Bella for Rhino

Hello all!

I am writing here to introduce our new rendering plugin, Bella for Rhino.

Bella is a new physically-based spectral renderer written by Diffuse Logic (myself and Albert Martinez & Óscar Cano, the original developers of Maxwell), which aims to provide the ultimate in photorealism. I have waited until having a Rhino plugin available to mention Bella here in this forum.

We started Bella from a clean sheet, drawing on our many years of experience to design a modern node-based foundation, upon which is built a modular rendering system. Those familiar with Grasshopper will understand the power that a node-based system provides. Our Apollo solver is capable of solving some difficult lighting scenarios that have typically been infeasible for competing engines:

The Bella for Rhino plugin (supports Rhino 6 on Windows & MacOS), in its initial iteration, is seamlessly integrated with Rhino, with virtually no new concepts to learn – render settings, camera, environment, materials, etc are automatically translated. It supports rendering interactively in the viewport, to the render window via the Render command, or externally in our standalone Bella GUI or CLI (command-line interface, which also supports Linux).

Though you should find the plugin fully usable and very stable, I have called this release an open beta, because with the foundation in place, we now move to bringing Bella nodes into Rhino, followed by full integration with Grasshopper. We invite all to participate, and look forward to incorporating your valuable feedback.

Bella’s product model is very simple; there are only two offerings:

Licenses are floating, permanent, and support any Bella updates through a year from purchase. We elect to use a hype-free rolling development model that does not employ artificial major-version releases (see versioning notes here).

Our license enforcement is likewise deliberately customer-oriented: we use a simple text file, and do not require any validation/registration. This means no time lost to licensing issues – you should not be made to pay the inevitable price for protecting our software from unauthorized use. Please read about our general philosophy here.

When you run Bella without a license, resolution will be restricted to 720p (by area), and a small Bella watermark will appear at lower-left on the image.

For more details on Bella proper, please see our features and gallery pages, and feel free to stop by our forum with any questions or comments that you don’t prefer to post here. Bella and its plugins are available on our downloads page, the most recent builds are always available on our builds page, and various examples are available on our samples page.

To celebrate this initial release of Bella for Rhino, we are offering a 50% discount through the end of March.

So thanks for reading, and please let us know your thoughts. We have put our hearts into Bella, and hope that you will enjoy using it! :slight_smile:

edit: Bella is now also available on food4Rhino.


Hey Jeremy,

Looks really nice! Congrats…Great job!


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Wow, looks VERY promising!

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Thanks Sir! :slight_smile:

Very Nice - thanks for the info JD

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Hi @jdhill first of all congrats with the release!
Tbh I’ve never use Maxwell before, because it was always too slow for the type of work I needed to do. How is Bella compared to Maxwell if it comes to speed? Does it use cpu only or does it also support gpu? The introduction offering is tempting. Could be a nice addition for special cases that need caustic rendering, which seems one of the strongest assets of this new engine.

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Bella is CPU-only to begin with, but we intend to support GPU as well, and Oscar has been working on the foundation for this already. However I will make no secret that this is a difficult development for this type of engine, so will not pretend to give you a timeframe, other than to say we’ve planned on GPU from the first line of code, and have been working on it.

Speedwise, it is difficult to say since it depends on the complexity of scenes (i.e. there are scenes we can do in reasonable time that will realistically never finish in mw), but in general I’d say it’s a bit faster, but comparable. I have a thread where I was doing some experiments including some of what is posted above, which quotes some rendering times from my haswell i7-4930mx laptop.

An old mw user friend of mine who has been playing with Bella tells me he thinks it is much faster, but I think that is subjective in his case, and/or he may be using scenes that are amenable.

In the end, as I wrote in the OP, the “demo mode” of running with no license has few limitations, so everyone is free to give it a try and see what they think.


Hi @jdhill,

Your seat license includes all updates during the first year. What will the offering be for updates thereafter?


Thanks for the question, it is something we had put in the back of our heads and skipped over – we have had a rough idea, but we’re gonna hammer it out and I’ll put it on the purchase pages on the web.

We defined a simple formula: licenses may be renewed at a 50% discount within 1 year from expiration, 25% discount within 2 years.

I’ve updated the purchase pages with this info, thanks. :slight_smile:

edit: got feedback that this was confusing out of context, so I am going to copy here the whole policy:

Each license is perpetual for use, and also entitles you to updates at no charge, for a period of one year from the date of purchase. Licenses may be renewed at a 50% discount within 1 year from expiration, 25% discount within 2 years.


Hi, I’m a Vray user nowadays but huge congratulation for your work.
It’s really important to have options and your engine is really promising a great advance .
The way you manage the demo is really user friendly, I’ll give it a try!


:+1: Congratulations + good luck with your product launch!


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Thanks guys :slight_smile:

@jdhill any reason why it only uses 50% of my available threads(I have a dual 18-core xeon). I had this problem with modo renderer also, whereas V-Ray uses all available threads.

It should surely use all available threads, so if this is happening in the viewport render, look in the small label at the bottom of the viewport where it says “click here for IPR settings” and play with the threads number to see what happens.

You can also click the button in the Bella toolbar to send the scene to Bella GUI, click the Render button in the GUI, and see how the production engine is behaving. You can control threads in the Settings panel there.

So please check those and let me know what you find.

the screenshot I made is from rendering in GUI, is there anything else I can do?

If threads are set to zero, and this is what we are getting, then there must be a problem with thread detection on dual-CPU, and we’ll have to look into it (don’t have a multi-CPU machine here).

Sorry for the inconvenience!

No problem here:


I should also ask whether you also tried manually setting threads to 36 rather than relying on auto-detect with threads=0.

Same: I only get 36 threads when manually setting threads to 72, same for IPR rendering

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