Review: KeyShot 9 is an amazing rendering application

Jan 29, 2020 at 11:00 am by nemirc

Review of KeyShot 9

KeyShot 9 is a real time ray-tracing rendering software developed by Luxion.

KeyShot uses a physically correct render engine to accurately replicate the materials from the real world, resulting in very photo-realistic renders. With KeyShot, you can render using your CPU or GPU, and you can switch between both modes with a click of a button (conveniently placed on the top toolbar).

When you open KeyShot, you are greeted with a welcome screen that links you to tutorials, news, and also some sample projects that you can use to check out KeyShot's capabilities.

If you are using your CPU to render, you will notice the computer performance can drop drastically, because, by default, the software is using all the CPU cores available. You can, however, define how many cores you want to use. Personally, I would advise to not use all of them when working with KeyShot, because that can make your computer hard to use since it will work very slow, resulting in trouble adjusting the camera position and pretty much any other operation. I wouldn't say this is a problem with the software, though. If you have ever rendered big images or animations before, you may have experienced this.

The story is completely different if you are using the GPU renderer. Because the GPU usage doesn't really affect your computer performance (it might affect display a tiny bit, but the OS in general will not run slower if your GPU is running at top performance).

If you have a powerful videocard, chances are you would like to take advantage of it and use the GPU rendering mode. The CPU rendering mode is actually meant to be used by people using KeyShot on systems with lower-end videocards, specially laptops (I was testing KeyShot 9 on a MacBook Pro 2013).

Importing your own models into KeyShot 9 is something you do with a couple of clicks. The software supports a wide variety of formats, like Maya, AutoCAD, SolidWorks, Inventor, Rhino, SketchUp, and also more universal formats like 3DS, OBJ and FBX, and others. Depending on the situation, KeyShot might not be able to import your textures (this mostly happens if you manually moved your files after exporting them from your base application). However, re-importing textures is also very easy, and done from the material editing tab.

The software also includes a big material library featuring a wide variety of real-life materials like plastic, cloth, metal, stone, gems, etc. This material library is a real time-saver since it allows you ti simply apply a material you need. You can also save your own materials to the library so they can be reused in other scenes very easily.

In KeyShot 9, you can also apply camera DOF and also image filters like bloom, vignette, color correction, etc. This is a nice plus, since you can output your final image directly from KeyShot without having to use an image editing application to tweak colors or add bloom and such.

You can also render out animations. You can make simple animations in KeyShot (like turn-tables) or you can import your own transform-based animations (translate, rotate, scale).

For example, if you have animated an object in Maya, you can render that animation in KeyShot. One thing I noticed, though, is that KeyShot doesn't support skeletal animation, meaning that you can't render your character animations in it.

Overall, KeyShot 9 is an amazing rendering application.

It's not only pretty fast (even when using CPU mode), but also produces amazing results. Those producing photorealistic images for visualization, architecture, advertising and other fields, should definitely take a look. You can choose between different versions (KeyShot HD, Pro, Pro Floating and Enterprise), starting at $995, depending on your needs and budget. You can get more information on the KeyShot website.

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