The Engine

Cycles is Blender’s ray-trace based production render engine and in development since 2011. It was originally developed by Brecht van Lommel, and is maintained by an active team of developers today. Since its release as Apache 2.0 (permissive open source), it’s also in use by other 3D tools, such as Poser and Rhino.


Core specifications
  • Unidirectional path tracing with multiple importance sampling
  • Branched path tracing
  • Multi-core CPU Rendering with SIMD acceleration
  • GPU rendering with NVidia CUDA & AMD OpenCL
  • Multi-GPU support
  • Unified kernel code for CPU and GPU
  • Designed for interactive updates
  • Fast object, shader, light changes
  • Tiled and progressive rendering
Layers & Passes
  • Render layers for decomposing the scene
  • Render passes for geometry and lighting
  • Holdout mattes
  • Instancing
  • Hair curves
  • Volumes
  • Multi-core BVH build
  • Perspective and orthographic cameras
  • Panoramic and fisheye cameras
  • Stereoscopic rendering
  • Depth of field
Motion Blur
  • Cameras
  • Object transforms
  • Meshes and curves
  • Physically based
  • Node based shaders and lights
  • Production tricks
  • Open Shading Language (CPU only)
  • Absorption
  • Scattering and emission
  • Smoke and fire
  • Subsurface scattering
  • Global illumination
  • Point, Sun, Spot and Area lights
  • Mesh lights
  • World background
  • Sky model
  • Light portals for indoor scenes
  • Image textures
  • Environment maps
  • Procedural textures (noise, voronoi, checker…)
  • Bump and normal maps
Cross Platform
  • Windows, Linux and Mac OS X
  • 32 and 64 bit