A GPU render engine, or GPU-accelerated renderer, is an engineered program based on such disciplines as light physics, mathematics, and visual perception. There is a wide variety of GPU renderers on the market today, some of which offer both CPU-based rendering solutions and GPU-based rendering solutions, and the capability to simply switch between the two with a single click. Popular examples of GPU renderers include: Arion (Random Control), Iray (NVIDIA), Octane (Otoy), Redshift (Redshift Rendering Technologies), etc
Some advantages of GPU rendering include:
- Scalability in multi-GPU rendering setups.
- GPU rendering solutions consume less power than CPUs.
- Speed boosts – many modern render systems are suited for GPU software and hardware, which are designed for massively parallel tasks and can provide overall better performance.
- Lower hardware costs due to the increase in computation power.
In the article today, iRender will step it up and cover some popular GPU-accelerated renderers in 2021 to help you choose the most suitable.
|Lumion||$1,817||Single GPU||Windows||Revit, ArchiCAD, SketchUp, and Rhino|
|Twinmotion||$499||Single GPU||Windows, macOS||ARCHICAD, Revit, SketchUp Pro, Rhino (including Grasshopper), and RIKCAD|
|D5 Render||$480||Single GPU||Windows 10||SketchUp 3Ds Max and Revit, Rhino, Blender and ArchiCAD|
|Eevee||FREE||Single GPU||Windows, macOS, Linux||Blender|
|Unreal Engine 4||FREE||Single GPU||Windows, macOS, and Linux||Revit and SketchUp Pro|
|Enscape||$469/year||Single GPU||Windows||Revit, SketchUp, Rhino, ArchiCAD, Vectorworks|
|Octane||$699/year||GPU||Windows, macOS, Linux||3ds Max, ArchiCAD, AutoCAD, Blender, Carrara, Cinema 4D, DAZ Studio, Houdini, Inventor, Lightwave, Maya, Modo, Nuke, Poser, Revit, Rhinoceros, SketchUp, Softimage|
|Redshift||$500||GPU||Windows, macOS, Linux||3ds Max, Cinema 4D, Houdini, Maya, Softimage|
|iRay||$295/year||GPU||Windows, macOS||3ds Max, Cinema 4D, Maya, Rhinoceros|
|Indigo Render||$835||GPU||Windows, macOS, Linux||3ds Max, Blender, Cinema 4D, iClone, Maya, Revit, SketchUp|
|NVIDIA Omniverse||BETA||GPU||Windows, Linux||
Maya and Revit, Adobe Photoshop
Image Source: Lumion.com
Lumion is a GPU-based 3D rendering software developed by Act-3D B.V. company. The engine has plugins for SketchUp, Autodesk Revit, ArchiCAD, 3ds Max. A full Lumion license costs 1,817 dollars, but one can test its benefits for free using the 14-days trial.
This product rendering software offers a myriad of features that are great for creating object visualizations. Notably, the program has a collection of 112 materials and 100 textures for creating product renders with true-to-life details. With this feature, product designers and manufacturers can get beautiful images with any type of 3D furniture visualization, be it rendered for a faux-fur chair or a leather sofa. Lumion renders in real-time, which means 3D Artists can not only render the image but also view the process results as an animated scene in real-time.
- Pros: Integrated map/asset library, drag and drop menu
Lumion has a Content Library with 634 HD objects, including high-quality kitchen appliances, seating, desks, storage items, and other home furnishings. The ready-made 3D models can be taken from the library for creating product renders, which saves a lot of time.
- Cons: Price (1,817 dollars), difficult-to-use interface
Image Source: egis-group.com
Combining an intuitive icon-driven interface with the power of Unreal Engine, Twinmotion offers architecture, construction, urban planning, and landscaping professionals a fast, easy, and fun way to produce stunning visualizations and immersive experiences. The MSRP for Twinmotion is $499 USD for a perpetual license; prices may vary by region and may be subject to applicable taxes. This price includes all subsequent upgrade releases until the end of December 2021. There’s also a free trial option for those wishing to evaluate the new features before purchasing, and a free educational version for students and teachers.
Twinmotion features direct one-click synchronization with ARCHICAD, Revit, SketchUp Pro, Rhino (including Grasshopper), and RIKCAD. You can download the relevant plugin here. You can also bring in data from virtually all 3D content-creation programs, with support for importing FBX, SKP, C4D, and OBJ files.
- Pros: Twinmotion can easily produce dynamic environmental effects like seasonal foliage, rain, and snow, plus moving people and foliage from the wind. You can also place video textures on objects (good for TVs) and decals on surfaces. Excellent visual quality for a very modest price.
- Cons: There are few cons for this product compared to its direct rivals, all of whom limit their addressable market to the Windows world, and most of them are more expensive. However, Epic could do more thorough stability testing, more thorough testing of direct-link add-ons (plugins).
Image Source: d5render.com
D5 Render is a real-time renderer based on real-time ray tracing technology. In fact, it combines the benefits of both ray tracing and rasterization to get real-time interactivity and photo-realistic images simultaneously. Although it just came to the market in more than 1 year, it has a lot of potential to show. D5 Render is free for the Beta version (version 1.6 or lower). It is planned to release a community version for free, which is lightweight and serves well for individual usage and educational purposes. Commercial version is much cheaper than Lumion, with 480 USD per user, with perpetual license and lifetime free upgrades.
- Pros: For D5 Render, SketchUp 3Ds Max and Revit, Rhino, Blender and ArchiCAD are supported now. What is good about D5 Render is that developers released the D5 converter plugin for 3Ds max, which will help your model to remain almost all material and material properties.
- Cons: However, you will need to convert your model to V-ray to keep all material, then export to D5 Render. It does not support converting from Corona or Fstorm. So if your file is in Corona or Fstorm, you will need to convert to V-ray, then export to D5 Render.
Image Source: collby.graphics
If you’ve been using Blender, you might be familiar with the name “Cycles”. That’s the name for the ray-tracing renderer inside Blender, but upon release of version 2.8, a new real-time renderer was implemented called “Eevee”. Eevee is focused on real-time rendering, using clever speedy tricks to sacrifice as little realism as possible when compared to Blender’s realistic Cycles renderer.
- Render time is greatly reduced.
- Settings can be more intuitive to play with for beginners.
- It can give faster and similar results in some scenes compared to Cycles.
- It doesn’t provide the realism that Cycles does.
- Some scenes must be made and tweaked in Cycles before they can render properly.
- Some materials don’t work immediately.
Image Source: Alliance X Empire Game
With Unreal Engine, you can bring amazing real–time experiences to life using the world’s most advanced real–time 3D creation tool. From first projects to the most demanding challenges, our free and accessible resources and inspirational community empower everyone to realize their ambitions. Since 2015, Unreal engine can be downloaded for free, with its source code available on a GitHub private repository. Epic allows for its use in commercial products based on a royalty model, typically asking developers for 5% of revenues from sales.
- Licensing model: Since you are not paying anything at the front you have a full-powered, unrestricted engine at your fingertips and you only pay royalties once your earning reaches a certain threshold. For starters, the deal is not bad at all.
- Performance: The engine’s performance is at the top of the industry.
- Good support for Steam and other similar ecosystems
- Open Source: If you have the knowledge of C++, you can modify it to fit your needs.
- Can be Overwhelming for one person: Unreal is better suited for teams than a single person, which makes the learning curve so much steeper.
- It’s free until you start making over $25.000 per quarter.
Image Source: Enscape Blog
Enscape is a real-time 3D rendering software that is primarily geared at architectural visualization. Impressively, this solution eliminates the need to export from BIM software and rework data for presentations as still images or movies. Everything is prepared in the original program.
However, the standout feature of this 3D rendering software is its ability to export project files from Revit, SketchUp, Rhino, and ArchiCAD as standalone executables to provide walkthroughs that can be shared with clients or co-workers. These executables can be used on desktop computers and VR goggles.
- Pros: Fast and easy to use (depending on the hardware you have), Broad assets library, Price
It is easy as pie to start these walkthroughs. But Enscape is also a great tool to support the designing process. The link between the presentations and the original CAD data means that you can inspect and evaluate any changes you make in a snap. Apart from the photorealistic render mode, Enscape includes several stylized modes like sketch, paper and polystyrene models.
- Medium quality final renders
- Materials can’t be edited
- Hard to create representative model videos
Image Source: domestika.org
Touted as the world’s first fully GPU-accelerated biased renderer by its developer, Redshift offers the flexibility and quality of CPU-based rendering with GPU-based speed.
Unbiased engines tend to be very difficult for artists to render with as they are much more precise with their calculations regarding processes like lighting physics. However, Redshift is a biased engine, meaning there is much more freedom for the artist to get the desired render without having to overwork settings — meaning you can focus solely on creating.
Redshift is easily integrated into programs such as Cinema 4D, Maya, and Houdini, making for very powerful workflows and beautiful results.
- Price: $500 / license
- Software: 3ds Max, Cinema 4D, Houdini, Maya, Softimage
- Redshift supports a maximum of 8 GPUs per session.
- Pros: Fast GPU-accelerated rendering, Out of Core (OOC) capability
- Cons: Steep learning curve for new users
Image Source: otoy.com
Octane Render is a GPU-based renderer that handles processor-heavy algorithms with ease. It’s considered one of the fastest real-time render software plugins on the market to date. Making use of its interactive real-time viewport system, it smoothly speeds up your workflow by essentially displaying your final render as you work, edit and place materials, and frame compositions.
It works as a standalone program, or it can be easily implemented as a plugin for many industry-standard programs including 3ds Max, Cinema 4D, Maya, and Blender just to name a few.
An ideal contender for architectural visualization, this rendering software also boasts that along with its comprehensive interface yielding beautiful results fairly quickly, its processing speeds dwarf that of other GPU-based plugins by 10–50 times.
- Price: $699 / year
- Software: 3ds Max, ArchiCAD, AutoCAD, Blender, Cinema 4D, DAZ Studio, Houdini, Lightwave, Maya, Modo, Nuke, Revit, Rhinoceros, SketchUp, Softimage, Standalone
- With OctaneRender, you can currently use up to 20 GPUs on a single project
- Pros: Fast GPU-accelerated rendering, integrated online material archive
- Cons: Steep learning curve for new users, difficult-to-use interface, price
Image Source: NVIDIA Iray
In order to get this powerful renderer, users need to invest from $295 per year. Developed by NVidia, Iray is a biased GPU renderer that’s one of the best 3D CAD rendering software aimed at beginners, students and hobbyists who don’t have expert rendering knowledge, as well as professionals.
However, while it may be beginner-friendly, Iray’s quality shouldn’t be underestimated. This intuitive, physically based rendering technology uses AI denoising, CUDA, NVidia OptiX and Material Definition Language (MDL) to generate photorealistic imagery with great speed and efficiency, making it one of the most realistic 3D rendering software. To explain that in more detail, AI denoising is the use of Tenor Cores on the latest NVidia hardware to bring the power of deep learning to both final-frame and interactive photorealistic renderings. This speeds up the completion of final images and smoothes interactive rendering, producing a faster understanding of your scene’s composition and lighting.
Image Source: nvidia.com
NVIDIA Omniverse™ is an open platform built for virtual collaboration and real-time physically accurate simulation. Complex creator, designer, and engineering visual workflows are transformed as users and teams connect major design tools, assets, and projects for collaborative iteration in a shared virtual space.
A fundamental breakthrough of Omniverse is the ability to easily work concurrently between software applications. Creators, designers and engineers can access several Omniverse Connectors to leading industry software applications like Autodesk Maya and Revit, Adobe Photoshop, Substance Designer, Substance Painter, McNeel Rhino, Trimble SketchUp and Epic Unreal Engine. Many more are in development, including those for Blender, Houdini, 3ds Max and Motion Builder.
iRender is a Powerful GPU-Acceleration Cloud Rendering Service provider in PC optimization for rendering tasks, CGI, VFX with over 10.000 customers and being appreciated in many global rankings (e.g. CGDirector, Lumion Official, Radarrender, InspirationTuts CAD, All3DP). This is the only render farm that users can install any software and plugins that serve their project, take full control over the machine and use it as their local computers.
Now go forth and create! Become a member of the iRender community today to stop wasting pointless hours of rendering. Always at the forefront of cutting-edge graphics technology, we do the rendering, the creativity is yours!
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