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Vozzz

There are many time tracking apps and what not, but for me personally i find it very helpful to just set a timer and a small goal.

Its kinda like the pomodoro technique. I’ll ussually use 25min timers, and go: “i will do these 3 points of revisions in the next 25 minutes”.

I also do the same thing for breaks. I’ll set myself 12 minutes to check out forums or what not. And setting a timer helps there. Or do some cleaning around the house for 25 minutes.

So why am i writing this? Well there is this website called e.ggtimer.com, the handy thing about it, is you can set the timer with a url, so i have these handy timers in my bookmark bar on my brower.

ihq7BUs.png

Hope you find this useful!

Cheers,
Aleksey


 


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Vozzz

hot_dog_render_002a.jpg

Saw the dancing snapchat hotdog, and just had to recreate it, such a fun character. Then got my apprentice Maria to practice rigging on it. And now you guys get a free rigged character to play with. win win win :))

Go check out her art station account at:  https://www.artstation.com/artist/jersy

Don’t forget to tag ace5 or just sent me links to what you make with him.

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If you need help posing him or using the controllers check out this video. The rig is very similar.

Cheers,
Aleksey


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Vozzz

This is an issue i run into a lot. People have terrible naming conventions, so i thought i’d go over some basics. This is mostly based on my experience and is more geared towards freelancers. There are many other possibilities, but these i think are the essentials, the rest will probably be pipeline dependant.

So rule number one, for everyone: NEVER EVER EVER name a file “FINAL”. Just don’t, its not real, it never happens, and you end up with silly stuff like “project_Final_v03_changes05_done_friday”. In many places its a fireable offense. So don’t do it. Also i recommend not working with people who do it, it’s a bad omen.

When i’m working on my own files they will be named either based on scene or object, with 3 numerals after the underscore, maybe 4 just in case, but i don’t think i ever got there. So object_004, object_005, etc…

Now you should have incremental save turned on, so you can hit “Save” and the program will automatically adjust the number. So 004 will become 005 etc. I have it set to ctrl+alt+s in cinema4D. Hit it regularily. It’ll save you from losing data to corrupt files, and will let you easily revert to past versions.

Now lets say you have something you are working on and you want to test out a variation, or something that might break everything, well a good way to name it is “object_005_testNewArm_001.c4d”

This way you can increments and try out things, and if it doesn’t work out, you know exactly where to go back to. If it works out well, just save it as “object_006.c4d” and keep working.

Recieving files from clients.

If I receive a file from a client, lets say “character_056.c4d” While i work on it I’ll ussually append “_A002” to the end. “A” being for Aleksey. So when he gets my file, or finds it in a folder, he will know what was the initial file. So it will be “character_056_A007” when he gets it. If it works the way he wants, he can rename it and bring it back into his numbering structure, so into “character_057”.

I hope you found this helpful. Do you have any workflows you like or don’t like? Share them in the comments help others avoid pitfalls, and be more efficient 
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  • Vozzz

    Hey Hey! It’s a free cinema 4D rig. This time i share with you my cute little 2 legged walker. hope you have fun playing with him. Make sure to send me links to anything you make. I always love seeing what you get up to!

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    Vozzz

    Reel Critique

    1. It’s too long, make it shorter ( less than 1 minute)
    2. Put the best stuff up front.
    3. Get rid of the stuff that you are not proud of.
    4. Put in the type of work you actually want to do
    5. Make it shorter
    6. Seriously, make it shorter.

     

    Trust me this applies to your reel. It even applies to my reel, and i wrote this article.. Also make sure its still works without the music. If its boring without the music, make it shorter. Are you seeing where im going with this?


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    Vozzz

    Buying a GPU for GPU rendering? Read this first. I find myself answering the same questions over and over. So here is a summary of what you need to know when buying a GPU for GPU rendering. This information is valid as of writing this, I will try keep it updated as we go along.

    Temporary disclaimer: The Nvidia 1080/1070 cards are currently not supported by any major GPU render engine. This will hopefully be fixed soon. (Blame nvidia)

    Brand

    Nvidia. All the gpu renderers are nvidia CUDA based. This might change in the future, but right now if you want a fast stable GPU renderer you are stuck with nvidia.

    Memory

    The onboard memory of GPU cards does not stack. ie, 2x 6gb cards, can handle a 6gb scene. 1x 3gb card and 1x 6gb card, can only handle a 3gb scene. So if you have a bigger scene, you will have to disable the smaller card. And for the most part everything needs to fit on the GPU. Octane has out of core textures, which means it keeps the textures in the system ram, which helps at  times, but apparently also slows down the render. Thea has bucket rendering mode, so when you are rendering the final image the buffer doesn’t take up all the memory on the card.

    Also be aware of Dual GPU video cards. Some Nvidia cards including the titans. Have 2 gpu’s on one card. Here, the memory has to be halved. It will say it has 6gb of memory on it, but its actually only 3gb per GPU.  the GTX 790 is an example of a card like this.

    PCI lanes

    Some cpu have less pci lanes then others. This is mostly irrelevant to GPU renderers, as long as you have at least 1 or 2 lanes per card you will be fine. The pci lanes is more important for games.

    SLI

    once again SLI is irrelevant to GPU rendering. You should not install the sli bridge or enable this in the options.  Furthermore unlike in SLI ( which is only useful for games). GPU render engines don’t care if you have different cards working together. so you can have, 780’s and 980’s and titans all working together. Just keep in mind the memory issue i brought up earlier.

    Heatsink

    If you are planning on putting multiple GPU into your computer, make sure they have fans that push the hot air out of the case. So either reference coolers, coolers that look like reference coolers or liquid cooled/hybrid cards.

    Screenshot 2016-07-13 12_56_49-Google Image Result for http___rog.asus.com_wp-content_uploads_2013_07_matrix-co

    Because as you can see here, the traditional fans just expell  the hot air into any direction as long as its away from the card. Works fine if you have 1 gpu in your case, but if you have 4 they are just blowing it at each other.

    So what you do want, is the cards with heatsinks like this to blow the hot air outside of the case.

    enCa8hs

     

    Secondary Brands

    There are lots of brands that manufacture Nvidia based cards. EVGA, MSI, ASUS and Gigabyte are the largest in the west. EVGA generally has the best reputation for their great warranties and customer support. Asus probably has the worst reputation for Customer support, but they are much loved for their prices and performance. ( I have asus, even though i got burnt with their laptop). Just you know, read the warranty terms, maybe do some googling. This stuff changes very quickly. Some brands become terrible, some get better.

    Dedicated Viewport Card

    Many people like to have a dedicated video card which isn’t engaged in rendering to handle the viewport and windows desktop. So they will have 3 titans for example to handle rendering and then a gtx 950 to handle the monitors. This stops your system from becoming unresponsive while rendering. While this works in most situations, you might not want to get the cheapest possible card, because cinema4D uses the card that the monitor is connected to to handle the viewport. And possible other programs do the same. C4D’s viewport isnt too stressful on the video card, most of the slow downs you will see will be cause by your CPU, but still something to keep in mind.

     

    So there you go, now hopefully you will be able to make a more informed decision 
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  • Vozzz

    Do you ever need to run various configurations of c4d on a regular basis? For example an install without plugins? Or perhaps you are beta testing a render engine, and you regularily need to switch between stable and beta version? Well here i’ll show you how to do that without duplicating your whole c4d install folder.

    Cinema4D looks in 2 places for plugins/scripts/layouts etc. The first place is in the root folder of c4d. c:/program files/MAXON/cinema4d or wherever you have it installed. The second is called a prefs folder. This by default lives somewhere in your “my documents” folder. and is unique to each user account on your computer. Here i will show you how to manually tell c4d which prefs folder it should look at when launching.

    Make a shortcut to cinema4D in your R17 folder.

    shortcut

    right click on it and click properties.

    now in the Target field add:[  g_prefspath=”E:dropboxc4d prefs”]

     

    without the square brackets. So mine looks like this:

    • “E:\soft\CINEMA 4D R17\CINEMA 4D.exe” g_prefspath=”E:\dropbox\Dropboxc\4d stuff\c4d prefs\prefs”

    Don’t forget the space before the “g_prefspath”.

    properties

    Now when you open Cinema4D from that shortcut, thats where its going to get all your layouts and shortcuts and plugins from.

    You can make as many of these shortcuts if you want. What is important is that you install your plugins into the “plugins” folder inside the prefs folder and not in your root directory. Because the root directory plugins will load all the time regardless of what c4d shortcut you click.

    If you want to get your old prefs and put them there you can do that easily. By opening cinema4D from the cinema 4d.exe file. pressing ctrl+e, and clicking the “open preference folder” button in the bottom left of the window. From there you can also check where your current open instance of C4D is getting its preferences.

    prefs

    Now you can rename these shortcuts to Cinema4d clean, Octane Beta, Octane stable etc..

    Keep in mind that each version will have its own shortcuts and layouts. So be wary of that. maybe find a software that will sync just some of the files inside those folders, I haven’t looked into that yet.

     

    Note: in R15 it was different, so my target path looked like this: “E:\soft\CINEMA 4D R15a\CINEMA 4D 64 Bit.exe” -homedir “E:\soft\CINEMA 4D R15a\myprefs”

    cheers,
    Aleksey

     


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    Vozzz

    nG1rqYt.jpg

    This article is my personal opinion ( Im Aleksey from http://ace5studios.com), this question comes up a lot, so I’m going to try break it down here. This article is for people without any allegiances. I will attempt to break down why i made the choice that i made and depending on your situation which render engine would be good for your needs.

    Contenders

    Vray – the grand daddy of 3rd party render engines for c4d.

    • Big user base. Like REAL big
    • lots of material presets
    • many/most features of c4d supported

    cons:

    • too many settings ( this is promised to be fixed in next release)
    • no gpu support, so not as speedy as others (also should be fixed next release

    Arnold – The new big gun.

    • Can handle astronomical sizes of scenes without problems
    • Supports lots of features straight off, including hair, xparticles, openvdb volumes from houdini.. etc..
    • if you are planning on working in production houses this is the way to go.

    cons:

    • aquired by autodesk…  ( chance of being discontinued development for other applications)
    • you’re really going to need a render farm for everything. its very slow to clean up noise.
    • also no render node licenses, but really only go for this render if you are relatively free with your budgets.

    Octane – The first GPU render, with super fast growing popularity

    • lots of features supported. especially turbulenceFD
    • very large user base, and growing rapidly

    cons:

    • otoy don’t sell render nodes, so you will never find farms that support it. they promised their own farm solution, but its not out yet. And even then there will be one farm, so if something happens to it, if its down, you have no alternatives.
    • only gpu render, so if you run out of memory on your video card, there is no work around, no fall back.
    • aggresive online activation system:  for example this quote from an online chat: “what’s with octane today, said i have to deactivate, and i did, said i had to wait 60 minutes, and i did, then i try again and says deactivate and i did, NOW 60 ******* MINUTES AGAIN!!!!!! AHHHHH I’m losing my sh**”

    [edit]: Octane just announced availability of new version: https://home.otoy.com/octanerender-3-and-roadmap-update/ This may be a pretty big shift. If i find the time i’ll go experiment with it. I like a lot of the stuff they brought up there. eg. $10/month for up to 2 gpus. and then just pay for their render farm is an approach i kinda like. But still the aggressive licencing might prevent me from using it on jobs.. will experiment to see how it goes. 

    [edit2]: this still hasn't come to fruition, Otoy seem to overestimate their delivery dates quite regularly. 

    Thea render – First and only render engine to combine CPU and GPU.

    • uses all available cpu’s and gpu’s together. If GPU runs out of memory, can just keep rendering on CPU.
    • render nodes available. results in farms being available.
    • substance material converter.
    • material repository which is cross platform. so thea users that make materials for sketchup, max etc, can share those materials and they can be used in c4d.

    cons:

    • relatively small userbase at the moment.
    • still behind octane in feature support, for example turbulenceFD, motionblur and some other small issues. ( read my thea review for more details)
    • doesn’t support xparticles colors like arnold does.
    • lacks node based material editor

    Here are some more renders, that ive heard very little about, but i felt like i should mention them: Corona, some say its as fast as gpu renders, but on cpu. I tried, i disagree, but then again im using a 4790k, maybe on a 12 core its actually blazing fast. but so far, haven’t heard anything great about it. Indigo render, only seems to have an exporter. so its not a native implementation, also plugin doesn’t seem to have been updated since july 2015. Redshift in an biased GPU engine, that is rumoured to be heading for c4d. but hasn’t yet been released. Maxwell is basically Octane/thea but only on CPU, so it makes really pretty things, but its kinda slow. Im not sure what is market position is right now.

     

    Biased vs unbiased

    You might here these terms regarding render engines thrown around. In short. Unbiased render engines are brute force light calculations. Generally most unbiased render engines will have a very similar look and feel to them. So Octane, Thea, maxwell.. etc. While biased means that the render engines cheats in order to increase speed. so it throws more power at the areas with more details, and less at smooth surfaces, and then averages stuff. This is the reason you get splotchy renders and flickering in animations. Modern days biased render engines have ways of overcoming these shortcomings, with relatively little effort, but nonetheless, its still an issue sometimes.

     

    So lets wrap this up

    Once again, this is targeted at someone who is just looking at 3rd party renderers. And mostly this is my opinion and specific to my situation. If money for farms is no obstacle, i would probably recommend arnold. If you can afford it, as it stands right now arnold + cash = awesome. It supports the most c4d features can handle any scene you can throw at it and is used by top studios so it’ll probably help if you are intending to get employed. For me this is not the case. Im not looking to get full time employment or work for hollywood movie productions and i need more speed. If arnold introduces GPU i will re-evaluate my options.

     

    Now on to Octane  i personally like choice, so im not going to lock myself into a company that doesn’t let me use 3rd party farms. Right now they do not have a farm service, they are building their own one, but still it will be just one farm. So if its down, you’re up a creek. Also it means you can’t build your own mini farm at home without paying for a full license for every computer you use. ( octane has no render node licenses). Also if your gpu runs out of memory, you have no choice, you can’t do anything about it. that’s it. either optimize your scene or re-do the render in another engine.

     

    Vray  im actually very excited to see what the new vray4c4d can do. It sounds REALLY promising. but i need something now, and well it’s not avaible right now. The current version is not GPU accelerated, so its not really on my radar for that reason.

     

    And well this brings me to Thea. It runs on both CPU and GPU, it comes with 2 render nodes. If your gpu runs out of memory you can just render on c4d ( albeit a bit slower).  Its crazy fast, recently hired c4d specific developers which have been doing an awesome job, the speed improvements have been phenomenal with every release. Has 3rd party render farm support. Since it uses both CPU and GPU, it can clean up noise really fast, as it uses the strengths of both architectures, GPU is good for cleaning up areas of uniform light due to its 100-1000’s of cores and cpu for cleaning up smaller details.  And to boot it’s cheaper than the competition. So if your projects don’t need turbulence fd or complex xparticle color control its a really solid option. more info in my review.

    So there you have it. If you have any amendments you think i should make please do tell me, im only human and have only so many hours in a day to keep up with all this.

    Cheers,
    Aleksey

    P.S. I am a beta tester of thea render, but i receive no compensation for writing this article.

    Vozzz

    What is Thea?

    Thea is a hybrid GPU and CPU renderer with plugins for a bunch of applications. I use cinema4D so that’s the awesomeness im going to cover here.
    The GPU part (the super fast part) is CUDA based, so you will need an Nvidia card. so if you have a new mac pro, this isn’t going to be super useful to you.
    Read my hardware building article here http://ace5studios.com/hardware

    Grab the full functional ( watermarked) demo here: https://www.thearender.com/site/index.php/live-plugins/thea-for-cinema4d.html

    [note]: you have to install both the c4d plugin and the standalone studio. Or you will experience crashes and other strange behaviour

     

    Lets get started with a quick video overview of how Thea render works inside cinema4D.

     

     

    So that’s awesome right? But how does it handle large scenes with forests you may ask? Well have a look here. It does it amazingly!

     

     

    Ok that’s great, but what if i want to set up a studio for my product shots? Also easy as pie!

     

     

    Something that i missed earlier ( too many new features coming in) Is that if you tick “continous with material change” in the “ir” drop down menu of dark room, you dont have to re-transfer the scene to see changes you made in materials!

    QA2oLGb.gif


    Materials
    And what about the materials? are they difficult to set up? Nope, pretty straight forward.

     

     

    Mograph Shaders
    And some love for the mograph Color shader! Thea supports the color shader in all its loveliness. The mograph multi shader is in the works apparantly. Hopefully that will come soon.

     

     

    Limitations
    Can’t be this great and not have any draw backs can it? yeah, there are some things it can’t do yet, but they are working on it really hard.

     

     

    In Summary

     

    1. Can’t hide an object and keep its reflections – this unfortunately is a permanent limitation, the render engine is physically real, so you will have to hide your reflection planes like photographers. Or multi pass.
    2. X-particles – Geometry render fines, so fluids, and particles which have geometric shapes applied will render find. For the rest you will have to do some compositing. But they are really excitied about this plugin and hopefully soon there will be support.
    3. Hair, If you turn on geometry it works. Its kinda slows the whole thing down, but it does work. The actual render engine has hair on the roadmap, but there is no solid date for the release of that. edit: significant progress has been made, since i wrote this. still not seamless, but much better than before. 
    4. Some shaders dont bake properly, like 3d noise/gradients. Most stuff is baked and transferred pretty well. but it is baked, so if you get pixelation you will have to increase the texture baking size.
    5. Motion blur is currently not supported by the Thea cinema4D plugin. But hopefully it wont be too long. Development is moving along great!
    6. 32bit output is not supported for animations in the c4d plugin. ie through the picture viewer. Darkroom can output 32bit stills. So if your workflow relies on 32bit images, write an emails and explain how much you need it 

     

    Rendering Guide

    So how do you actually render out animations with Thea in c4d? Well here is a quick guide of stuff you need to know

    1. You have to render animations with c4d picture viewer.
    2. Disable linear workflow
    3. Make sure your “production render” is set to “Presto” by default its set to TR1.
    4. Xparticles need to be outside system sometimes and cached   This seems to have been fixed now 

     

     

    Extra Materials?

    Yes there is a pretty large collection here:http://www.thearender.media/site/home.php

    and other resources here:
    https://www.thearender.com/site/index.php/resources/thea-libraries.html

    But unfortunately there is no way to get the trees they have on the thea site into c4d. they are only for thea, and programs that support thea instance objects ( sketchup apparantly is one). But hey, there are plenty of places on the internet to grab trees. Cinema 4d’s content browser has a bunch that ship with it!

    Also there is a Substance -> Thea converter. It’s still not 100% accurate, but they are working on it, and it looks really promising!

     

    Render farms

    One of the other big advantages of Thea over its competition is the availability of 3rd party render farms. And the ability to purchase render nodes at discounted prices. You get 2 included with your purchase, you can buy extra ones either for 49 euro per node. or 30 nodes for 395 euro.
    https://thearender.com/site/index.php/category1/category/52-nodes.html

    Some other engines, don’t provide or sell node licenses. so you have to buy a separate license for each computer you are using to network render. This also makes it prohibitively expensive for render farms to support that render.

    You can find a list of render farms here: https://thearender.com/site/index.php/resources/render-farms.html

    Newton render farm is by far my favorite. The guy is super helpful: http://www.newtonrender.com/

     

    Conclusion

    And finally, the conclusion. I love thea render. its crazy fast. It has a tonne of supported features, with more constantly coming in. Great developers, reasonably priced. And most importantly there are render farms that support it, so you are not stuck building your own farm or tied to the developers service.

    So go grab a trial version from the link below and tell me what you think of it!
    https://www.thearender.com/site/index.php/live-plugins/thea-for-cinema4d.html

     

    About Author: 

    Aleksey is a Cinema4D Riggin/lighting/animation artist, and a tutorial author, you can see more of his work at http://ace5studios.com

     

    Vozzz

    MARVIN4D

    MarvinCover2

     

    Ha-HA! Finally it is done! Marvin rigged for Cinema4D ! Thanks for Vector from http://www.va3d.co.uk/ for the awesome model! I just did some cleaning up on it to make it more rigging friendly.

    Then i set up the rig, only added 2 facial expressions. I think facial expressions will be my next challenge.

    You can ignore the errors that come up about plugins, you don’t actually need them.

    This model is free for private use. There is no commercial license since its copyright property of warner Bros.

    If you have trouble animating or posing him, have a look at this video, its a very similar concept:

    View post on imgur.com

    And you can download him from here and don’t forget to tag him #marvin4d if you use him:

    If you like him, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter!
    https://twitter.com/ace5c4d

    Cheers,
    Aleksey

     


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