Cycles Render Slowdown

Google Alerts Pagewood Studios

Cycles Render is great! Still, images you can't notice, the noise when you leave cycles to do its thing. Simply it works wonders. Create animation though and you will find a dramatic slowdown. This happens with all things animation.

This happens with all things animation especially when trying to arrive to an outcome that needs to be of commercial standard. Review, Redo, Review, Redo, Review, Redo and you will start to sound like a bird from outback Australia.

The studio has taken on board Blender as its primary 3D application. These are all the reasons why.

  1. Open Source. When we develop Blender, we are supporting our own economy by hiring developers inside our own country. It's an industry secret and inevitable that it will become the norm (Our artists can take it anywhere).

  2. It's not Maya (Maya makes artists angry because Maya just doesn't do what it's meant to do).

  3. Fast at modeling.

  4. Fast at Rigging.

  5. Great UV unwrapping.

  6. Texturing and painting holds its own for commercials and kids shows (The studio also uses Zbrush. Why? Zbrush is simply kick ass and we already have the license).

  7. Awesome shaders in Cycles, Blender Internal, Pixar Renderman and Vray.

  8. Lighting is very flexible and is continuing to improve.

  9. Render queue ability using the VSE.

  10. Finally a compositor.

"Blender has so much good stuff"

So with all this good stuff what's the slowdown? Render time for animation.

Commercial work (TVC = Television Commercial) can be broken up into three categories:

  1. Live action

  2. Animation

  3. Mix (Usually VFX)

What are we talking about here? Rendering and how can we make it faster?

There are two things that everyone wants to use but creates too much noise.

  1. Environment maps for lighting

  2. Images on cards using Emission Shaders

Noise is what makes Blender Render one of the most expensive renders in the market. Now you're asking

"Blender is free so how can it be expensive?"

Recently I shopped an idea around town while talking to clients, I showed them two movies on my phone.

The first movie was not too bad, it was pretty good. It was a Blender Internal Render. The other was a kick-ass Cycles render. When I asked "Which do you like more?" Clients usually respond pretty much every time without fail saying that they love the Cycles Render (Non-3D people).

"Cycles Render will cost you three times more because of the time and machine power it takes to produce the image"

Then I told the client what if I told you that the clients usually say something like:

(eyes rolling into the back of my head)."I understand, but I would rather go with Blender Internal Render" or "Is there a way that we can have both" or my favorite "Just give it to me at the same cost"

I love it when clients say, "Can we have both?" :) I find it funny; it's possible, buuuuuuuuut not really funny at all.

Because of this, the studio can't use Cycles even if we wanted to for 80% of clients. We all know cycles has kick-ass features and is killing it on renders for stills, but as soon as we tell them about render time and how much it will cost, they are no longer interested.

"Blender Cycles is costing everyone Money, Time and a loss of future clients"

Is there a solution? For now, there is no solution and the studio is desperately looking into this since we just lost a $100,000 contract to a competitor (That's the money that we wanted to spend on development in Blender for the studios future projects).

Everything in animation is about bringing your image or animation to final. So if Blender Cycles always has too much noise, then what do we do? Obviously, we get rid of it.

Blender needs a denoiser desperately (Well, the studio is being greedy when we say that) and this shouldn't just be for the compositor. It should be for anybody who has to render anything for animation and it comes out clean. Rarely is anything created in one package (a nice idea though).

The render needs to be clean in exiting the render. We have 3 very distinct options.

  1. Denoiser

  2. Cycles Render becomes faster

  3. or Both (Both would be awesome)

  4. ??? We really are very open to suggestions ???

ps. I wrote this while waiting for a render that still has too much noise.

Comment at Discord: Cycles Render Slowdown


1. Optimizing renders

2. Denoise on the way on out of your render (Solution 1 at time 9:15):

Topics Covered:

  1. 10 good reasons to use Blender

  2. Render slowdowns

  3. Superficially how to solve it.

Author, Artist and Developer: Adam Earle

"I'm always happy to be wrong, it's an opportunity

to grow and become more than I am"

Adam Earle Said.