The Top Blender Renders of 2016

It's the end of what some are calling like the worst year in forever man. Which IMO is pretty dumb. But besides heated news topics, 2016 also gave us something nice. More gorgeous blender renders!

In previous years, I just picked my favourites and posted them here. But this year I did something different.

I found 35 of the best images from BlenderArtists and ArtStation, and then asked the community to vote on them, giving each image a rating out of 1-5.

A total of 1,377 people voted, and the results are below!

#20 Giant Samurai by Jesse Gayanilo

This was the winner of the Character competition for good reason! The composition, story and details are fantastic. Really top notch stuff.

#19 Hope Dies at the End by Mateusz Wielgus

A quiet but brilliant scene. It may not be as memorable as other images, but it's really hard to fault technically. Everything from the modelling, to the materials, to the colors are wonderful.

#18 Energy Mix by Manuel Peter

A very unique subject, and illustrated nicely. I like the different colors and shapes of the filaments.

#17 Living Room Simple by Higashigashi

Just a stunning interior render! While the fabric and colors look fantastic, the lighting is what stands out to me. You normally don't see this kind of crisp, high exposure style imagery rendered with cycles.

#16 The Journey by Zacharias Reinhardt

Winning 3rd place in ArtStation's 3D Transport challenge. This image has a lot going on in it! Really cool concept, executed nicely.

#15 Wine Glass by Guilherme Henrique

Created to demonstrate the new overlay textures on Poliigon, this work was the result of tweaking materials to perfection. I remember many back and forth critique sessions with the Blender Guru team, but it came out wonderfully!

#14 The Graveyard by Rob Tuytel

Love the lighting and atmosphere in this image. The wear and tear on the church makes the building feel embedded in the scene. Great attention to detail.

#13 Desert by Guilherme Henrique

Created as promotional artwork for The Rock Essentials, this scene is just marvelous. The part that always makes my head spin is how perfect the layers of rocks are in the foreground. Such a crazy amount of detail!

#12 Vigilant by Rob Garlington

Rob is the production manager of Blender Guru, and was asked by 3D Artist Magazine to create this new environment as a tutorial for them. Rob is a huge fan of The Lord of the Rings, so it makes sense this was his concept :P Trees, rocks, mountains and a character. Very ambitious!

#11 High Tide by Lukas Walzer

Very unique subject choice! I still don't quite know what's going on, but you can't deny that this image grabs your attention.

#10 Tina by Nazar Noschenko

Absolutely stunning! Characters are like a foreign language to me. They're incredibly complex, and hard to pull off well, but Nazar does this consistently. Everything from the clothing, to the lighting, to the hair are magnificent. Look forward to seeing more great characters from him in 2017!

#9 The Crow's Cave by Mason Menzies

This blew me away they first time I saw it. Mason did some contract work for Blender Guru, and so on a whim I asked if he could make a promo for The Rock Essentials. Without any guidance whatsoever he came back with this. Truly gorgeous image. Feels like a scene from Shutter Island or Uncharted.

#8 The Inventors Barn by JohnnieWooker


Very impressive! Normally large, complex scenes like this have a lot of missing detail. But everything from the bolts to the windscreen look properly textured. The lighting is great as well. No surprise that you won 2nd prize in the 3d Hum vehicle challenge!

#7 Portrait by Rico Cilliers

A super ambitious subject! CG humans are notorious for looking bad or creepy. So having the character up close to the camera, focused on the face and well lit is just asking for trouble! But you pulled it off. The beard looks especially great. Really well done.

#6 Sci-fi Armor Concept by Andy Goralczyk

Created by the great Andy Goralczyk (one of my idols when I was learning blender) as a promo for the HDRI library on the Blender Cloud. The modelling alone is worth applauding, but the texturing really knocks it out of the park. This could easily pass as a still from a scifi blockbuster.

#5 Sunset by Kless Gyzen

Absolutely gorgeous! I like that he went with this early morning frost look. It makes the whole scene feel surreal. Great storytelling.

#4 Barrel Riders by Guilherme Henrique


Yet another image by Guilherme Henrique! Trees, white water river, clicks, semi-submerged boulders, characters with hair?! I'm really struggling to think of a more ambitious scene. Yet of course he pulled it off. Created as a promo for The Rock Essentials.

#3 Wet Shoes by Gleb Alexandrov

Such a cool idea! Gleb photoscanned some boots and then tweaked the materials to create a unique story. Lovely lighting, materials and texturing (although I suppose you get that for free :P). Wonderful image.

#2 Alchemy by Gleb Alexandrov

Another killer image by Gleb! Made as a promo for Poliigon with no instructions. The lighting, atmosphere and texturing are superb. Just enough coloring to not feel boring, but not much to feel distracting. I love the subtle amounts of dirt and fingerprints everywhere. Very polished scene.

#1 The Courtyard by Guilherme Henrique

The #1 image of the year, as voted by 1,377 Blender users! The lighting, texturing, sculpting and composition are almost intimidating. Every pixel seems to contain just an insane amount of detail. And this is verified when you look at the behind the scenes renders. An absolutely mind numbing scene, and well deserving of the top spot!

A huge thank you to everyone who voted, and of course a huge thanks and congrats to the artists that feature here. When you consider the number of renders that were posted online this year, making it into the top 20 is a huge feat.

Here's to another great year of blender renders!

Artwork, ListsAndrew Price