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Luxion Releases New KeyShot 8—Renderer for Mac and Windows

Luxion releases new KeyShot 8 for Mac and Windows professionals—leading real-time ray-tracing renderer includes major new features and improvements.


Luxion has announced KeyShot 8, the next generation of its industry-leading real-time ray-tracing and global illumination software program for 3D rendering and animation.

KeyShot 8

Big new features in KeyShot 8 include displacement mapping, materials with bubbles and embedded flakes, new volumetric materials including volume caustics, liquids, interactive cutaways on rendered models, and interactive color and intensity curve adjustments, among other finer details.

These new features advanced KeyShot 8 to a level that eliminates the need of users to use additional software programs to create such advanced rendered details and effects and provide more powerful modeling and visualization capabilities. Here are highlight items of note:

  • Image Styles — a totally new feature that allows users to make photographic adjustments to KeyShot scenes in real time prior to and after rendering. The image styles can themselves be saved to be reused in KeyShot Studios. Photograph options include things like Tone-Mapping, Curve Control, Color Adjustment, Background color override and the ability to apply a Frontplate.
  • Cutaway — a new approach to creating sectional cutaways is to use geometry primitives. The remaining removed geometry can then have applied custom materials for a special sectional contrast look and particular objects can also be omitted from the effect of the cutaway
  • Scattering Media — KeyShot 8 now supports the ability to simulate particles scattering and volumetrics such as smoke and fog. Used in combination with physical light, rays, and beams of light can be now visualized. Users will have the option to apply a Density Texture and there is full support for OpenVDB files applied to the Density Texture as a Volume Map.
  • Geometry Nodes — KeyShot 8 offers an entirely new way of working with geometry, via three new types of geometry nodes (shaders) to modify the geometry of an object with displacement, bubbles or flakes. This all works through the Material Graph, the advanced material editor in KeyShot.
  • KeyShot Viewer — KeyShot Viewer is a new, feature-rich app to compliment design reviews, make presentations more interactive, and generally improve collaboration. Users can open, view, interact with a KeyShot scene in real-time using mouse, touch, pen, or stylus to explore the scene or change materials and lighting.

There is also an all-new Migration Assistance to migrate custom resources from KeyShot 7. KeyShot Cloud is now fully integrated into the KeyShot 8 user interface with no login required to browse resources.

01 – The new Cutaway feature shown in this image from DEVELOP 3D LIVE in Boston last week at the KeyShot booth. The capabilities with this new tool were impressive.

A new Spotlight material type offers advanced light control with gobo (stencil) support. Liquid interfaces now eliminate the need to separate liquid geometry into different surfaces, and there is RGB hex color codes support. Another nifty improvement is that Alpha transparency is now supported in screenshots.

On the interoperability front, KeyShot 8 has a new option for glTF/GLB export for allowing sharing of interactive scenes to platforms like Facebook or to PowerPoint. Rhino 6 (Mac and Windows) and Autodesk Inventor (Windows) is also now supported.


KeyShot 8 is now available for download and purchase at and through all certified resellers. Those who purchased KeyShot 7 or after 15 August 2018, as well as all customers who purchased KeyShot for Education or KeyShot for ZBrush, will receive the upgrade for free.

02 – New Tone Mapping adds even more realism to KeyShot’s rendering powers.

To learn more visit them online or contact sales at [email protected] or click here.

Architosh Analysis and Commentary

Last week at DEVELOP 3D Live in Boston, I had a chance to see KeyShot 8 in person at their booth during this innovative and exciting one-day conference. Jeff Hayden, chief operating officer, was there on hand to talk to me about the new features in KeyShot 8. This particular update is quite impressive and adds capabilities that decrease the need to use post-production tools to enhance rendering images further. 

The ability to emulate particles scattering in the air within a particular volume was a key feature Hayden demonstrated to me. Used in combination with animated lights this feature can create very dramatic presentations useful across any range of subjects. The other feature that impressed me was the new Cutaway tools. You essentially create any other shape using a modeling primitive, slide it so it intersects your subject model and then hit the cutaway command. This is really like a type of boolean operation via subtraction (it may, in fact, be a boolean operation). Surfaces geometry can be closed up along the invisible faces of the intersecting cutaway object. Specific textures can be applied to those surfaces—as shown in image 01 above. 

03 – New displacement capabilities enable any procedural texture to modify the topology of a geometry. In this image, the form you see was originally a simple sheet of metal or a plane, essentially.

The other impressive thing Hayden showed me was how KeyShot 8 can use textures to modify geometry, as in image 03 above. I was also surprised to learn that Hayden said that KeyShot 8 can then export that modified geometry as, well, “geometry.” 

For those who are not aware, Luxion’s technology was the first real-time ray-tracing 3D rendering technology on the market and is still a market leader. It initially came to the market under the name HyperShot by Bunkspeed, approximately in 2007. HyperShot 1.5 was announced by Bunkspeed in the summer of 2008. This highly awarded program than ran into a licensing issue with Luxion who owned its core rendering technology. The two parties split and the market ended up with Luxion’s KeyShot and Bunkspeed’s newly renamed SHOT. I enjoyed having a catch-up on this history with Jeff Hayden of Luxion. Architosh over the years chronicled these changes through various news coverage. Here are some links of interest for those who want to dig in a bit on the history. 

A little History

The first major update to the original HyperShot came as version 1.5 in the summer of 2008. We noted it now supported Rhino for both Windows and Mac. A little less than two years later Luxion—led by Dr. Henrik Wann Jensen, chief scientist of Luxion—announced KeyShot, a rival to HyperShot. It supported both Mac and Windows at the time. Within the same month of the KeyShot announcement, Architosh heard from Bunkspeed CEO Philip Lunn about the future of HyperShot becoming “SHOT.” In this particular story here, we noted that HyperShot actually kind of debuted on the Mac at COFES in Apple’s technology suite there. This was in the latter half of the first decade, the iPhone was out and things were very exciting with Apple. 

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