Render Times

Does anyone have any tips for increasing rendering times with Skatter? I love the plugin, but my rendering times have nearly quadrupled. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

What render engine are you using?


Vray has very long parsing time.
It takes a long time between clicking the Render button, and having the render actually start. They are working on Vray 3.0 which should be better on that regard. But I can’t do anything about it on my side.

Is there some kind of workaround that will increase render times? In the past, I’ve used the fur plugin and the render times were much faster. I love the options that skatter provides, but waiting 4 hours for an 1800 px image is painful.


Whoops! Certainly not looking to increase render times!

Render time is up to the render engine itself, it’s not related to Skatter.

Can you parse out that time? IE, how long is the light calc phase, how long is the actual render phase, and how long does it take to process components (the first part). If most of your time is in the light calc and render phase, its your settings (and how powerful your computer is). If it takes 3.5 hrs to process components, and then 30 minutes to render, then we can narrow the issue down

The render phase takes the longest by far. I would say it’s 75% of the total render time. It doesn’t take long for the frame buffer to start and once it does, the light calcs go pretty quickly.

Ok, that helps. So that basically means it either your light settings, render settings or material settings that is causing the great increase in render time (or all 3!). As a general rule, I try not to use bumps, normals, reflections, or anything else “fancy” when I have large volumes of grasses, leaves, etc. Maybe you can post screenshots of your settings and materials and we can see what your working with?

Are you talking about the materials on just the grass, leaves, etc? How does that effect the look of anything close to the camera? In an ideal world, I wouldn’t have to sacrifice quality to get a faster time. That’s probably just wishful thinking on my part though. I’m just curious if anyone has also seen an increase in their times since using the plugin.

In an ideal world, I wouldn’t have to sacrifice quality to get a faster time.

Not sure how to respond to that. That is how everything operates in the world. Time, cost, and quality are the 3 factors we have to deal with everyday, and how they play off each other and how each are balanced is the name of the game. In our world of viz and architecture, there is no sparing the perfectionists and idealist.

Rant aside, I bet if you ran a render right now with simplified materials, it would come out much faster. But again, not sure what your settings are like.

If you want to get fancy, you could use the camera limiter and 2 separate skatter forests. For example, your foreground skatter group could have HQ materials, but use the camera distance clipping function to limit it to the first third of your z depth. Then make a background skatter group that has lower poly meshes and lower quality materials. Make sure you feather the overlap, and there you go: lots of trees/grasses with HQ versions close to the camera and low quality further away.

Thanks for the help!

I was having the same issue. It’s a material issue within proxies likely. I deleted all the skatter from the file and a few other proxies and then copies everything into a new sketchup file. you’ll lose the camera views, but my rendering time was like 10 min VS 4hours. Hope that help a little.

Is there a method to use “limit camera” per scene? I see we can link it to a scene camera but what if you change scene, do we need to adjust all skater groups to the new scene than?

If so isn’t it a idea, if possible, to add this option in a main menu instead of a per group method as it is at the moment?

I’ve had some success setting it to “current view”, however, the caveat is that with each scene change, the skatter forest has to regen.

What might be an elegant solution is to somehow link the skatters visibility to scene states, ie view01 could have forest 1 on and forest 2 off, view02 has forest 1 off, and forest 2 on, etc. This way the skatter forests would be scene dependent, and you could alter settings (camera exclusion, density, distance clipping, etc) per forest/scene

As delineator said, you can use “current view”, and update all setups at once in the render list.

I could have the setups regenerated each time you switch between scene, but that could potentially make it all very slow…

Okay I’ll check if current view really works like you say. Thanks

I like the scene dependency suggested by delineator… would be natural to grasp as it is very much inline with the “SketchUp Way”.