What is KeyShot?

KeyShot is real-time 3D rendering and animation for both Mac and PC.

KeyShot uses interactive raytracing and global illumination technology developed by Luxion. It’s built to break down the complexity of creating photographic images from 3D models. With the CPU based architecture, photographic visuals can be achieved even on simple laptops without the need for special graphics cards.

KeyShot allows you to easily change materials, interactively create and adjust lighting and cameras to make the product development process faster and easier than ever before. KeyShot reads in every major 3D file format natively on both PC and Mac, thus making it fit into any virtually product development environment.

Who is Luxion?

Founded in 2003, Luxion specializes in advancing state of the art technology for computer based lighting simulations. We are a leading developer of advanced 3D rendering, animation and lighting technology with expert knowledge in areas related to daylighting, light scattering by materials, light transport algorithms such as photon mapping, and realtime rendering technology.

Luxion is the sole developer of the KeyShot 3D rendering and animation software.

Luxion also offers consulting and proprietary application and library development for customers in need for software capable of precisely calculating the scattering of light in complex 3D environments.

What file formats does KeyShot support?

KeyShot supports a wide variety of native CAD formats, including Alias, CATIA, PTC Creo, Autodesk Inventor, Pro/ENGINEER, NX, Solid Edge, SOLIDWORKS, and Rhino. Neutral file formats like IGES, STEP, OBJ and FBX are also supported. A full list of supported file formats can be found here.

KeyShot CAD, KeyShot CAD HD, KeyShot for XXX, and other CAD editions only accept BIP files exported via a plugin within the respective CAD application.  This plugin is often a button or a menu inside the CAD application.  If you do not see this button or menu, please contact your CAD provider.  To upgrade your CAD edition to KeyShot Pro, click here.

What computer hardware works best with KeyShot?

For minimum system requirements, click here. Below are some things to consider when shopping for hardware.

The processor is the only hardware component that has an effect on performance. For optimal performance, consider processors with high core counts: Intel i7 and Intel Xeon processors (EXCEPT Xeon Phi) will work great. The higher the number of cores the better.  Core count takes precedence over processing speed (Hz).

Your computer should have enough RAM to load all of the polys/triangles in your CAD files. Normally, 12 GB of RAM is enough load your CAD files, work in KeyShot, and multi-task with other applications.

Any graphics card that runs Open GL 2.0 or later will do (all graphics cards these days do).

Note:  KeyShot does NOT make use of the graphics card for rendering.



What is new in KeyShot?

All new features can be seen on the What’s New page. This page is updated for each release of KeyShot. To download updates of KeyShot, please visit the KeyShot updates page.

Does KeyShot run on Windows?

Yes, KeyShot runs on Windows 7 and above. System requirements for Windows can be seen here.

Does KeyShot run on Mac OS X?

Yes, KeyShot runs on Mac OS X. System requirements for Mac OS X can be seen here.

Does KeyShot take advantage of the CPU and GPU?

KeyShot is a fully optimized CPU-based render engine.

Purchase, Transfer and Upgrade

How can I buy KeyShot?

You can buy KeyShot directly at, by contacting or by contacting your local reseller.

How are upgrades handled?

Luxion offers an annual subscription for all versions of KeyShot at 20% of the list price. The subscription will cover all upgrades and provide priority e-mail support. Please contact for more information.

How do I upgrade KeyShot?

Luxion, Inc. offers three different applications:  KeyShot, KeyShot Pro Floating, and KeyShot Network Rendering.  Each application has its own upgrade method.

How to upgrade to KeyShot:
Customers who are currently enrolled in our annual subscription program qualify for free upgrade to KeyShot. Educational license holders may also upgrade for free. All other customers may click here to purchase a KeyShot upgrade.

Follow these steps to upgrade KeyShot:
1. Download the new KeyShot installer here.
2. Run the KeyShot installer
3. Once installed, start KeyShot and select Activate your license from the registration wizard.
4. Enter your information and click Next (PC) or Continue (Mac).
5. Enter your old KeyShot serial code and click Finish. KeyShot will re-start and your license will activate.

How to upgrade to KeyShot Pro Floating:
Customers who are currently enrolled in our annual subscription program qualify for a free upgrade to KeyShot Pro Floating. Educational (floating) license holders may also upgrade for free. All other customers may click here to purchase a KeyShot Pro Floating upgrade. You will need to request a new license from our licensing team at Please provide your name, company name, and existing license file with your request email. The licensing team will then provide you with a new license and software download links.

How to upgrade to KeyShot 6 Network Rendering:
Current Network Rendering holders may also upgrade to KeyShot Network Rendering for free. Follow these steps to upgrade your Network Rendering license:

1. Install KeyShot 6 Network Rendering on all computers connected to the network starting with the master. You may download the installer with the links below.
Windows 32-bit
Windows 64-bit

2. Launch the KeyShot 6 Network Configurator and run the configuration wizard.
3. Select Master mode, and click Next (PC) or Continue (Mac) you will be asked to register your license. Click Request license and fill in your information. Enter your serial code and click Register.  You network license will activate automatically.
4. Click Next (PC) or Continue (Mac) and continue setting up your network services according to the setup manual.

For more information, please refer to the KeyShot 6 Network Rendering Manual.

Please contact if you have any questions.

Will my previous version be affected when I upgrade to the latest version of KeyShot?

Your previous version of KeyShot will not be affected when the new version is installed. The new version will be a completely new install, which you will be able to run side-by-side with previous versions.

Does the latest version of KeyShot support my previous version content?

All of your content that was created in a previous version of KeyShot will be able to be opened, and supported on the latest version of KeyShot. Content created in newer versions is not backwards compatible.

Where can I download the latest KeyShot updates?

You may find the latest KeyShot updates here.

You may download older KeyShot versions and their plugins here.

How do I transfer my license of KeyShot to a new machine?

KeyShot requires a valid internet connection on both machines for a successful license transfer. Simply deactivate your license from the original machine. You will find the option to deactivate under “Help”(Windows) or “KeyShot”(Mac OSX). Once the license has been deactivated, please proceed with registering the license on the new machine.


Why do I see a black screen when I open KeyShot?

It is important to make sure you have the latest drivers for your graphics card, which can be found on your grapics card manufactures website. You can also disable “Graphics effects” from within the Preferences -> Advanced menu, the problem should be resolved.

Why when I import my file it says “Your file does not contain 3D geometry” when it clearly does?

It is important to make sure you have all part files in the same folder as your assembly file, and the file is compatible with KeyShot. All supported file types for KeyShot can be found here. We also have plugins that work with your modeling software. A list of plugins can be found here.


Where can I download previous versions of KeyShot?

All previous version of KeyShot can be downloaded from the “Previous downlaods” page, which can be found here here. Please contact for floating links.

Where can I find tutorials and other learning resources?

We offer a learning section which can be found here. You will find our manual for the current version of KeyShot, as well as tutorials, quick tips, and webinars.


How Do I Improve the Realism of Metals?

Here are some guidelines for increasing the level of realism in your renderings:

Environment – Use a backplate that matches your environment environment. You can find more environments in our cloud library. Try our a couple environments. You may also use the HDRI editor (Pro only) to add a few pins to the environment to boost the lighting on the flat surfaces.

Material – Use the Anisotropic (advanced metal) type. This gives you much more control over the appearance of the metal, and you can read more about this material in the forum here. Spending a little bit of time fine tuning it will give you much better results than the default stainless material.

Lighting – Use the “Product” lighting preset under Project > Lighting tab, then let the image sit for about 10 minutes.

Shadows – Add a ground plane (Edit > Add Geometry > Ground Plane) to help get better ground shadows, then moved it up to meet the bottom of your model.

How Do I Simulate Metal Flakes?

Please note that the Material Graph (Pro only) is required to implement the technique described below.

The idea is to have a base paint material, then add metal as a layer. You can isolate flecks using the Spots procedural, then (if needed) add a bump to help the spots all reflect light in different directions

  1. Apply a regular paint to your model. Choose the desired paint color.
  2. Double-click your model and go to Project > Material > Material Graph
  3. Right-click in the material graph workspace and select Materials > Metal
  4. Connect the Metal output to the base Paint material
  5. Right-click in the material graph workspace and select Textures > Spots
  6. Connect the Spots output to the Metal’s opacity channel
  7. Right-click the material graph workspace and select Textures > Cellular
  8. Connect the Cellular output to the Metal’s bump channel
  9. Play withe the Spots and Bump texture settings to achieve the desired effect

For a reference scene, click here.


How do I improve KeyShot's output rendering speed?
KeyShot is 100% CPU-powered and it will use 100% of your CPU’s processing power. If you double the number of cores, you potentially cut your render time in half. Besides CPU cores, the only other thing that affects KeyShot’s output performance is the image quality. Image quality, in turn, depends on the image’s resolution and the output settings used to render the image. A higher resolution means that there are more pixels to render, and thus more time is required. Similarly, a higher number of render samples will imrpove the quality of each pixel and result in longer render times.
Here are some things you can do to improve KeyShot’s output rendering speed:
1.  Reduce your image resolution.
2.  Change your render output setting.
KeyShot offers three different rendering setting:  Maximum Samples, Maximum Time, and Advanced Control.
Maximum Samples
When using Maximum Samples, the rule of thumb is to start at 32 samples. You can perform a quick test by rendering a single still image at the desired resolution. If your test image looks good, then you can render the rest of your still images or animations at 32 samples. Otherwise, double the number of samples to 64 and perform another test. Keep doubling the samples until you achieve the desired quality.

Maximum Time
You can always render with Maximum Time.  Maximum Time will provide you with the best possible image in the amount of time that you specify.  The beauty of using Maximum Time is that you can always click “Stop and Save” (the image) before time is up if all looks as expected.

Advanced Control
As mentioned earlier, Advanced Control has many settings that you can play with:  samples, shadow quality, global illumination, etc. Tinkering with settings can potentially lead to quality overkill accompanied by longer render times. Therefore, we will not go over this render method here. For more information about Advanced Control, please consult the KeyShot Manual.

3.  Increase your CPU power by connecting computers in your office network via KeyShot Network Rendering.
If you render high resolutions images and animations regularly, A KeyShot Network Render license is recommended. This license will allow you to connect any computers in your office network and use the combined CPU power of those machines to render your visuals. For more information about Network Rendering, please go to our product page or consult the Network Rendering Manual.  You may also contact our sales department at (949) 274-8871 Ext. 2 or via email at

4.  Third Party Render Farms
If you are unable to modify your scene or your hardware setup, you have the option to send your scene to a third party for rendering.  Companies such as 3D Off the Page and RevUp Render have their own KeyShot Network Rendering farm and offer such services.

How do I improve KeyShot's real-time performance?

KeyShot is 100% CPU-powered and it will use 100% of your CPU’s processing power. The more processor cores, the faster the render engine. Here are some other things you can do to improve res-up/frame rate:

1.  Ensure that KeyShot is using all of the CPU cores.
Go to to the top ribbon menu and at the top right-corner, you will find the CPU core drop-down. Set it to All Cores.

2.  Use the Alt+P hotkey for Performance Mode.
Performance Mode turns off certain scene lighting settings (e.g. ground shadows, global illumination, etc). You may use the hotkey to toggle performance mode on/off.

3.  Ensure that Fast Real-time Updates is enabled under Edit/KeyShot, Preferences, Advanced.
Click Save Changes to save your changes in Preferences.

4. Set Disable outline for large models: Auto.
You may do this from Edit/KeyShot, Preferences, Interface. Click Save Changes. This will turn off the orange outlines around models if the model is very large (in number of triangles/polys).

5. Turn off Import NURBS data when importing your CAD data.
This setting is under Geometry section of the Import window.

6. Work on a few parts at a time.
Hiding parts and showing only the ones you are currently working on helps improve performance.

7.  Decrease your Real-time Viewer resolution.
You may set the real-time resolution from the Project window under the Image tab. You may also drag a corner of the Real-time Viewer to resize it.

If you are still experiencing slow res-up times, please contact Luxion Support at


What is KeyShotVR?

With KeyShotVR, users can create high-quality, touch-enabled, 3D rendered content capable of being displayed in any web browser supporting HTML5. The content can be viewed using mouse or finger on touch-enabled devices and does not require a browser plugin to work. Furthermore, KeyShot is not WebGL based and is therefore able to deliver the highest quality of images possible across the widest range of devices. Examples can be found here.

Can I embed a KeyShotVR in a *.pdf file? A PowerPoint?

Since KeyShotVR is an html-based file, it cannot be embedded into a .pdf file, since a .pdf does not recognize html.

A KeyShotVR can be embedded into a Microsoft PowerPoint file. Please see this guide to walk you through the steps.

Network Rendering

What is Network Rendering?

Network rendering gives you the ability to take advantage of multiple systems on your network, for rendering images, animations, and KeyShotVR’s. More information can be found here.