3D Artist

KeyShot 6 review

News & Features
Andy Jones

The release of KeyShot 6 has brought with it a raft of new features, but is it worth buying? Find out in our KeyShot 6 review

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KeyShot is a piece of software that has long been known for its simplicity, beauty and power.

With the newest edition of KeyShot, Luxion has opened up doors to those who want more control while also keeping true to its intuitive roots. The new additions show that Luxion has intent to make KeyShot 6 a real contender in the render engine market.

Let’s start with the biggest new feature, the Material Graph editor. Again, great for someone who is a node stud, all the way down to someone who thinks that nodes are those scary things that keep you from getting freelance jobs. You can jump in and tune something up or dive deep and control every parameter with a plethora of new options. This new interface can be used as part of the creative process as well.

With the blazing-fast rendering you can move through many iterations in literally minutes. There are so many new options, we will just touch on a few that we loved.

Let’s start with the Occlusion node: a feature that has been missing in KeyShot for a long time. Most of you will already be associated with ambient occlusion from other software packages, best known for showing small detail and adding lots of realism to shadows. So Luxion decided to add this as a node and thus as a material.

Next up is Curvature: a very unique looking effect. It takes into account the way that light is hitting the curvature of the geometry and affects it accordingly. This is a really good choice for getting amazing complex shines on visors and sunglasses.

Scratches and Spots are very similar, and these are both procedural textures with all the right parameters to fit the bill. They are great for some light wear and tear or water spots – just crank them up and watch the patterns emerge. You can achieve some very illusive effects by making use of these options.

Now let’s get into the new lighting presets, which are great for when you need something looking awesome.

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Some of these specific lighting scenarios will fit many common needs. That said, we were having fun just clicking around them and seeing what stuck.
In terms of what we may expect, there is Performance mode, which is the same as Performance in previous versions and it’s great for tweaking big scenes. Then there is the default setting which is pretty much business as usual.

There is also a new Product setting that, believe it or not, is great for products! It’s great for concentrating on specular highlights and will leave art directors dumbstruck. The interior is classy and refined, and is a great setting to light those tricky interiors.

It will provide rays of vibrant afternoon light in just a click. Otherwise, there is Full Simulation and Global Illumination for caustics and high sample counts! There is also a Custom setting and again, Luxion is giving control to the user here, meaning another gold star from us.

Luxion has the forgetful 3D artist in mind with KeyShot 6 as you can now edit geometry inside the program. Rather than popping back into your modelling package to edit, you can stay in KeyShot and keep making really great renders.

With the Material Graph, KeyShot can now displace several programs and keep you in the creative process. Along with that, KeyShot has expanded the import options to almost everything you would ever want – the C4D file import was the most exciting for us (splines for hair!). There are so many other amazing features such as multilayer PSD export, a scripting console, new VR functions and all manner of animation options, to name a few.

Opening up KeyShot 6 feels like the first time you got the keys to a new car.

You have all the control – it’s up to you where you want to go. KeyShot 6 wears a lot of different hats, and does it well. Luxion has shown ambition to meet demand with its new features, and if this trend continues, we bet that you will start seeing a lot more credit given to this once modest renderer.


KeyShot 6 produces stunning renders easily and quickly. Having it in your arsenal will leave you with more time to push your work to the next level

Features – 5/5
Performance – 5/5
Design – 5/5
Value for money – 4.5/5

Overall – 5/5