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Pierre Tessier

Should I stay with C4D native renderer?

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I know this question may have been asked millions of times, but I've never really found answers that satisfy me. So please bear with me.  I've been working with C4D for a couple of year now and I've only used C4D's native standard or physical renderer. I know nothing about renderers, other than they render wireframe 3D graphics into images.  I hear so much about other render engines such as Redshift, Octane, etc. This is very confusing. I have a few questions:

1. What can I read to fully understand the logic behind a renderer?

2. Can you really see the difference between renderers, visually? Is it that obvious?

3. If I create a scene in C4D, can I simply later use another renderer to render it? All a renderer does is render, correct?

 

Thanks. 

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I can answer no 3...

 

Yes and No ! Yes, in that your models will be fine with any render engine, but also no, in that each Render Engine handles Textures, Lighting and Cameras in different ways, and some cannot work with Cinema's Standard Materials, which either need conversion or would need to be remade using the texture / lighting / camera systems of the renderer. Sometimes this as easy as adding a tag to cameras and lights for example, but sometimes you have to use a camera, light or material native to the engine.

 

I'm actually in a similar situation to you - I have been using the Standard and Physical Renderers since I started, and feel I like them and know them well, but am frustrated not only by the time rendering takes, but also by how much effort it takes to make things took big, natural and impressive.

As soon as I am in a position to do the sort of PC upgrade / new build that could support a GPU renderer I will probably decamp to Redshift myself, though I am trying ProRender in the meantime to get myself used to the nodes and PBR material workflow used by nearly all of the TPR engines.

 

CBR

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  • Thanks CBR, very informative. It is true that the Physical renderer is pretty good but damn slow. How do you know if your machine can handle GPU renderer? I'm working on an iMac.

     

    Thanks

    Screen Shot 2019-10-06 at 1.46.31 PM.png

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    A Machine that can handle a GPU renderer is one where you have spent several hundred to a few thousand dollars just on graphics cards ! You don't show your GPU in the stats, but it is unlikely that an imac will come with that level of graphics hardware...

     

    CBR 

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    An interesting question - and quite a difficult one to answer I think.

     

    Every renderer has its strengths and weakness - so whats best for you will very much depend on what you want to output.

    I think C4D physical is often underrated. Yes, it's slow, but it is fully integrated of course, is artist friendly to use and has a good range of features for a typical user. ProRender is still a work in progress and also very slow.

     

    Something like Redshift is more focused on 'production rendering' - generating final animation frames quickly and reliably. But, it can be more techy to set up some materials, is less artist friendly in many respects, and is much more dependent on bitmap textures, having almost no  procedurally based textures. It also needs Nvidia based graphics hardware. It shines on animation rendering of large high polygon count scenes (in the millions). That's were its rendering speed really makes a difference.

     

    Each of the major C4D rendering options have different pros and cons. You've really got to do a bit of digging to uncover those strengths and weaknesses. Greyscale Gorilla did a comparison article a few years ago:

    https://greyscalegorilla.com/2017/08/what-renderer-should-i-use-in-cinema-4d/

    It's now notably out of date, but it might still give you an overview of the main pros and cons of each.

    I think you got to ask yourself what are the problems you're having with your current renderer? Then find one that fixes those shortcomings - while not adding others itself! If you've not got any significant issues with the renderer you're currently using - stick with it and aim to develop your skills and output using it. 

    It's very tempting to think a new renderer will make your work better. In the vast majority of cases it won't.

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    18 hours ago, Pierre Tessier said:

    1. What can I read to fully understand the logic behind a renderer?

    There is a render engine called Mitsuba which deals specifically with people who want to experiment with the different methods that go into rendering.  At their website under documentation you can read about a lot of different rendering techniques in detail.  It goes way beyond what you need to know in modern day though.  To simplify it I'd say there are 2 main kinds of rendering.  One is ray tracing and two is everything else as detailed in Mitsuba's documentation.  Ray tracing is a needed part to get good looking shadows and GI so many render engine just say lets just use ray tracing for everything.  To make it easier on you  I'd say just dump C4D rendering and get Cycles, Redshift, or Octane.

     

    18 hours ago, Pierre Tessier said:

    2. Can you really see the difference between renderers, visually? Is it that obvious?

    Sometimes.  With the non ray traced rendering engines it was pretty obvious.  With the ray traced render engines less so.  Some have a special option or setting still that if used it can be a give away.  The difference between a render that uses a good ray traced GI and one that doesn't can be pretty obvious to a trained eye.

     

    18 hours ago, Pierre Tessier said:

    3. If I create a scene in C4D, can I simply later use another renderer to render it? All a renderer does is render, correct?

    Each render engine uses their own materials.  As part of making any render engine there is very specific code that governs how each parameter will effect a material in a render engine.  This means the mats can't be directly used in a simple way.  The parameters could be linked though.

     

    If C4D opened up whatever code went into the creation of the nodes and materials it could theoretically be used by all render engines and look decent.  It would be missing render engine specific features like if using Cycles the nodes that can do chromatic abberation or pointyness and other things like that could not be used with C4D materials.  Still with the code opened up right the user to theoretically open up any render engine and link what parameter in C4D should link to what parameter in the other render engine.  MAXON does not open the code like that for whatever unknown reason.

     

    The built in ones like Prorender aka Slowrender, Standard, Physical Render should all work with the C4D mats without change, but again it does not.  Slowrender in particular has a lot of things not working yet and many other things that look different. 

     

    Redshift in the future should also work with standard mats, but who knows how well it will work or how well it will look to the original.  Redshift mats can be quite different than C4D standard mats.

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  • Thank you for all this useful information. To me, C4D's Physical renderer works fine. All I do is animations, so its slowness can be a problem. One thing I will do though is get a faster machine.  I work on Macs because I also do graphic design and it' just more practical. I don't want to work on two platforms so I stick to Macs. In the mean time, I only do the final render with Physical and I often simply send it to a farm. I just don't want to miss out on anything. I often need to make things look real and very sharp so I'm just wondering if this can be easier and better with other renderers. It just blows my mind that the best renderer is not C4D's native. It's like buying a Mercedes and having to buy another manufacturer's engine to put in it. This is something I don't get.

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    18 minutes ago, Pierre Tessier said:

    I often need to make things look real and very sharp

     

    Sharpness is something that I find lacking in Physical Render sometimes. But if you set your bitmap materials to SAT aliasing mode,  and get your bump delta right that can help a great deal. As can sharpening in post, which is something I almost always do... either way - you get the sharp results in the end...

     

    18 minutes ago, Pierre Tessier said:

    It just blows my mind that the best renderer is not C4D's native. It's like buying a Mercedes and having to buy another manufacturer's engine to put in it. This is something I don't get.

     

    There was a point (back in ye olde days) when Cinemas renderer was the fastest thing anyone had seen - indeed I think the whole reason that Cinema came into existence was because of that render engine - and the whole program was initially built around it. Of course there has been much time since then, and lots of other people have since released their own render engines, and of course Cinema can't include them all by default, so it has built new versions and new engines to keep up with the times. It's inbuilt renderers (and let's not forget you get the choice of 3 whole engines now!) are perfectly serviceable and for that reason we can't really expect more than that in the standard package.

     

    The other big DCC apps do something similar, or tend to hitch their wagon to one TPR in particular (like Max and Mental Ray back in the day for example). 

     

    Having said that, I don't understand why MAXON acquired ProRender when it was not exactly fast or popular, but they seem to have recovered their game recently by acquiring Redshift, arguably the best and fastest renderer available. At the moment it is available separately, but you'd have to think in the future it will become a very attractive addition to their engine list, and they may very well be able to say they have a properly leading-edge renderer as standard once more...

     

    CBR

     

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    That's a great question and one that is of huge help to myself. I too am purely Mac based as I do 3D and standard graphics work, probably 80% 2D and 20% 3D at present. I run an iMac Pro and use C4D's own renderer which depending on what I am doing, can be slow, for example, animation, CBR know's what I mean.

     

    It's nice to get some clarity on the differences but for me, at present, I'm sticking with C4D's own engine, slow it may be, but for someone who is new to 3D, I don't fancy having to adjust my textures etc, especially when some of my clients just dont get why it takes so long to render something.

     

    Rich

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    Rendering technology has moved forward, while C4D's standard renderer remained stuck in the past. Which is the reason of course why MAXON had to either develop their own new render engine, or choose an alternative existing solution. Hence ProRender, which is actually quite nice in its latest release, but unavailable to C4D users as of yet. And requires a good GPU to make the best use of.

     

    And (almost) real-time rendering is now available through the use of Unreal Engine or Eevee in Blender.

     

    What is scary and eye-opening is that Eevee produces the same quality (or better) as C4D's Standard or most traditional ray tracers at almost real-time rendering times. I teach in computer labs with iMacs, and Eevee looks quite beautiful, and renders ridiculous fast.

     

    Of course, the rendering tech behind Eevee excludes its use in a number of render scenarios. For animation it is 'da bomb', because it renders blazingly fast. And at this point one realizes that the older rendering tech like C4D's standard no longer is a valid proposition in many scenarios.  (And switching between Cycles and Eevee is as good as seamless without the need for material changes, unlike Standard <--> ProRender in C4d!)

     

    And in those cases when Unreal or Eevee don't cut it, GPU accelerated rendering provides a proven solution. Cycles, ProRender, LuxCoreRender, etc. all have their respective use cases, however. Glass and caustics look absolutely stunning in a renderer such as LuxCoreRender (caustics is a problem for most modern render engines). And still render with very acceptable render times.

     

    Anyway, Eevee makes 3d (rendering) tremendous fun, in my opinion. Try it out on your iMac. (Yes, I realize Eevee is Blender based, but export your C4D scene as Collada, and import it in 2.8, and start playing with Eevee).

     

    And I would not be surprised if MAXON integrates Redshift in C4D at some point to keep its built-in rendering relevant, and remove Standard.

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