I am looking to save the render preview as image without taking a screen shot. I am just trying to render it sample by sample as my machine gets heated up like crazy when fully rendering with only 200 samples. I know about rendering in parts but would really just like to render sample by sample and save the image once i am happy with the result. Any suggestions appreciated.


  • $\begingroup$ 200 samples is quite a lot. I usually use the final preset $\endgroup$ Oct 31, 2016 at 16:10
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Use Progressive Refine option to render at lower quality but all image at once. See blender.stackexchange.com/questions/51888/… and blender.stackexchange.com/a/4981/1245 $\endgroup$
    – Mr Zak
    Oct 31, 2016 at 16:55
  • $\begingroup$ It doesn't solve my problem.. but thanks. I am trying to render for example 10 samples then add another 10 once the first 10 finish. $\endgroup$
    – antics83
    Oct 31, 2016 at 18:10
  • $\begingroup$ If you want to render 10 samples, stop render, then continue it by adding yet 10 samples quality on top of those 10 ones - then it isn't possible, not now. Work is being done on pausing render, but not adding samples to rendered image. Render parts of the image and overlay them (even in Blender). $\endgroup$
    – Mr Zak
    Oct 31, 2016 at 18:26
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    $\begingroup$ In my opinion, trying to save the image progressively is like trying to cure a disease by masking the symptoms only. 200 samples is really not a lot (depending on the level of realism that you are after). So if your computer is overheating you have to work on getting it cooler. On a Desktop computer add more fans (they are very cheap) or think about investing into liquid cooling. On a laptop you don't have that many options, but there are some. Sometimes just raising it from the desk will make a huge difference... $\endgroup$
    – user1853
    Nov 1, 2016 at 1:35

1 Answer 1


What you ask is not possible directly. It's possible only to use a workaround - basically the same technique as for stacking images in compositor.

Render with Progressive Refine enabled (to get the whole image at once) until satisfied with amount of noise for one iteration, stop the render. Change the frame to get different noise pattern. Render once more into another file / render layer (i.e. create additional Render Layer, select it and enable Pin icon to render only active one; repeat for all layers). Overlay the results in the compositor.

enter image description here
Setup with saving to Render Layer nodes is shown; the one with images will be the same but opening files instead. Find the most appropriate file format for that operation

Now once you decide the image is still too noisy, render several times more and overlay them the same as before (so add several more Render Layer nodes and increase value of the Value node).

Note: this isn't intended to be used instead of the final render (although it can be used as asked - render the same a bit more and overlay on top of already saved image). While this technique can be used to save the final render results in some cases, in most of them it might not be worth time spent on it. Instead it should provide you with 2 things:

  • an idea of how the scene looks like with given setup without waiting for [some time] only to preview the render;
  • rough understanding of how many samples does your image need to stop looking noisy with given circumstances.

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