Appleseed supports amongst other features

  • fully programmable shading via Sony Pictures ImageworksOpen Shading Language (OSL)
  • RGB/spectral/mixed rendering
  • fast and robust transformation and deformation motion blur
  • state-of-the-art ray traced subsurface scattering
  • exhaustive Python and C++ APIs
  • and many other production-oriented features.


Along with the core renderer, the team is actively developing high quality integrations

appleseed is also the default rendering engine of Image Engine’s Gaffer.

Detailed Features List

Light Transport

  • Unidirectional Path Tracing [1]
  • Stochastic Progressive Photon Mapping [2]
  • Light Tracing

Reflection Models

  • Lambertian BRDF (purely diffuse)
  • Specular BRDF (perfect mirror)
  • Specular BSDF
  • Diffuse BTDF
  • Oren-Nayar Microfacet BRDF
  • Ward Microfacet BRDF
  • Blinn Microfacet BRDF
  • Microfacet BRDF with GGX, GTR, Student’s t-MDF
  • Disney’s principled BRDF
  • Ashikhmin-Shirley BRDF
  • Kelemen BRDF
  • Glossy BRDF
  • Conductor Fresnel metal BRDF
  • Stacked plastic BRDF
  • Glass BSDF with absorption
  • Sheen BRDF
  • Arbitrary mixtures of BRDFs
  • Energy compensation in microfacet BxDFs.

Subsurface Scattering

appleseed provides state-of-the art raytraced, animation-friendly subsurface scattering, fully exposed to OSL. There is no precomputation and it’s available in interactive rendering. SSS sets are also supported.

Subsurface Scattering Profiles

The following subsurface scattering profiles are available

  • Better Dipole
  • Directional Dipole
  • Gaussian
  • Normalized Diffusion
  • Standard Dipole
  • Random Walk

Volume rendering

  • Single scattering
  • Multiple scattering
  • Homogeneous media
  • Isotropic phase function
  • Henyey-Greenstein phase function

Camera Models

  • Pinhole camera
  • Spherical camera
  • Thin lens camera (depth of field)
  • Polygonal diaphragm shapes
  • Full control over the bokeh via image-based diaphragm shapes

Motion Blur

  • Camera motion blur
  • Transformation motion blur
  • Deformation motion blur
  • Arbitrary number of motion steps

Light Source Models

  • Point light
  • Spot light
  • Gobos
  • Directional/parallel light
  • Mesh light
  • Purely diffuse emission profile
  • Cone-shaped emission profile
  • Image-based lighting
  • Latitude-longitude environment maps
  • Mirror-ball environment maps
  • Preetham physically-based day sky model
  • Hosek & Wilkie physically-based day sky model
  • Physically-based Sun
  • Environment transforms

Production Features

Besides the extensive list of features mentioned, appleseed provides

  • Open Shading Language support (OSL)
  • A production oriented OSL shader library
  • OpenColorIO support
  • Disney SeExpr expressions
  • AOVs
  • Hierarchical instancing
  • Per-instance visibility flags
  • Alpha mapping
  • Automatic color space conversions
  • Ray differentials
  • Ray bias
  • Light Near Start
  • Low light threshold
  • Max ray intensity
  • Bounce limits per scatterint types
  • Nested dielectrics
  • Automatic tracking of indices of refraction
  • Packed, single-file scenes for easy transport
  • Search paths for external assets
  • Dozens of diagnostic modes


  • Windows, Linux and macOS (64-bit)
  • OBJ geometry files
  • Full Open Shading Language support
  • Integration with 3rd party applications via connection plugins


  • Multithreaded, scalable
  • SSE, SSE2, SSE4.2 vectorization
  • Memory-bounded texture cache
  • Multiple Importance Sampling
  • Efficient handling of alpha maps
  • Advanced many-light sampling


  • Full featured graphical tool for scene editing (appleseed.studio)
  • Command line renderer
  • Dropbox-based render farm tools
  • OSL compiler and tools
  • Texture processor (OIIO)


  • 100% open source, MIT license
  • Exceptionally clean, fully reviewed code
  • Full featured C++ API
  • Full extensibility via external C++ plugins
  • Full featured Python 2.x/3.x API
  • Embedded Python scripting
  • More than 1300 built-in unit tests
  • Hundreds of built-in performance tests
  • Rich, automatic functional test suite


[1]UDPT for short
[2]SPPM for short