Render splines without meshing in Blender, using Cycles hair primitives
Blender/Cycles modification: render curves as hair primitives without need for pre-meshing
For any spline or NURBS object, extra options appear under the
Object panel at the bottom below Cycles Settings
Render as Hair.
If you want to disable rendering splines as hair in one click, go to the
Scene panel and scroll to Geometry and disable
Crashes have been observed when using regular particle systems with hair and splines rendered as hair.
Issues with this mod are solved in the new modification for Blender 2.8.
Many new features were added. Have a look here: Splines as hair Blender 2.8 mod