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Cycles Roadmap


Brecht van Lommel explains his targets for Cycles development and shares his planning.

Brecht writes:

Now that Cycles is in a Blender release, the next step is to extend it further and improve performance. Remember that Cycles is intended to be a render engine for individuals / small studios, aimed primarily at rendering animations, and this goal is what we evaluate priorities of features by.

For the next few months, the main priorities are:

  • Render layers, passes, full sample, compositing layer, ..
  • Performance improvements / noise reduction for typical two bounce animation scenes
  • Some smaller things for completeness (blender integration stuff, ramps, multi GPU, ..)



About Author

Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender – I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-)


  1. I hope that OpenCL is highly on the list too, not just CUDA.  But that is a small thing.  Either way I see that Blender team has plenty to do, and I wish you luck and success for the good of Mango and the good of all us Blendheads :)

  2. Brilliant! Cycles is surely one of the bomb-features that bring Blender to another level.
    Would be good to see hair improvements on its own, at some point of Blender development. I dont think its going to happen anytime soon - just saying.

  3. The whole cycles thing is just awesome. The node based materials make so much sense. The renders always look great. I actually like the noise, it makes the renders somehow look more real and less artificial. I don't quite understand how Cycles does glass. If you look at how in LuxRender with defining all the interfaces, etc., I wonder what Cycles actually does differently.

      • Strange but for me noise is increasing with time (especially if there is objects with glass BSDF material, number of ugly random bright pixels keep growing with time).

        • That sounds like an issue with simple path-tracing or maybe some kinds of overflows...
          Glass caustics can have super bright pixels at times. It's a little difficult to properly deal with them, AFAIK

  4. ConcernedArtist on

    OpenCL needs to be very high priority for this; if it's not implemented soon, they're going to have a hell of a time adapting everything over. Plus, using a proprietary thing like CUDA alienates part of the user base, and also goes against the spirit of Blender's open-source methodology.

    • I wish I could remember where it was, but somewhere on the internet I found a video showing a way to mimic SSS with cycles, which you could use until it is implemented as a true feature.

      • There are experimental volumetric builds of blender on graphical that can be used to do subsurface scattering. Although it is too slow to be used for atmosphere effects, people have been able to do subsurface scattering with it. It might be a little slow, but it can be done.

  5. Blender is going to end the world!!! By version 2.65 to 2.66 blender will own 3ds Max. Blender is a beast no doubt. Love u Blender keep up the excellent work people. :)

  6. For me is priority a better material control , no every one can do complex material using just  nodes , the second thing OpenCL .
    Must be awesome if cycles can be good as v-ray for small studios and freelancers

  7. yeah I do hope OpenCL is also part of their goals... nevertheless, I think it's a great roadmap! Blender is just getting better and better! yeeaaaaahhhhh!!!

  8. For me, the single most urgent thing is improving efficiency with the renders, both CPU and GPU. (CPU especially). Then comes render passes and SSS, it is near impossible to make a good character easily without SSS.

  9. Wahou! july 2012, almost all features except hair implemented!! This sound very fast!!!
    blender developpers won't stop to impress I I will never also stop to thank you for this incredible work!

  10. My needs are simple. Make it possible to use a PNG with alpha as a decal texture. At the moment, transparent areas of the PNG make the base material transparent, and I cannot work a node setup that will make it work. We have a new company logo that I need to 'apply' to all our product models, and I'd love to use Cycles for the new renders. Also desperate for OpenCL support, as I need to spec a new PC very soon...

      • a decal is just like in real life. its a sticker that is a uv mapped image that must appear OVER a material WITHOUT replacing it. The alpha parts of the image should show only the base material while the picture present on the decal should completely replace the base material. Cycles cannot do this without either making the alpha part completely invisible, or leaving a filmy looking square over the base material where the alpha is. Sucks... Cycles is worthless to me for this and about a hundred reasons just like this. This is what I hate about Blender period... It is ALWAYS in somekind of worthless buggy Alpha Stage!!! 2.5 was still MISSING stuff! Now 2.6 is MISSING EVEN MORE! About the time Cycles is halfway usable they'll ditch it and start another half a$$ Re-Hack. F IT! Their almost as bad as 3ds max now so I guess it won't be much longer before they start charging for Blender... Before anyone responds ,I don't want to hear it. I was finally looking forward to Blender really being full featured and working great this year,.. instead I got Cycles. what crap!  I didn't need better renders jerks! I needed easier tools NOT more complicated ones and FAST renders, NOT 3 days for one grainy image! jerks.

        • It's easy to see you're frustrated with your project.  It is the unfortunate truth of open source software, it's essentially always in development and always a little buggy.  I've run into my own frustrations over time.  I've never worked with 3ds Max but if it's not a full feature software package then it sounds like you are better off with Blender.  Especially for the kind of money they charge.

          Image and video editing software will always be CPU intensive.  It's the nature of the beast.  There are however rendering farm solutions out there where people are nice enough to lend you their processing power to help you get your final projects done; it may be something you might want to check out.

          You may need to resort to the Blender Internal and do a lot of post processing when you've finished rendering.  Again, look around for options to help you, they do exist.

          Materials are still clunky in Cycles but I'm excited by the prospect.  The quality of lighting squashes Blender Internal easily.  They can develop the software only so fast.

          It may also be worth your time to look into the other engines.  Octane I believe is only about $100 and considered a more "mature Cycles" I've heard said.  Don't know much about Yayfray (sp?) and Lux is decent but takes much longer than Cycles.  Who knows, if you find a good solution to your rendering problems Lux may be a winner.

          I also understand the need to vent but creating software you provide to the public for free without the resources or pipeline of a corporation hardly makes anyone a jerk.  Despite Cycles still being in its infancy, I personally think it's better for them to pick up something with better lighting physics and develop it versus struggling to force an old system to work.
          Good luck with your project.  The Blender Artists forum is full of people who are willing to help and often have solutions you never thought to consider.  I hope you find a way to get it worked out.  :)

  11. Jean-Gabriel LOQUET on

    Cycles is really promising :)

    +1 for baking cycles diffuse GI to textures, it would be awesome for game and animation projects :)

    Thanks and cheers to the Cycles team !


  12. Cycles have real displacement ? Because for now I just can make it react like bump when I plug a map in the displacement.

  13. Kirill Poltavets on

    All these things are really cool!
    I really want more features for nodes. For example - Inputs for Translate, Scale, Rotate in Mapping node; Timeline frame's node. It will give us many possibilities to create very impressive dynamical textures. I didn't tried to use it with Drivers but the node approach isn't the same.

    Anyway, thanks a lot, Brecht! You're doing the great work for us!

      • Kirill Poltavets on

        Crap, I did set "Like" flag occasionally )) How to remove it?

        Philip, I think you're not right.
        1st - BMesh isn't only "n-gones", it's the new methods' set of modelling
        2nd - even without "1st", ngons saves a lot of time and (!!!) memory that will be taken by the model. You don't need additional loopcuts for compex cases of ngons. If ngon is flat - it will solve a lot of problems. It's very important for solid modelling - furniture, architecture, different objects... Everything without any "bendy" animations.
        3rd - it's the standard for a lot of apps, it's our future, I hope!

        It's like somebody will speak "node particles are useless" because he don't know what it gives.

        • Philip Petrunak on

          I know what N-Gons can do, I simply find that N-Gons just lead to sloppy topology at the triangle level. Frankly, I like not being able to accidentally make a five-poly-face because that is actually one way I discover I have a vertex of by 0.0003 blender units. I like being able to keep things clean and functioning.

          It's for the exact same reason I don't like the new cycles render that much. Not enough control.

      •  I thought so too, but then I went to IAC and learned efficient time-saver techniques for character modeling.
        And with BMESH implement we will get back the handy old knife tool and other advanced modeling tools.

  14. The light facilities need a LOT of attention ... at the moment it's a bit of a mess. The sun lamp is supported but doesn't work, the hemi is not supported but does work and I won't even start about point and mesh based lighting.

    Don't get me wrong, I think Cycles is brilliant and when it works it produces beautiful renders, but animation? That's a long way off. Even on my fairly powerful machine a half decent render (about 1500 samples) takes 40-45 minutes. I won't dream at trying to render a, say 1 minute, animation at that speed ... life's too short

  15. Philip Petrunak on

    That's cool. Looking forward to volume rendering with smoke. SSS can wait, most people use way to much of it anyway. Personally, all I want right now is the ability to use multiple UV Maps on the same model.

    Multi gpu support to cycles CUDA is very much needed ........BLENDER Team u guys :))))

      • Forgot to mention...
        Choosing which multiple GPU device combinations to use for rendering are chosen in Blender's 'User Preferences', under 'System' (bottom left corner)


  17. Hair is totally broken right now (converting to mesh is useless for animations)....perhaps a temporary patch could ease the wait until winter 2012. At least to restore the 2.4 hair functionality.

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