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Kerkythea Renderer going commercial


Kerkythea logoLike Indigo Renderer, Kerkythea is working on a commercial product. Unlike Indigo a free version will stil be available, although it will not be as actively developed anymore.

From the announcement on their forum:

It was a long year of hard work and advances. Some people have spotted a delay in Kerkythea updates and indeed there was a reason. Our primary focus has been shifted towards the creation of a new renderer, entering the commercial arena. The name of the new renderer is - for simplicity - the same as the commercial engine that runs behind Kerkythea. 

So, what is it with Thea Render? We believe that it belongs to a different class regarding quality, versatility and easy of use. This is a new renderer incorporating state of the art features with a lot of work and research behind it. For further discussion on the new renderer, we welcome users in our related announcement over Thea Render forum (requires registration to post or read). 

And what about Kerkythea itself? We certainly won't abandon Kerkythea, our "render buddy". Most probably though, the shift in priorities will have an impact for the next updates, delaying them further. On the other hand, some related Kerkythea issues will be improved, particularly the integration with modelers (since exporters can be reused). And of course, there will be some long-promised features, that now make their appearance in Thea Render, but will also become available in a next Kerkythea edition. 

Furthermore, we would like to reward the people that contributed to Kerkythea with the one or the other way (commitment, donations, hard work) as a minimal token of our appreciation and ask for their understanding for the shift of priorities.


About the Author

Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. I am glad the focus will shift to Lux.

    I think Lux and the internal are the future of open source rendering.

  2. Joh!! Next would be LuxRender (if it's working well)!
    And in 2 years it's Blender!!?
    Money rules the world!

  3. But do you really think all the former OpenSource renderer have a chance against MR, Renderman, Maxwell & Co??
    I don't think so bacause the big ones have the money to develope their features faster.
    They should better stay OpenSource!

  4. Wow, in almost the same week. Coincedence? Or just the recession?

    And can they really stand up to the competition? I mean, I'm sure it was a great renderer (only tried it once), but Indigo and Maxwell are pretty far ahead of the competition. Hopefully they made the right choice. :S

  5. I haven't used Kerkythea that much, but i think it is not bad to earn some money...;)
    I wish the developers all the best and all the luck they need to be successful.
    And as ling as they continue to develope Kerkythea, we all should be happy.

  6. This is GOOD news for Lux! I had good sense not to get involved into KT... But - best wished for them since they might bring more focus onto Blender from outside.

  7. Bart, please make an official announcement that Blender is GPL and will not go commercial! this is the third time someone making such assumption!

  8. Blender has a different history than these other products as well. The Blender community purchased the source of Blender and it is managed by the Blender Foundation. I'm no expert, nor do I know the legal implications for sure, but I think that means that Blender belongs to us, the community, and can't be taken commercial on the whim of one. Comments?


  9. Master Danix on

    As i said before, i only hope that the last thing that happens in this world is blender getting comercial.

  10. Blender going commercial? Right! I guess you people haven't paid attention to *anything* Ton Roosendaal and the Blender Foundation have been doing over the last 5 years. They're all about Open - Open Source AND Open Content. Stop spreading FUD, thanks :)

  11. *sighs*

    If you don't know about open source especially for blender and the story behind it, please stop thinking about it'll going to be commercial. at least stop spreading FUD.

    "Being able to make so many people happy at once is addictive" - Ton Roosendaal

  12. well it would be better if the peoples who makes money with blender will donate to the Blender Foundation some money to show them how much we appreciate their efforts to make the blender the best 3d application :D

  13. Hey! maybe Blender Foundation should run something like "specific feature funding", I mean that the most
    needed features will be voted by donations , and those really high funded will be developed first?

  14. I can't say much because I haven't used Kerkythea, but I wish them luck. Most I ever used is BI, and I'm happy with it. Although I'll look into Lux...

  15. Seems the last few weeks have been good for Luxrender.

    It already works with Blender better than the others anyway and now it looks like there's no reason to use any other external render with Blender apart from Luxrender, which is and always will be open source.

  16. Exactly why it's important to understand the difference between "free as in beer" and "free as in freedom". Programs that are free to download and run, but not to get the source and build and modify for yourself are nothing more than free trials, that could require you to pay for them at any time. Do all your work in one of them, and you're locking yourself in to paying to use your own work later. At the very least, you won't be easily able to share your work with others, or share your skills with others. Open Source and Free Software should rightly be the focus. I'm glad that LuxRender is now the clear leader in high quality renderers for blender.

  17. I think Ton Roosendaal should make an announcement base on this uneasy current events.some of us are
    in the mist of confusing what is really is open source is about. It's a place were developers wet the their
    minds. or it's a place were naive programmer are use and abuse for the purpose developing a low cost package for future commercial venture. I see no problem with the blender foundation offering commercial services to client in the use of blender.however,If blender goes commercial is within it right to do so under a different engine core which the blend community GPL dose not apply than those released were just wolf sheep cover Beta.
    so we all who are concern need to see Ton make an a official respond to these lingering questions?

  18. could luck with going commercial to the kerky team, next thing well see is bart is going comercial and asking submission fees for blender nation :P

  19. things i miss from kerkyt in blender internal are caustics and render time beveling. maybe some google summer coder can put this in.

  20. @ Agile, I think that's a great idea. I mentioned it more then half a year ago already om this site. Maybe we can start it for purchasing the source from kerky thea and let it merge with blender, so the internal renderer gets a boost.

  21. @ Agile, crumbsucker, ysvry
    I agree. I'm sure lots of members of the community would be willing to make small donations to see a certain feature implemented. The money would then used so developers could be working full-time on blender.
    But there's probably a reason the blender foundation hasn't done this yet?

    I don't think you really understand how open-source works. The GNU GPL, under which blender is licensed, does not allow anyone to use the code (under GPL) without licensing it under GPL too. That means NO company can just take the blender source code and make a derivative product without sharing the changes to the source code under GPL too.
    It is legal to SELL a product with the blender source, but only if you make the source publicly available. Which, in a sense, makes it free (as in beer)

  22. Hello.

    It seems to be a confusing about open source, and open source licenses, and blender GPL licenses.

    There is a lot of opensource licenses, and blender uses the GPL, you can read about it in here .

    The main goal of a GPL license is protect programers, and protect their code from others that want to close it. Code that is release under GPL will always be GPL, and further improvements will be GPL.

    I think the owner of the program license can close further developings, but cant close current GPL releses. A example is Qt , that have dual license, Qt can choose to develop only for one license but cant stop other people to keep working on GPL releses, or even fork it.

    In the case of blender i think is almost impossible to make a closed license, because the code now is owned by many people, because many people have developed to blender including in soc.

  23. I am a big supporter of open source but I do not see anything wrong with going commercial, really these people put massive amounts of efforts into this stuff. How many of us ever donated or helped Kerkthea or similar applications seriously? A good opensource supporter should at least donate from 50-500$ a year. If you do not slowly these applications will diminish. I know Kerkythea is not Gpl or similar licence but in any any freeware should be supported by the users in every possible way.

  24. This is a great (bad) experience for the community to learn something.
    Yafray and Yaf(a)ray ARE good renderers, but most of the people didn´t try to study how it works.
    Then another ''one click'' everything renderer appears and lots of people start to get inside the bandwagon desperately, most because it´s a novelty, others because want the ''one click'' my-bad-modeling-looks-awesome feature.
    Sincerely I never use anything above 0.0.9 after I discovered that the Blender Integration was not ready, But I am totally in favor of Yaf(A)Ray.
    Software developed communitarily is completely different than a software developed by a group of persons.
    Whats the difference ?
    First, the codes are wide open, with explanation, register in FSF, and the maintainer (not the owner) of the project act as a teacher working with (inteligent) students, in a democratic way so other could lead some parts or then an entire project for sometines, until something better start to happen. ( Something good always happen )

    The error:
    Why they didn´t sell techincal manuals ?
    Why they didn´t sell tips and trick for Kerkythea and Indiglow ?

    My kind of support to the opensource, started with buying manuals, but for now, I spend WORK to help.
    But the difference, I AM HAPPY TO HELP, you don´t know how many mails I am receiving about the translation
    work I am doing for PT-BR in, between thanks and help.

    I ask for people who was using those renderers as their initial tool, to look now for what we reaaally have for us, what are the community projects that really work well, and give money buying books or something that help them to maintain the project.

  25. Well... Before, I would often use Indigo as my unbiased renderer of choice, but I really hadn't looked at my options.

    Now, having tried Lux (and still have not tried Kerkethea), I must say that Lux is far ahead of Indigo as far as usability.

    I have also been impressed with Yaf(a)ray (still wanting to know what the (a) means) though it's interface isn't quite as developed... Yet.

    The trouble with these projects going commercial, however, is that they will now be FORCED to have better support for Maya, Max, Houdini, etc., and that will cause lack of Blender support as the focus shifts from hobbyists to professionals.

  26. well what a surprise - but I think it makes sense.
    Kerythea is a very complete engine for light, material, and render algorithm.

    I did not use Indigo since a long time, so I currently do not know how it compares in terms of speed to Lux. But I agree that Lux interface and exporter is superior.
    They caught up nicely.

    Yafaray is also dirt easy to use, fast when you are smart with settings, and the manual online is a dream to read. Very informative, compact and well written.

  27. I don't understand why people here are comparing Kerkythea with Lux & Indigo.

    Kerkythea is both biased and unbiased. Indigo and Lux are not, they are slow, noisy and of minimal all round suitability.

    Until Lux offers darn good biased render options, render passes, material ID's etc etc like VRay for example then it's also of minimal interest also.

    Currently Lux is no where near as powerful as Kerkythea.

    But personally I think both Indigo and Kerkythea / Thea will die a death.

  28. Lucas da Costa Dantas on

    Not so sure about it being comercial or pirated .
    too much people at the world to be global for the virtual and reality that
    on the try to take all of it cause chaos desorganization organizated for economy
    to but whatever it is on push you for on selling status with smile but what about the art?
    Its all getting down for everyones playes for being expencive for the marketing to forget its
    all about money .
    A war is on its way to clean it ,cause theres not much information to follow expectations
    and less resources for doing something but anything to the money .
    So little things to big ones is what you know what to do but too much trapped for nothing
    less than raised to everything about privatization of public life .
    Virtually trapped to the community forums and more less socialization for the empty talk
    to charge it real as the basis as you breath ,anotherones international intruders for competition to take the air and paying someoneelse as the kings the poor for wash cars
    and acknowledge about technology to else poor on society status to walk around as
    propaganda puppets for the products taking space of your freedom everyone worried to
    supply all of this scared about a destructive fight and keeping working for inventions
    and television follows that destroys all for the energy and less information to the times
    imput to ends on you ,anotherones to take place .
    Its time for another war .

    So far ,a inpirational truth for a open movie .

  29. This is great news! :)
    It's not that bad, kerkythea will still be free, but developed at a slower pace. The big stuff will go first into Thea, and the money it makes will help supporting KT's site, which was mainly maintained by Giannis (KT's author) and a group of really generous souls.
    I think it's a good move on the right time. And, they're not forgetting about their community. I just hope the price range of the commercial product is not too steep. ;)

    Alvaro F. celis

  30. You can't compare LUX to Thea!
    Lux is not really a perfect renderer! The results are good but the rendertimes are so bad!
    For 1 plane and 1 cube I break it up in Blender after 3 hours (!!!) and it was very grainy! Shxxxxt!!!

    To all of you who think there is no possibility for Blender to go commercial:
    What will be if the corestaff decides to develope a commercial version of Blender and stop the work on OpenSource Blender??
    We all would be fxxxxkt! You know what I mean?!!
    Too many people do much things for money!!

  31. @Snail:
    1. A great deal of the developers would stop working on Commercial Blender as many of the devs are just hobbiests.
    2. Those on the development team who do not like it will leave forking off blender, and continue developing it.

    Development might be slower for a while, but then Commercial Blender would die, and work would go into free blender as it has before.

    End of the story. Please stop spreading FUD.

    I'm not saying that we wouldn't notice the loss of great figures like Tom who has done *amazing* work for blender during the last 5 years, but we will manage.

  32. Rest In Peace, "Kerky... what?". It was really bad idea to be commercial - there are many powerfull commercial renders, and there are no place for yet another newbie render. It's clear - kerkyDevelopers simply wants money. And I'm not sure they'll get it.

  33. a bit sad, but atleast there will be still a free version. Open source rendering engines can stand against commercial ones because they are free and provide very impressive results and by the way, why pay for overpriced things like Maxwell and render man when you simply don't have technology to get everything out of them?

    Anyway I wish them luck,

  34. @snail

    It might be slow for simple scenes, yes, but it's just *as* slow for very very complex scenes. Lux scales very well. Also, blender, thanks to the GPL, can never stop being free. Somebody might charge for blender on cds, perhaps (pointless), but the downloads will always be free. Read the GPL. Kerkythea was never licensed under the GPL, nor was indigo. They were never "free" (as in speech) in the first place. You were downloading essentially free trials. Lesson to users: read the license before you start using a program.

  35. As sai before, contrary to Blender, Luxrender or Yafray (Yaf(a)ray), Indigo and Kerkythea were never Open Source, but only freeware, and I'm not surprised by them being commercial, well, for Indigo I didn't expect it so soon, but Kerkythea is for me e very good and professional renderer wich could be commercial years before IMO.

    I wish them good luck even if it's a shame, I had prefered them to become Open Source.

  36. @MichaelCrawford: Sorry Michael, but Lux scales very bad!!
    I have an 8core Xeon system and it takes for very simple scenes - 1 sphere + 1 plane - many hours!
    And after many hours it's still grainy!! So what would be if I have 2 or 4 core system????

  37. Yes, another render going for the big bucks (well hopefully for them) but keeping an non developed version free is absolutely useless as, well its not gonna developed any further. But I'm glad they won't offer a limited free version so people will concentrate on other renderer as a group. Maybe this will spur the development of the open source render engines.

    To be honest I doubt if there is much room for these render engines going commercial as it almost seem the price gap between the industry standard render engines and these 'new' players is maybe to small. They don't seem to aim the products at the low end market?

    Anyway, we'll see how it goes and good luck to the developers. At least they didn't wait till all blenderheads moved to their render engine first :)

  38. Kerkythea is much like yafray (now yafaray), i think it's a good thing kerkythea is going commercial for we have less choice and finally settle down on one, now we can go for lux for unbiased renderer and BI or yafaray for the rest, so i reckon it's a good thing

  39. Kekrythea isn't going commercial. It will remain free.
    Thea is new renderer made by the same author. Thea is far more advanced than Kerkythea. And both are biased + unbiased. There is no other renderer with such feature. You can render animation really fast, much, much faster than yafray, not to mention about unbiased renderers. But you can also use unbiased engine to make really good looking stills, if you have time to render.
    Maybe when lux will have really good biased engine it can be compared with Kerkythea. But not so fast.
    There is no other free renderer who can render good quality 720p frames within minutes on single quad for really big scenes (milions of polys).

  40. grzybu, are you that "same author"? Why do you want to give us FUD? Leave it for yourself and keep silence, if you can not say anything useful.
    I am LuxRender user and I will never give freedom of software for speed increasing. And I know 2 things:
    1) Lux can do network render, it increases speed.
    2) Lux is and will remain under development forever, which means that it will be more faster and will have more features during time.

  41. GPL doesn't require you distribute code. It only requires if you distribute the executable. There's nothing illegal with someone re-working Blender to their preference & never releasing it.

    Nothing wrong with a renderer going commercial either. People need to eat. For a bunch of people who supposedly love using Blender you'd think you'd be happy someone would love it enough to quit what they're doing & dedicate part of their life to making something for it.

  42. No, I'm not "same author".
    I just said that there is no other such fast free renderer as Kerkythea.
    Me myself, and we as small studio are making some money using Kerkytha and and hope to make even more money with Thea when it will be released.
    I would like to use free software for rendering in future, but there is no real alternative for now. If render speed is critical then you just don't have time to use unbiased renders for animation.
    To be honest we didn't found any commercial alternative to Kerkythea (vray is close, really close) since we have very limited found to spend.
    I prefer to spend few hundred euro for software than spend many thousands for additional hardware which allow me to render faster using free software.
    I love blender and I really hope luxrender some day will be real alternative for Thea. It, for sure, can be such alternative if you are doing stills or have really huge render farm. But we are doing HD animations and we don't have huge render farm.
    That's my point.
    I use blender since about 2002 and linux even longer. I really like free software, but I'm not fanatic. I even have windows on my netbook ;)

  43. The Happy Friar
    >Nothing wrong with a renderer going commercial either. People need to eat.
    What about to become drug dealer? ;)
    Anyway, you're right, because Kerky authors can do whatever they want, but I'm thinking that they easily can sink among professional production renderers like RenderMan and others.

    Ok, your point is clear. But the deal is that you name Kerkythea free. It never was free, just freeware.
    authors' bad is that they will not develop or maintain freeware version. It makes Kerky useless... For example, Yaf(a)ray is more likely for personal use.
    Also I'm not fanatic too, but I have windows only under VM and only for business reasons. If there never was Windows, I would be so happy ;) It's really bad OS for me.

  44. Pirate hunter on

    Bold words Free Pirate, mind to give us a show how you have contributed to the blender community. FYI, if you have some problems of understanding; The creator of Kerkythea have stated that he will continua developing it and it is available as free as it always has been - I really don't see a problem with that. There simply is no other freeware renderer that can do same as Kerkythea. From opensource field, Lux do promise a lot - but does it deliver before authors/users will get bored and find something new to play with.

  45. Lol, man, I'm not going to feed the troll.
    Read attentievly, second sentence:
    "Unlike Indigo a free version will stil be available, although it will not be as actively developed anymore."
    So, as theirs spokes in my country: "Don't fart in a puddle". And read above, not only last post.

  46. Pirate hunter on

    Giannis or anyone from Kerkythea or Thea developement has never said "Unlike Indigo a free version will stil be available, although it will not be as actively developed anymore." nor "Kerkythea Renderer going commercial" all that crap is pure imagination from other part - personally that almost sounds like that someone wants intentionally twist the truth.

    Giannis wrote: "And what about Kerkythea itself? We certainly won't abandon Kerkythea, our "render buddy". Most probably though, the shift in priorities will have an impact for the next updates, delaying them further. On the other hand, some related Kerkythea issues will be improved, particularly the integration with modelers (since exporters can be reused). And of course, there will be some long-promised features, that now make their appearance in Thea Render, but will also become available in a next Kerkythea edition."

    Naturally there is some affect to Kerkythea developement, but the little I know of this, the developement is far from stopped.

    btw... do you happen to know how many unbiased renderer can resolve Sun pool caustics?

  47. It's logical that developer will actively work on the commercial version and less time will remain on free.
    Time will tell, who was right.
    By the way, although I'm not a fanatic, I like to use free software, not freeware. And, truly I've never need to worry about Sun pool caustics, as thousands of modelers all over the world. So, I guess you've been discovered uncommon feature in Kerky, which haven't implemented in unbiased renderers, and want to twist the truth and put Kerky in a favorable light. But it is software market, which tells that Kerky is not number one renderer in both freeware or commercial categories. Facts tells much more better than mine or your words.

  48. Pirate hunter on

    "But it is software market, which tells that Kerky is not number one renderer in both freeware or commercial categories. Facts tells much more better than mine or your words."
    Honestly don't understand your point, no one has caimed or even tried to hint that Kerkythea in number one in popularity. It would be interesting to see that market study you are referring - mind to share the facts? Besides Kerkythea is not in commercial category and Thea is not at the market yet. Looking at Kerkythe website, statistics at the download section do tell that latest version have got 280759 downloads (Win+mac+linux). That does give a rough estimate of the popularity, perhaps you dig some download statistics of latest version of some other freeware/free renderes. I can understand your point of free software - but honestly that hardly makes a freeware software useless. Have you personally done anything with available Lux sourse ;)

  49. Your talks are demagogics. It's not interesting for me. If you'll feel relief, you can think that you've won.
    But I'm truly thinking that you are outsider, who like to have useless talks. There are nothing to debate. Kerky going commercial. I think there are many pure commercial renders and you and Kerky with Kerky developers may come together to f**ck yourself, I really don't care. Is it clear, or you want to thresh over old straw? Go on, but I have much more interest things to do (if you interested in my contributions etc. so much, I'll tell you a word in one's ear - I am a translator. And writer. I write and translate technical literature and documentation. Anyway, forget me. Think about your life and do things, which are more interest than to gab)

  50. It was obvious from the start that both Kerkythea and Indigo had commercial aspirations. They both had .com websites and neither ever released any source code.

    But this will simply mean that the focus will shift towards LuxRender and hopefully more developers will move towards it so it can developed faster.

    LuxRender is already produces vastly superior results compared to Thea and Indigo, albeit at a slower pace. Once LuxRender 0.8 with GPU support comes out both of them will fall by the wayside.

  51. Geez .. stop bitchin' (you know who I am referring to !)
    If Kerkythea works for you ... FINE !If Kerkythea does not work for you ... THEN MOVE ON AND FIND ANOTHER SOLUTION !If the above not applicable then consider writing your own renderer.
    If too difficult, then consider how fortunate we were/are for the existence of the freeware Kerkythea supplied by it's authors.

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