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Blender Announces Cycles X: The Blazingly Fast Future of Cycles

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On the Livestream celebrating Cycles' announcement 10 years to the day, Brecht Van Lommel announced "Cycles X", a 6-month research project he is undertaking with Sergey Sharybin, that aims to reshape Cycles into the render engine of the future.

Cycles of the Future

The purported goal of Cycles X is to refresh the architecture of Cycles, in order for fundamental improvements to be made, pushing the renderer far beyond what quick optimizations can achieve. Here are the main goals of the project as per Brecht:

  • Improve the architecture for future development
  • Improve usability of viewport and batch rendering
  • Improve performance on modern CPUs and GPUs
  • Introduce more advanced rendering algorithms

The development of Cycles X is taking place in a separate Cycles X branch to allow the freedom to experiment and iterate.

Speed X Performance

Currently, new CUDA and OptiX kernels are already in place, giving us a glimpse of the absolute massive performance improvements we can expect, which seem to scale up with the complexity of the scenes:

The performance increase is not restricted to rendering only, with viewport performance also being vastly improved on all levels.

More, More, More

Brecht has outlined all these details and more in a blog post on the Blender Developers Blog. Check it out for more information, or re-watch the stream on the links below:

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Mario Hawat

Mario Hawat is a Lebanese 3D artist, writer, and musician currently based in Paris. He is a generalist with a special focus on environments, procedural and generative artworks. Open to freelance work.

8 Comments

  1. Looking forward to this! I've thought recently that Cycles has gotten slower than I remember, but when I went back and looked at some old scenes what I found was that I've just gotten better at lighting and am making higher detailed models etc. I do animation so quality vs. time is a big consideration, and so this will be a huge help! THANK YOU BRECHT, Sergey and team!

    • to quote them:
      "OpenCL rendering kernels. The combination of the limited Cycles split kernel implementation, driver bugs, and stalled OpenCL standard has made maintenance too difficult. We can only make the kinds of bigger changes we are working on now by starting from a clean slate.
      We are working with AMD and Intel to get the new kernels working on their GPUs, possibly using different APIs. This will not necessarily be ready for the first release, the implementation needs to reach a higher quality bar than what is there now. Long term, supporting all major GPU hardware vendors remains an important goal."

  2. Does this mean the focus shift from Eevee? Still, this enhancement is welcome as Cycles X has minimal latency, both CPU and GPU, and offers more contrast. And more speed is good for older hardware. Still though, the smoke in video #4 (Adaptive sampling) is not rendered. Why?

    • No, Eevee and Cycles are developed independently from each other by different teams/individuals. Brecht only works on Cycles so no resources are being channeled away from Eevee.

    • “Still though, the smoke in video #4 (Adaptive sampling) is not rendered. Why?”

      It’s still in the early stages of development and thus feature incomplete. Volumes, shadow catcher functionality, multi-GPU support, etc will be added before it is added to the Blender master branch.

  3. MirceaKitsune on

    Blender developers: "We wish to announce that after 10 years Cycles is going to be much faster when rendering on the GPU!"

    Linux users with open-source graphics drivers who spent those 10 years waiting to have GPU support at all: "Are our feelings a joke to you?"

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