E-Cycles with all updates of 2019

by Mathieu in Scripts and Addons

Summer sales: get 25% off during summer. 74$ instead of 99$ for 2.8 and 149$ for 2.79 instead of 199$. 2.80 Build based on RC2 is already available!

Get like a second GPU (up to 2.5x faster path tracing out of the box) for less than a hundred dollars? E-Cycles is as easy to install as unpacking a zip and is 100% compatible with Blender/Cycles. Get it now and save both money and a huge amount of time.

Path tracing gives very good results but is often slow, has a lot of settings and requires expensive hardware. Render farms require long uploads and downloads, are limited to some Blender versions and are expensive in the long term. Real-time renderers are fast but have a limited quality level regarding lightning and complexity, they also require a lot of manual tricks, which brake when the scene is changed, sometimes even with a simple camera move. They also require to tweak the scene when coming from Cycles.

E-Cycles is fast and simple to use. Out of the box, it's most of the time like doubling your GPU power. So if you have a GTX 1070, you get 260€ worth of GPU power. By selecting a render preset, and using the new AI denoiser, you can even get much more with only 3 clicks.


E-Cycles is a very optimized version of Cycles when using CUDA GPUs. E-Cycles is very fast, flexible and 100% compatible with Cycles, allowing to use all your libraries as is.

Scene by Entity Designer and rendered with E-Cycles

Thanks to code optimizations (for efficient memory access and better usage of the massive core count of GPUs), using E-cycles on average is like doubling your GPU(s) count. You can just hit render and already benefit from 1.5x to 2.8x faster path tracing with the same image quality.

Some new optional features allow up to 15x faster path tracing. Thanks to a new preset system, you can quickly choose between good looking renders done in seconds and high-quality photorealistic renderings. Does your client want more realism? 2 clicks to select a profile, hit render, done. 

You want to render fast, the render time for the following render went from 5 minutes to 9 seconds on a single 2080Ti. A tutorial and the according presets are included to quickly get the same results.

Tibor Nyers from Boostclock.com made it even in 5 seconds per frame including preprocessing, rendering, compositing and file saving: https://blenderartists.org/t/e-cycles-faster-rendering-for-cuda-gpus-and-better-ai-denoising/1139717/898

With E-Cycles you get support and weekly builds based on the latest and greatest Blender. E-Cycles is available for Windows, Mac and Linux*. Both versions are perpetual license and will give you access to all the 2019 updates. If you prefer monthly subscription, you can get 2.8x here: https://gumroad.com/l/vkTeQ

E-Cycles helps you:

- save a lot of time and money by rendering faster with the same quality. The mean speed-up for the path tracing phase is around 2x out of the box when using CUDA GPUs. Thanks to a new sampling strategy, the noise level is even lower at same sample count compared to vanilla Cycles

- render very fast fly-through (2.79x only for now) by computing the pre-processing phase only once when doing fly-through, where only the camera moves

- or improve your renders quality while rendering in the same time as before, using for example more bounces and caustics

- or go to the next step with videos and VR, thanks to new presets to render up to 15x faster.

- render very clean preview images thanks to a new AI denoiser that gives great results on still images starting at 16 samples. Really helpful for quick feedback with your clients and baking

- save human time by using auto tile size and quick quality presets. Shorter setup time and faster rendering means it's easier to adapt to changes and deliver projects on time. E-Cycles can save you on tight deadlines.

- spare a lot on your electricity bill thanks to shorter render times

- get more out of your current GPU and keep your hardware on a budget. Buying another 1080Ti for example cost about 800€ and you may have to buy another power supply (+100€). So in this case with E-Cycles you can spare 800+100-85 = 815€

E-Cycles is easy to use

Render faster out of the box with the same quality:

Or boost the performance further with 2 clicks to select a preset, here for example 4x faster:


Impressive AI denoising

Render good previews with the new AI denoiser even at very low samples (16 spp here, original scene from cgstrive):

The original noisy image:

And here an example of the denoiser used in a video for Archviz:

Here you can see a comparison of the 2 denoisers with fluids and volumetrics from Alleyne Studio:


E-Cycles is regularly updated:

On top of the weekly updates, there is one optimization or new feature per month planned (= 12 for 2019). Here is the changelog since January until now:

February update

  1. New Dithered sobol for cleaner render at low samples
  2. up to 5% faster rendering in some scenes


March Update:

  1. cleaner Viewport renders in complex scenes


April Update:

  1. Intel Open Image Denoise Patch from Stefan Werner is included
  2. latest Filmic log encoding for top-notch post-pro as recommended by Bartek Skorupa https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVKnhJN-BrQ
  3. new option based on the scrambling distance patch from Lukas Stockner, allows to render up to 40% faster (on top of existing speedup)
  4. uses half the memory when denoising with all passes (transmission and SSS included).
  5. new AI denoiser addon which can now generate denoising node trees in one click, even in complex scenarios and with very high quality.


May Update:

  1. E-Cycles 2.8x got 2 improvements ported from the 2.79x branch. Memory usage is reduced in most scenes, allowing to fit bigger scenes in the GPU memory. Rendering is also around 10% faster compared to the April update.
  2. both the 2.8x and 2.79x versions can render up to 2x faster when using the old denoiser (the one from Blender) on multi-GPU setups.
  3. updated to latest Open Image Denoise, using 38% less memory to denoise.


June Update:

  1. E-Cycles will automatically choose memory efficient code path depending on the scene, using up to 40% less memory than master/buildbots (BMW scene on a 2080Ti goes from 2GB on buildbots to 1.2GB memory usage in E-Cycles)
  2. An option to force one memory efficient option has also been added. It makes transparent shadows optional. Render times can be greatly reduced in some scenes.


July Update:

  1. The AI denoiser tree generation has been improved and has a better auto layout now.
  2. Adaptive sampling is now available for CUDA and can bring some good speedup in selected scenarios. Own test on smoke+fire shows up to 2.5x faster rendering compared to the June update. (Although only CUDA is officially supported, OpenCL users also report noticeable speed-up)


Use all your add-ons

E-Cycles is 100% compatible with Blender and is synced every week with the official version. It means you can use all your beloved add-ons for the version you choosed (2.79x and/or 2.8x). Here is an example from Alleyne Studio using Graswald and Pro-lighning skies with E-Cycles:


Users of E-Cycles:

Alleyne Studio, you can see several screen recording of him using E-Cycles on his Youtube channel.

Giacomo Soriani http://giacomosorianistudio.com

Mike Pan is also using E-Cycles here https://twitter.com/themikepan/status/1120393119286145027 , getting faster rendering and cleaner images.

A good sign also is that many users are happy switching from Octane to Blender: https://blenderartists.org/t/e-cycles-available-on-the-blendermarket-50-off-this-week/1139717/1219

https://blenderartists.org/t/e-cycles-available-on-the-blendermarket-50-off-this-week/1139717/1242

https://blenderartists.org/t/e-cycles-available-on-the-blendermarket-50-off-this-week/1139717/1243

https://blenderartists.org/t/poll-what-do-you-render-with-2019/1156640

Flavio Della Tommasa, original post here:

Obviously in terms of performance I believe the data speak for themselves. On 8 images, 2h each, I lost a day of calculation. With E-Cycles, in just over 2 hours I solved everything.

Robert Brian about the support, original post here:

I have few thoughts about E-Cycles and now I’d like to share especially those who are unsure about E-Cycles.

Past week I asked Mathieu to include a patch into E-Cycles. He promised to do it after he is finished with the May update. I didn’t have to ask, a PM was waiting today and he wrote it’s already included. And it’s working. He was and he is very supportive all the time. And this was true even when I was not a potential buyer. So I do not regret the purchase of the perpetual license at all. Keep going this way!

Lissanro Rayen, original post here

Impressive speed-ups, support is good, all issues (specific to E-Cycles build) I have found and reported were quickly fixed

JulioGB, original post here and here

Thanks for your fast replies, your support is fantastic. The only thing i dont like about E-cycles is that i haven’t used it earlier

Komposthaufen, original post here

The Speedup is amazing

Wolfie138, original post here

3m:09s to 1m:42s, needless to say, I’m impressed!

Rendered with E-Cycles:

Renders by EntityDesigner:

Renders by Albert Shamseev:


Walk-through of some Evermotion Scenes using the new AI denoiser:

Rendered in 23seconds per frame on a single 1080Ti:

Here is a comparison of Blender and E-Cycles made by Tibor from Boostclock.com, the E-Cycles optimisation was as simple as selecting a profile, activate persistent data and AI denoising and hit render:

https://twitter.com/boost_clock/status/1129453044402401281

About the Author:

My name is Mathieu, I work on Cycles since 2015 (my first patch here https://developer.blender.org/D1530) and already have several patches in official Blender.

What about OpenCL and CPU?

Only CUDA GPUs are officially supported. 

For AMD GPUs users, OpenCL is only around 20% faster at the moment and is still being worked on. CPU is like in official Blender. You can still benefit from the new AI denoiser on all platforms. You can see the AI denoiser compared to other ones here and here or a 7sec render of the BMW scene with AI denoising here. Here you can see an AMD user using E-Cycles successfully too.

If you want to use E-Cycles with CPU or OpenCL, I gathered some user tips in the documentation to get the best experience possible.

About the 2.8x version

The 2.8x version is based on Blender 2.8, which is still not officially released. Using this build has the same advantages (new features) and inconvenient (less stable and uses more memory than the 2.79 version) as the official 2.80 versions. The support offered with the builds is for the E-Cycles part. Bugs found in the official version of Blender are to be reported to the Blender Foundation. If you prefer a stable and fast experience, with a huge add-on ecosystem, I recommend using the 2.79x version of E-Cycles. It also has some extra features for fast fly-through visualizations where only the camera moves, especially useful for archviz and product advertising. If you switch from Blender 2.79 to E-Cycles 2.8x, there are 2 big known bugs in Blender 2.80 that can lead to slowdowns when using adaptive subdivision and/or instancing, see here and here. E-Cycles 2.79x works properly.

Pre and post-processing:

E-Cycles on average is like adding another GPU to your configuration. Just like another GPU would, E-Cycles will make the rendering phase faster. Pre-and post-processing are done on CPU in Blender and will be as fast as before in E-Cycles.

Known limitations:

- Support is only for the E-Cycles parts. Bugs found in buildbots are to be reported to the Blender Foundation on developer.blender.org 

- Scenes have to fit in the GPU memory for the speed-up to work properly. Since some months, Blender supports rendering scenes on GPU while using system memory to some extent. While E-Cycles allows this too, the speed of the system memory is too low and your GPU will just wait for datas to arrive. In most cases, scenes requiring more memory than available on the GPU should be rendered on CPU

- CPU+GPU works, but is also not officially supported. There are many cases where big tiles are still required for GPU rendering, while CPU rendering requires small tiles. Only the GPU will be faster with E-Cycles. The documentation lists some user's tips if you still want to use your CPU for rendering with E-Cycles and want optimal performance in this scenario.

- Multi-GPU configurations and denoising: due to a new bug in Blender on multi-gpu configurations which slows down denoising, only the AI denoiser on 2.79x is officially supported when using multi-GPU configurations. If you want to use the AI denoiser on 2.8x with multiple GPUs, I keep a version of E-Cycles from 16th of May (v20190516) available, which doesn’t has the bug and thus is fast. The non-AI-denoiser is slower with multiple GPUs in all versions. It’s still faster than the official builds. Single GPU configurations work properly. A fix for the above-mentioned bug is being worked on.

- Low samples renders (under 64 samples per pixel): E-Cycles produces higher quality samples (lower noise at same sample count). At comparable noise level, E-cycles is around 2x faster, but at low samples you may have to tweak your sample count manually. Earlier version of E-Cycles had automatic sample count for such case, but it was decided after feedback from users to let the user decide if they want a cleaner render or a faster one in this case.

- Ryzen CPUs on older Linux version (Debian 9 and before) have a bug which prevent latest E-Cycles 2.80 to start. Installing a newer distribution or using the 2.79 version of E-Cycles resolves the problem.

- E-Cycles is shipped with a full version of Blender until there is a proper render Engine API allowing good integration of external renderer.

System requirements:

Same as Blender plus:

- NVidia Geforce 700+ (up to latest RTX cards) with drivers supporting Cuda 9 or more (to be precise, any card supporting sm_30 which was released in 2013 or more) to benefit from the out-of-the-box speedup. AMD cards can render faster using presets and also have a small speed-up out of the box, around 10-20% but are not officially supported yet.

- a 64bit Operating system supported by Blender's buildbots.

- For Mac users wanting to use the CUDA speed-up, you need a version of OS-X which has CUDA support. Mojave is known to work properly. For other versions, try an official Blender build first from https://www.blender.org/download/. If it works, then E-Cycles will also work.

*The Linux version of official Blender builds is faster as the Windows one. For E-Cycles, all systems have about the same speed. So the speed-up may be relatively smaller on Linux by about 10-20%. It means the mean speed-up should be around 1.7x instead of 2x.