Blender 2.8 is here, and it has Realtime Rendering!

August 1st, 2019

After being in development for 4 years, Blender 2.8 finally got released 2 days ago! Blender 2.8 is the most recent version of Blender. It is the biggest update Blender has ever had. It features a whole new User Interface, realtime rendering, grease pencil, increased Cycles Render performance, and a lot of other cool stuff.

This post will mostly be about the new realtime rendering engine called "Eevee". If you have twitter, I highly recommend following Blender Foundation on Twitter.
I hope you enjoy reading it!

Blender 2.8

So as I mentioned before, we have been waiting for about 4 years for this update. But it's worth the wait. It packs a ton of new useful features that will make your workflow faster, and better. But let's talk about one of the coolest new features that comes with this update; The realtime rendering engine "Eevee".


Eevee is a Realtime rendering engine, which means it can render in realtime. It looks pretty much identical to the more accurate Cycles Render engine. By "accurate", I mean that Cycles uses a rendering method called "Ray Tracing" (More specific, backward path tracing), while Eevee uses a method called "Rasterization".

How does Ray Tracing/backward path tracing work?
The Cycles Render engine traces light rays by sending them from the camera. These rays bounce off of objects, and this way, a realistic image can be generated, because this is pretty much how light works in the real world. (Except for that the light comes from the light source instead of the camera).

How does realtime rendering work, compared to Ray Tracing?
Even though Ray Traced renders can look incredibly realistic, it has one big downside; it takes a LOT of time to render. This is where Eevee comes in handy. As mentioned before, Eevee uses Rasterization. This method is many times faster, because the geometry of the scene is projected onto a raster of pixels. The colors of these pixels are determined by the color of the object, location of the light and a couple more variables. The edges are then anti-aliased, and there you have your rendered frame!
This method is a lot less time consuming than Ray Tracing, but the downside is that the results look less realistic, plus there are some limits in functionality. That's why in most cases Eevee will be used to preview renders, before actually starting the rendering process in Cycles. This way, you are less likely to notice problems in your final render because you already have the possibility to see how the render is going to look like

Eevee - Pros

- Incredibly fast
- Realistic results (in most cases)
- Not that demanding
- Realtime results
- Easy tweaking

Eevee - Cons

- Not physically accurate, so results are not always 100% realistic
- Has its limits
- Needs a GPU

Cycles - Pros

- Phyisically accurate
- Realistic results
- Has a bit more material functionality

Cycles - Cons

- Very demanding
- Needs a good GPU or CPU (GPU preferable)
- takes a long time to render

Eevee vs Cycles, what's best for you?

Personally, I prefer Cycles. Having physically correct renders is what matters for me the most, since it gives a more realistic render result in most cases. Though, that doesn't take away that Eevee is really cool and useful for previewing purposes, and that it CAN be realistic. As a realtime rendering engine, it works amazing!

You can check it out for yourself! Blender is completely free and open source! You might even want to consider donating, since the developers have put a lot of hard work into Blender!

Download Blender or Donate

I hope you enjoyed this blog post. Blender 2.8 has a LOT more features than realtime rendering, but if I'd have to describe every feature, I wouldn't be done by the end of next year :P

Anyway, currently I am working on a lot of cool projects, so stay tuned for a few renders in the following days!

- Daan

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