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I render planes with procedural materials and don't need any other effects in those renders. The preview is generated within seconds but the final render takes minutes.

  1. What and how should I disable to make the final renders be generated as fast as the previews?
  2. Is it possible to setup those configs with a Python script?
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  • $\begingroup$ Preview renders faster because it has a lower resolution. Also, what are "other effects" exactly? $\endgroup$ – someonewithpc Sep 4 '14 at 14:11
  • $\begingroup$ probably caustics, particles, shadows... everything which is not needed to render a plane with a material applied to it. I just want to render an evenly lit surface (unfortunately I don't have much experience with Blender/Cycles so had to ask for help) $\endgroup$ – Val Sep 4 '14 at 14:19
  • $\begingroup$ Depends on what material you have; Is it just textured diffuse? $\endgroup$ – someonewithpc Sep 4 '14 at 14:33
  • $\begingroup$ possible duplicate of Node for setting render colour, regardless of lighting. With that setup you don't need many samples, 10 should do (just enough to give a bit of AA). If you don't need any "fancy effects", then you might want to try openGL render. Also related: blender.stackexchange.com/q/14431/599 $\endgroup$ – gandalf3 Sep 4 '14 at 17:51
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To speed up Cycles, you are going to have to sacrifice realism.

If that is okay for your projects, you might try adjusting the filter glossy field, disabling Shadows, Caustics, and Bounce light, , like so:

enter image description here

Set the fields labeled, "Max" and "Min" to adjust the overall amount of Bounce Lighting, but note that this will also disable the "reflectiveness" of an object; If you don't want that, then adjust the fields bellow, with out changing the "Glossy" one.

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  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, I don't need any of the "fancy" effects. Will test your setup! $\endgroup$ – Val Sep 4 '14 at 14:43
  • $\begingroup$ Btw, just found this struct doc (I will need to set the options with a Python script): blender.org/documentation/blender_python_api_2_59_0/… Do you know which options would need to be switched to get the preview-render speeds? $\endgroup$ – Val Sep 4 '14 at 14:45
  • $\begingroup$ As I said before, the resolution is the "only" (maybe samples if you change them) thing that changes. $\endgroup$ – someonewithpc Sep 4 '14 at 15:03
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There are a variety of settings that effect the time it takes to render a scene with cycles. Of all these settings there are really only three things that vary between preview and final rendering - resolution, samples and compositing.

The resolution can make a difference if you have a small 3dview to preview render in while you can see your nodes and uv editor... the final render resolution may be a lot larger than the visible 3dview so will take longer to render.

The samples is the one settings that offers a separate preview and final render setting, it is common to have preview samples as a small number and final render much higher. If the low samples used for preview is giving a quality finish you don't need to have the final render samples any higher.

enter image description here

Compositing and render layers can also add time to the final render if you have anything setup there.

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It sounds like you want a copy of what's showing on the viewport, but rendered to an image using the camera's resolution settings.

There are several options, each with their own caveats:

1) OpenGL Render

You may want the "OpenGL Render." There are some settings for this in their own section of the render settings panel, and there is a "render OpenGL image" button at the bottom of the viewport, which looks like a photo camera. Incidentally, there's also a "Render OpenGL Animation" button right next to it.

This will give you an image that's exactly the same as what you see in your viewport, but anti-aliased (if OpenGL AA is turned on) and at the resolution you set for your render.

2) Emissive Shader

If you're wanting a "shadeless" equivalent for Cycles, the closest you'll get is using an emission shader. Create your textures as an emission shader (start with a strength of 1) and it won't accept any shading, making it nice and even... incidentally, emission shaders also render much faster than other shaders.

3) Direct Lighting

If THAT doesn't work, I'd make a giant emissive plane right behind the camera to light your material plane evenly, and then render using the "Direct Lighting" preset (or something similar). This won't be as fast as an emission shader, but it will refrain from calculating any additional bounces (if it can't find the light after one bounce, that pixel is considered unlit).

Hope that helps.

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