Realtime vs Pre-Rendered

Realtime vs Pre-Rendered

Realtime environments are visually a little different from the videos you'll often see in animation and movies.

To create such complex environments in an interactive way, some visual shortcuts need to be made. This FAQ descibes the difference between the two forms of content.

Pre-Rendered Content

Pre-rendered content is not interactive. It can take minutes for computers to generate just a single frame of animation, but the visual quality is outstanding.

Pre-rendered content is often seen in movies and television, such as Disney-Pixar animations, childrens TV shows and CGI-effects.

Realtime Content

Realtime content is created by your computer in real time - up to 60 times every second, a complete scene is drawn from the ground up. Because of the need to do things fast, visual quality - while still good - is not the same as the pre-rendered content.

Realtime content is most often found in interactive media such as simulations, computer games and other user-driven experiences.

Pre-Rendered Sample


Using this isolation lock as an example, you can see realistic reflections, subtle and reflected lighting, highly detailed objects and textures and a host of other effects to make the scene look as realistic as possible, even when dealing with such a small part of the scene.

If you are producing a movie rather than an interactive scene, pre-rending will give you the best quality results. We can offer rendered video for a wide variety of training and visualisation scenarios.

Realtime Sample


Using the same model, the realtime version still looks very effective, but lacks the subtle lighting and shadow and the very detailed texturing found in the pre-rendered version.

Real-time reflections are also too expensive for such a small part.

On low-end computers you will also see 'jaggies' - the outline of your objects can be slightly rough. However, this is not an issue on newer and more powerful desktop computers.