big brother)

    Almost all the other renderers for SU are biased renderers

    Twilight is both....biased and unbiased. For example, presets 8,9 & 10 are all progressive (unbiased) render options. 1-7 are all biased settings, which basically control how many samples are taken.

    You could for example, render out 3 or 4 scenes for a client with a biased preset and let the one that will be the cover page render overnight on an unbiased setting. (Most unbiased renders take 5-10 hours to "cook" until they are clear of all graininess)

    Because of it's flexibility to be both...I think Twilight is a better solution. Plus it renders transparent images without alpa maps and Indigo doesn't.

    Sorry for the long winded diatribe, but understanding how renderers work, is the first step to mastering them.
    ~Adam
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuirView Landscape View Post
    Sorry for the long winded diatribe, but understanding how renderers work, is the first step to mastering them.
    Do not apologize. That is great information. Thanks.
    -Aaron H

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    wow... thank you. thats what I needed to understand. thanks for wording that in such a way that I can digest all this. I dont understand all the technical terms but you sure made it much easier for me and others to grasp just what the rendering process does. I know theres alot more to it than that but I appreciate your time and willingness to help.

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