Create 3D imagery faster with updated rendering software

Steve Jarratt takes the latest version of 3D rendering and animation software KeyShot for a test drive.

Keyshot 5 review

3D World has been tracking the progress of KeyShot since version 3 in 2012. While the underlying render engine has received a much-welcome speed boost in this release, it's the ancillary features that will be most appreciated.

The app's rough edges have been gradually worn away over time, and this version is the slickest, quickest and easiest to use so far. Clumsy things like material previews and object manipulation have all been improved, and the new UI with dockable palettes is a big improvement (although scene organisation still needs work). Also, the addition of KeyShot Cloud means that you're only ever a few clicks away from a library of textures, backplates and presets, uploaded by the KeyShot community.

The addition of instancing, shown here with this image of multiple wine glasses, can reduce or negate the need for extra post work

The big ticket for the Pro version is the ability to render raw NURBS surfaces for perfectly smooth geometry, which removes any worries about low-poly models, faceted renders and so on. As long as the mesh contains NURBS data, the import menu gives you the option to import it, and then you can simply toggle it on and off on the toolbar – although given the results we think you'd be wise to leave it on.

The addition of instancing – although relatively basic – plus fades, motion blur and backplate perspective matching for Pro users, means you can create finished artwork right in the app without resorting to additional post work. If you use KeyShot every day, this comprehensive and impressive update will make your working life a whole lot easier.

Words: Steve Jarratt

Steve Jarratt has been in CG for many years. He's a regular contributor to 3D World and, at one point, edited the magazine for two years. This article originally appeared in 3D World issue 187 – on sale now!