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10 Aug. 2020
Christophe Bicchierai Consultant - Rendering expert
Christophe Bicchierai

 FStormRender is the GPU rendering engine for 3ds Max that I use for architectural renderings. What I like about this engine is its speed, its great photorealism and its developer’s pragmatism.

I already had the opportunity to tell you about it a few months ago, so now let's take a look at what’s new since then.

The fear when using a GPU engine is exploding the video memory. That’s why it’s particularly important for the publisher to take care in optimizing memory usage. On this point FStormRender is particularly efficient, whether it’s for geometries or for texture compressing. I’ve never encountered any problems, even with a lot of vegetation and XXL textures.

FStormRender has most of the essential tools for rapid production and post-production:

  • triplanar mapping
  • random color
  • multitexture
  • noise and scratch procedurals
  • very efficient tone mapper
  • conversion of V-Ray scenes
  • rounded edges

Among the new features since our last FStormRender test: 

Parallax bump 

It’s a bumping method that I’m not very used to and I only knew about from Unreal Engine. It gives amazing results for a “simple” bump. The renderings are very detailed and the impression of relief is noticeable. It’s between a nice normal map and a displacement. Of course this will not replace displacement as long as there are no geometry modifications. 

Material projection

A very interesting tool that I also knew from Unreal and which allows you to project a material on surfaces. You can use a mask to draw shapes—for example footprints, tasks—and position them in a very flexible way on our geometries. Using id we associate the materials to be projected and the materials likely to be affected by the projection.

Random tiling

The repetition of a texture immediately betrays a rendering. A very effective option in FStorm Bitmap (the node which lets you load a texture) is the random tiling. This allows us to duplicate, rotate, and blend our texture to provide variations across its entire surface.

Distance texture

The FStorm Distance function allows you to create a gradient mask that materializes distance around an object. It’s a tool that we already know from other engines and that lets you control the appearance of a material around an object for example.


In the environment parameters, I want to point out the Matte projection, which makes it possible to render a 3D object that directly integrated into the background, and the Atmosphere, which simulates the effects of haze and fog.

Remember for a moment an older development that’s very well thought out: GeoPattern

GeoPattern allows you to select a portion of a 3D model and apply it to another 3D object. This makes it possible to easily distribute a 3D model while limiting memory usage. (GeoPattern example from Matej Ovsenek)


FStormRender now has a strong community and continues to develop with functions that are rare to find in a renderer. It has found its place mainly in architectural renderings with very focused functions. Will it open up to other types of images, as requested by some graphic designers on the community’s Facebook page? You’ll get an answer in a few months...

FStormRender Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/FStormGroup