Best Rendering Settings for Cycles

blender cycles render settings

When doing a final render of a still or animation you want the finest quality, but sometimes it can be hard to figure out the best settings for your render. In this article we are going to be exploring the best rendering settings for Blender 2.9.

Still Renders

For your still renders a very important part of your image is the camera size. You can adjust this by dragging the resolution sliders in the properties panel to get the desired size. For square I recommend 1920 x 1920 and for widescreen 1920 x 1080. This will give your render a big composition boost.

Next you will see the slider under the resolution settings. This will be set at 100% or 50%, depending on your setup. This slider is a multiplier for your resolution above. Drag it down to 50% for a quicker render with half the resolution that you have set, or keep it 100 for the set resolution. Keep this at 100% unless you want a really high resolution render,. If you do, set it to 110% or 120%. (Fg. 1)

blender resolution settings
(Fg. 1) The resolution settings

After adjusting your camera settings, the next step is the sampling settings. There you can find your render samples and your preview samples. I would recommend your preview samples be at 0, because that will allow an infinite number of samples when you are in the rendered viewport. For render samples, it is all about your scene. For a darker scene, use more samples (700 – 1200) and for a lighter scene, less. (200 – 600). As a rule of thumb, you want more samples on interior scenes than exterior scene, because they have more complex lighting. (Fg. 2)

blender sampling menu
(Fg. 2) The sampling menu

One last thing you can do to help give you a clearer scene is to use Cycles Denoising. Go into the Render Layers tab next to the Render tab (looks like 2 photos) and at the bottom you will find denoising. Click the checkmark to enable it. The default settings for this are pretty good, so most of the time I leave them the same. (Fg. 3)

blender denoising menu
(Fg. 3) Cycles Denoising

Now you should have a good quality still render. There are a few more settings that you can tweak, but for most of your renders all you will need are those. Next we will be looking at how to render animations in Blender.

Rendering Animations

Rendering animations in Blender can be difficult at times, but with the right knowledge it can be fast and easy. To start off, you will need the desired sampling settings and camera settings. If you have read above you will know how to set up those. After those are in order, we need to adjust our output settings, which you will find in the Output settings (in the render tab). There you will need select the format Blender will render your video in. If you wanted to render your animation in one file I would suggest AVI JPEG, but the best way to do this is by selecting JPEG. This will render every frame of your animation into separate JPEG files, which you can join into one animation with Blender later. This way you can start and stop your render at any time, while still saving your progress. After you have selected your format, you will want to select the folder you want to output the file(s) to. (Fg. 4)

blender output settings
(Fg. 4) The output settings

After you have done all this you can render your animation by clicking on the animation button at the top of the render tab.

If you have rendered your animation into JPG files, you will need to join all of them together. All of the JPG files of your animation are called an image sequence. To join them, go into Blender’s video editing layout and hit Shift + A to add a new item. Click on the image button in the add menu, then navigate into where you image sequence is stored and select all the files. Now that they are loaded into Blender’s video editing suite, make sure that it is aligned with the start of your timeline (drag it or hit G and move your mouse). Adjust your output to AVI JPEG and hit animation. This time your animation will render in a couple of seconds, because it is just joining the already rendered images. (Fg. 5)

blender image sequence (video editor)
(Fg. 5) An image sequence.

I hope you have learned something about the best Blender render settings with this article, and that you have the best of luck with your new renders.

If you missed last week’s article, you can see it here.

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