KeyShot 4 and the case for Realistic Model Rendering
John Hayes posted on March 06, 2013 | 9941 views

As CPU power increases, as rendering applications get more features and as designers develop even more customized products, the value proposition for realistic renderings becomes increasingly irresistible. Eventually, high-quality renderings will be part of all product design processes.

With KeyShot 4, Luxion brings us one step closer to that day.

In case you are unfamiliar with KeyShot, it’s a CPU-based rendering and animation engine that creates realistic images from standard CAD files.

Rendered by Alen Simon

The rendering software works near natively within major CAD applications like Creo, Solidworks and Rhinoceros and imports over 20 different 3D file formats. The new “Live Linking” feature allows designers to update a running session of Keyshot directly from the menu in their CAD application. For other CAD systems you import a file into KeyShot 4 to start rendering.

The rendering process is straightforward. It’s based on a familiar photography analogy. Once your model is in KeyShot, you select materials, select your lighting, camera settings (angles, focal lengths) and choose a background.

You also have optional add-ons for KeyShot Animation as well as KeyShotVR, which allows the creation of interactive 3D visuals for web and mobile devices.

Modeled and rendered by Chad Holton

The new KeyShot 4 comes with some interesting developments:

  • Physical lights feature lets you pick any spot on your rendering as a light source. You can even animate them.
  • Advanced textures are available through a new partnership with Mold-tech, so you can change roughness, scale and depth.
  • Translucent materials are getting better and faster with the new version.
You can see a full list of the new features in the KeyShot press release.

Whether you are designing for clients or for a marketing team, you probably already have “better renderings” on your wish list. If you want to give KeyShot 4 a try, Luxion has a free trial available. Full licenses start at around $1,000.

Note: Luxion has sponsored promotion of Keyshot 4 on They have no editorial input to this post - all opinions are mine. JH.

Recommended For You