How to save at least 50% 3D rendering time?

My 3D students often ask me how they can shorten their rendering time without cutting down on quality or rendering size.
Well, I’ve made a short video to demonstrate how you can immediately start using this technique and not only save tremendous amounts of rendering time, but also gain incredible control over your final results.

I’d love to hear you comments if you found this video useful, and if you’re using similar approaches in your own work!

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25 Responses to “How to save at least 50% 3D rendering time?”

  1. Dana Haywood November 5, 2012 at 3:50 am #

    I might have missed this, but is this the multi-layer PSD file or just copying multiple images into layers into Photoshop? It has given me something to think about at least for animating. I am already getting into splitting the render apart due to a bug in Cinema4D with DoF and Transparencies, but always looking to..get further into it.

  2. Christopher West March 23, 2013 at 12:14 am #

    Thanks for the video – looks interesting. But also a question in Daz studio, would you have to delete and reenter the lights to render the images one “layer or light” at a time?

    • Val Cameron March 23, 2013 at 11:01 am #

      You’re welcome Christopher! You can either delete them, or hide them with the eye icon in the scene tab. This won’t remove the deep shadow creation process though, in case you have those types of shadows. In that case, you need to either remove the light(s) or disable shadow casting. It’s also very easy to delete, and then hit UNDO once you’ve done the render. That will bring back the lights, and you can then delete other groups of lights.

      • Chris November 25, 2013 at 1:17 am #

        Awesome, thanks Val

  3. S. Raine April 2, 2013 at 2:42 am #

    Thanks for this video tutorial. Due to some memory limitations I am currently working around with my PC I frequently break images apart and reassemble them in Photoshop layers, however I have been doing so in terms of foreground, mid and backgrounds while leaving my lighting the same throughout… I had never thought of breaking an image apart in terms of lighting, which makes so much sense. I will be trying this as soon as I am finished this response, with an image I have been struggling with.

    • Val Cameron April 2, 2013 at 9:21 am #

      Awesome S.Raine, keep me posted on your progress! Have a great week, Val

  4. R. Moore April 16, 2013 at 10:46 pm #

    I’m trying this with GIMP and a three-point light setup (to save time). I loaded three layers-each an image using one of the three lights-and put them against a black background, as suggested, and put each layer in screen mode. But the colors come out differently, and the blue-tinted lights I used lose their “coolness,” so it doesn’t look right to me. Also, since I’m using Victoria 4, she turns very red in GIMP compared to the actual 3-light render.

    I guess what I should do is intensify the lights so I can safely lower the opacity till get the look I want, huh?

    Having said that, this is an excellent tutorial and I’m excited to work with it. Thanks!

    • Val Cameron April 17, 2013 at 8:12 am #

      You’re welcome! See if upon importing into Gimp, you’re getting your images into “color channels” rather than layers. Gimp works very similar to Photoshop.

  5. Hector April 18, 2013 at 10:31 pm #

    Pretty cool trick, thanks for sharing.

    I’m starting into 3D with the purpose of producing 2D assets for mobile apps and children storybooks for tablets (characters, props, landscapes, etc), and today I bought your 3D and Lighting Master courses.


    • Val Cameron April 19, 2013 at 6:59 am #

      Hey Hector, welcome to 3D! Sounds awesome, there are so many cool uses for 3D graphics… Best of luck with your art and hope you enjoy your new training! 😉

  6. Dmitry April 20, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    Hello! I do not know much English and I use a translator from Google. Your video tutorials are very interesting. Add English subtitles to the video, please. (I live in Moscow, Russia) 🙂

    • Val Cameron April 20, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

      Hey Dmitry, thanks for your feedback! Subtitles might be included in future videos.

  7. paul May 4, 2013 at 4:25 am #

    Awesome. Thank you for sharing this.
    I have bought many of your models and always wondered how you do it?
    Your training program is the missing link……

    Could I be so bold and request instead of a one off fee you did a subscription to your course, people who may be in the same position as myself like me could and would readily buy into that (I’m recently made redundant) really chomping at the bit to get your tips and tricks!!!

    Many Thanx

    • Val Cameron May 4, 2013 at 3:56 pm #

      Hey Paul, thanks! Are you referring to 3D Model Master? Yes, I might be able to create a down-payment solution…

      • paul May 4, 2013 at 7:39 pm #

        yes 3d model master….. looks really good, and a great insight into your work….

        That would be absolutely fantastic if a down payment solution could be arranged..

        Thank you so much.

        My personal email you have here so I will leave the solution to you and await your reply/ solution!

        once again thank you.

  8. Phil J August 18, 2013 at 11:58 pm #

    Hi Val. Great video, do you think this technique would speed up workflow with Reality 2.0 and Lux render?

    • Val Cameron August 6, 2014 at 11:14 am #

      Thanks Phil, Reality has a different way of rendering, since everything is never really done, and is always “on the go”, plus you can adjust lights on the go as well. I’ve tried it with Reality and it works well, since I love live-tweaks in postwork, but other render engines might benefit more from it.

  9. jim mulvaney October 24, 2013 at 1:27 pm #

    Hi Val, long time fan and student of yours I was wondering if you had any tips as to what order lights should be layered in PS? I have noticed that the more lights you layer in PS the less intensity the lower layers have. Just looking for some general guidelines for what kinds of like should have the most presence in the scene.

    • Val Cameron August 6, 2014 at 11:11 am #

      Hey Jim, if you use screen blending mode then it doesn’t matter where they end up, since screen goes through all of it and adds to the whatever is above / below. If you use other blending modes, like normal, then yes, it will vary. I don’t recommend using other blending modes than screen, since other modes change the relationship of the layers, but if you want to use other modes, simply work with them in pairs until you get the desired balance. When 2 are right, then add one more, and use that third against the other 2 and so on…

  10. TaniaGomesArt February 8, 2014 at 4:12 pm #

    Thanks a lot for this video!!!

    For me it’s not just the time you save, but the control you gain in adjust the light!! It’s really great and very simple!
    I’m really new at 3d and your tutorials and videos are making me learn and evolve really fast! 🙂

    • Val Cameron August 6, 2014 at 11:07 am #

      You’re most welcome Tania! Glad you like it… 🙂

  11. TrevorD August 6, 2014 at 3:54 am #

    Very simple but cool tip Cameron. Thanks for sharing that. Just relatively new to 3d art and just saw the absolute value of Photoshop. Well, another ‘layer’ of value that is. Have been jumping between Bryce, Daz and Photoshop just to get a feel of what’s possible. Rendering was definately the painful process.

    Thank you.

  12. Stu Edwards June 29, 2015 at 4:12 am #

    Excellent video Val! Still looks good 4 years on 🙂

    • Val Cameron June 29, 2015 at 7:30 pm #

      Thanks Stu, glad you like it!

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