March 21, 2021 Rosie Dinh

Best 5 Maya Plugins for Rendering

Maya is a comprehensive piece of simulation and animation software. It sets itself apart from other 3D software in areas of animation, lighting and VFX. Despite the extensive nature of the software there is always room for improvement and that is where bespoke plugins come to the fore. Maya has a strong community of developers that have set about making our workflows easier by putting easy to use tools in our hands. In this article we’re going to take a quick look at the 5 best render engines for Maya.

1. Pixar RenderMan

RenderMan is a proprietary photorealistic 3D renderer produced by Pixar Animation Studios. Pixar uses RenderMan to render their in-house 3D animated movie productions and it is also available as a commercial product licensed to third parties, and for those who don’t want to use it for commercial purposes, it is completely free. RenderMan gives artists access to Pixar’s toolbox for lighting and looks development, real tools that have already created amazingly sophisticated and complex imagery for feature films. Renderman standard was first presented at 1993 SIGGRAPH, developed with input from 19 companies, It has been used to create digital visual effects for Hollywood blockbuster movies such as Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Toy Story, Jurassic Park, Avatar, Titanic, the Star Wars prequels, and The Lord of the Rings. RenderMan has received two Academy Scientific and Technical Awards.


Octane Render is an unbiased rendering application with real-time capability. It was created by New Zealand-based company, Refractive Software, which was acquired by OTOY on March 13, 2012. Version 1.0 was released on November 28, 2012; Later versions of Octane Render continue to be deployed using Web release. Octane Render was the first commercially available unbiased ray tracer that fully utilized the GPU, giving it a significant speed advantage by allowing users to more easily modify scenes in real-time.
In the past, Octane Render was running exclusively on Nvidia’s CUDA technology, restricting it to Nvidia’s video cards; Octane render now is running on Vulkan and therefore it is able to run on both AMD and Nvidia graphics cards.

3. V-Ray

V-Ray is a rendering plugin that works perfectly with Maya, it was developed by the Bulgarian company Chaos Group, which was established in Sofia in 1997. V-Ray is a commercial plugin for third-party 3D computer graphics software applications and is used for visualizations and computer graphics industries such as media, entertainment, film and video game production, industrial design, product design, and architecture. Vray can be considered as one of the best Maya plugins and the one that has been around for the longest period of time. Even though this plugin is not new, it is constantly developed and enhanced over the years, it used to be harder to adjust the settings to prepare your scene but now it is becoming easier and it is able to create better quality renders in a shorter period of time.

Vray has a powerful CPU and GPU rendering built for the demands of high-end production. V- Ray GPU CUDA renders on CPUS as well as GPUS to take full advantage of all hardware. Chaos Group also launched V-Ray Next for Maya, which allows artists to utilize the viewport and GPU much more, you can isolate specific areas of the scene with ease. One of the most benefits of using Vray Next is decrease troubleshooting and debug time – which is almost always half the battle when working in CG.

4. Arnold

Arnold is an unbiased, physically based, ray tracing 3D rendering engine created by the company Solid Angle. Arnold actually comes with Maya which means you have full access to it if you have a Maya subscription. Notable films that have used Arnold include Alice in Wonderland, Thor, Captain America, X-Men: First Class, The Avengers, Space Pirate Captain Harlock, Elysium, Pacific Rim, and Gravity.

The chief architect of Arnold is Marcos Fajardo. The beginnings of what is now Arnold emerged in 1997 when Marcos decided to write his own renderer. That year, he attended SIGGRAPH, where his interest in stochastic ray tracing was piqued in discussions with friends attending the conference. Early versions of Marcos’s renderer were called RenderAPL. The name Arnold emerged when one of Marcos’s friends suggested it after mocking an Arnold Schwarzenegger film they saw in a theater. Solid Angle, the company behind Arnold, was purchased by Autodesk in early 2016. The acquisition was announced officially on April 18, 2016.

5. Redshift

Redshift Rendering Technologies Inc was founded in early 2012 in Newport Beach, California, with the goal of developing a production-quality, GPU-accelerated renderer with support for the biased global illumination techniques. at NAB 2019, Maxon CEO David McGavran announced the acquisition of Redshift Rendering Technologies. Redshift has the capability of “out of core” rendering which means that if a GPU runs out of memory (because of too many polygons or textures in the scene), it will use the system’s memory instead. In some situations, this can come at a performance cost so it is typically better to use GPUS with as much VRAM as you can afford in order to minimize the performance impact. Certain types of data (like textures) actually work very well with out-of-core rendering. performance! This means that even if your scene uses 4K or 8K textures, you can still expect great rendering.


In the end, I would say that this list was made to give you the features of the best Maya plugins for rendering but it is up to you to choose which Maya plugins suits you best.

Besides, at iRender, we always try our best every day to offer the best render solution to our beloved customers. With the following advantages and the machine configuration package that iRender are offering, we believe that you will have the most comfortable, quickest, and most effective rendering time if you are looking for a cloud rendering solution to boost your rendering time significantly:

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Rosie Dinh

Hi everyone. Being a Customer Support from iRender, I always hope to share and learn new things with 3D artists, data scientists from all over the world.


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