Considering switching to Cycles

A few years ago I was looking at Cycles, but it didn’t seem mature enough yet to switch from the internal renderer.

Well, I notice now a denoiser, shadow catcher, a new general purpose shader, and the Filmic stuff, so I thought maybe it is a good time to finally start using it.

However, I made a real quick scene and I saw what I remembered was such a turn off years ago: fireflies!

I know there are lots of ways to fix this, but straight out of the box in a very simple setup, they are appearing just like when I first saw them. Isn’t there a quick fix yet or setting to deal with this issue?

But my main reason for posting here is to ask ‘what I should learn first about Cycles?’ What area should I focus on in the beginning to get a better understanding of how it works? Maybe someone who has been using Cycles for awhile can direct me, if he was just starting out today and could know back then what he knows now.

Since cycles works completely different to BI it is simply impossible to fix this - it is an (unwanted) part of a raytracing renderer.
BUT: a new ‘quick fix’ is to enable the denoiser. This will remove nearly all noise without destroying your render!

  • Take a look at the node editor and how materials are made there - focus mainly on new tutorials which are already using the principled shader. Maybe this tutorial will help you:
  • Other than that: take a look on the render settings: you need to know what samples are and - if avaiable - how to use your GPU for rendering. Furthermore, enable the “auto tile size addon” and consider using HDRi lighting
  • Cycles offers also a few new workflow options what means that also some other things besides of the material tab have changed - you should click through all tabs and take a look at the new entries there.

Fireflies are overly bright pixels which have a much higher value than the pixels around. Those do not appear in a simple setup. How to deal with them depends on the scene setup.

The thing that is different with Cycles is that it can bounce light and change it as it does (global illumination, GI). That mimics how real light behaves, which means that the scene can make use of lighting setups from the real world. By default GI is on because the bounces are set >0. The amount of bounces, light sources, and how many samples it uses, determine the clarity of the final image and rendering time to get there.

“Fireflies are overly bright pixels which have a much higher value than the pixels around. Those do not appear in a simple setup.”

This is about as simple as it gets. I mean just a very quick test. It uses the new material with mostly default settings.
test_fireflies.blend (567 KB)
I’m sure there are ways to fix it, but I was wondering what the quickest and easiest is. I rarely see people with this problem in their renders. It is basically a first impression from me. Well, not really a first impression, but like I said it is the first issue I notice.

And no matter how simple the problem, people make it hard by not including an example file and by abstracting their questions.

The result is noise from reflective caustics. Disabling those in render properties -> light paths gets rid of it

As Ja12 pointed out , it works perfectly.

15 sec render. :slight_smile:


test_fireflies-gone.blend (618 KB)

In such cases, search engine is your friend.
1st shot lands on 7 Ways to Get Rid of Fireflies Once and For All

Yes I saw that a long time ago. I just hoped that by now it wouldn’t be as bad as it used to be. You can say I’m ignorant and new to this, which is true, but you can’t deny my reaction that this is still an issue. I remember first trying Cycles and being disappointed about this, and thinking that it was just because Cycles was too new. I don’t use any other 3d programs or render engines, so I don’t have anything to compare it to.

Messing around with Cycles, it seems pretty nice. I guess other than the fireflies my only real complaint is how slow it is. Nodes are nothing new for me, but it looks like I can’t really use Cycles without lots of nodes, because the information in the material panel is really limited and hard to visualize.

BTW, photorealism isn’t that important to me, and the main reason I use Blender is for the ability to have different render angles that are so much easier in 3d than trying to draw something consistently from different angles. I use it mainly to make sprites. And animated sprites are insanely hard to get consistent in 2d.

In that sense, Blender Internal is a great render engine, but it has gotten to the point where 90% or more of all tutorials are in Cycles these days. I see all these exciting new things in Cycles, and I feel like I’m getting left behind . . .