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Developer(s) DNA Research
Stable release 9.0.0 / 2009-12-11; 34 days ago
Operating system Windows, Mac OS X, Linux
Type 3D computer graphics
Licence Proprietary

3Delight is a proprietary, photorealistic, RenderMan-compliant offline renderer.

It is developed by DNA Research, or DNA in short, a subsidiary of Taarna Studios.



3Delight primarily uses the REYES algorithm but is also well capable of doing ray tracing and global illumination. The renderer is fully multi-threaded and also supports distributed rendering. This allows for accelerated rendering on multi-CPU hosts or environments where a large number of computers are joined into a grid.

It implements all required capabilities for a RenderMan-compliant renderer and also the following optional ones[1]:

3Delight also supports the following capabilities, which are not part of any capabilities list:



3Delight is based on modules. The primary module is the REYES module which implements a REYES-based renderer.

Another module, called 'Sabretooth', is used for ray-tracing and also supports global illumination calculations through certain shadeops.

3Delight supports explicit ray tracing of camera rays by selecting a different hider, essentially turning the renderer from a hybrid REYES/ray tracing one into a full ray-tracer.

Other features include:

  • Extended display subset functionality to allow rendering of geometric primitives, writing to the same display variable, to different images.
    For example, display subsets could be used to render the skin and fur of a creature to two separate images at once without the fur matting the skin passes.
  • Memory efficient point clouds. Like brick maps, point clouds are organized in a spatial data structure and are loaded lazily, keeping the memory requirements as low as possible.
  • Procedural geometry is instanced lazily even during ray tracing, keeping the memory requirements as low as possible.
  • Displacement shaders can be stacked.
  • Displacement shaders can (additionally) be run on the vertices of a geometric primitive, before that primitive is even shaded.
  • The gather() shadeop can be used on point clouds and to generate sample distributions from (high dynamic range) images, e.g. for easily combining photon mapping with image based lighting.
  • First order ray differentials on any ray fired from within a shader.
  • A read/write disk cache that allows the renderer to take strain off the network, when heavy scene data needs to be repeatedly distributed to clients on a render farm or image data sent back from such clients to a central storage server.
  • A C API that allows running RenderMan Shading Language (RSL) code on arbitrary data, e.g. inside a modelling application.


Work on 3Delight started in 1999. The renderer became first publicly available in 2000.[2] 3Delight was the first RenderMan-compliant renderer combining the REYES algorithm with on-demand ray-tracing. The only other RenderMan-compliant renderer capable of ray tracing at the time was BMRT. BMRT was not a REYES renderer though.

3Delight was meant to be a commercial product from the beginning. However, DNA decided to make it available free of charge from August 2000 to March 2005 in order to build a user base.

During this time, customers using a large number of licenses on their sites or requiring extensive support were asked to kindly work out an agreement with DNA that specified some form of fiscal compensation for this.

In March 2005, the license was changed. The first license is still free. From the second license onwards, the renderer used to be 1,000 USD per two thread node resp. 1,500 USD per four thread node.

The current licensing scheme, effective from December 2009, is still based on number of threads. An unlimited threads license is 2,150 USD. A four thread node is 1,400 USD and a two thead node is 900 USD. Annual support fees vary, too, depending on number of threads.

Version Release History

Supported platforms

Operating environments

The renderer comes in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions. The latter allowing the processing of very large scene datasets.

Discontinued platforms

Platforms supported in the past included:

Film credits

3Delight has been used for visual effects work on many films. Some notable examples are:

It was also used to render the following full CG features:


External links


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