Blender is an open-source 3D modeling and animation software often used by animation artists, product designers, and game creators. Not only allow users to create 2D objects or characters and animate them to obtain 3D models, but Blender also has a strong community of artists and computer scientists behind it, constantly improving the code to deliver powerful software without the hefty price tag.
Beyond its popularity, Blender still has one major drawback for users: It can take a really long time to render projects when finalizing an intensive project.
Blender is able to use your computer’s central processing unit (CPU) or graphics card (GPU)—or both—for rendering. To eliminate render wait times, you might consider investing in multi-core processors and GPUs with a high CUDA core count.
Following the Blender 3.0 Alpha Release couple of weeks ago, we decided to update previous tips and tested Cycles X for you. As you can also check from the official announcement of Blender Foundation, Cycles X provides a much faster rendering experience than the current Cycles rendering engine. However, don’t forget it’s still in the experimental Alpha release.
Before you go out and buy expensive upgrades to your existing hardware, here are a few suggestions to help you minimize your rendering times.
Tip #1: Reduce Samples
While using as many samples as possible allows Blender to create clearer images and models, each new sample means another second to work on rendering it.
By limiting the number of samples, you can greatly reduce your rendering time.
Keep in mind that obtaining fewer samples will affect the quality of the final product, so it’s best to use this method for web-only projects instead of those that require viewing on larger screens.
Tip #2: Optimize the Tile Size
Tiles are small black boxes that appear on the screen when the blender rending the scene.
Tile size is an important factor to minimize your rendering times.
When you increase the number of tiles, the tile size will become small and it can focus on a smaller portion of your scene. And all cores work on the render until it’s finished without one core finishing before another. So, by optimizing the tile size your rendering time will minimize.
Blender was always capable of increasing the number of tiles, but recently with the code update, you could also change the tile sizes. GPU can only render one tile at a time, while CPU renders multiple tiles at a time, so for optimizing tile size it needs CPU.
Tip #3: Disable Shadows
Shadows and other visual effects require more processing time when it comes to rendering. If your project has too much effects and shadows in it, the rendering time of your project will takes longer than expected.
If the shadows you used in your project are not too fundamental for your work, you can disable them to improve your projects rendering duration.
Tip #4: Decrease the Number of Light Bounces
Light bounce rate is at the maximum level as default for better image quality. However, it doesn’t need to be at this level always. If you have the flexibility to decrease Light Bounces, it will make difference for your project rendering times.
Infinite light bounces mean infinite light reflections in your project, but you can manually decrease this value from your Blender render settings to reduce your rendering times.
Tip #5: Adjust Clamp Values
Indirect and Direct Clamp values are some other settings you can balance between your render output quality and render duration. While both Clamp values reduce the noise over light bounced samples to increase the accuracy of the image, direct clamp affects the pixels which are not bounced yet, and indirect clamp affects the pixels which are bounced multiple times.
Tip #6: Enable Adaptive Sampling
It’s not as new and popular as Cycles X, but last year Blender released Adaptive Sampling in Blender 2.83 to reduce rendering times by reducing sample sizes for complex scenes. By using Adaptive Sampling you can easily distribute the processing power efficiently.
Just go to the Samples tab in Blender, and check the Adaptive Sampling checkbox.
Tip #7: Activate Denoising
Denoising is another alternative way to reduce your rendering times. If you have an OptiX compatible GPUs, you can activate Denoising to increase your image quality by decreasing the number of noises in your rendering output. OptiX engine uses AI to remove noises in your image.
You can check the Denoising parameters from the official Blender guide. To activate denoising go to the Denoising tab in Blender, and adjust your settings according to your output preferences.
Tip #8: Switch to GPU Rendering
The GPU, which was designed primarily for fast image creation, uses a graphics card for rendering. CPU and GPUs are basically similar in how they are handled.
However, the GPU is much more powerful and, unlike CPU technology they can process the instructions of many cores from start to finish at the same time. This will allow your render times to be 10 times faster.
The use of CPU and GPU Rendering depends on usage necessities. The architectural industry may benefit from CPU rendering, which takes longer, but generates higher quality images in general.
Moreover, industries that are specifically designed to manage complicated, graphics-intensive processing, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence innovation such as architecture, animation, film, and product design may benefit more from GPU rendering.
You can switch your Blender Render Settings with going into the Preferences > System > Cycles Render Devices from CPU to GPU. To utilize your computer’s GPU, you will need CUDA cores, which are an investment on their own… which brings us to our last tip:
Tip #9: Use Vagon to Reduce Rendering Times at Blender
Vagon provides you a personal cloud computer with powerful hardware. That means you can run intensive software like Blender even from a laptop so long as you have a stable internet connection.
Vagon’s cloud-based computers come with up to 4 x 16GB CUDA and OptiX activated Nvidia GPUs and 192GB of RAM, allowing you to turbo-charge your rendering process so you can save both time and energy.
If you haven’t tested Vagon yet, try vagon today to render your Blender projects x30 faster than your old computer.
After the release of Cycles X we tested it by rendering the sample Barbershop project in Vagon with using Galaxy performance option. It just took 4 minutes and 45 seconds to render the complete project. Previously when we tested Blender 2.91 with Galaxy performance, it was completed in 12 minutes, which is still fast as a studio-level workstation. But it seems that Cycles X will make a huge impact in rendering times.