When you're in the midst of designing a 3D project and want to see a preview of what the final image or video will look like, you'll need to go through the rendering process. The problem with this is that it can take hours to view a test render each time you want to make a simple change. It's worth looking at ways to control your rendering output, no matter what type of 3D softwareyou're using. Turn off more complex design features for test renderings, and your software program will have fewer calculations to contend with when rendering each frame. The following are a few areas to pay particular attention to.

Tips to Reduce 3D Animation Rendering Time

Simplify your Environment

If you're in the middle of designing a scene and want to see a preview of what it's going to look like in a two-dimensional image, there's no need to render all of the details you've created. You can hide objects that aren't important to the overall action. When you want to see what a particular action or character motion is going to look like, you can tune out all of the background effects to give your software far fewer calculations to make. Turn off everything except essential shapes and structures, so that you get the idea of the finished product and what needs to be worked on.

Reduce Scene Dimensions

Before you hit render, if you set the resolution percentage to 50% it will drastically reduce the time it takes to create your image or video. Smaller dimensions mean less information for your computer software to process.

Turn off Ray Tracing

If you've designed components with refractive surfaces in your scene, this could greatly increase the time it takes for rendering. To render the reflections, ray shadows, or any other refractive surfaces, many rays have to be traced for each individual pixel. This is extremely time-consuming and can multiply your render time by 10. Turn off the ray tracing feature in programs like Blender or Autodesk Inventor before you do a test render and you'll greatly reduce this time. In most cases, you won't need to see these effects when your project's a work in progress.

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Simplify Lighting Effects

Every time you start to render a scene, all of the shadows and lighting effects will have to be calculated. Either set your program to save all this data so it doesn't need to be recalculated each time, or turn off shading and more complex lighting effects before hitting render. The number and types of lights will vastly increase render times, particularly if you have more than one type of light that is casting shadows in your scene. Soft shadows with a high quality setting and light decay features will also add to your render time.

Part of what makes today's animation software so great is that it provides you with a complex toolbox of complicated effects. Yet these don't need to be activated in each test render. By turning off these complex design features before rendering, you can cut your processing times in half when you're in the middle of working on any animated scene. This will help streamline your design process and lead to a finished product that's every bit as detailed as your models in the end.