4 Best Rendering Engines For CGI and Games

For hardcore gamers and CGI artists who want to dig deep into 3D rendering, this guide will go over the 4 Best Rendering Engines to bring 3D graphics to life.

Render Engines

Mental Ray

mental render engine

Mental Ray is a production-quality ray tracing application for 3D rendering and special effects, used as part of the Maya 3D modeling and animation software. Mental Ray is developed by mental images, which was acquired by Mental Images in 2002.

Projects this render engine has been involved in:

  • Star Wars Episode II
  • The Day After Tomorrow
  • The Matrix Reloaded

Nvidia Iray

iray rendering

Iray render engine Leveraging NVIDIA's latest graphics processing units (GPUs) with thousands of cores, Iray plugin is optimized for multi-core CPUs and manycore GPUs.

This combination enables rendering high resolution scan data at interactive speeds. That means you can quickly adjust your design and see the result in photorealistic detail without waiting for time-consuming renderings.

Using Tensor Cores on the newest NVIDIA hardware brings the power of deep learning to both final-frame and interactive photorealistic renderings. With this, artists are able to use content-aware fill or edit behaviors directly within the renderer.

Software compatibility:

  • Allura
  • Catia
  • Solidworks
  • Simens NX
  • Daz Studio
  • Patchwork 3D
  • Prowalker 
  • Substance Painter
  • Bloom Unit


vray rendering

Chaos V-Ray® for SketchUp is a 3D rendering software that combines real-time and photoreal rendering technologies.

V-Ray for SketchUp is not just a rendering plugin or just another image editor, but rather a whole new way of creating images in SketchUp. Combining the superb power behind V-Ray render engine with the simple and intuitive interface of SketchUp allows for faster more accurate results while presenting users with an array of display options including a real-time interactive mode.

Software compatibility:

  • Rhino
  • 3D Max
  • SketchUp
  • Revit
  • Maya

Unreal Engine Render

unreal engine vr demo

Unreal Engine's rendering system is the core of its industry-leading visuals for designing interactive real-time experiences. Unreal Engine 4.22 harnesses the power of NVIDIA's RTX graphics and Microsoft's DirectX Raytracing (DXR) framework to implement a new real-time reflection system.

Reflections in the real world are affected by materials and objects in a scene, but until now it's been challenging to re-create that dynamic, photorealistic behavior inside a game engine -- especially in large open worlds where you can't pre-bake reflections. 

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