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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book


Rendering is the process that converts your 3D scene to a 2D image or animation. During this process, Blender calculates the properties of materials and lights in the scene to apply shadows, reflections, refractions, and so on—everything you need to build your cool final result and turn it into an image or a video.

Whether you use EEVEE or Cycles, you would access options for rendering within the Render tab in the Properties Editor.

Select your desired render engine. For such a simple scene, not many changes should be made, but here are a couple of things you can try:

  • For EEVEE: If you want the surfaces to reflect other objects, you can enable Screen Space Reflections in the Render Properties tab.

  • For Cycles: Cycles calculates light paths and bounces throughout the scene. This generally means that the more calculations (and more render time), the cleaner the result. If you have a low samples count, you’ll have noise in the resulting render, as the pixels still don’t have enough information to display the complete result. You can increase the render samples amount in the Render Properties tab of the Properties Editor to get a cleaner image.

Now you’re ready to launch the final render. But first, let’s learn how to save the .blend file.

Saving and Loading Your .blend File

Now you’re at a good point to save your file. Rendering can take some time, and something can go wrong in the meantime (such as power failures or software crashes) that could cause you to lose your work. That’s why it’s recommended that you save your file often.

You can save your file by pressing Ctrl+S. If you’re saving a file for the first time, Blender displays a menu where you can select the location where you want to store your file and name the file. If you’ve saved the file previously, press Ctrl+S to overwrite the previous version. If you press Shift+Ctrl+S, Blender displays the Save menu again so that it allows you to create a new version of the file with a different name.

To open a file, press Ctrl+O. Blender shows you the folder navigation menu, where you can look for the .blend file you want to open. On the File menu, you can also access the Open Recent option, which shows you a list of the latest files you’ve worked on so you can open them quickly.

You don’t need to use those shortcuts, of course; you can always choose the Save, Save As, Save Copy, and Open options from the File menu.

Save Copy doesn’t have an assigned keyboard shortcut and it’s a bit unusual, so what does it do? Well, it’s similar to Save As except that it saves the current status of the scene in a file, but then you keep working on the original instead of in the new file.

Launching and Saving the Render

Before launching the render, remember to select the desired Render Engine from the Render tab in the Properties Editor. Remember as well that the image format can be set up in the Output tab of the Properties Editor. Then, you can launch it in several ways:

  • Press F12 for a still render.

  • Press Ctrl+F12 to render an animation.

  • Select the Render Image or Render Animation options from the Render menu on the main menu at the top left of Blender’s interface.

By default, the render will appear in an Image Editor in a new window. You can change this behavior so the render shows up within the main interface: for example, turning the biggest area into an Image Editor and displaying the render in it.

To save the image once it’s rendered, you can do it in different ways:

  • In the Image Editor where the render is shown, go to the Image menu within the header, and select the option to save the image.

  • In the same Image Editor, you can launch the Save menu by pressing Alt+S or Shift+S.

When you’re rendering an animation, images are automatically saved after being rendered, using the format, name, and destination defined in the Output tab of the Properties Editor.

You can press Esc after the render to go back to switch to the main interface again. If you chose to display the render within the main interface, the Image Editor will turn into the previous editor type, while if the render is shown in a different window, it will remain open (you can close it).

Figure 3.14 shows the images that result from both engines’ renders. Given that the scene is very basic, there are no many differences between EEVEE and Cycles renders, although some subtle differences can be spotted. Cycles, for example, has bounced light that spreads some of the monkey head’s red color on the ground and makes the areas in the shadows a bit brighter, making for more realistic lighting. Still, EEVEE got very close with a fraction of the render time. In complex scenes with complex materials, you will find a more noticeable difference, but for now, I just wanted you to try both to see how easy it is to switch between them, given the high compatibility of materials and lights.


FIGURE 3.14 Resulting renders. Left: EEVEE. Right: Cycles.

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