Blender Cycles in action: archviz rendering

a quick demo showcasing the power of blender’s render engine (Cycles) in archvitectural visualization project.
you’ll see how practical cycles is, and how much it helps to quickly set shaders / material colors, change the lighting and set the render views
the video playback run slightly faster than normal speed, but you can see the real render times in the top of the render view “elapsed”

some  info / hints  about this video:

  1. 312 millions polygons in total, rendered with less than 1.5Gb Video RAM
  2. shortcut used at 3:24 : render region, to enable it (ctrl + B) then set the render region, and (ctrl+alt+B) to disable it
  3. the background sky is a mix between a 360° spherical HDRI sky texture and Cycles sky texture
  4. I used a lot of instances (groups, particles) to get the scene optimized
  5. it took me one week of work to model and texture the main scene, without the assets (trees, cars…)

the used hardware specs (GPU rendering):

CPU:   intel core i7 2600 3.5GHz – RAM: 16Gb
GPUs: Geforce GTX285 as a display device
2x Geforce GTX580 as CUDA compute devices

the next time video: Blender Cycles in action – interior rendering

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  • Michal David

    I’m curious about grass. Is it texture or particle system?

    • a simple texture, because at that time hair rendering was not yet supported in GPU Compute

  • Mohammed

    Salam alaikom, i want to know about your machine , and the your os, could you say me how much i have to get to have same machine.

    • wa alaikom assalam wa rahmatu allah,
      well in this demo it’s mainly GPU rendering but I’ll give you the full specs:

      CPU: intel core i7 2600 3.5Ghz
      RAM: 16Gb DDR3 1600Mhz
      GPU1: Geforce 285GTX for display
      GPU2: Geforce 580GTX for CUDA compute (rendering)
      GPU3: Geforce 580GTX for CUDA compute (rendering)
      PSU: 1000watts

  • Ibrahim

    Salamu alaikum
    sahit, Great work man; where are you based ?

    • wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatu Allah, thanks Ibrahim, I’m from Algeria

  • Joff


    Thanx for sharing,

    Just a little question: what’re hardware specs (apart from gpu’s and cpu) ? And software? Blender on linux or win?

    I’d like to make a new machine…

    Thanks again


    • Hi Joff; you’re welcome, this is my hardware spec but it’s becoming somehow old…

      intel core i7 – 3.5Ghz
      ram: 16Gb – DDR3 1600 Mhz
      GPU1: Geforce GTX285
      GPU2: Geforce GTX580
      GPU3: Geforce GTX580
      PSU: 1000watts
      Storage: 2x 1.5 Tb (set in RAID0 mode)
      WACOM Bamboo fun A5

      OS: Ubuntu
      Blender / GIMP / Kdenlive / Draftsight / sketchup / Rawtherapee

      this is a practical benchmark, it will help you choose the right GPU

      if I had to improve it I’ll go for a faster CPU, a GPU with more memory, and replace the display GPU with an nvidia quadro…

      • Joff

        Thanks a lot…

        It has been ages of changes in hardware since my last desktop pc… Now i m using a old mac book pro (2009). No way to have cycles working… Always been with amd but it seems cpu development has stoped and amd firepro not fully working with opecl… That’s whay i was looking for some nvidia hints.

        What’s more, if i turn back to linux i’ll have to work with virtualization (some cad software not working under linux). That’s will mean, i’d require the ability to gpu passthrough…

        Well anyway, how did you configured the 3 videocards? Which motherboard? (2 sli linked?

        Thanks again

        • yes in fact AMD GPUs are not yet supported, and in General Intel/nvidia hardware is much faster but at an unjustified price,
          also nvidia drivers for linux are better than AMD drivers,

          for CAD applications I’m working with Draftsight (for DWG files) it’s free (not open source) and is natively supported linux
          otherwise there’s “WINE” it’s a windows compatiblity layer (no virtualization) that handles well most of windows apps on linux, I use it to run SketchUp

          for multiple GPUs you don’t have to use SLI, simply look for a Motherboard that has 3 pci-e ports and it’s not important to have them all at 16x
          for my case I’m using a “Gigabyte P64A-UD7”

          in general if you’re working with simple scenes the GTX590 is the best deal it’s the fastest GPU around, but it has only 1.5Gb of RAM per GPU (because it’s a bi-GPU device)
          and don’t forget to setup a good Power supply unit 1000watts and above for 3xGPUs

          don’t hesitate if you have other questions.

      • Jolpater

        Hi, I’m totally new and dummy on this blender world (3D in general), my computer render to much slow and I want to buy someone for render movies scenes format (for a movie) but not a complete movie only a few scenes and some characters.
        Coul you please tellme how integrate all this hardware? is a cluster, raid, all cards inside a CPU ? etc. Thanks. (Yes, I’m lost)

        • HI Jolpater
          assuming that you are working with Blender cycles render engine,

          you have two ways to render a 3d scene with your computer

          1)- using the CPU (like an amd or intel core i5, core i7, xeon….)
          2)- or using the GPU (the graphic card) for now blender is only compatible with nvidia graphic cards

          Generally a GPU is much faster than a CPU and to chose the right GPU model depends directly on your budget

          the best Graphic card for now (as the time of writing this comment) is the Geforce TiTAN Z but it costs so much then you have the Geforce 780 ti but since you’re new to 3d I suggest you to start with a lower model like a geforce GTX 760 or Geforce GTX 670….

  • Mclaren

    Your works is so beautiful…
    Thank you so much for your sharing.
    Would you please share a simple version of this model for download?
    For example one of these apartment in a simple scene?
    I really need to make a scene like this but I don’t know how…
    If it is possible, please help me…
    Thank you very much.

  • sparks

    Very awesome renders
    I m curious about interior renders
    how did u rendered them? pls share some tips n tricks on rendering interior.

  • sparks

    Salamu alaikum
    Very awesome renders
    I m curious about interior renders
    how did u rendered them? pls share some tips n tricks on rendering interior.

  • Leon Cheung

    Very nice work! BTW, may I know how much faster the time elaspe is, please? I mean you said it is slightly “elapsed”, but how much exactly? 3x or something? Thanks~

    • it’s about 2x faster if I remember well, I fixed this issue in my recent screen cast

      • Leon Cheung

        Ah, I see. How every that’s still pretty nice! I’m also wondering about the grasses everywhere. Are they all particle instances or just using textures to simulate? You know, I really can’t imagine if they are all particles, since they are countless!

        • since there’s no close up renders to the grass, I used a simple texture, but a sharp one with bump effect, I aslo used some glossiness to accentuate the bump effect.

  • Mohamad Zeina

    Excellent work. Did you make the water lily scene in the 2014 cycles demoreel?

    Is there anywhere I can find a longer version of it? Really beautiful