15 Best free rendering software

Best free rendering 3D Rendering

Intro

With professional 3D rendering software, it becomes much easier to create unforgettable design projects. Now, you can turn your ideas into beautiful models and prototypes and use them for different purposes.

These programs allow you to create models from any level or any complex. Choosing the most suitable 3D rendering programs is often difficult, as it is not easy to find one that has all the features you need. Some 3D editors are free, but still good enough. So, we offer you the list of the best rendering software. Below you will find our selection of rendering programs and a description of each of them. You may find some of these programs in the article about the Best 3D rendering software. Information is relevant for 2021.

Best free 3D rendering software

Name Level Usage OS Version Last version
BlenderFor professionals and amateursModeling, design, animation, architectural renderingWindows, macOS, LinuxFree2021
CyclesFor professionals and amateursModeling, design, animation, architectural renderingWindows, macOS, LinuxFree2021
SketchUp FreeFor professionals and beginners3D modeling Windows, macOSFree2021
LuxCoreRenderFor professional and amateursArchitectural rendering and visualizationWindows, macOS, LinuxFree2020
KerkytheaFor professionals and amateursAnimation, architectural rendering, texturing, modelingWindows, macOS, LinuxFree2018
Sweet Home 3DFor professionals and beginners3D interior modeling and visualizationWindows, macOS, LinuxFree2021
Houdini ApprenticeFor professionals and amateurs3D modeling, animation, renderingWindows, macOS, LinuxThe free version of Houdini FX2020
EnscapeFor professionals and amateursArchitectural visualizationWindowsFree trial 2021
Daz StudioFor professionals3D modeling  Windows, macOSFree2021
VectaryFor professionals3D modeling Windows, macOS, LinuxFree version2021
ClarisseFor professionals3D rendering Windows, macOS, LinuxFree learning edition2021
Guerilla RenderFor professionals3D rendering Windows, LinuxFree
Wings 3DFor amateurs3D modeling Windows, macOS, LinuxFree2019
FurryBallFor professionals and amateursAnimation, architectural renderingWindows, macOS, LinuxFree2015
Render ManFor professionals 3D rendering, animationWindows, macOS, LinuxFree for non-commercial purposes2020

Best free rendering software in details

1. Blender

blender logo image

Level: For professionals and amateurs

OS: Windows, macOS, Linux

Usage: Modeling, design, animation, architectural rendering

Certainly, Blender has to be on the top of this list. Unlike LuxRender, Blender is already a full-fledged 3D graphics and animation editor. The app is free and includes modeling, animation, post-processing, and video editing tools with audio, and most importantly, rendering tools.

Blender is considered a good alternative to paid software. However, it is a little off the beaten path. So, if you ever want to switch to something else, you might run into difficulties. Still, Blender can be a good program to learn. Images and animations are competitive compared with other programs. It is one of the best free 3D modeling software.

2. Cycles

Level: For professionals and amateurs

OS: Windows, macOS, Linux

Usage: Modeling, design, animation, architectural rendering

If you are going to use an open-source Blender, you have to know about its unbiased render engine Cycles, that built-in GPU- accelerated. It is a flexible and speedy engine.

You can create photorealistic renderings of any complexity with a system of nodes used for materials. The great advantages of the engine are the ability to quickly view the result directly in the 3D viewport, as well as rendering using GPU. So, it is an excellent choice for beginners. This free 3D software allows the creation of stunning characters for games and various architectural objects.

3. SketchUp Free

Level: For professionals and beginners

OS: Online

Usage: 3D modeling 

SketchUp Free is a free version of SketchUp. The program is used for 3D modeling. You can add new details, textures, and all kinds of elements to your models. The set comes with built-in realistic textures.

This 3D modeling software free has a simple and user-friendly interface, shadow setting functions, the ability to use various plugins, and to download ready-made scripts. It is an optimal program for novice 3D modelers and designers, in comparison with complex and overloaded counterparts. The application also includes a plugin 3D Warehouse. 3D Warehouse allows to add, search, view, and download SketchUp models. Also, there is a 30-days free trial for professional use and personal projects.

4. LuxCoreRender

Luxcorerender logo png image

Level: For professional and amateurs

OS: Windows, macOS, Linux

Usage: Architectural rendering and visualization

LuxRender belongs to the category of photorealistic or physically accurate (no assumptions) renders. It is a free rendering tool with a user-friendly interface. Scenes for LuxRender can be prepared in various 3D programs such as Blender, 3DS Max, Maya, etc. On the developer’s site, you can download a scene, which is recommended to be used for testing.

Since LuxRender is a photorealistic rendering software, the rendering process can take an infinite amount of time. More precisely, it lasts until the user stops the process when a satisfactory quality is achieved. The user interface of LuxRender allows you to set the conditions upon which rendering will stop. 

LuxRender is free for both personal and commercial use. It works with all the major 3D software, including 3ds Max, Blender, Maya, Cinema 4D, and SketchUp. It includes a variety of material types. You can save and continue a rendering at any time. Upcoming releases look to support optionally biased path tracing.

5. Kerkythea

Level: For professionals and amateurs

OS: Windows

Usage: Animation, architectural rendering, texturing, modeling

Kerkythea is a free and closed-source rendering engine that helps in the creation of photorealistic images. The program offers to use physically accurate materials and lighting. Kerkythea has a simple and user-friendly interface and supports various types of objects. Kerkythea is often used in creating images for commercial purposes.

This 3D rendering program comes equipped with a material editor, allowing artists to create and manipulate their texture libraries for repeated use. Kerkythea provides: material editor, general visualization and renders adjustments, GL real-time viewer. It also has a free exporter for SketchUp. Users can work in two rendering methods: biased or unbiased. You can both install it on your device and use it online. The rendering tool has an advanced toolkit, so the scene setup can be easily automated.

6. Sweet Home 3D

Level: For beginners

OS: Windows, macOS, Linux

Usage: 3D interior modeling and visualization

An open-source program that allows to quickly create a new interior and exterior and view it from different angles. It is very important before renovation, redevelopment, or even rearrangement of furniture. Sweet Home 3D has a simple and convenient interface and support for many useful plugins.

Sweet Home 3D allows you to simply create a plan for a separate room or the whole house, arrange furniture, windows, doors, stairs, generate videos for project presentation. This design rendering software has a special catalog with furniture samples. For greater user convenience, it is sorted into categories. You can download new furniture models from the developer’s website for free. If you are looking for Interior rendering software, Sweet Home 3D is definitely a great choice. 

7. Houdini Apprentice

Level: For professionals and amateurs

OS: Windows, macOS, Linux

Usage: 3D modeling, animation, rendering

Houdini Apprentice is a free version of Houdini FX. The software is mostly used by professional artists, students, and amateurs to create personal non-commercial projects. Houdini Apprentice gives you access to all the virtual features of the Houdini FX. You can bring in your scene files and render them directly using Houdini Education at a higher resolution and without a watermark.

Houdini Apprentice allows working on 3D modeling, animation, physics simulation, rendering, compositing. It also has a large set of light sources, light shaders, material library. Houdini has a set of tools that allow you to work with surround sound. Support for various renderers: Mantra, Render Man, Mental Ray, and others.

8. Enscape

Enscape logo image

Level: For professionals and amateurs

OS: Windows

Usage: Architectural visualization

Enscape is one of the best architectural renderers. This is a paid program that offers a great free trial. This free architectural rendering software allows the application of various stylized modes such as paper, sketch, and polystyrene models. In Enscape you can get the content you need from many programs, such as SketchUp, Rhino, Revit, and ArchiCAD. 

Enscape will provide you with options for using files as standalone executables. Send walkthroughs to clients or other team members becomes so easy. Here, you can find features for designing process support. Thanks to them, you are free to monitor all your changes to have an idea of how the final picture will look after rendering. With this tool, it is easy to achieve a realistic effect.

9. Daz Studio

Level: For professionals

OS: Windows, macOS 

Usage: 3D modeling 

Daz Studio is a powerful yet completely free 3D modeling software.  One of the features of the program is the creation of GPU-accelerated 3D images during rendering, which makes it possible to create very realistic models. Daz Studio also has support for creating scenes and functionality for animating models. It is not an easy-to-learn tool.

Daz Studio is a program for animating ready-made 3D shapes. It allows artists of any skill to create 3D animations based on existing models of people, animals, vehicles, accessories, environments, and other objects. So, it is a really powerful engine with high-quality rendering.

10. Vectary

Level: For professionals

OS: Windows, macOS, Linux

Usage: 3D modeling 

Vectary is a free 3D modeling tool for students. It is a great program for quickly creating complex 3D models. Every model is created in the browser and saved in the cloud. It is easy to use tool with a simplified user interface.

Vectary is used by designers of all levels to create, share and customize 3D models online. The program allows the creation of interactive 3D configurators with custom materials, animations, and shapes.

Vectary offers step-by-step tutorials for new users. They can access their designs from anywhere since it is a browser-based program. Besides, it has a rich library of assets, like free 3D scenes, models, and materials.

11. Clarisse

Level: For professionals

OS: Windows, macOS, Linux

Usage: 3D rendering 

Clarisse is not only fast 3D rendering software. The software encourages artists to create their scenes cost-effectively and intelligently. Clarisse’s rendering capabilities are very advanced. For example, it facilitates the integration of rendered images from other 3D rendering software using deep rendering. To break it down, Clarisse outputs depth information for each pixel.

You can learn Clarisse for free with the Personal Learning Edition. Clarisse is the best 3D rendering software for commercial studios trying to streamline their production process.

12. Guerilla Render

Level: For professionals

OS: Windows, Linux

Usage: 3D rendering 

Guerilla Render is an unbiased 3D rendering software that has been used more than once in the creation of famous feature films. Guerilla Render also uses progressive rendering inside its viewport. 

Thanks to its physically based rendering features, it can quickly produce photorealistic stills, 3D renders, and sequences. The 3D rendering features also include subsurface scattering and cycles renders. The lighting system of Guerilla is highly flexible.

The software offers a free unlimited single-seat license. It allows uncapped usage of the program for a single user, providing your connection to the internet.

13. Wings 3D

Level: For amateurs

OS: Windows, macOS, Linux

Usage: 3D modeling 

Wings 3D is open-source software for modeling and texturing. Users are provided with many tools with which to create very realistic models. It is convenient to create realistic prototypes with it. You can present the customer with variants of character images to determine the concept and further work with it.

Wings 3D has a customizable interface. The program does not support animation, so to create scenes in the dynamics of the figure, you will have to export to other software.

14. FurryBall

Level: For professionals and amateurs

OS: Windows, macOS, Linux

Usage: Animation, architectural rendering

FurryBall is another unbiased/biased GPU renderer. The software will give you a live progressive preview. You don’t have to wait for final renders to see the results of your changes, which can speed up your workflow. Also, it is an extremely fast rendering system. It offers a real-time progressive preview in the viewport.

This 3D rendering software is also available as a plug-in for Maya, Cinema 4D, and 3ds Max. The plugins also support all the special components and third-party plugins of the main programs. Users are able to manipulate particles, liquids, and hair. You can download the free version (with 20 hours of rendering), to test this 3D rendering software.

FurryBall is a great choice if you’re not satisfied with the built-in standard 3D rendering software Maya, Cinema 4D, or 3ds Max. FurryBall offers a free version for noncommercial use, like final render. It is also can be used as a standalone renderer. 

15. Render Man – Pixar’s Free version

Level: For professionals 

OS: Windows, macOS, Linux

Usage: 3D rendering, animation

There is has to be mentioned, that Pixar has made Render Man photorealistic rendering software free for non-commercial use. The free version of RenderMan has no restrictions or watermarks. It works on OS X, Windows, and Linux, supports Maya and Katana plugins, and works with Cinema4D and Houdini. Plugins for 3DS Max, Modo, Rhino, Lightwave, and Blender are listed as possible. The studio also launched a community of program users, where you can discuss work and upload your projects. It offers advanced technology for shading, lighting, and rendering. 

Free rendering software for SketchUp

Name Price Level OS Last version
V – Ray$350/ year.Free trialFor professionals and beginnersWindows, macOS2018
KeyshotFrom $995.Free trialFor professionals and beginnersWindows, macOS2020
Lumion LiveSyncFreeFor professionals and amateursWindows2020
Twilight Render
$99.00/Pro license.Free for hobbiesFor professionals and amateursWindows2020
SU Podium$198.00/commercial version.Free trialFor professionals and amateursWindows, macOS2021

Free rendering software for SketchUp in details

1. V-Ray

Price: $350 per year with a 30-days free trial

OS: Windows, macOS

Level: For professionals and beginners

V-Ray is a real-time rendering software great for interior design. It is a pretty fast rendering program, that supports other 3D design software. It also has global illumination with unique lighting effects.

V-Ray can combine vector art with a 3D image, and simply drag and drop the layout into place. With the V-Ray plugin for SketchUp, you can draw and edit in layers and update the entire layout. This photorealistic rendering software will help you to create unforgettable designs.

2. Keyshot

keyshot logo png image

Price: $995, with a free trial

OS: Windows, macOS

Level: For professionals and beginners

Keyshot is one of the easiest to use and technologically advanced renderers on the market. Keyshot also happens to interface smoothly with SketchUp, giving users a rendering engine without complex options,  preferences, and sliders. With Keyshot, SketchUp visualizations become unsurpassed.

Keyshot allows tweaking textures, camera, lighting, and even massing and instantaneously viewing the rendering results. It is a powerful real-time rendering program. It can import your models into the base rendering program for quick use.

3. Lumion LiveSync

Price: Free

OS: Windows

Level: For professionals and amateurs

Lumion LiveSync for SketchUp is the free, real-time rendering plugin that seamlessly connects your SketchUp 3D model to a live Lumion project. Lumion LiveSync lets you visualize architectural designs online while you work with them in CAD. By enabling LiveSync between SketchUp and Lumion, you can view all of your designs, modifications, and tests in the stunning, detailed Lumion environment.

Whether you’re working with a BIM model or 2D drawings, you can import your models into Lumion and quickly create photorealistic or conceptual images that convey the beauty of design ideas. The rendering tool allows you to instantly import your 3D model without interrupting the rendering process. Lumion gives you the best render quality for landscape or exterior design.

4. Twilight Render

Price: $99.00 for Pro license. Free for hobbies

OS: Windows

Level: For professionals and amateurs

Twilight Render is a visualization tool for professionals and hobbyists alike. It is the user-friendly interface SketchUp, with a powerful rendering engine that can produce photorealistic images.

Twilight Render is a quality and fast rendering program that offers multiple render methods. It has easy-to-adjust templates and a deep material editor. There are many different settings, which allow you to change various aspects of the drawing process.

5. SU Podium

Price: $198.00 for the commercial version. Has a free trial

OS: Windows, macOS

Level: For professionals and amateurs

SU Podium is an easy-to-use rendering plugin for SketchUp. SU Podium was designed from the ground up specifically for use with SketchUp. The 3D rendering program allows any user to manipulate shapes within their drawing space.

Here, the user can create virtual tables on the computer, including complex shapes such as oval and polygon. This free architectural design software also allows the user to save and share their work with other users via the Internet, email, or social media OS. It is possible to create multiple copies of one picture. Once rendering is complete, the user can tweak settings such as brightness, contrast, and color filters, adding flexibility to the entire process.

Exterior house rendering software free

1. Cedreo

Price: Free

Level: For professionals and amateurs

OS: Windows, macOS

Cedreo is a great 3D home design program. The main advantage of the program is that it is rather fast. You can easily create photorealistic 3D interior and exterior renderings. It is the perfect software for architects, home builders, home designers, renovators, interior designers.

A free offer will allow you to discover Cedreo with one project, limited access to furniture and flooring models, and 20 realistic 3D renders. The user draws a 2D floor plan before the software creates an instant 3D rendering. You can furnish the entire project and select specific materials. Cedreo is designed for professional users.

2. Provia Visualizer

Price: Free

Level: For beginners and amateurs

OS: Windows

Provia Visualizer is a home exterior rendering software, with an easy-to-use interface. You can upload your photo or use one of the many photos provided by them. This house rendering software will also allow you to save your work, letting you make changes over some time and compare other work. 

Provia Visualizer provides in-depth designing and 100% personalization. In the program, you can customize windows, roofs, front doors, shutters, trim color, vents, and siding/exterior color and material. The only con is that the program needs high-quality images.

3. DreamDesigner

Price: Free

Level: For beginners and amateurs

OS: Windows

DreamDesigner is a home exterior renderer. It’s great for beginners. This home rendering software showcases impressive exterior design diagrams and materials designed by Royal Building Products. It has a wide range of customization options for most exterior elements such as exterior wall color, exterior material, windows, tiles, trim, entrance door. You can easily create or renovate your living space.

DreamDesigner doesn’t have any photo size limits, so you can easily upload a good enough image and get started. After you upload an image of your house, the program will display it and send it by email to get you started designing. Plus, it can be operated on a mobile phone, which raises the bar even higher.

4. Menards

Price: Free

Level: For professionals and amateurs

OS: Windows, macOS

Menards Design-It-Center is a rendering software for exterior and interior design. This visualizer software has a lot of features, like painting the walls, changing the wall material, or putting new shingles on the roof. In the tool, the user chooses the specific feature they want to customize, such as exterior colors, exterior materials, roof shingles. It also provides an extensive list of specific products and color options.

Menards Design-It-Center will let you upload pictures of your current or prospective house. Once you upload a picture, you can alter the exterior colors, exterior materials, and roof shingles. You can also edit one of their sample photos. Though Menards Design-It-Center has quite a sophisticated interface, it is extremely easy to use and efficient software. So, it is a professional free exterior visualizer app.

5. Lumion LiveSync

Price: Free

Level: For professionals and amateurs

OS: Windows

Lumion LiveSync is a free plugin that creates an online link between Lumion and several of the most popular architecture software, including Revit, SketchUp, ArchiCAD, Rhino, Vectorworks, and AutoCAD. This is unique free architectural rendering software.

With Lumion LiveSync you can achieve fast, high-quality house exterior rendering. One of the main advantages of LiveSync is that it instantly provides you with beautiful, highly detailed visualizations of your architectural model uniquely.

Working in real-time, you can see your building while you create it! When you enable the LiveSync plug-in for AutoCAD, you can also sync the camera image between the two programs. This software is very simple, with a minimal number of buttons, settings, and relatively fast rendering. Lumion LiveSync is also a pretty good software for Exterior rendering. 

Architectural rendering software free

Talking about free rendering software for architectural visualization, we have selected for you the next list from listed above:

  1. SketchUp Free
  2. Blender 
  3. Cycles
  4. Lumion LiveSync
  5. Cedreo
  6. SU Podium
  7. SweetHome 3D
  8. LuxCore Render
  9. Enscape
  10. Provia Visualizer

Best 3D rendering software for architecture also may be interesting for you. Follow the link and learn about all the features of each program.

Conclusion

Finding the right and convenient rendering software is the first step to making your rendering or animation as high quality and realistic as possible. However, often you can not afford it because of the high price. Or you just want to try a certain version for free first to see if it works for you. That is why we have selected for you the top 15 free rendering programs that will best meet all your needs. In addition, above you will also find a separate top free rendering software for SketchUp. It should be added that Autodesk also offers free software for students and educators. It also can be useful for you. 

Author of Applet 3D articles. In passion about art, so writing about design, architecture, the animation is a great chance to enjoy my work. Rule of life - set little goals but achieve big results.

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