Best 3D Render Engines: Top Options

3D render engines are the software items that perform the transformation of the prepared 3D scene into a 2D image or animation. They can be based on different methods, such as ray-tracing, rasterization, path-tracing. Depending on the speed and the outcome expected, it comes in different types – real-time and non real-time. Which is why 3D rendering market provides an array of solutions for 3D rendering – different programs that are designed to satisfy different needs.

Over the years, we have acquired a large experience in 3D rendering services and worked with different kinds of software. We therefore invite you to profit from the results of our work and consider 7 options that we found particularly effective and reliable:

3D Render Engines – Exhibit 1: Mental Ray

Best 3D Render Engines: Top Options. MentalRay

First of all, this is a proprietary software item. It was created by Mental Images and now belongs to Nvidia company.

This renderer can come as standalone software and be run on Linux, Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows. Furthermore, Mental Ray supports  AutoCAD, Revit, Inventor, 3ds Max, Maya, Softimage, CATIA, Cinema 4D and many others.

Mental Ray is considered to be one of the best options by specialists of 3D rendering services. This rendering software is based on ray-tracing. Most importantly, this 3D render engine supports the technology of distributive rendering. Mental Ray is a popular choice in the sphere of architecture. For it has a lot of features, can be customized and allows to deliver high quality renderings. Furthermore, this render engine is a widespread choice for design and even film industry. As for the films, Mental Ray allowed to create visual effects for  Star Wars, Matrix, Hulk and many others.

Exhibit 2: Iray Best 3D Render Engines: Top Options. Iray

As the previous one, this top-tier render engine was developed by Mental Images and is now owned by Nvidia.

Most importantly, Iray is a payware.

As for the plugins, this 3D render engine can be integrated into 3ds Max, CATIA,  Maya, Bunkspeed, Cinema 4D. Most notably, Iray is compatible with such platforms as Windows, Linux and Mac.

Unlike Mental Ray, Iray 3D render engine is based on behavior of materials and light. It is particularly popular with designers owing to its user-friendly interface. Another smart feature of this software – it is time-based. That is, one can programme the duration of the rendering process. As well as that, it is possible to choose indefinite amount of time and stop the rendering once satisfied with the result. This comes particularly handy when you don’t need a high quality 3D rendering, but  merely a draft to illustrate one’s idea.

Iray is mainly used by Designers, Architects, Engineers, Visual Effects Artists. As for the spheres it is useful for, those are film industry, architecture, design, engineering, marketing and advertising. Learning to use this renderer is not easy, although that’s not the hardest piece of software to use.

Exhibit 3: Maxwell Render  Best 3D Render Engines: Top Options. Maxwell

This renderer is a proprietary commercial software item developed by Next Limit Technologies.

It belongs to standalone rendering engines.

This software item can be run on Microsoft Windows, Linux, Mac OS X.

It has plugins for such programs as ArchiCAD, Cinema 4D, Maya, Modo, Rhinoceros, Sketchup, SolidWorks and many others. Most noteworthy, Maxwell Render has the reputation of being one of the most realistic 3D render engines. It has a lot of useful features, among which stands out the possibility to adjust the camera after the rendering process begins (although it increases the rendering time).

This renderer is not easy to master, but there’s plenty of information on the Internet. So, with a bit of time and patience one can achieve the goal.

The main target audience using this 3D render engine are architects, designers, visual effects artists. This way, Maxwell Render is widely used in architectural visualization, film, animation, product design.

Exhibit 4: Lumion Best 3D Render Engines: Top Options. Lumion

Lumion is a commercial standalone software developed by Act-3D.

It is available as a standalone program, and can be run on Windows Vista, 64-bit, Windows 7,8 and 10, as well as Mac OS X.

This rendering engine also has plugins f