New Features in Rendering Software for 2024
Architectural design of a building with a spiral atrium surrounded by greenery.New Features in Rendering Software for 2024

The world of 3D rendering continues to advance at a rapid pace. Each year brings innovations that allow artists and designers to create increasingly photorealistic scenes and animations. Some exciting improvements on the horizon will change how 3D professionals work in 2024. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most important updates coming to rendering software and technology in the near future.

Faster Render Times

One of the biggest frustrations for anyone working in 3D is long render times. Waiting hours or even days for a complex scene to fully render can severely slow down a project. Luckily, thanks to software development, rendering engines are finding new ways to speed up this process.

For example, the 2024 version of OctaneRender will introduce AI-accelerated rendering. This uses deep learning algorithms to optimize and expedite the rendering pipeline. Early tests show that complex scenes could render up to twice as fast as current versions using this technology.

Other programs like V-Ray are focusing on utilizing GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) power more efficiently. By leveraging the parallel processing of modern video cards, some tests have shown V-Ray reducing render time by several times. For production studios on tight deadlines, these kinds of performance boosts are invaluable.

Improved Realism Through Ray Tracing

Real-time ray tracing has been a buzzword in the 3D world for the past few years, and this technology will hit its stride in 2024. Nearly all major rendering engines now support some implementation of ray tracing, taking visual realism to new heights.

For example, Chaos Group's V-Ray 5 coming in 2024 will feature full integration with NVIDIA's OptiX engine. This combination will allow for cinematic quality ray-traced images and animations. Redshift and Blender's Cycles engine are also poised to get huge ray tracing updates next year.

As GPU power increases, ray tracing will become more efficient and accessible. Scenes with complex lighting, reflections, and shadows will look more photorealistic than ever before. It brings us one step closer to completely digitally generated visuals being indistinguishable from real life.

AI-Assisted Design Workflows

Leveraging artificial intelligence and deep learning to automate repetitive tasks is an impactful trend across many industries. Rendering engines are applying AI in innovative ways:

Intelligent Asset Creation

  • MetaHuman Creator quickly generates highly realistic human models based on customizable facial attributes and appearance options.
  • SpeedTree's Modeler tool crafts detailed 3D tree models using procedural methods and AI training on real tree data. Users simply draw basic tree shapes.

Autocomplete and Optimization

  • Blender ships with GauGAN integration. This state-of-the-art model can convert doodles into photorealistic landscapes in seconds.
  • V-Ray Scene Optimizer analyzes assets to assign optimal texture sizes and compression settings automatically for given target resolutions.
  • Terragen's AI Assistant suggests terrain modifications to match specific geographical data for accurately simulated nature environments.

Automating tedious and time-intensive tasks allow artists to focus their energy on creative rather than technical challenges. AI will become an indispensable creative tool.

Procedural World Building

Hand-crafting elaborate 3D environments can be immensely time-consuming. Procedural generation tools aim to automate this process through the use of rulesets and AI learning. In 2024, procedural world-building will become even more sophisticated.

Blender is leading the charge here with their Geometry Nodes system. Artists can define a set of parameters and rules, and the software will procedurally generate detailed environments and assets. Designing a dense urban cityscape, for example, can be boiled down to constraints around building size, color, windows, doors, and more.

This technique is great for creating ecosystems as well. Forests, mountain ranges, and other natural environments can spawn infinitely while retaining order and realism. As procedural systems become more advanced in 2024, 3D artists will be able to realize their creative visions faster than ever.

Cloud Rendering Services

Rendering high-quality 3D visuals requires some serious computing power. As asset complexity increases, so do render times. Not every studio has access to a giant render farm to crunch through their workload. This is where cloud rendering services come in.

In 2024, more reliable and affordable cloud rendering options will give artists access to thousands of GPU cores on demand. Services like Fox Renderfarm, AWS Thinkbox, and Deadline offer cloud rendering that scales to your project's needs. No more worrying about buying more hardware or managing on-premise infrastructure.

Some cloud services, like those from Chaos Group and Autodesk, even offer optimization algorithms to analyze your scene and optimize render settings. This makes the process even faster and hassle-free. Rendering locally will still have its benefits, but the cloud is becoming increasingly hard to beat.

Shader Advancements

One area that will see big innovation is shaders - the building blocks used to define the surface properties of materials and textures. More physically accurate and versatile shaders will enable artists to create more photoreal materials with ease.

Redshift, for example, is completely rewriting its shading system for 2024. There will be improved subsurface scattering, voxel-based atmospherics, and layered materials never before seen in other engines. Their shaders will offer advanced controls while remaining artist-friendly.

Materialize from The Pixelary aims to be an all-in-one shader toolkit as well. Their massive library of production-ready smart materials can be tweaked and art-directed while retaining physical accuracy. These advancements will give 3D artists the tools they need to render materials indistinguishable from the real world.

Achieving True Photorealism

Ray tracing, physics-based materials, advanced lighting techniques, and smarter workflows will unlock unprecedented realism, including:

  • Subsurface Scattering - Simulating how light penetrates translucent objects like skin, wax, jade, and other organic materials brings true realism. Redshift, V-Ray, and Arnold all have major updates here.
  • Spectral Rendering - Moving beyond RGB (red, green, and blue — system representing the colors used on a digital display screen), spectral rendering captures the nuances of how light interacts with materials across the electromagnetic spectrum. This takes realism to new scientific heights.
  • 8K+ Render Resolutions - As GPU power expands, 8K and even 16K resolution rendering becomes feasible. This massive amount of detail approaches the limits of human vision.
  • Unified Scene Data - Standards like NVIDIA MDL and Pixar's Universal Scene Description seamlessly share rendering and material data between applications. Different engines can render the same assets consistently.

Real-Time Rendering

Historically, photorealistic results could only be achieved through time-consuming offline final rendering. However, advancements in real-time game engines have closed the gap with traditional renderers.

Unreal Engine 5 delivers cinematic quality visuals in real time thanks to technologies like Lumen, Nanite, and Virtual Shadow Maps. Directors can now scout shots and tweak lighting, materials, and assets while immediately viewing the results. This real-time feedback unlocks new levels of creative freedom.

Even offline renderers like V-Ray and Arnold are developing interactive modes for their viewport rendering. While final frame production may still use traditional rendering, the ability to closely inspect materials, lighting, and compositions in real-time in the viewport will greatly improve iterative workflows.


It’s an exciting time for rendering software. 2024 will bring massive leaps forward in visual quality and productivity through innovative new features. Faster render times, ray tracing integrations, smarter procedural systems, cloud services, and shader advancements will give artists more power than ever before. Even the most complex and demanding projects will be possible right from an artist’s workstation. If these advancements are any indication, the world of 3D rendering has an amazing future ahead. The only limit is an artist's imagination.