3Delight for Houdini 19

Updated: Dec 25, 2021

This image was rendered using 3delight cloud rendering on 192 cores. Completed in 34mins.

Check out their website 3delight.com It's not a lie, 3delight is refreshingly simple and fast.

I've been using 3Delight at Soho since day 1, almost 2 decades of rendering feature film quality visual effects . It used to be a renderman compliant rendering engine and you needed developers to get it up and running. Some major overhauling has been done over the past few years and it is now my favourite rendering engine for home use (even more so than Karma).

Before going any further, let's learn to say the name properly. It's not Three Dee delight. You simply say Three Delight.

I'll break up this guide in 2 parts. First: Short section to get 3delight up and running. Second: Multi part guide to Render in Houdini. This guide is ideal for someone who already understands lighting and rendering fundamentals. If you already have some experience with a PBR Renderer such as Arnold, V-Ray, Mantra, then this guide is for you.

Get 3delight up and running

Sign up on their website and download the latest version for your OS


The Free 3delight version is the beta version and it might have some bugs. It's a good idea to join the discord group. At the time of my install, using the latest version made houdini crash.


Once you've downloaded the package for your OS, uncompress it and actually read the README.txt the install info will be there for your specific OS

Assuming you've managed to install everything properly. Run the code below on the terminal or console (windows) and it will show what version of 3delight you have.

renderdl -v

my version looks like this:

jorge@yeongwol:~$ renderdl -v
renderdl version 2.7.1 linux64 (Nov 24 2021, 7343db) "Re-Animator".
Copyright (c) 2021 Illumination Research
Compiled with clang 13.0.0 , built against glibc 2.17 and running with 2.34

Try opening idisplay:


I display is 3delight's viewer and image inspector. If you are rendering from a local machine or the cloud, your renders can be sent to idisplay.

Remember earlier, I told you to sign in? Your login info goes here

Click on the top right corner button to open up the stats panel (if it's not already open)

Click on Processing. The default should be using your computer at full capactiy. You can choose to render on the 3delight Cloud.

For test renders you should probably just render locally. However if you are impatient like me, then you will likely use the cloud rendering.

3Delight will give each new user a license to use up to 12 cores locally and 1000 minutes on the cloud.

Choosing Ludicrous Speed to test render your sequence will eat up your free 1000 minutes very quickly. Use it sparingly and stick to Econo Speed for the most part.

Almost done the first part.

Let's benchmark your machine. Follow the instructions here.

Too much info you don't care about? Ok, fine here's the direct link for the test files:


A good one to test is the Camino del Sol example.

Download the NSI example and unzip it somewhere in your local drive.

Open a terminal and type renderdl -h, this will show you the different flags you can use to render from the terminal. It's good to print the help file since the flags might change over time.

renderdl -h
Usage: renderdl [options] [file1 ... fileN]
  -cloud            : use 3Delight Cloud to render the specified files
  -collective name  : use the given 3Delight Collective `name` to render the files
  -display          : redirect all output to 3Delight Display (a.k.a i-display)
  -lua              : interpret input file as a LUA file.
  -stats            : save statistics in rendered images
  -progress         : print rendering progress at each bucket
  -t n              : launch the render using 'n' threads
  -cat              : output NSI to stdout
    -binary         : encode NSI stream in binary format
    -gzip           : compress NSI stream using gzip format
    -callprocedurals: expand all procedurals and archives
    -o filename     : output NSI stream to