01. Using GPU + CPU

Since Blender Version 2.8 you can use your GPU and CPU simultaneously. Which can give you a huge advantage especially if you own a good CPU like a Threadripper or a Xeon CPU.

If you have an Nvidia RTX GPU you can also switch from CUDA to OptiX which will also increase your render performance by 20%-30%.

02. Denoiser

Since Blender version 2.82 we have now 3 Denoisers.
The default one from Blender itself. which is also the oldest one, since it exists since version 2.79.
Then there is the IOID Denoiser from Intel which works with artificial intelligence and delivers remarkable results as you can see in my article “Blender 2.81 new denoiser (IOID) a real Gamechanger”.

And then there is also the Optix denoiser from Nvidia, which works only with their RTX GPUs. It is the same denoiser that’s used by every Game with Raytracing and enables denoising right inside the Viewport.

Using a Denoiser allows you to use fewer samples by achieving the same result.

03. Keep it simple

Try to avoid as many polygons as possible and delete unnecessary objects in the scene or hide them.

A new feature of Blender 2.8 which can help is the Cycles bevel node. Which enables you, to create bevels based on a normal map. But the problem here is, that it only works for very small bevels. On bigger bevels, it doesn’t look good.

04. Light Paths

The Lightpaths simply set, how often the light bounces from one to another object. Technically more light bounces mean more realism since in reality, the number of bounces is close to infinity especially with glass or in very complex scenes this is the case but most of the times there is no real difference between many or just a few light bounces speaking about the End result. For a simple scene Total: 5 Light bounces should make your scene render faster and don’t change the result.

But here it is the same as with the Denoiser its all about experimenting and getting a feeling for it how it affects your rendering.

05. Principled Shader

The principled Shader not only brings more realism by default it also brings optimized performance over a recreation of the same Shader. In Blender 2.8 we got Principled hair and Principled Volume beside Principled BSDF so use them they are awesome. What matters is the final result and not the afford you put in by creating everything by yourself.

06: Use the latest Blender Version.

Roughly every 3 months Blender publishes a new Major version of Blender, Which not only means new features, (which also can improve performance) It also comes with a lot of performance improvements.

If you want to stay up to date with the latest version of Blender you can install it over Steam for the nongamers of you Steam is the biggest online Store for Videogames but it also has other Software like Blender in their range.

07: Use another render Engine

Cycles are not the only Render Engine out there. It is also not the only render Egnie for Blender of the only free Render Engine for Blender.
And in some cases, it can make sense to use another one. like Octane Render or LuxCoreRender, which is very good for things like caustic. Which is something where Cycles got a lot of problems with.

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