Nvidia's new studio driver increases render speeds in apps like Blender

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Nvidia has released the December studio driver update (opens in new tab) and it has some pretty neat features for game creators, especially anyone dabbling with Blender. 

Blender is one of the most popular 3D modelling tools around, in part because it’s free and open source (opens in new tab). When I first started becoming interested in games outside of just playing them, the advice given to me by the local school was to have a go with Blender. It has all sorts of features for dev work like animating, modelling, VFX, and more and it just received a big update that plays very nicely with Nvidia.

The Blender Cycles renderer has received some big changes to make it work better with Nvidia cards. This optimization of the RTX GPUs is boasting render times 12 and 15x faster than MacBook Pro M1. This also allows for instant feedback using OptiX to render modelling materials.

Plus the new Blender 3.0 brings USD file import support. USD files are a big part of Nvidia’s Omniverse development workflow. They can be edited by multiple applications at once, and now can even work with Blender. Importing a USD file to Blender should grab heaps of the info, like lighting, animations, surface materials etc and convert it all to Blender friendly versions. More features are set to come in Blender 3.1, and some alpha users might be playing with those already.

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Blender isn’t the only software Nvidia’s December studio driver is looking to place nice with. Isotropix Clarisse (opens in new tab) recently released Clarisse 5.5 with Angie. This allows the rendering tool to render huge ray traced scenes even faster with Nvidia RTX GPUs. Clarisse 5.5 with Angie is another one you can download and play with today if you like.

The December driver features updates for other apps too, but these are more minor. You can get a full look at what it includes on the download page. (opens in new tab)  In general it seems a little bit less ambitious than building Earth 2 (opens in new tab) in the omniverse for climate modelling, but it's still a neat update. 

Hope Corrigan
Hardware Writer

Hope’s been writing about games for about a decade, starting out way back when on the Australian Nintendo fan site Vooks.net. Since then, she’s talked far too much about games and tech for publications such as Techlife, Byteside, IGN, and GameSpot. Of course there’s also here at PC Gamer, where she gets to indulge her inner hardware nerd with news and reviews. You can usually find Hope fawning over some art, tech, or likely a wonderful combination of them both and where relevant she’ll share them with you here. When she’s not writing about the amazing creations of others, she’s working on what she hopes will one day be her own. You can find her fictional chill out ambient far future sci-fi radio show/album/listening experience podcast (opens in new tab) right here.

No, she’s not kidding.