I'm trying to render a very complex scene with blender and it seems to be using too much memory. I've already tried using tile size as a multiple of total resolution and spatial bvh splits.

Can anyone recommend any settings that can reduce memory consumption of the scene?
Note, I'm talking about a still render.

  • $\begingroup$ GPU or CPU? (see the wiki on GPU rendering) $\endgroup$
    – gandalf3
    Sep 24, 2013 at 20:17
  • $\begingroup$ My GPU and CPU do not have much difference in their render time.So,help for any of them will do. $\endgroup$ Sep 25, 2013 at 9:26
  • $\begingroup$ Not sure this is such a useful question to ask, AFAIK there are no knobs to tweak to give better memory performance. A more useful question could be to give the use case that causes excessive memory use, then ask for ways to resolve. $\endgroup$
    – ideasman42
    Sep 25, 2013 at 15:44
  • $\begingroup$ @YashAggarwal memory wise, CPU and GPU behave a bit differently, the GPU has it's own memory (and usually has less than the system memory used by the CPU) $\endgroup$
    – gandalf3
    Sep 25, 2013 at 18:16

2 Answers 2


Here are some hints for better memory usage. Though with only general info its hard to give a good answer.

  • Avoid floating point textures where possible - typically EXR, HDR.
    (includes 16bit PNG, TIFF, JPEG2000 which are converted to floating-point), these use 4x memory.
  • Avoid displaying textured objects in the viewport (OpenGL-GLSL), this will load textures into memory which is not shared with Cycles - so the textures get loaded twice.
  • Use instanced objects where possible.
  • Take care using subsurf, curve-render subdivision levels.

The only other suggestions would be to reduce memory use from the rest of Blender.

  • Render in background mode. or...
  • Reduce undo steps (undo can use a lot of ram), you could even dissable undo.

There may not be a whole lot you can do, if you already checked that you don't have excessively high geometry or high-resolution textures, perhaps you just have to render less complex scenes or buy more ram.

  • $\begingroup$ Is the power of 2 texture trick relevant for cycles? $\endgroup$
    – gandalf3
    Sep 25, 2013 at 18:18
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks,I reduced the subsurf of most of the objects and it finally rendered. @gandalf3 - I've not found textures with power of 2 having much effect in cycles with my other projects,but i'm not sure $\endgroup$ Sep 26, 2013 at 8:48
  • $\begingroup$ A clever way to use memory is splitting the scene in layers as explained here blenderguru.com/articles/… $\endgroup$
    – user1853
    Oct 29, 2015 at 3:20
  • $\begingroup$ Can the jpeg texture also affect the rendering quality? I face this weird texture issue (i.stack.imgur.com/sqxXg.png) when rendering on GPU vs CPU machine. $\endgroup$
    – Ajay
    Jan 23, 2021 at 23:48

If you are rendering Fur, pay close attention to the Cycles Hair Settings-Root. the difference between 0.10 and 0.20 made render possible with enough fur and children to look good.


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