Is octane for rhino worth trying?

I’m looking for a real-time render program to work with interior visualizations and sometimes product design.
Recently I’m testing octane for rhino and it’s quite frustrating, starting with amount of bugs when it comes to integration with rhino and ending on the small number of tutorials that I could find. I’m at the point where I wonder is it worth it to put the effort to learn it, or is it better to switch to some other program?
What are your experiences with octane, are there octane users that can help me make the decision?

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You are talking about two different things here:

  1. Real-time rendering.

Octane is not a realtime solution. The only realtime options in Rhino right now are the shaded and rendered viewports. Also in V7 there is now support for PRB materials in rendered viewport as of last month. McNeel will probably never make a library for it, so you will have to invest time to make your own.

Not only Octane is not real-time, In fact if you are trying to render an animation in Octane you will have to add to the render time of each frame, the geometry cashing time too. In complex scenes that geometry cashing takes longer that the frame renderings. So what should take a couple of hours to render can take 5X that. Never versions are trying to speed up cashing so that will get better. I’m not sure if technically is even possible to eliminate cashing completely, but that would be nice.

  1. Octane.
    The integration is not good (rendered viewport and octane appearance only barely match in only some types of materials, but it’s still improving lately). There’s also no materials library, no samples scenes, no easy-way-in. and most Rhino rendering features are not compatible with Octane.

Still, I think it’s the best (or least worst?) option to make high quality renderings that do not take a loooong time to do.

We tried a bunch of stuff, (inside Rhino plugins, stand-alone products, inside Modo…) and everything else is more buggy, slower, and or has a lot less active development (some options no development and support at all).

In summary: Yes, I think Octane is the best option for Rhino, but it takes a ton of work to setup right. Just keep in mind that you need a really good (or even better multiple) video cards to really take advantage of its speed and that you need to invest time to make a good material/scenes library to make it more useable. …or No, if what you are looking for is a real-time solution, because octane it’s not one.

A lot of people like Vray too. For us a CPU rendering option in 2020 is a non-starter, and the bugs in Vray GPU are also a non-starter for a tool that we need to rely on daily. Hopefully that will get better.

All the rendering developers (McNeel and 3rd party) talk like rendering in Rhino is an important task/priority/market. The reality is still the same IMO: ‘All talk, no good solutions’. Rendering in Rhino still sucks, no mater what you use. So pick your battles. For us, today, Octane seems the best compromise: good product, good price, good support, fast rendering. It just takes work to get into it.



I stopped using Octane because I missed to use simple lights like spots and not emitters only always. Also V-Ray 4 was stable enough and quite fast, so that I use V-Ray GPU all days now. For example two 2080ti are quite good. I’m very happy. Soon we will get RTX support and the speed will more increase. The V-Ray developer added a lot of nice tools during the last updates - for me V-Ray is the best allround render engine for Rhino. The RT mode works stable for quick scene setups.

An other interesting option for you could be Enscape. It’s a real RT renderer, you can create renderings in seconds and fly troughs in minutes. But I don’t used it since a long time because the limited materials and limited quality of reflections like at mirrors. But within the limits it allow to create quite nice shots. So, for me this is the option for very tight deadlines.


Let’s toss in iRay. Its integration doesn’t use the RDK which makes a few things awkward but it’s ‘realtime’ and seems fairly stable. There don’t seem to be a ton of people using it here but it’s the engine a number of products like Substance Designer use as their ‘built-in’ rendering option. It also does distributed rendering–not free though–and ‘streaming’ from a Quadro-filled server if you have one of those handy. It also has RTX support now.

I guess you are looking for Enscape.

If you are looking for offline renderers i would personally recommend Thea and as @Micha said V-Ray.

Thx guys for your replies, really helpful. I’m working on not very complex interior scenes but time is valid for me. I really like the results from octane, but all the projects that I saw were made in cinema, for which there is a tone of video materials. When it comes to vray I’ve worked only on older versions that were not very user-friendly and creating scenes was taking a long time form me. But I see that a lot of people are recommending the vray 4.
Enscae looks interesting when it comes to the time needed to make a scene, but again I don’t see a lot of tutorials, that can help you get into it fast. And the final renders look quite basic when you compare them with one made with octane or vray.

If you should start with V-Ray than I recommend this setup and don’t use the preset. There are some pitfalls which cause long render times and noise.

You need to edit the noise limit for faster preview renderings (f.ex. 0.03 for draft). For high res output use more light cache subdivs like 2000…3000.


I have to throw my 2 cents in for Maverick Render…huge library of materials, lighting conditions, etc. It’s integration with Rhino is just wrapping up and truly a joy to use. It’s ease of use makes for very quick renders. It has all the bells and whistles hooked up.

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I used OCTANE with good results for me for years. I couldn’t get Rhino clipping planes to work with Octane and switched to Thea a couple of years ago. Thea is quicker to set up and has material libraries and works with Rhino lights and clipping planes and is generally better integrated with Rhino. I’ve been converting some old models that used Octane over and doing some side by side testing and still really like some of my old Octane renders better.

Both these are with OCTANE, I'll convert this model and compare and post.

Definitely worth a try!


definitely give V-Ray 4 another chance, it’s a huge step up in terms of user friendliness compared to older versions.

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which bugs in the GPU renderer are holding you back? I wonder because I am about to purchase some videocards to speed up V-Ray. In the few tests I’ve made I did find some bugs/limitations, but none of them being really show stoppers.

The showstopper: The shadow catcher feature in GPU still doesn’t work. We do all our renderings as transparent PNGs with shadows and/or placed on background plates (also with shadows) and if this does not work, nothing else matters.


thanks, good to know,
I see this is a known limitation looking at the supported features list.

Yeah, they’ve know that and they still choose not to prioritize fixing such a fundamental feature for industrial designers. This shows us that we are not a very valued customer group for them. Not sure if I’ll be renewing our subscriptions this year, our licenses are collecting virtual dust at this point.

Thanks everyone for your answers.

So, what you call a bug is know a limitations of the GPU engine. Most I found ways to work around the few known limitations, for example product shots are so fast rendered in CPU mode, that I would stay on CPU for this particular use. :wink:

I think, if decision for a render engine is needed, it’s good to keep in mind, which software has the best potential for the future? Which team looks like I will provide a well developed plugin for the next years? I’m using V-Ray full-time and work on a lot of projects, I wouldn’t like to jump between engines every few months/years.

Important for me are fast rendered complex interiors and I want to be free to get every material look I want. The GPU setup allow me fast and easy hardware upgrades to get the best speed. So, if someone want to find a render engine, one of the questions should be - wich way I want to go, CPU or GPU? For me it’s GPU.

Are all engines working on GPU now?

Limitation or bug doesn’t matter. In both cases it doesn’t work. But I think it needs to be called a bug so that it gets prioritized. In 3dsmax it seems to be implemented years ago (beginning of 2017)

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Let me sum up some of the pros and cons of V-Ray, hopefully others can do this for other render engines as well:

-ships with pretty large material library
-fast setup, just a few parameters to take care of
-built in camera settings for panoramas /vr
-Works with clipping plane and clipping geometry (the latter only cpu)
-many built in procedural and utility textures (like gradient, color correction, curves, many powerful mix maps, Tri-Planar)
-fully integrated into Rhino
-scriptable settings and material properties
-grasshopper integration
-powerful V-Ray frame buffer to do lots of post processing directly in Rhino
-can both use gpu and cpu power
-Vray cloud, integrated online rendering
-fast interior rendering
-all controls in one place (asset manager)
-many additional render channels for post production and analysis
-Mappable lights and mesh lights
-lens effects work very well and non destructive.
-search filter for assets (huge time saver when you have many assets)
-edge bump texture
-fast rendering of scenes with many lights
-scenes and proxies

-Some features missing or not fully working on GPU
-interactive rendering crashes Rhino with auto save
-Handling of duplicate materials not working smoothly yet
-snapshots tricky to use
-no way to fix the render view (always active view is used)
-materials with multiple layered textures can become complex to keep overview of(screams for node based editor like 3ds max)
-making materials with edge bump and other bump maps is a bit tedious to set up

I actually call it ‘unacceptable’

If you are making a simple model like a small product with a few parts sure. Have you tried rendering a car interior with all visible parts including thousands of stitches for seats or a fully detailed e-bike with all components? Vray CPU is very slow to do this compared to Octane, about 10-20x slower depending on scene.

Depending in your situation. I actually completely disagree about this. For 3 reasons:

  1. No one can predict the future and most plug-in companies have very weak/unsustainable business models. We are both old enough so see how this has played out for most Rhino plugins. This is why I have zero interest in a new commercial plugin these days unless they are very fast to ramp up and very affordable. The chances that it will disappear, or get acquired by Autodesk and killed are very very very high.

  2. What a company says about their future and dedications to a platform is completely unrelated to what they do. In fact, the more they talk the less they do. Vray has been notorious to talking a big talk about their dedication to the Rhino platform, but the execution of that is still very very raw compared to what they already resolved in other platforms like 3DSMax.

  3. I’m running a business today. Billing to all our clients this month, and getting stuff done for them this month. Not in the future. We have to have the best option to get work done efficiently this month. Also switching costs between render engines is near zero for us, especially if you maintain workflows and libraries in more than one system (we have one dedicated person for this) and you can get your whole team up to speed in whatever system you maintain. I Can hire a new designer tomorrow and get the to do excellent product renderings in Octane in 1 hour. And a good understanding of it in 1-2 days. I can switch them to Vray next month and get them up to speed on that in also 1-2 days. So if one rendering company goes out of business tomorrow and I won’t. Because we are not dependent on their solution to make a living.

Like I said: I don’t bet on the future of other companies, only on mine. But I can tell you one thing: the company that cannot get a god damn shadow-catcher to work and Instead label it ‘know limitation’ and keep charging me like they have a full-featured product is not one that I would have a lot of confidence betting on anyway.

I get your points Micha, and I value your feedback a lot, since you are an amazing expert on this stuff, I think Vray is very good and it’s true that the integration is better than Octane. And hey maybe one day they actually put enough care into their product as they say they will do.

In the meantime maybe my current situation is the best one: Keep both.


@gustojunk you are totally right that this is unacceptable. I hope Chaos group will address this issue soon. I’ve asked this in their discourse group if it will be part of their next SR. :crossed_fingers:

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