I've been trying to get a pretty noise free image from this scene for a while. And nothing seems to be working. I've been trying to use 3000 samples, then rendering different noise seeds and composite them together, but the base images are to noisy to even use this.

I've never really had this much noise before, and I'm not sure what's wrong with it. It already takes around 5-6 hours for me to render it at 3k samples (Laptop, so I can't use GPU rendering). Any help? I've attached my render settings as well if it helps. enter image description here

Here's a link to a bigger version of the photo if it's not large enough https://www.dropbox.com/s/r3swgloty4rt2ef/1430608690119.jpg?dl=0

Someone on another forum suggested I use Luxrender instead, but I'd rather save myself the time in learning a completely new renderer and converting everything.

  • $\begingroup$ Is it possible you could upload the .blend so we can poke around and see might work? $\endgroup$
    – gandalf3
    May 5, 2015 at 3:07
  • $\begingroup$ Here you go, it might be a bit large because I had to pack the textures into it. dropbox.com/s/218ocoerwddb3xy/Ocean%20Beach.blend?dl=0 $\endgroup$
    – Axi0m
    May 5, 2015 at 3:45
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It looks like the noise comes from the large number of light sources. I think you can get some better results with the branched path integrator.. I'll play around with it a bit and add an answer later :) $\endgroup$
    – gandalf3
    May 5, 2015 at 4:03

3 Answers 3


Scenes with many light sources (like this one) tend to be noisy because by default cycles randomly picks one light source to sample for every ray.

In such scenes a decent improvement can be gained by sampling all lights at once for every sample, by using the branched path integrator:

enter image description here
Note that I rendered at 50% resolution

I also:

  • Enabled clamping, which does a bit of what combining multiple renders with different seeds does (at least when you use a format like png). Note that direct clamping can cause some rather visible dimming of light sources, so see if you can get away with just indirect clamping.

  • Turned down the number of bounces to gain some speed.

  • Turned off reflective caustics to mitigate fireflies cast by glossy surfaces.

Here are some other things which may help:

  • See if you can reduce the number of light sources. For example, the street lamps have a mesh light and a point lamp. Try using just one or the other. For example you might make the mesh light only visible to the camera, and let the point lamp do all the illuminating:

    enter image description here

  • Try and favor lamps over mesh lights where reasonable. Lamps can be sampled in a more optimized fashion. Don't feel like you have to replace every mesh light though, some places mesh lights are just there for a reason ;)

  • Enable multiple importance sampling on bright lamps/mesh lights or large surfaces which reflect a lot of light. I.e. relatively large contributors to the overall ambient illumination.

  • Disable multiple importance sampling on surfaces which contribute relatively little to the ambient illumination.

  • Make bump mapping only visible to the camera, to avoid slowing down sampling on indirect bounces where bump mapping makes very little visible difference.

  • See if you can get away with only using the environment texture for reflections:

    enter image description here

    The first frame shows the render with the environment map (visible in the preview), the second shows it without (world appears a solid color to the camera), and the third shows it with the environment map only affecting the glossy shader (solid color again).

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks a lot, I'll give these a go and see how everything turns out. I appreciate the help! $\endgroup$
    – Axi0m
    May 6, 2015 at 23:19
  • $\begingroup$ Good tips by +gandalf3 . I would also add to try turning off the Sample All Indirect Lights checkbox when using Branched Path Tracing mode. Having this on can sometimes dramatically increase render times I've found. $\endgroup$ May 6, 2015 at 23:50
  • $\begingroup$ @ToddMcIntosh I was using the branched path integrator expressly for that option ;) It does increase render times a bit, but in this light-source heavy scene it dramatically decreases noise. $\endgroup$
    – gandalf3
    May 7, 2015 at 0:26

I have fireflies on a glossy surface - caused by particle emitters. I'm addressing this by rendering the particles as a separate pass, along with a non-glossy parent object (parent of the particle emitter). To compensate for the lack of illumination in the non-particle render pass, I'm using a point light to serve as a proxy light source. This is a very pedestrian method but eliminates virtually all my fireflies, for now. So, sun and point lamps provide all the bounced lighting for reflective or glossy objects. Sometimes multiple render passes are also faster than rendering a single complete frame.

I can't upload anything because of a client NDA, but this is not especially clever or complicated.


I recommend render 1 sample only for 256 images as it's same render time as single image with 256 sample but better

  • $\begingroup$ Can you add some test cases showing the render time and quality? I'm skeptical it would be the same render time. $\endgroup$
    – David
    Dec 5, 2019 at 13:18
  • $\begingroup$ This was 4 years ago dude. I'm way past this. Weirdly enough, so far past it I forgot that I even had that other account. $\endgroup$
    – AxiomDes
    Dec 6, 2019 at 2:02

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