In the past I was never truly able to use it. With the exception of very basic scenes. The worst part about cycles is how slow it is to render something high quality.
This was why I started to get into external rendering. I tried all the freeware of course. I even tried trials and demos of paid software. I liked Keyshot the most. I was told to try VRay but when I saw the price, I avoided it completely.
In the end I never bought Keyshot because well, it’s out of my price range and at the time, Blackmagic Fusion didn’t have as many tutorials as it does now. And now that I’ve discovered NATRON (free) I have a lot more options for compositing and rendering.
However last year I got a new PC and it made the biggest impact on my Blender Cycles renders. Of course I can’t render any of my animations but hey, at least I can render my art now to the level I like. So here’s a few cycles renders I’ve done recently.
The last picture is a closeup of the toys. As you can see the first few are a bit noisy with some fireflies. The last three are clean and smooth as I upped resolution. It took quite some time to render. This makes me look forward to Blender EEVEE even more!
I like using cycles for toon related scenery but the render time takes so long! Currently I am researching the current freeware and opensource external rendering engines to see what I can do until the new version of Blender comes out.