Fast Rendering in Blender

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  01 January 2018
Fast Rendering in Blender

For some of you that have Blender, what do you guys do to make your films render faster?
  01 January 2018
Blender's Cycles renderer can use CPU or GPU acceleration, so the quickest way to a faster render is more CPU cores or more GPU cores in a machine.

You can also use the new, FREE AMD Radeon ProRender inside Blender. Uses both CPU and GPU together, but like Cycles it is a full path-tracer, and thus not hugely fast for animation rendering.

A lot depends on the quality settings you set when rendering - very high quality settings means very long rendertimes. Read this CYCLES RENDER SETTINGS manual:

Blender also now has a realtime 3D engine called Eevee. That gives you roughly PC game quality 3D rendering, but it is extremely fast:

If you set up materials and lighting really well in Eevee, it may help you get pretty good renders - but they are going to look like good PC/Playstation/XBox graphics, not Avatar or How To Train Your Dragon for example.

There is a 4th option, and that is using Pixar Renderman for Blender:

That would probably give you nice visual quality and fast renders as well - probably much faster than Cycles and ProRender, but slower than the realtime Eevee.

I hope that helps you!
  01 January 2018
Best tip I have is one I learned very recently. Go to the Scene tab, check the "simplify" box, set AO bounces render to 2. I don't entirely understand how it works, but I think after 2 light bounces it treats surfaces as a bump map. In any case, it works and I haven't noticed a situation where I perceived any significant difference in quality so far, but it cuts render time at least in half, and it's even faster on more complex scenes.

Others in no particular order:

- If you have a dedicated GPU then use that, using the GPU is generally significantly faster than CPU. Also I tend to find the best tile size for CPU rendering is abotu16, the best for GPU around 256 or thereabouts.

- Drop light bounces.

- Decrease samples, use the denoiser to deal with additional noise and the clamp indirect to deal with fireflies (set it to 11 and work your way down until you get a satisfactory result, not too low though otherwise you clip your highlights).

- Bigger light sources = less noise = fewer samples needed.

- If you're using displacement maps then set the feature set to experimental and check the "adaptive" box, this means you only end up rendering polygons that are in your scene and it drops the LOD for displacements further away from the camera.

- Turn off caustics.

- Get rid of geometry you can't see, etc, like objects that are outside of view or if you can boolean together intersecting objects to get rid of hidden geometry. Blender also isn't a big fan of having too many separate objects in a scene generally.

- Do things like be clever with the curves tool in post to "flatten" contrast in noisy areas, or just mask nasty bits out in AE or Nuke.

- Set Seed to 1 so the noise in the animation reseeds every frame giving more of an organic noise pattern instead of a static pattern, which is normally very obvious. You can also throw on a film grain simulation filter later to make the noise lessugly.

Look forward to hearing any other tips people might have.
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