March 5, 2022 Linh Nguyen

How to speed up Blender’s Cycles X rendering engine

Blender’s Cycles X is essentially a set of improvements to Blender’s Cycles rendering engine. It was announced on April 23rd, 2021 by the Blender Foundation. The ‘X’ on Cycles X represents the number ten. Cycles render engine is celebrating its tenth anniversary. It ships with Blender version 3.0 and later. The core was rewritten from the ground up to render much faster than Cycles’ render engine. Furthermore, the new core makes it easier for Blender developers to add future improvements. In Blog’s Today, we will learn about “How to speed up Blender’s Cycles X rendering engine“.

If you have an Nvidia graphics card, select either CUDA or Optix. If you have an AMD graphics card, select HIP. Then select your graphics card. iRender has Single and Multi-GPU servers: 1/2/4/6/8x RTX 3090/2080Ti. Especially, NVIDIA RTX 3090 – the most powerful graphic card. Which is the most suitable for Blender.

1. Optimize your Light Path settings

Light bounces are Cycles engine’s way of simulating the natural properties of light and how it reacts, or bounces, on walls and other objects. It’s what helps the rendered scene look so realistic when compared to the viewport. The problem with realism is that it requires longer rendering times. Light section. Turning down the Max Bounces total can quickly speed up rendering. The default setting is 12, but anywhere between 3 and 6 will give you the same amount of realism without overworking the GPU when it comes time to render.

You can fine-tune the lighting setup even further by adjusting the individual light path types, such as Glossy or Diffuse, which are also be found in the Light Paths section. Transmission should not be changed too much because it will reduce the final render realistic quality.

2. Activate Blender’s Persistent Data

When you press the render button, the first frame of your scene is calculated and cached. The frames that follow rely on the cached data from the first frame. This can sometimes speed up your renders by up to 5 times. Because your scene’s elements are no longer calculated in every frame, as they were previously.

Limitations of Persistent data

  • Persistent data performs best in static scenes. Scenes in which no objects move. As an example, consider an interior architectural rendering. As of now, the Persistent data feature does not support caching animated objects in the scene.
  • Persistent data comes at a cost of increased memory usage.

How to activate Blender’s Persistent data

Under render properties, go to the Performance Tab then the subtab ‘Final Render’.

3. Optimize your hdri multi-importance sampling

When working with high-resolution hdr environments, Blender can become very unresponsive when the HDRI is first loaded. This is due to the time required to create an importance map that Cycles X needs to avoid fireflies during rendering. The importance map informs cycles about the bright areas of the HDRI so that it can favor those join renderings and produce a better result.

How to optimize your hdri multi-importance sampling in Blender

Go to the World settings > Settings tab. Change the ‘Sampling’ setting from Auto to Manual. Now, adjust the ‘Map Resolution’ value as needed.

4. Set a render region when working on shading or lighting of a single object

You can improve viewport rendering tremendously when doing shading or lighting a single object. Because Cycles will concentrate all resources to the render region instead of the whole viewport. Since a selected render region is smaller than the viewport, cycles will render the region faster. To select a render region, click Ctrl+B. Then with your mouse draw a box around the object you would like to view as rendered. Below is a .gif to help you select a render region in Blender.

5. Reduce your Cycles X sampling count

Sampling is a render setting in Cycles X rendering engine. It is basically the number of light calculations Cycles X needs to do, in order to render a scene. The higher the samples count, the more accurate light calculations will be. The higher the samples count, the cleaner your render will be. Unfortunately, the higher the sample count, the longer your render time will be. More samples are generally good. But there comes a point where more samples do almost nothing. Therefore, it is important to do test renders to come up with the sample count that will reduce your render time at the same time produce clean renders. In Blender 3, you can set Noise Threshold, Max Samples, Min Samples and Time limit. To set samples count, go to Render Properties > Sampling > Render.

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  • Let’s see rendering tests with Blender on multi-GPU at iRender:
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Linh Nguyen

Hi everyone. I work as an Assistant Customer at iRender. I always hope to know more 3D artists, data scientists from all over the world.


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