Discovering the 3D Rendering Software

26 august 2023 year
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Rendering is the final stage of the 3D image production process. It allows you to obtain a finished image of a three-dimensional model in a "flat" version. It involves all the calculations necessary to transform three-dimensional models, which can only be viewed in specialized software, into images that we can all enjoy in theaters, on our computers, and on mobile devices.

There are various programs for 3D rendering. They differ in functionality and capabilities.

Rendering is a resource-intensive process for your PC, and its speed depends on the computer's power. Rendering programs use the computational power of the processor or graphics card (CPU or GPU). Some only support GPU, some only CPU, and some can utilize both. Therefore, when choosing a rendering program, it's important to consider which component of your PC has higher performance and to choose a program that supports rendering in the desired way.

We offer you a list of programs and plugins for 3D rendering, along with descriptions of their main functions and advantages.

Name

Using

OS

Type

Artlantis

CPU

Windows, macOS

Standalone Software

Keyshot

GPU

Windows, macOS

Standalone Software

Corona

CPU

Windows

Plugin for 3ds Max, Cinema 4D

Lumion

GPU

Windows

Plugin for SketchUp, Autodesk Revit, ArchiCAD, Bentley, Allplan, Vectorworks, Rhinoceros, 3ds Max

Solidworks Visualize

GPU/CPU

Windows

Standalone Software

V-Ray

GPU/CPU

Windows, macOS

Plugin for 3ds Max, Blender, Cinema 4D, Maya, Modo, Nuke, Revit, Rhinoceros, SketchUp, Unreal

3Delight

CPU

Windows, macOS, Linux

Plugin for 3ds Max, Katana, Maya

Arion

CPU/GPU

Windows

Plugin for 3ds Max, Rhinoceros

Arnold

CPU

Windows, macOS, Linux

Plugin for Maya, Houdini, Cinema 4D, 3ds Max, Katana and Softimage

Clarisse

CPU/GPU

Windows, macOS, Linux

Standalone Software

Enscape

GPU

Windows

Plugin for Revit, SketchUp, Rhino, ArchiCAD

FelixRender

N/A

Windows

Plugin for 3ds Max, AutoCAD, Rhinoceros

FluidRay

GPU

Windows, macOS

Standalone Software / Plugin for SketchUp, Modo, Shade 3D, Rhino

FurryBall

GPU

Windows

Standalone Software / Plugin for Maya, Cinema 4D, 3ds Max

Guerilla Render

CPU

Windows, Linux

Plugin for Maya

Indigo Render

GPU

Windows, macOS, Linux

Plugin for 3ds Max, Blender, Cinema 4D, iClone, Maya, Revit, SketchUp

Iray

GPU

Windows, macOS

Plugin for 3ds Max, Cinema 4D, Maya, Rhinoceros

LuxRender

GPU

Windows, macOS, Linux

Plugin for 3ds Max, Blender, Carrara, Cinema 4D, DAZ Studio, Maya, Poser, SketchUp, XSI

Marmoset Toolbag

GPU

Windows, macOS

Standalone Software

Maxwell Render

CPU/GPU

Windows, macOS, Linux

Plugin for 3ds Max, ArchiCAD, Cinema 4D, formZ, Maya, Modo, Revit, Rhinoceros, SketchUp, SolidWorks

Mental Ray

CPU/GPU

Windows, macOS, Linux

Plugin for 3ds Max, Maya

Octane Render

CPU/GPU

Windows, macOS, Linux

Plugin for 3ds Max, ArchiCAD, AutoCAD, Blender, Carrara, Cinema 4D, DAZ Studio, Houdini, Inventor, Lightwave, Maya, Modo, Nuke, Poser, Revit, Rhinoceros, SketchUp, Softimage

Redshift

GPU

Windows, macOS, Linux

Plugin for 3ds Max, Cinema 4D, Houdini, Maya, Softimage

RenderMan

CPU

Windows, macOS, Linux

Plugin for Blender, Houdini, Katana, Maya

D5 Render

GPU

Windows

Plugin for SketchUp, 3ds Max, Rhino, Revit, Archicad, Cinema 4D, Blender

Thea Render

GPU

Windows, macOS, Linux

Plugin for SketchUp, Cinema 4D, Rhino, Fusion, Blender, form Z, Fusion 360

Artlantis

Artlantis is 3D rendering software designed with the needs of architects and designers in mind. It offers a wide range of presets, such as interior/exterior lighting, for quick adjustments. Materials within Artlantis are based on physical characteristics to achieve photorealistic results. Among its advanced shaders are luminescent materials that expand the possibilities of illuminated scenes.

The built-in visualization manager in this 3D rendering software allows for even distribution of computational load among local computers, minimizing overall rendering time. Artlantis is available in a version for high-resolution still images and another version capable of creating high-resolution 3D renderings, iVisit360 panoramas, VR objects, and sequences.

Due to its multitude of output formats, Artlantis is an excellent 3D rendering software for architects aiming to impress their clients.

Artlantis

Image: Alberto Mech

Corona Render

Corona is an (un)biased, (un)configurable, photorealistic 3D renderer that has gained popularity due to its user-friendly approach. Following the motto "less is more," Corona offers a simplified user interface to reduce setup time. While this solution is based on CPU calculations, the interactive rendering capability of this software can significantly accelerate workflow processes.

This 3D rendering software is highly flexible in terms of rendering realism. Phenomena that require extensive computational power, such as caustics (like light patterns at the bottom of a pool or intricate reflections cast by a glass), can be selectively disabled. Moreover, materials can be crafted to match artistic vision rather than physical reality. Thus, a material can appear blue when viewed directly but exhibit a different color upon reflection or refraction.

Corona rightfully holds a place as a very popular 3D rendering software, offering its capabilities at a relatively low cost.

Corona Render

Image: KZKV Team

KeyShot

KeyShot is a 3D rendering software that stands out uniquely in this list. It's not tied to any 3D modeling solutions. Instead, it's a purely standalone solution aimed at offering the most user-friendly rendering process. KeyShot boasts an extensive library of physically accurate materials that can be assigned to a 3D file through simple drag-and-drop.

The entire process happens in real-time, meaning as you set up your scene with cameras, materials, and light sources, the program continuously updates the visualized image. This KeyShot feature enables you to work much faster than many other solutions. Its ease of use and real-time rendering make it an excellent choice for engineers and architects who want to showcase their work without investing time in learning complex new software.

KeyShot

Image: KeyShot

Lumion

Lumion is a 3D rendering software designed to integrate with CAD software. Its user-friendly nature makes it suitable for designers and architects looking to handle visualization within their company. Furthermore, Lumion renders in real-time, making it an ideal tool for developing the exterior appearance and previewing products.

To enhance rendering quality, this software includes an extensive library of skies, water, grass, materials, plants, people, trees, and other assets. Impressively, Lumion can handle landscapes populated with thousands of these objects.

With its extensive feature set, Lumion is an excellent addition to any architect's toolkit for 3D rendering.

Lumion

Image: Dmitry Donskov

Solidworks Visualize

Visualizations are not only used to create stunning visual effects but also find demand among potential developers of engineering projects. Solidworks Visualize aims to fill this gap in the 3D rendering software market. It supports not only Solidworks' native formats but also CAD data from Autodesk Alias, Rhino, SketchUp, and many others.

Essentially, this unbiased software offers instant progressive previewing. It can output multiple rendering passes used to create complex effects. The intuitive interface of Solidworks Visualize allows even non-experts to create photorealistic renders that can be used in marketing campaigns. Moreover, it provides tools that facilitate animation and scene setup for mechanical parts.

Solidworks Visualize is excellent 3D rendering software for engineering projects.

Solidworks Visualize

Image: goengineer.com

V-Ray

V-Ray, the icing on the cake, is considered one of the best 3D rendering programs on the market, as it offers high speed and quality. Under the hood, V-Ray features biased ray tracing, which can use both CPU (central processing unit) and GPU (graphics processing unit) using brute-force calculations and ray tracing. You can find it integrated into a large set of 3D models.

On one hand, this software is affordable enough for freelancers and occasional 3D modelers to achieve excellent results. On the other hand, V-Ray also comes with an extensive feature set for professional teams that can achieve stunning quality. However, if you're aiming for the long run and strive for progress, success with V-Ray might not come quickly, as mastering its advanced features will take some time, but it's worth it.

V-Ray is 3D rendering software suitable for 3D artists at any level, both beginners and experienced professionals.

Doing the Interior CloseUps Renders in Vray

Image: Romuald Chaigneau

Conclusion

In the dynamic realm of 3D rendering, a diverse range of software solutions cater to the unique needs and creative ambitions of artists, designers, architects, and engineers. From the simplicity of KeyShot's real-time rendering to Solidworks Visualize's seamless integration with engineering projects, and the artistic flexibility of V-Ray, each software brings its own set of capabilities to the table.

Artists can harness the power of RenderMan's advanced features, while Lumion empowers architects with real-time visualization for both internal and external designs. Meanwhile, the comprehensive tools of Corona offer a balance between photorealism and creative expression. Artlantis, with its focus on architectural visualization, offers a wide array of presets to expedite the process, while D5 Render opens doors to real-time RTX rendering.

The choice of 3D rendering software ultimately depends on the specific goals, skills, and preferences of the user. As the industry continues to evolve, these software options ensure that artists and professionals have the tools to breathe life into their imaginative visions, whether in engineering, architecture, design, or the world of art. Each software's unique features contribute to the colorful tapestry of 3D rendering possibilities, enabling creators to transform their ideas into vibrant, compelling visual experiences.

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