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Spring: Comparing Eevee to Cycles


Andy did a test to see how Eevee would compare to Cycles when rendering a scene from Spring. You can download the file and try it for yourself (Blender Cloud subscription required), but this is not for the faint of heart: the download is 2.2GB.

Andy writes:

This is a proof of concept to see if it's possible to get close to the render quality using just the eevee viewport and to help optimizing it for future releases. To achieve this I had to convert most of the assets we had on the production to eevee shaders and bake the rock shaders down to something simpler. Even though most of the set is in this file, the majority is actually hidden to allow for faster renders.

To enjoy eevee, just set viewport shading to 'rendered'. The final render was done with View > Viewport Render Animation. For faster performance just set the property HAIR_PARTICLES in Spring's master bone to 0.

Further, the playback speed leaves a lot to be desired, so maybe someone has some ideas to get it performing faster. Help is much appreciated! :)

About the Author

Avatar image for Bart Veldhuizen
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 ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. If there was an extra mode, in which one couldn't edit the objects and materials would be all packed up real nice, like on the game engines, then Eevee performance wouldn't increase?

  2. Gilles Charbonneau on

    Eevee is very cool, and well integrated into Blender 2.80, but it is a far cry from other real time engines like Unreal!

    • Yeah! But why!? Can someone bring some light on the "Always editable" mode Vs the "non-editable" mode of the game engines? This thing as been bugging me for a long time XD

      • Gilles Charbonneau on

        This scene is rendered in realtime on a Titan RTX, this looks incredible, you just cant achieve that level of quality on Eevee, at least not yet, and certainly not the speed, Eevee still has many limitations, especially on reflections.

        I am speaking about the rendering engines here, Unreal is not a content editor per say, although you can do basic editing in it.

        • Yeah! What I'm saying is that for Eevee be as fast as Unreal it couldn't have and "edit mode". It would have to be like a game engine, without being able to edit objects.

          • Gilles Charbonneau on

            As I said, you can edit objects in Unreal, but not as extensively as you can in Blender, just like you can animate and the such, so I dont see why this have anything to do with Unreal being 100 X faster than Eevee!

  3. It was interesting to note the changes in contrast. The color of her irises looked brighter, and the embroidery on her sleeve all but disappears. Is that due to the engines themselves or "translation" errors?

    • I think it may be the Global Illumination that in Eevee is pre-calculated with probes and in Cycles is the "real" thing.

        • The only problem with Cycles are the rendering times, specially for animation. An indie simply can't afford a Cycles animation :) Eevee is the perfect alternative, speed and with almost the same looks as Cycles, just awesome!

  4. @ GILLES CHARBONNEAU about the speed on game engines:

    Blender and all the others DCC need to keep all the data permanently available so one can edit the objects at any time.

    A game engine doesn't allow you to do much more than moving the objects and assign material / textures to them.

    As far I know, one can't add a single point to an imported object on any game engine, edit the UV's, etc.

    This ensures you that the object will never change and thus it is possible to make it render real fast. Also game engines, at build time, pack all the materials and textures in files that only the Game engine can read, again impossible to change by that time and are feed faster to the graphic card.

    Another thing that game engines like Unity and Unreal is streaming the objects and textures, loading just what you need. Blender most times needs to re-load all the textures you have in scene as soon you enter in texture mode or do an edit on an object. One of my biggest problems is deal with that texture loading on big projects, may take 5 minutes to load all the textures just for fixing a few issues in one object.'s about this, more or less :P

    • Gilles Charbonneau on

      Again, you can do basic mesh editing in Unreal, more tools will be added soon, you can also import Alembic files, which change all the time, Unreal is not as static as you might think, and Houdini can pack everything, at any time, which makes it way more efficient, al these things could be implemented in Blender to make real time render, well, real time, the BI has just adopted USD, which will probably help in that regard!

      • Hehe... I apologize but I'm not being able to explain my self as I would like to... it's a bit different of that... As far I know, in most cases (talking about a character for example) Alembic files don't change at all, they have exactly the same number of triangles all the time, they just have blend shapes that deform the mesh (move the points around), but it core structure is unchangeable. You can't have an object that goes from 10000 triangles to 100 and back again to 50000... they always have the same amount which you started with... and that's what i mean.

  5. Gilles Charbonneau on

    No offense, but I export fluids to Unreal through Alembic all the time, and mesh count varies a lot from frame to frame, they can go from say 1000 polys, to millions of polys, Alembic would be useless in most cases if poly count was the same!

    Just open Blender, create a fluid simulation, export to Alembic, then import the Alembic file in a new scene, you will see for yourself!

    • Not offended at all, I'm here to learn too, I don't know everything and I love to be proven to be wrong, specially when it is to a positive thing :)
      Thanks for keeping the debate!

      Yeah, I had tough about the fluids simulations after posting the reply, I know it does work with fluids simulations... I was referring to characters and buildings in a normal setting for a complete story and not just a specific thing.

      I know that there is something about this conversation that makes blender slower then game engines, but I too would like to read an official explanation about it :)

      Best regards

      • Gilles Charbonneau on

        Yeah, characters are dont change structure while animating, same with blendshapes, but ABC files support all kinds of animation types.

        And again, Unreal is really fast, but then again, Epic spent, and is still spending millions of dollars to develop Unreal, something the BI just cant afford.

        But I am sure they could make Eevee, which, and I am repeating myself here, is awesome, but it lacks in quality and speed Unreal has, which is why those two are a good combination, and Unreal is, as Blender, free to use to render 3D animated movies and it works really well with Blender, just my two cents here!

  6. Sascha Schulz on

    Great work.
    I did not download the scene yet. But i think
    you can improve the performance by baking the input from the principled to textures. Then reconnect.
    There are some addons who automate this and even generate a new eevee material.
    The comparrision with unreal and unity is not as fair here.
    When you would also bake lighting in cycles with some directional mode like in Beast or PLM or Enlighten then you would reach similar speed.
    You can bake lighting for hairs , skin and cloth and the result will be again closer. The problem is that advanced directional modes are not available in eevee for now. So you have to be creative.

  7. Sascha Schulz on

    Have also a look deeper look and download realtime movie projects like The Kite from Unreal or latest Sherman in Unity.
    They are also not optimized for Realtime use and have around 20fps on highest cards in realtime. To get the frames in the quality you see final they need also around 2s per frame.

    The cool thing is here is by rendering a pathtraced movie out you reach or an 6min movie easily hardware node hour costs around 15k or more to get it done in around 4 days on 300 nodes.
    In EEVEE is much faster.] and more cheap and you can finally have more iterations.

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