Sampling rates in (Cycles) render mode

I think I have a basic understanding of what sampling is. The number determines how to calculate the lighting for every pixel. Higher samples means better quality, less noise, but a longer render time…

Right? Right.

But I can’t find anything that explains what the range is. Is there an upper limit on the number of samples? Is a higher number of samples always better, or is there a diminshing return?

There’s a preset in the render buttons. by default, it’s set to ‘preview’, but it has another setting: ‘final’. I would assume that is the optimal setting for most renders, but I suppose if you had lots of crazy reflections and refractions and super detailed scene, you’d want to bump it up a bit.

In my experience and from what I’ve heard from others, up to about 1k to 2k samples is where you get your best work and beyond that, it doesn’t seem to help much and just takes way longer to render. However, some scenes with a lot of glass or reflections can still produce some fireflies. Usually, adding a little clamp will help to get rid of those, though if you have a darker scene, you could lose a little lighting detail.


Ah, okay, that answers my question perfectly. I’ll keep what you said about scenes with a lot of reflections in mind. But I’m glad there’s not much point in cranking the samples up to 4million or whatever and spending weeks rendering a still image.