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Blender features update — OptiX viewport denoising added to 2.83

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Denoising is becoming more and more popular to speed up rendering times, especially since denoisers feature Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning algorithms. Among the most popular AI / ML denoisers are Intel's OIDN (Open Image DeNoise) and NVIDIA's OptiX denoiser. For final rendering, both OIDN and OptiX have already been implemented in Blender, but in the latest Blender 2.83 alpha builds you've now got access to OptiX viewport denoising as well. Let's take a look.

Intel's OIDN denoiser is only accessible in the Blender Compositor, and to get the best results, activating and rendering some extra passes is recommended. Alternatively, you can activate the OptiX denoiser or the native Blender denoiser or OptiX in View Layer Properties ➔ Denoising.

The OptiX denoiser for final rendering

The OptiX denoiser for final rendering

But all of this is for final rendering only, while the most recent denoising implementation in Blender affects the viewport as well. You can activate it in the Render Properties ➔ Sampling ➔ Viewport Denoising roll-out. Right now the only options are None and OptiX AI-Accelerated. If you're wondering why this isn't simply a checkbox, it's because in the future the native Blender denoiser and probably also OIDN will be added to the viewport denoisers.

Activating OptiX viewport denoising

Activating OptiX viewport denoising

An OptiX-compatible GPU is required for the Optix viewport denoiser. The first time you start viewport rendering with the OptiX denoiser activated, the render kernels have to be loaded, which may take a while. But once it works, the results are pretty impressive. You only need a low amount of samples such as 16 to already achieve an acceptable result, which brings Cycles viewport rendering closer to Eevee.

Regular Cycles viewport rendering with only 16 samples

Regular Cycles viewport rendering with only 16 samples

OptiX-denoised Cycles viewport rendering with only 16 samples

OptiX-denoised Cycles viewport rendering with only 16 samples

As with every denoiser there's some loss of detail, particularly in the textures, but it's still a lot better than looking at tons of noise.

Also very nice is the ability to denoise your final rendering with a different denoiser. For example, you can use OptiX denoising for the viewport, but use the native Blender denoiser for your final rendering.

If you want to try the new OptiX viewport denoiser, download and install the latest Blender 2.83 alpha build (link below).

Keep an eye on BlenderNation for more coverage of exciting new Blender features!

About Author

Metin Seven

Dutch freelance 3D illustrator, modeler and visualizer — metinseven.nl | Writer for Blender Nation, CG Boost and CG Cookie | Blender Artists and Blender Devtalk forum moderator | Former news cartoonist, TV series animator, game designer and magazine editor

28 Comments

    • The more samples you use, the less detail is reduced, so it can be handy to still run a denoiser (Intels denoiser node has best results) even over a 1000 sample final render, But always test and compare when using

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