The Top Seven Best Software for 3D Rendering

logos of the 7 best 3d rendering software

3D rendering is growing within a number of industries, from architecture and construction to advertising and entertainment. Whether you are a professional or a hobbyist, deciding which software to perform your 3D rendering with is important, since it’s such an integral part of the process. Here is our list of 7 amazing software you can use to create 3D renders.

What is 3D rendering?

3D rendering is the final step of any 3D pipeline. This is the part when, behind the scenes, your software makes all the final calculations required to take a 3D model, lights, materials, and other factors, to present your work in a viewable format like an image or video file. Every 3D image, movie, or special effect has gone through this process, making it possible for us to enjoy these skilled artists’ work.


According to the products web page, the Arnold Renderer is an advanced “Monte Carlo ray tracing renderer” built for the demands of feature-length animation and visual effects. If you have dreams of working with major studios, becoming familiar with this renderer may give you a head start in the job application and interview process, as it is certainly industry standard among the highest levels of 3D rendering and production.

Arnold renders with the CPU, which may help some users avoid the need to purchase an expensive GPU for their rig. You can find the Arnold software integrated with common 3D modeling programs such as 3ds Max, Cinema 4D, Houdini, and Maya. Unless you can qualify for a student license with one of the programs mentioned above or already have a license to use one of these programs, you would have to purchase a standalone license to start using Arnold.


There is a good chance you’ve heard of Blender before. As an open-source, free, 3D modeling, animation, and rendering software, Blender is a great choice for beginners, hobbyists, and even solo or indie creators working on commercial projects. For being completely free to use, Blender offers a lot of value and is comparable in quality to any other top-of-the-line 3D software available.

Blender has everything you’d need to create your own 3D renderings, from modeling, animation, and, of course, the final render. Blender’s own rendering system uses CPU and GPU, giving users the flexibility to make the most out of whatever hardware they have. Blender is available on Windows, macOS, and Linux.

an elegant elf woman in the sunlight
“Portrait – Apralla Telayne” by Eve in the Daz Gallery


While Clarisse is not integrated into any existing 3D modeling software, it does offer a free educational license, making it another great way for beginners to learn the ins and outs of 3D rendering. Clarisse supports Windows, macOS, and Linux, and also renders with both CPU and GPU hardware.

Overall, Clarisse is a great CG toolbox helping artists arrange, light, and grade their work for rendering. The software is built around a ray-trace core, making it fast and accurate, especially when working with scenes with complicated light systems. Clarisse was designed with a focus on the creation and assembly of immense environments. You’ve probably already seen what Clarisse can create if you’ve watched The Mandelorian, Tenet, Wonder Woman 1984, and Avenger’s: Endgame.


For users looking to create 3D renderings for architecture, construction, engineering, woodwork, and similar uses, Enscape is a popular choice. It is the chosen rendering integration for programs like ArchiCAD, Rhinoceros, SketchUp, and Vectorworks. Keep in mind, Enscape only supports Windows systems and requires GPU to complete renders.


If you are looking for a high-end product designed for architecture, Lumion is one of the best. With the needs of architects in mind, Lumion helps architects create beautiful, lifelike renders quickly and with relative ease. Key features include streamlined processes for producing images, videos, and even 360 panoramas, allowing architects to show off their vision long before construction would ever begin.

Lumion is compatible with almost every CAD and 3D modeling programs, making it an easy choice to integrate into your workflow.

a wrecked spaceship on a desert landscape
“Spaceship Wreckage” by Syndrome in the Daz Gallery


3Delight is a CPU-based rendering software that works with Windows, macOS, and Linux operating systems. This renderer has been integrated into 3ds Max, Cinema 4D, Houdini, Katana, Maya, and our very own Daz Studio.

Users will find a refreshingly simple, reliable, and fast render engine in 3Delight. While some users may find CPU only rendering insufficient for their needs, 3Delight is an excellent way to get into the world of 3D rendering, as you only need a high-performing CPU and it has integrations with a number of common software, giving you quick and easy access to the engine.

Nvidia Iray

Last, but certainly not least, is Nvidia Iray. This intuitive and remarkably powerful render engine is packed with utilities to help you create photorealistic imagery. Leveraging AI denoising, CUDA, NVIDIA OptiX, and the Material Definition Language, Iray is able to deliver world-class performance in record fast time when paired with NVIDIA RTX GPUs. Check out their website if you’d like to learn more about these technologies and what they mean for 3D artists.

The major takeaway is that all this technology adds up in an exceptionally good render engine. A great benefit is also Iray’s support of multi-GPU and CPU systems, allowing users to ramp up their hardware to match their rendering needs.

Iray has been integrated with a number of software including 3ds Max, Maya, Rhinoceros, and Daz Studio. If you have access to an NVIDIA RTX GPU, this render engine is well worth learning how to use.

Create and Render Awesome Characters with Daz Studio

With the power of 3delight and Nvidia Iray to choose from, creating stunning renders with Daz Studio is now easier than ever for our users, regardless of skill level or computer hardware. Daz Studio’s modular approach to 3D rendering allows users to create custom characters from our base models, taking advantage of dozens of morphs, accessories, and more via our extensive shop that contains tens of thousands of assets to work with.

To learn more about Daz Studio, check out this showcase and description of the powerful technology that makes Daz Studio a great choice for 3D rendering. 

Grab your free download of Daz Studio, and start creating stunning 3D renders today!

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