Renderman vs. Vray vs. Arnold.


Hi, I am new to rendering software.

I’m thinking about learning either Renderman or Vray. Is there any clear differences between these software? I’m looking to do 3D animations and still images.

I guess if you could share your perspective on what your preferred rendering software is and why, that would be great :smiley:


I dont think you will get many answers here cause " vs threads " are not welcome.
But, you can look at something like this, it should get you started :



If you are an individual without programming background, forget about renderman. Also it’s almost dead, that’s why they give it for free afaik.
The difference is huge. Renderman was built in times of no raytracing, and its days are over.
Vray is a polished tool with all you may need. It doesn’t have the upper quality of Maxwell, but it’s quite a good tool. Corona is another good renderer, especially if you are just starting, and quality is a bit higher than Vray.
For everyday needs - Vray or Corona (I’d prefer Vray though as it’s faster). For quality stills - Corona or Maxwell (easy to learn). I never tried Arnold, but I think it’s an interesting renderer.


I don’t think Renderman is dead at all… It’s just existing in a more competitive space now.


ohh, you missed some years on renderman development. since some years renderman is strong in raytracing and since renderman 19 they got a new default pathtracing engine (RIS) in it. now renderman 20 is new and got some more improvements in RIS.
you can still switch to REYES as engine but the default is now RIS. RIS shaders are now build as C++ code, which means you still need a proper TD to build new once. but they have everything you need in the package.
everything in RIS is build for PBR (lights and shaders).


Really it depends on what your doing and more importantly the software framework your using to talk to the standalone render engine.

  1. At your level the only difference is the amount of tutorials you can find on the internet. With vray you have tons of tutorials, for renderman not so much.
  2. At higher level there is nothing that can beat renderman’s flexibility, nothing!
  3. Pricewise Renderman is half the vray price now.
  4. It’s much easier to find artists that know vray properly than artists that know prman properly so there are bigger chances that you know/meet someone which uses vray in production.
  5. Stability wise, renderman rocks, everything is supported and you can go as deep as you want with it, with vray you’re pretty much limited to the amount of shaders shipped with vray.
  6. Since Prman is on the front end of shading development and everybody is following them you might get a better tech inside Renderman than with Vray.
  7. Speedwise, if you’re not raytracing it’s blazing fast in REYES mode.
  8. VRay is easier to use but it’s not as flexible as renderman.
  9. Renderman can handle a ton of geometry with no hiccups.

So I would say to give Renderman a try, especially since it’s free for non commercial purposes. You might find it intimidating at the beginning but it’s a very good investment.


I’ve had a bit of a go at Renderman and Vray. I was able to try out Renderman since it’s free for non-commercial use (big plus) and I use Vray at work.

Overall I’d say I prefer Vray, maybe that’s because I’ve been using it more, so I could be pretty biased in my opinion. I wish they offered a free non-commercial version of Vray so I could use it for my own personal projects at home, though. Other than that, I think Vray ticks all the boxes I could ask for (much more than mentalray), so I don’t really need to look at a different render engine anymore. That said I am curious about Maxwell, I’ve heard it a few times recently in CG circles. It would have to be godly to get me to move from Vray though.


I’ve used Arnold, V-Ray and Renderman RIS in production and they are all excellent renderers.

In my opinion, Arnold is the easiest to set up and use of the three. You can basically just plug a good quality HDR into a dome light and immediately get nice results in interactive mode. Crank up the samples for the final output. Definitely very nice for a beginner to play around with.

When people say that renderman/prman is more flexible, I actually think it is more the case that renderman has been around for so long that plenty of tools and shading techniques have grown and developed out of it. People who have experience using renderman for years can do some awesome tricks and workflows that currently aren’t possible with other renderers out the box.


Maybe I was a bit harsh, but I want the OP to understand, that choosing the first renderer is important. It might pull you back in studying rendering and lighting\materials setup for several years, as some renderers require much more experience and understanding than others. So yes, though as people say Vray lacks some shader flexibility, you must be a really advanced user to need anything beyond what it has. Also you can download shaders on the net if needed. Flexibility might be important if you render thousands of frames per month for a production with lots of effects. Are you in this situation? Most probably not yet. So choose a renderer, which gives you the knowledge of lighting and materials, without unnecessary diving into technical side. It might be totally redundant for you personally at all. Bear in mind. that some people here are serious professionals, working in top studios with a dedicated programming background, so what’s good for them might be totally impossible for you from a technical point. Later you might come back to more advanced solutions, but by that time who knows, maybe we will use realtime game engines for rendering.


This is possibly the best and most succinct answer to both those categories of people that think it’s dead, as well as those who claim it’s more powerful of flexible than competitors, neither of which holds true.

Test drive them all, pick what you like best. Demo or free for individual use versions are available anyway.
Renderman and 3Delight are both completely free for individuals anyway, so I can’t see why someone who has more time at hand to learn than time to spend selling the skills they haven’t matured yet wouldn’t give at least one of the two a shot.


Just as a note if you watched the video above, RIS now renders volume fluids
Btw, you can use renderman straight out of the box without programming skills.


i would just learn to be the best artist you can be.
Just pick whatever is most widely used in the industry that way getting a job
will be easier in the future.

any other advice about picking a renderer is just for bigwig studios.

They all spit out your pictures for you :wink:


I’m probably the one with the least amount of experience working with multiple renderers here, used mental ray for years because it came with Maya and then switched to Vray and never looked back. For me rendering all sorts of objects in my free time and how easy it is there hasn’t been a reason to try anything else, it got crazy fast with each release and in the last version it has a slider for setting up all the quality levels for whatever type of object u are rendering. Just to give an example it’s as easy as adding a light, applying a shader turning on GI and hitting render, of course it can get very complex as u get more advanced with it.


For a mix of still image / 3d anim , i would tend to give the edge to v-ray.
Basically Ris and Arnold are very similar in their approach. the strength is that their way of doing thing will avoid flickering , and this is great for 3d animation. but to achieve that they choose a brute force approach and this doens’t give you many flexibility. Using reyes and ris could be a potential way of gaining some flexibility but having to redo all your shading twice is not a clever approach imo and that’s the main cons of Renderman they have ditch 20 years of dev from the equation by creating 2 separate world. Vray on the other hand have a lot of way to use tricks and cheats. Those technics tends to create flicking but for still image they are ace. And if you need to render 3d anim you can switch to a brute force approach. You can use the same shaders with any methods. one other argument for v-Ray is that the community is huge. And price wise a render threads will cost you 1000e for arnold 500e for renderman and 250e for vray.

I am not a fan of vray myself , i find it a little indigest and messy but i really think it’s an extremely well done allroad engine for what you want to do : stills + anim




I am assuming you are working from home or a student. Everyone has their favorite renderer (Maxwell and Mantra for me), but all the ones mentioned are CPU renderer’s that are designed to utilize renderfarms. If you are learning lighting and rendering, look at a GPU renderer like Octane. This will let you render really fast and make changes to see what each of the variables and lighting setups do without waiting a long time to see any results.

If you aren’t rendering volumes or really large geometry, use Octane, other wise check out a CPU renderer.


We should build a club of zealote together Cody ! :slight_smile:


Umm Vray also has GPU rendering with RT and also has a fast Progressive image sampler that gives you a fast preview except it isn’t interactive as RT.


I didn’t know that Vray added a GPU renderer, when did they add that?


About 4 years ago…