Real-Time Rendering VS Pre-Rendering: Their Main Advantages

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Pre Rendering and Real-Time Rendering

Modern games and movies rely on great special effects more than we probably realize. Meeting your audience’s expectations is becoming harder and harder with every year. Yet, producers still seem to find ways of mesmerizing us into believing in their computer-created reality. How do they manage it? The answer lies in constant progress and finding new technological solutions that make products from only ten years ago look tragically outdated. Naturally, this also requires highly qualified professionals that take 3D visualization to a new level.

Top-notch rendering allows you to create wonders. Of course, when it comes to production, making the process less time-consuming and more lucrative has huge importance for businesses. Approaches such as pre-rendering and real-time rendering both seem to have wide popularity. So which of them should you opt for?

Real-Time Rendering

What is real-time rendering? Of course, «real-time» is an exaggeration that implies that the speed of rendering is so high that you are likely to believe that it is actually happening in real-time. Nevertheless, it is still rendering, only it is faster than ever.

Putting it simply, real-time rendering is about turning 2D into a 3D model like any other type of rendering you have faced before. It works rapidly with around 50 frames per second and creates a seamless impression, enabling artists to create images and animation that were never achievable before.

This surprising speed is why real-time rendering is considered a better choice for films and the video game industry. It has also attracted the wide attention of other industries that need realistic visualization. Despite all these benefits, this approach is neither more pricey nor brings lower quality to the product. 


What is pre-rendering? This approach is also called offline rendering, as all work is basically done in advance, and the viewer does not have an impression that it is being produced as they go through. An agency begins by making a 3D CGI, adds realism by layering various details, and then uses a CPU or GPU to adapt it to the user’s gadget by putting it into 2D. The speed of production depends on the complexity of your project. 

The main benefit of offline rendering is that it allows you to put as much effort into making images realistic as you wish. Consequently, you can achieve hyper realistic visualization as long as the artist has a proper level of professionalism. On the other hand, it is impossible to create immersive or interactive visualization because, as the name itself suggests, all work should be done in advance.

Even though the experience may not come out as sufficient and seamless as it would with real-time rendering, it still offers amazing possibilities. It is considered appropriate for various kinds of projects.

What Is the Difference between Them?

So what is the difference? Obviously, your choice between pre-rendering and real-time rendering depends on your goal and what you prioritize in your project. Briefly speaking, if you value rapidness, real-time graphics is your ultimate choice. If it is not that essential, you can safely go with pre-rendering.

It may seem that making 3D rendering quick is equally important for everyone, but it is not the case, actually. Of course, an average 3D firm creating an animation will win some additional time with a faster process. It may even allow them to reduce production costs. However, when we talk about console game production, speed is not only lucrative, it is essential. No one can afford long rendering, therefore, speed is the number one priority.

It is important that both real-time rendering vs. pre-rendering have the benefit of making your visualization highly realistic in a manner that makes it hardly distinguishable from an actual photograph. Very often, this level of realism is used by game or movie creators to impress the audience and make their experience more immersive. However, it can also have massive importance from an educational perspective when used for other types of visualization. 

In addition, as time goes by and technologies develop, the difference between the two approaches is becoming less and less clear. We can assume that it will eventually become possible to get the benefits of both at the same time and find the ultimate solution for all of your visualization requirements. Is it too optimistic? It may be.


Both real-time rendering vs. pre-rendering can make great visualization strategies. If your aim is to create a seamless experience that imitates real-time footage and takes the viewer on an immersive 3D trip, opting for real-time rendering is a wiser choice. It may be important, for instance, if you are creating interactive tours or games, and it makes filmmaking much easier. 

Real-time rendering can also offer a level of realism that is otherwise hard to achieve. This approach does not require a long time or a bigger budget, which is a bonus as well.

If you are not aiming at creating this sort of illusion, pre-rendering can fulfill all your needs. It can offer a high-quality visualization that has all the necessary depth and realism, thanks to the lights and texture you use to improve the scene. 


What is the difference between pre-rendering and real-time rendering?

Pre-rendering uses previously rendered footage that is later compiled, whereas real-time rendering creates a seamless experience by rapidly turning 2D models into 3D.

What is real-time rendering?

Real-time rendering is an approach that creates an experience close to an actual real-time view by working with about 50 frames per hour and turning 2D into 3D.

What is offline or pre-computed 3D rendering?

Pre-computed 3D rendering or pre-rendering is a technology that involves rendering images in advance in order to use them.

Can real-time CG be better than pre-rendered?

While both approaches are equally effective, real-time CGI is a better choice for those who prioritize speed.

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