Kerkythea Echo Boost - Soon, soon everywhere


Updated: February 27, 2013

This article is a sort of old news, if you will. As you know, I really love Kerkythea. It's my favorite 3D rendering software. It's simple, extremely easy to use, runs on both Windows and Linux, and comes with a handy plugin for Google SketchUp. So the best thing that can happen is a new version, right.

Anyhow, at the moment, the latest stable version is Kerkythea Echo 2008, or rather version 2.0 if you want, released some four years ago. Not a big problem, since the program works splendidly. However, looking in the official forums, you will see a few threads from 2011, promising a new 2.5.X release sometime soon. The development team has been working on it for almost three years at the time those threads were started, so there's a release candidate available. In the last year, I have not seen any new activity regarding this, but given the very long periods in between versions, it stands to logic. Anyhow, I could not contain myself, so here we have this article, the test of Echo Boost.

Teaser

Echo Boost overview

Sounds almost like EcoBoost, the Ford engines. But unrelated, I assure you. Or not. All that said, Kerkythea Echo Boost can be installed over Echo without any issues, although you should save your data and materials to avoid any problems. Moreover, while Echo required admin rights to install, Echo Boosts places the data in the ProgramData directory instead of the Program Files plus user folder, thus allowing the installation without administrative privileges.

Moreover, Echo Boost offers a native 64-bit build and faster rendering times, which is what makes is so appealing. Being able to utilize your processor to the max and with no memory limits, you can crank up the power bill at the end of the month.

Nice image

It is immediately apparent that Echo Boost is much faster than its predecessor. Even without any solid empirical data, you will see as little as 20% improvement in the total rendering times, and perhaps as much as 50%. Some users also claim a better final output quality.

Quick render, good image

Quick render, good image, more

Later on, I did take the program for a spin on my high-end laptop. Before trying the program, I created a few images of my models in the regular version and clocked the rendering times, then repeated the procedure with the release candidate.

Kerkythea Echo 2008 time:

Final Gathering Statistics and Information
Max Gathering Depth : 1, Max Tracing Depth : 5
Gathering Rays : 500, Interpolation Accuracy : 0.25
Total Gatherings : 687723, Total Interpolations : 3259596
Total Ray Tests : 1860273968, Intersections found : 1769050914
Finished in 33 minutes and 42 seconds!

Kerkythea Echo Boost time:

Final Gathering Statistics and Information
Max Gathering Depth : 1, Max Tracing Depth : 5
Gathering Rays : 500, Interpolation Accuracy : 0.25
Total Gatherings : 687185, Total Interpolations : 3257334
Total Ray Tests : 1856688150, Intersections found : 1763039226
Finished in 23 minutes and 34 seconds!

As you can see, the render speedup is impressive. My test show a consistent 30% improvement, which aligns well with the official figures. However, I did not see any difference in the final quality.

Render, Echo

Render, Echo Boost

Conclusion

Kerkythea Echo Boost seems like an awesome improvement to an awesome program. For most people, the change is virtually transparent. The only thing you will have to do is make sure your materials, globals and models are properly imported, but we have a separate article for that coming.

Anyhow, Echo Boost looks the same, works the same, only it is faster, with native 64-bit support, and possibly even offers higher quality renders. So when will it be released officially? That is the one unresolved item here, but other than that, I am mightily pleased. And yes, you can use it, now! Art fun, commence.

Cheers.

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