Do you have doubts about Cycles render engine quality?
Then this post is for you. Cycles is a very young render engine, but it's evolving at an intense pace. In each version of Blender (which happen every few months, and you can have daily builds as well), Cycles is getting new features, upgrades and performance improvements.
In my opinion, some of its greatest features are the following:
- Shader nodes (very powerful!)
- Light path node: this node is magic! It lets you control how a shader looks like for different ray types, making it very simple to make an object look in a given way to the camera, but different to the scene, allowing for very interesting and artistic/creative results.
- Render layers and passes
- It's totally integrated into Blender, both for shading, lighting, setting up render layers or passes and for compositing using nodes, allowing you to start and finish your imagery without the need for external apps, or going back and forth between different software.
Let the results speak by themselves
After all, features and descriptions are nice on paper, but what you really want to see is imagery that has been created with Cycles, and that way see how those technical things translate into results. Well, the Blender Foundation has put together a series of some cool renders made using Cycles both in a gallery and in Demo Reels. There are many more around, but this is a good selection and will give you a good taste of what Cycles is really capable of.