What is EEVEE Next: Blender’s Next-Gen Real-Time Render Engine

Oct 20th 2023

As we prepare for the release of Blender 4.0, the hype surrounding Blender 4.1 and EEVEE Next is already bubbling to the surface. After some internet sleuthing and playing with demo scenes, here is what I found out so far. 

In the upcoming release of Blender 4.1 on March 5th, 2024, Blender will be including Eevee Next, the next iteration of Eevee with the promise of virtually no limits to the number of lights in the scene, increased shadow resolutions, shader displacement, and a complete rewrite of baking. In this article, I’ll show you how to download Blender 4.1 and discuss some upcoming Eevee features. 

What is Eevee Next?

Eevee is getting an upgrade in 4.1 is currently called Eevee Next.

“Eevee Next is the next version of Eevee - Pavlo Vazquez”. 
First, what is Eevee? Originally released in 2019, Eevee is a real-time render engine built using OpenGL focused on speed and interactivity. Eevee can be used iteratively in the 3D Viewport and produce high-quality final renders. (Read the Blender Docs on Eevee

Real-time rendering has been evolving the 3D industry as a whole. From artists and studios producing real-time films and interactive displays to enabling us humble artists to visualize our work instantly in the viewport.

How to download EEVEE Next (Blender 4.1 Apha)

Keeping track of Blender versions can be like attending a fast-growing plant that is frequently watered. Don’t look away, or you’ll miss a bloom. 🌻


Thankfully, the Blender Foundation does an excellent job of enabling access to any previous version of Blender to match the version to the tutorial you’re following or access to new experimental builds to test new features like EEVEE Next. 

🌟 If you have a BETA version of Blender 4.0,  enable Developer Extras under Preferences > Interface. This will expose an experimental button in preferences. From there, you can enable Eevee Next

What’s the excitement around EEVEE Next?

Being able to achieve increased realism with real-time rendering in the viewport is alluring. With the addition of Ray Tracing and Real-time displacement, it’s looking like EEVEE Next will make a splash in the community next year. 

Blender demo scene

(Monster Under The Bed by Metin Seven Demo File)

Eevee Next is a bridge between Cycles and the first release of Eevee. 

The discussion of EEVEE Next began two years ago by Clément Foucault on the Blender developer project’s site. Fast forward to today, we’re seeing the fruits of this conversation come to life with tangible improvements. 

  • Ray tracing will be added to Eevee, allowing for a more realistic rendering of scenes with light and shadows.
  • Real-time displacement will be added, allowing for more detailed and realistic models.
  • The baking system will be rewritten entirely, making bake textures and other data from high-poly to low-poly models easier.
  • The viewport will be improved, with faster rendering and smoother performance.
  • There will be new features and improvements to existing features, such as the material system, the node editor, and the animation system.

Release notes and developer threads to keep a pulse on.

When will Eevee Next be released?

EEVEE Next is currently slated for the Blender 4.1 release schedule on March 5th, 2024. Don’t forget to keep an eye on the development and progress of daily builds of Blender

Blender releases

🌟 If you’re curious about when a version of Blender will be released, head over to and view the “Release Status” section. Clicking on these versions will give you a detailed view of when to expect the version you’re interested in. 


As with any new release of Blender, there is a bit of hype around what’s included. It’s not wrong to be excited about these new features. However, I’d argue it is wrong to become solely focused on the new and shiny, thinking this one thing will finally enable your elevation in your field of work. 

We at CG Cookie do our best to keep one ear to the ground and bring the most up-to-date education possible, given the pace of releases. Being artists at CG Cookie with studio experience, we also know the importance of simply being good and understanding the fundamentals of one's craft to create amazing things efficiently, effectively, and compellingly. 

If a new hammer is released, you still need to know how to properly hold one, swing it, and understand the basic purpose of why a hammer was invented to take advantage of the new hammer. 

To be clear, I'm very excited about the next iteration of Eevee and what it will do for artists and their global pipelines across multiple industries. 

Ultimately, it’s also damn fun to play with the bleeding edge of tech. 😎 🍪

Happy Blending! 


🌟 Grab your free copy of PRESS START - Your first Blender project, now streaming on CG Cookie

Feature image (Demo Scene) By Alessandro Chiffi / ONdata Studio


Wes Burke
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