When starting to learn Blender, it is important to choose the right rendering engine. Blender comes with three rendering engines: Blender Internal, Blender Cycles, Blender Game. Blender Internal is Blender’s default renderer, Cycles is an engine that is used for more realistic renderings, and Game is the engine for rendering games/real time. The Beta version of Blender 2.80 also has another renderer (Eevee) but we won’t be talking about that in this article.
In this article we will be comparing Internal and Cycles by looking at the pros and cons of each renderer.
Cycles: Pros and Cons
Cycles Rendering engine is mostly used for high end renderings and photo realism, but also has some drawbacks too.
- Highly realistic materials and lighting
- Intuitive material nodes
- Widely used (lots of tutorials)
- Many different materials nodes
- Longer rendering times
- Can be a little daunting looking at all the material options
- Lighting can be tough to master
Let’s analyze the Pros first, then we can take a look at the cons. The first pro is that Cycles render has many more material nodes then internal, which make it much easier to create the effect you are looking for. The second pro that we can look at is how intuitive the material nodes are. The cycles material nodes can look daunting at first, but after a little while they become second nature. This is partly due to well named clean looking sliders and inputs. Another important pro is the fact that cycles is the more widely used rendering engine for Blender and therefore has many more tutorials on it.
As many pros as there are, there are also some cons. One big con is the rendering times. Blender Cycles render is really quite slow when rendering scenes with complex lighting or materials and can feel like it is taking forever when rendering animations. Another con is how hard the lighting can be to master, sometimes taking years to understand how to achieve the best results.
Internal: Pros and Cons
As good as Cycles is Blender Internal has quite a few pros too. Let’s take a look at them and then we can compare them to Cycles’ pros and cons.
- Quicker rendering times
- Better Exports
- Quicker Materials
- Can be harder to have realistic materials/lighting
- Less widely used
- Less material options
- Less intuitive material nodes
Now that we have seen both pros and cons of both different engines, we can compare them. One of the pros of the internal renderer is that it has better exports, and I thought I should explain this. As Blender’s default renderer, Blender Internal is perfected and it will export better to formats like FBX. Where cycles can’t export the materials properly through formats like FBX, the internal renderer can.
In my mind the biggest con on my list is the fact that it is harder to have realistic materials and lighting. I said before that cycles could be hard to master, but with Blender Internal, it is very very hard to achieve realistic lighting (and materials). This is partly due to the fact that the materials nodes are less intuitive.
Each renderer has its own specialties and and weak spots, but I hope that his article has cleared up some things for you. Whatever render you decide, stick to it and you will soon master it.
If you missed it, see our last article here.