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Rendering Wooden Barrels in Cycles


Cycles tutorials are HOT these days! Here's another cool one by CGCookie.

Jonathan Williamson writes:

Making use of pre-made elements, this tutorial covers the complete process of setting up a scene in Cycles, including how to setup the lighting, textures, etc. This tutorial also looks at how to setup shaders using both the Material Properties panel and the Node Editor, comparing both for the pros and cons.



  1. I see too many advertisement and posts about cycles, but no one says anything about how long does it take to render a single frame !
    Is Cycles suitable for animation? Would you use Cycles for a 30 sec commercial? 750 frames?

    • Cycles really isn't suitable for animation at the time in my opinion.
      One clean render may take 1 to 3 hours and then still needs post-processing to get rid of all the noise.
      Especially for rather simple scenes I'd prefer using Blender Internal...

      • Hi Julian, part of the reason for this is that nearly every scene/render will take a different length of time. The render time depends entirely on the complexity of your scene, the render settings you use, etc. There is no flat render time. It's also based largely on your computer hardware.

        As for animation, I have found it quite suitable so far, as long as you're willing to wait a little longer. I've done a couple test animations at about 1 min per frame. The important step is that you set a total number of passes to be performed per frame.

        • Thanks for the reply.
          Just a quick question: What do you think how much time it would take to render a 10 seconds animation of the barrel scene (which really doesn't appear all that complex to me)?
          I don't intend to bash Cycles in any way I just think it really isn't all that well when it's about animation.

      • Nicholas Rishel on

        That's.... kind of an odd statement.

        1-3 hours to model what scene clearly? On what hardware? That statement just doesn't scale. Not trying to call you out, just trying to figure out if there was a different point I'm not seeing that you wanted to make.

        • [Of course] I'm talking about a more complex scene (for sure not just the default cube).
          Means: Several higher resoluted objects with materials like "glass" and especially "gloss".
          I have to admit that I'm limited to CPU rendering right now as I'm using a ATi GPU.
          (GPU clay renders go lightning fast though - but I don't think I can use that as a reference)

          1-3 hours may be a bit much to say the least - but imagine a movie like Sintel being rendered with Cycles.
          I think you get the point :)

          • Like you I'm limited to CPU renders but I think if I had a compatible GPU it'd be a lot more suited to rendering. Animations rendered with 500passes on a GPU seem to go at a reasonable pace when you use the right card and they come out quite clean. I'd only ever go back to the internal for stylized/cartoony images.

          • Nvidia GTX580 will do that scene in about 3-4 minutes if not shorter. Open CL and CUDA's are really what you want to be using for Cycles. Especially the CUDA right now. Its definitely suited for animation, though if you're going to do certain simulations (particles, hair) those aren't supported right now. But when it is... :)

    • I have nothing against Cycles, but I see some sort of favoritism and campaigns towards cycles trying to hide the big cons it has=====>RENDER TIME !

      About it being suitable for animation if you are wiling to wait "a bit longer" is a simple false statement.

      Get a simple cube and render it in BI=.001 sec, CYCLES=2 sec? And still a lot of noise.You increase the number of passes and then grab your coffee to see how long does it take to render.
      So imagine a decent character walking around on a landscape?

       I have to agreed with Julian, it is not suitable for animation at least right now.

      Also, in my opinion, those barrels above aren't something different from what Blender Internal can do, I might be wrong but that's what I think based on my renders.

      • Nicholas Rishel on

        If you have a moderately priced gaming GPU, render time is quite spotless in 2 seconds. Internal does not take advantage of GPU hardware so it looses that optimization.

        Time spent designing a scene is the real cost incurred on an artist, a notable problem point being lighting and the "general look" of the scene. Cycles displays these things significantly more quickly to the artist.

        Yes, this barrel scene could have been done equally well in Internal, though the metal would have likely taken more work to get right. But that's not the point. This is an introduction to how Cycles works video. It's still to early to tell where it will apply best.

  2. Agustin Benavidez on

    ONE THING that nobody says about the advantage of Cycles is the PRODUCTION TIME. The production time with Cycles is much more faster than Blender Internal.

    Depend on the scene you could get more time to render a frame with Cycles, but you will TEXTURE, SHADE and LIGHT that scene about 10 time faster. For mi that is the case.
    Also depend on your graphic card you can actually render FASTER than BI that doesn't take advantage of that resource.
    You will have to understand that 90% of the time, production time is more expensive than render time.

    • well that's a questionable argument without images to compare. What type of character? What type of texture? Does it include normals? Are you entirely sure of this?
      """Depend on the scene you could get more time to render a frame with
      Cycles, but you will TEXTURE, SHADE and LIGHT that scene about 10 time

      I agreed with the first sentence but the second argument is very questionable to make it flat to 10 times faster?  You need some renders to support this argument.

      • You don't understand what he meant, this statement cannot be supported with renders, he wasn't talking about render time but production time. And I agree with him 100% percent on that.
        With BI you will try to guess what is the best material, texturing and lighting setup, then do a test render, and do this many many many many times to get the right result.
        With Cycles you put a small viewport which renders all the time, and see the results immediately. It will be a bit noisy but you don't need noiseless picture for that. It is needed in the final render.
        So by loosing render time you gain production time. And by buying good video card you can even reduce render time.

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