Intel® Embree Ray Tracing Kernels
Discussion forum on the open source ray tracing kernels for fast photo-realistic rendering on Intel® CPUs.
265 Discussions

Very impressed! But I have a few questions


Firstly, wow! This looks like it could be really promising. With the insane rush towards GPU rendering and the extreme limitations that go with it, it's nice to see somebody working on proper CPU code, which makes much more sense. Along with a couple of other guys in the CG industry, I've been playing with this for a couple of days, and I have to say, the renders seem to get to production quality faster than existing render engines (iray and Vray, for example).

I have a few questions, if I might ask them.

1) I am trying to write an exporter to integrate this with Autodesk 3DStudio Max (there has been quite an interest in the Max community). I can see that there are a few methods of providing the scene for Embree (obj, XML and the loading of the BIN file, which I haven't figured out yet). Which of these methods is preferred? Which gives the best control of materials?

2) Is there any more documentation than the help file? I am picking things up, but too slowly!

3) Will there be any further development? It would be a shame to not develop this further, as it's really good code so far.

0 Kudos
4 Replies
New Contributor I
I'm happy to hear that you like the Embree renderer. It is surprising to see how many people are interested in using Embree directly for production work. The renderer shipping with Embree was only intended as an example for how the ray tracing kernels can be used. It is not a full-featured rendering solution. In other words, Embree was designed for developers of rendering engines. The focus is on the high-performance ray tracing kernels, that can be integrated into exisiting or future renderers to achive the best performance on CPUs.

Gettting back to your questions:

1) The preferred way to get scenes into Embree is via the XML and BIN files (you need both). The XML file specifies the structure of the scene (Transformations, Materials, etc.). The BIN file stores the triangle meshes in a binary format so that they can be loaded quickly. The Meshes in the XML file point into this BIN file.

2) There is the source code. It is very well documented for the ray tracing kernels. The descriptions of the interface to the renderer and the scene loaders are less detailled, because we did not expect the renderer to be used by end users. Admittedly, a 3DStudio Max exporter would be a useful tool. If you want to implement that, we might support you a bit. Please send an email to to get the discussion going.

3) There is no official roadmap for Embree, because it is still considered a research project. We will decide on a case-by-case basis if and when to add new features or optimizations.

Hi Manfred,

Thanks for open sourcing this - it moves a real-time ray tracing solution forwards by providing a clear specification for future hardware.

As Nik says, we've been discussing this over at maxforums.

Please feel free to join the discussion here or there.

Best regards,

Thanks for the reply. I am out of town for a few days, but I will email you as soon as I get back. I am quite excited about implementing this.

Very, very impressed
First time I see how it realy looks, behind Renderman and etc. Now I have to learn how to make UI and integrate. Big thanks