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3D rendering software is the process of generating an image from a model by means of computer software. Rendering is used in architecture, simulators, video games, films and television visual effects and design visualisation (US site). 3D rendering, the last step in an animation process, gives the final appearance to the models and animation with visual effects (US site) such as shading, texture-mapping, shadows, reflections and motion blurs.
Software rendering produces images of the highest quality, letting you achieve the most sophisticated results. Computation occurs on the CPU, as opposed to hardware rendering, which relies on the machine's graphics card.
Hardware rendering uses the computer's video card and drivers to render images to disk. It is generally faster than software rendering, but typically produces images of lower quality compared to software rendering.
Vector rendering lets you create stylised renderings (for example, cartoon, tonal art, line art, hid line, wireframe) in various bitmap image formats and 2D vector formats.
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Learn more about rendering software with these tutorials, tips and guides.