Best 3D Rendering Software

3D rendering software takes user-created 3D models and places them into fully-realized 3D environments or images. With 3D rendering programs, graphic designers and media developers can insert disparate objects and characters, imported from 3D modeling programs, into a graphically appropriate settling. These 3D rendered images are often scalable, navigable, and interactive. 3D rendering software may include some animation tools or integrate with animation software to bring scenes to life, for later use in video games, movies, television shows, or other media. These programs can also have features such as lighting and texturing, which can add depth and realism to scenes. Visual artists in entertainment, automotive, architecture, advertising, and web design industries utilize these tools to create lifelike scenes for use in media or client engagement purposes.

To qualify for inclusion in the 3D Rendering category, a product must:

  • Provide tools for rendering and manipulating 3D environments
  • Offers features such as lighting, texturing, and wind effects to bring environments to life
  • Allow users to insert 3D models, objects, and characters into renderings
  • Generate rendered images to be explored by external users or used in multimedia or websites

3D Rendering Software Grid® Overview

The best 3D Rendering Software products are determined by customer satisfaction (based on user reviews) and market presence (based on products’ scale, focus, and influence) and placed into four categories on the Grid®:
  • Products in the Leader quadrant are rated highly by G2 Crowd users and have substantial Market Presence scores. Leaders include: Cinema 4D, 3ds Max Design, Blender, KeyShot, and Maya
  • High Performers are highly rated by their users, but have not yet achieved the Market Presence of the Leaders. High Performers include: Thea Render and Lumion
  • Contenders have significant Market Presence and resources, but have received below average user Satisfaction ratings or have not yet received a sufficient number of reviews to validate the solution. Contenders include: SOLIDWORKS Visualize
  • Niche solutions do not have the Market Presence of the Leaders. They may have been rated positively on customer Satisfaction, but have not yet received enough reviews to validate them. Niche products include: ZBrush, LightWave 3D, V-Ray, and Substance Designer
G2 Crowd Grid® for 3D Rendering
Leaders
High Performers
Contenders
Niche
Market Presence
Satisfaction
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    3D Rendering reviews by real, verified users. Find unbiased ratings on user satisfaction, features, and price based on the most reviews available anywhere.

    3ds Max Design software is a comprehensive 3D design, modeling, animation, and rendering solution for architects, designers, civil engineers, and visualization specialists.

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    Bring your imagination to life with Maya® 3D animation, modeling, simulation, and rendering software. Maya helps artists tell their story with one fast, creative toolset.

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    KeyShot is real-time ray-tracing and global illumination program used to create 3D renderings, animations and interactive visuals. With the CPU-based architecture, photo realistic real-time rendering can be achieved even on simple laptops without the need for special graphics cards. It supports import for the greatest number of 3D file formats out of any rendering software, importing over 20 different file types, has an incredibly simple user interface with drag-n-drop material and environment presets, interactive labeling, texture mapping, physical lighting, animation and much more.


    Cinema 4D Studio is the very best that MAXON has to offer for professional 3D artists. If you want to create advanced 3D graphics but need a helping hand to ensure you create jaw-dropping graphics quickly and easily, then this is the choice for you.

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    Blender is an open source 3D creation suite that supports the 3D pipeline, modeling, rigging, animation, simulation, rendering, compositing, and motion tracking, video editing, and game creation.

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    Lumion is Architectural Software. Make an image, a video or a 360 panorama, which you can view with VR glasses. Render ultra fast. Make changes all the time. Upload a 3D design (made with Revit, SketchUp Rhino, Archicad or many other 3D modelling programs) and upload your design into Lumion. Lumion includes a large library with beautiful materials and objects. Dress up your model with sky, grass, glass, materials, people, lighting, furniture, cars etc. and add effects. Feel the space. It's easy to learn. This render engine is the fastest in the world. With Lumion anyone can make beautiful renders.


    SOLIDWORKS Visualize provides a suite of standalone software tools that combine industry-leading rendering capabilities with design-oriented features and workflows.


    Substance Designer is a node-based non-destructive application for creating materials. Edit complete texture sets fast with the non-linear workflow and see your changes apply simultaneously to all your outputs. Unleash the power of Substance Designer and focus on what really matters: your art.


    Thea Render is a physically-based global illumination renderer of high quality. It is a unique renderer that is able to render using state-of-the-art techniques in biased photorealistic, unbiased and GPU modes. Thea Render comes with its own standalone application (Studio) with various tools, material editor and advanced staging operations along with integration (plugins) on various popular modeling solutions.


    ZBrush is a graphic application aimed at simplifying the science behind generating computer graphics.


    Chaos Group provides state of the art rendering solutions for architectural, VFX, film, media and entertainment, automotive design, and other industries.


    LightWave 3D combines a state-of-the-art renderer with powerful, intuitive modeling, and animation tools.

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    Toolbag allows 3D artists a powerful and efficient workflow, while delivering exemplary rendering quality to every stage of the 3D art production pipeline.


    MODO® is your starting point for creative exploration. Whether you’re creating addictive real-time experiences, innovative product designs, compelling advertising images, or engaging film and video content, MODO’s artist-friendly tools let you iterate freely to realize your ideas’ full creative potential.

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    Artlantis is a 3D rendering application developed for architects and designers, ideal for quickly and easily creating high resolution renderings and animations.

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    SideFX develops Houdini, a 3D animation and visual effects software for use in film, commercials and video games.


    Cheetah3D is a powerful and easy to learn 3D modeling, rendering and animation application which was developed from the ground up for Mac OS X.

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    Corona Renderer is an integrated solution for selected 3D applications. It's both biased and unbiased renderer that's capable of outputting photorealistic visuals.

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    Kerkythea is a freeware software that can produce high quality renders without spending a cent on software licensing.

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    Redshift is a GPU-accelerated renderer offering the ultimate in flexibility and control at incredible speeds.

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    Academy Award winning Massive Prime™ is the complete solution for authoring, directing and rendering custom autonomous agents for animation and visual effects

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    Maxwell Render is rendering technology capable of simulating light exactly as it behaves in the real world

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    OctaneRender uses the graphics card in your computer to render photo-realistic images super fast.


    Persistence of Vision Raytracer is a free Software tool for creating stunning three-dimensional graphics. The source code is available for those wanting to do their own ports.

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    RenderMan is a high performance renderer built to tackle the most complicated 3D imaginable.

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    WebGL is a cross platform, web standard for low level 3D graphics that brings plugin-free 3d to the web, implemented into the browser.

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    3DEXCITE software, solutions, and CGI services provide high-end 3D visualizations in real-time for high-impact storytelling across all media channels.


    Whether you're looking to create whole three di­men­sional worlds or have a two di­men­sional project in mind, Hash Animation:Master is the 3D soft­ware you need to design and render amazing imagery and animation... from the comfort of your kitchen table!

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    appleseed is a modern renderer designed to produce photorealistic images, animations and visual effects.

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    Arnold is a fast, memory efficient and scalable physically-based raytracer.

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    Art of Illusion is a free, open source 3D modelling and rendering studio. Many of its capabilities rival those found in commercial programs. Highlights include subdivision surface based modelling tools, skeleton based animation, and a graphical language for designing procedural textures and materials.

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    Clarisse iFX is a 2D/3D animation software which is the fusion of an animation package, a compositing software and a 3d rendering engine.

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    Direct3D is a low-level graphics API that enables you to manipulate visual models of 3D objects and take advantage of hardware acceleration such as video graphics cards.


    Flamingo nXt 5 allows you to easily create stunning, life-like images in Rhino.

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    form·Z's ability to combine solid and surface modeling has made it a favorite in multiple design fields that engage in the articulation of 3D forms and spaces. Available for the Mac and Windows, it adds interoperability between the two platforms as it allows users to open their files on either one.


    FurryBall is an extremely fast rendering system using the processing power of your GPU instead of your CPU. FurryBall offers UNBIASED Monte Carlo raytracing (path trace - similar like CPU Arnold renderer), with real-time progressive preview in the viewport. Final frame rendering to multiple file format, layers and passes are obvious. FurryBall was developed for purposes of CGI animated movies, VFX and feature movie rendering. FurryBall RT is extra simple and easy to use for an artist - you can tune whole image quality with only a single parameter if you want. GPU rendering doesn't load you CPU at all - much faster work on your system during rendering. FurryBall RT can be used also like GPU preview render for Arnold render, because it supports Arnold standard material too - almost all parameters are supported. Try those samples. Each license comes with ALL THREE plugins (Maya, Cinema 4D, and 3DS Max) with very unique and smooth collaboration between them. FurryBall fully supports an unlimited number of GPU in a single computer and also can be used like standalone renderer.


    Indigo Renderer is a physically based and photorealistic renderer which simulates the physics of light to achieve near-perfect image realism.

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    NVIDIA IRAY is physically based rendering technology that generates photorealistic imagery by simulating the physical behavior of light and materials.


    LumenRT offers combination of tools to rapidly create photographic images and ultra-high definition videos of your projects.

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    LuxRender simulates the flow of light according to physical equations that produced realistic images of photographic quality.

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    mental ray is a feature rich, high performance 3D rendering software that creates images of outstanding quality and unsurpassed realism based on advanced ray tracing techniques.


    OGRE3D is a scene-oriented, 3D engine written in C++ that is designed to help developers produce application utilizing hardware-accelerated 3D graphics.


    Render[in] 3 gives SketchUp users the high-definition, photorealistic renderings they've been looking for, in a robust, easy-to-use application.

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    Twinmotion is a real-time visualization software changing the way architects and designers interact with their models.

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    3D-Coat is the one application that has all the tools you need to take your 3D idea from a block of digital clay all the way to a production ready, fully textured organic or hard surface model.

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    High performance production rendering software & tools with unmatched support services.

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    AIR is an advanced 3D graphics renderer with a unique architecture and extensive features designed for the rapid production of high-quality images.

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    This is a multi platform engine which helps You to define scenes that are synchronized through internet among the users who share the session. As ApertusVR is not a framework, the plugin structure ensures an ease of use. With ApertusVR You can create assets with ease, matching special requirements that your asset needs to fulfil, or You can embed our engine to your existing development giving a new feature to your application.

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    AppGameKit VR adds powerful and easy to use VR commands to your core AppGameKit Script language. With just a few commands you can start to develop your own VR experiences, from detecting the head mounted displays to registering touch events from the touch controllers

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    A comprehensive and integrated 3D rendering engine.

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    Arion core is deeply optimized to the highest programming standards and ensure you a solid and steady workflow.

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    CentiLeo is a photorealistic interactive rendering of huge 3D content on a cheap personal computer, desktop or even laptop.

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    3D modeling, animation, photorealistic rendering, photorealistic VR content creation, CAD/CAM, 3D printing, laser-cutting and much more!


    FELIX is a cloud computing application, which means that the renderings are computed on a data center instead than on your PC.

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    finalRender 3.5 SE for 3ds Max and 3ds Max Design for bigger production houses and advanced users seeking the maximum in quality and flexibility, as well as, seamless integration with mainstream user base.


    FluidRay RT is a real-time global illumination rendering application. You can render beautiful pictures in a matter of seconds.

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    FPrime is your companion during the entire process of creation from initial setup, through texturing and lighting, keyframing, and of course final rendering.

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    Fujiyama is free and open source, distribution oriented ray-tracing renderer to handle production image rendering.


    Gelato is designed for the creation of 3D visual effects and animation in feature films.


    Geomagic Freeform is a multi-purpose 3D sculpting design platform that lets you create complex, sculptural, production-ready 3D models and quickly prepare them for 3D printing, or mold and die manufacturing.


    Geomagic® Sculpt™ is a simple, fast yet sophisticated precision voxel 3D sculpting and modeling software solution.


    Guerilla Render is a production-proven look development and lighting solution designed for the Animation and VFX industries. Guerilla Render is composed of a lighting tool and a rendering software.

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    Horde3D is a small open source 3D rendering engine that is written to create a graphics engine that offers visual effects expected in next-generation games that has a intuitive interface accessible from any programming language.


    iC3D ia a real-time, all-in-one package design software that lets you generate live 3D digital mockups on-the-fly, including cartons, labels, flexibles, bottles, shrink wraps and in-store visualization.


    iClone is an instant 3D visualization and digital storytelling with unique real-time animation engine that accelerate your production speed by rendering everything you see instantly, without the wait.


    Intergraph Smart Laser Data Engineer provides state-of-the-art point cloud rendering performance in CloudWorx for Intergraph Smart 3D users via the JetStream point cloud engine. With its instant loading and persistent full rendering of the point cloud during user actions regardless of the size of the dataset Smart Laser Data Engineer delivers ultimate fidelity to the user.


    Katana gives you the creative scope and scalability to meet the needs of today’s most demanding CG-rendering projects with its efficient, collaborative approach to look development and lighting.

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    Kray is a Global Illumination renderer that allows fast and accurate rendering of scenes where indirect light plays important role.

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    Mitsuba consists of a set of core libraries and different plugins that implement functionality ranging from materials and light sources to complete rendering algorithms.

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    moskitoRender bring the power of shading and rendering flexibility to GPU rendering


    NOX is a free stand-alone, physically-accurate state-of-an-art renderer.

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    nXtRender optimizes design-time by saving the settings together with the 3D model and allowing post-render processing.

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    Patchwork 3D software helps you transform CAD data into photorealistic 3D models for industrial use.Patchwork 3D makes it easy to use real-time rendering to shorten design cycles, review product design and configuration with client, or to base your communication, marketing and sales on stunning renders through the use of innovative and differentiating solutions such as: VR headset, CAVE, Powerwall, Augmented and mixed reality, 3D web configurator, 3D web sharing and collaboration, tablet and mobile, online or offline...


    Penguin is a conceptual, sketch and cartoon, non-photometric scan line renderer.

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    Radiance is intended to aid lighting designers and architects by predicting the light levels and appearance of a space prior to construction.

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    Reylectron is a rendering for SketchUp

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    The latest full-featured 3D modeling, rendering and animation software package from Realsoft.

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    RenderDotC, is a photorealistic renderer* designed to meet the demands of special effects for film.

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    Shade/Shape automatically turns your 2D artwork into 3D rendered imagery!

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    SimLab Composer is a complete, easy, affordable and feature rich 3D Communication Software.

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    SmartPlant Interop Publisher (Publisher) provides a single solution to handle various 3D model and data formats - such as graphics and object properties - for display and use in SmartPlant Review, Intergraph Smart 3D, SmartPlant Foundation, and Intergraph Smart Construction applications.


    SOLIDWORKS Visualize Boost is an add-on product to SOLIDWORKS Visualize Professional that greatly increases render speeds and productivity by allowing it to send jobs to other machine(s), freeing up your computing resources for Visualize, CAD, or other demanding applications


    Sunflow is an open source rendering system for photo-realistic image synthesis. It is written in Java and built around a flexible ray tracing core and an extensible object-oriented design.

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    Unilock strives to stay on the leading edge of design and manufacturing innovation, to reflect the evolving needs, wants and sense of style of its customers.

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    Verge3D is a real-time renderer and a toolkit which allows for creating rich interactive experiences running on websites. Verge3D also offers an integration module for Blender, a well-known open source 3D modelling and animation suite.


    YafaRay is a raytracing open source render engine

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