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New Global Illumination Tutorial Preview 89 Comments

I’m getting ready to do a big Global Illumination Tutorial for Cinema 4D and I wanted to give you guys a sneak peek in to what we will be creating. It’s based on this awesome piece called Let There Be Light by Jeff Osborne. His great render shows the power, beauty, and accuracy of using Global Illumination in your still 3D renders. Tutorial coming soon!

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  1. Hmm… I’m probably underestimating the difficulty here, but from the top of my head, this looks easy. What am I overlooking (because I know I am)?

    • No, it’s pretty simple to setup for sure. As with most things though, it’s not about knowing what buttons to press. Its all about the tweaking and small touches to make it look good, too.

      As with most of my tuts, the first half will be setup, and the second half will be all about how to make it SEXY!!!

    • Shahab

      U have to spend all night to achieve what Gorilla does.

    • Nope! I’ll just spend an hour tomorrow when he releases the tut :p I’ll sleep all night so I’m ready for the Master’s lesson in the morning πŸ˜‰

  2. Good to see! I hope you’ll be covering some of the settings as well, like how to speed things up and such. GI render ettings confuse me all the time!

  3. Cool ! Is it going to be specific to R12, with Linear Workflow? Or will it be done with Cinema 11.5?

    • It will be built with 12. But everything will be able to be made in 11.5. Except linear workflow of course.

    • Steven Jenkins

      Hey, Nick, will the degamma plugin enable me to use some of the linear light setups that come in your HDRI Light Kit Pro?

    • @Steven. Yeah, It’s pretty close to true linear workflow. It will allow you to use the Linear optimized lights.

    • jakob

      it will since it automatic turn on when u hit render..

  4. I’ve been trying to do something like this few weeks ago after I saw the free file that came with the C4D Bundle.
    Using self illumination things with G.I. really give great results.

  5. I ask you to please give a brief talk on the intro, about your your opinion on using Global illumintaion for video. I don’t know if you already talked about this before. In my own experience the thing is that using GI gives a lot of flickering issues with video. I come from 3dsMax and V-ray, switching to c4d after 5 years because c4D workflow makes more sense to me.


    • Jorge – make sure you’ve got the correct setting in the GI mode in the general tab of the global illumination render settings. I go for IR+QMC (Camera Animation) when there’s no moving objects only camera movement and IR+QMC (Full Animation) for everything else.

      Be warned, it takes for ever to render and will do a full pass of all your frames before it starts the actual render. Test on a small section to make sure you’re happy before you kick off the big job.

      Good luck!

    • JTB: Thanks for your advice, will test it asap.

      Just one more thing, of course I donΒ΄t ask to deviate and explain how to render videos, that will be another full tutorial. I just want to hear your opinion.

    • Gi in video is not always the best choice. There are many ways to avoid it, and the lights of the hdri kit are a good example of it πŸ™‚

      The Full animation process is really Pita (google for pita, I don’t wanna swear… yet :).

  6. I would also really aprreciate it, if you could take a deeper look in rendering animations with GI. I have done some jobs with GI, but you’ll never know if it will work, sometimes flickering, sometimes not. As a result, I’ve stopped using GI in Animations and started thinking about Vray:-)

    • Rasputin L

      Are you using inverse square, physically accurate (falloff)? I had flickering too, if I use this, so I just leave it off.

  7. One thing that might be a good topic to cover is the “prepass only” option and how that works with Net Render.

  8. Rasputin L

    Please do more lighting with GI, and can you next time if you can, can you talk more on areas like ambient occulusion, color mapping, sIBL, IES. And one last thing, anything about sky setups.

    Thank you for reading my wall.

  9. neelz

    looking forward to that tut…I really hope to get some nice infos to speed up the render time with GI, mainly for animations. GI look is so sexy but the rendering is always a nightmare…

  10. Sammy Jackson

    Cant wait for this tutorial i need to learn more about global illumination for future projects

  11. Bobby

    Hey Nick,

    Good stuff, I have a question about using GI vs. your light kit.

    Can’t you essentially pull off similar renders using your light kit? I use GI all the time, but it seems your light kit does a very good job with delivering good results, in many cases GI is not longer necessary because the renders from your light kit are just as good.

    What are your thoughts? What are the pros can cons?

    I know that GI uses samples to calculate light bounces and such, but I am more interested in the practical difference in setups between your light kit and GI. Are there things that GI can deliver that your light kit can’t and visa versa?

    Thanks Nick, can’t wait to hear from you.

    • Sure thing. I designed the light kit to replace GI in some instances. Especially when trying to get great lighting with animation. However, sometimes, you need GI to pull off specific looks in 3D. I have been doing a lot of research into still imagery using GI. That’s what we will be talking about in the tut.

  12. Justin Eshelman

    I’ve found other Global Illumination tuts hard to understand so I’m really looking forward to this tut because I like your teaching style.
    Lately I’ve really been trying to achieve better and more realistic renders. I’ve been messing around with Ambient Occlusion and have got some good results, but I think Global Ill. would really help achieve the lighting I am looking for!

  13. Jeff Osborne

    Hey Nick

    Thanks for choosing one of my pieces to make a tutorial!
    I’m a huge fan of your stuff and how easy you make your tuts.
    Your a legend mate.

    Thanks and look forward to the tut!

  14. PoLerX

    Nick, What about V-Ray Tuts for cinema?
    Or Serious compositing in cinema\ psd \ ae.
    I for instance have very small knowledge in these areas and cant find a decent guides on how to use those.

    I think GI Is nothing new,i mean, this looks awesome but beside the framing and positioning i dont see anything new in the GI area.

  15. Cool beans.
    I hope you go into generally what is GI etc and not just what buttons to press in c4d.

    For the users, like myself, who use other 3d apps.

    • Do I EVER just show what buttons to press? πŸ™‚ You know I will try to explain this stuff as well as I can. Should be a fun one.

  16. davied kelley

    Can’t wait. GI is a bitch

  17. Haha, I know exactly where you got the idea for this. Man I had no idea there were such goodies in the CB. I never go in there. Such a good learning source to scrutinize all the project files. Plus you can whip stuff up in like an hour such as this. Albeit giving that extra time, love and attention to detail always produces much slicker looking works πŸ˜‰

    Now how about that 5 Sec update ! ?

  18. Han Solo

    Love the tuts man. So gracious of you to give this stuff away.

    I wanted to do something similar but with some things different. Would love any critique. Can’t do anything but get better.

    • Hey dude. Can’t you just use the FORCE to dish up a perfect render? haha, just jokes. You have some unnatural lighting issues happening. The fall off’s from the sticks are not accurate on your letters, nor are the shadows. Not sure if you’re going for glowing letters; if you are then your shaders are not convincing me that those are glowing characters, otherwise they should fade darker away from the lights. The letters should also take on colour from the light sources. A good idea is to give them all a basic material first to make sure your lights are acting as they should. From there you can tweak and pimp out your material for those letters. Nick does lots of post work don’t forget, so spice up your photoshop and AE compositing skills to help sexify your renders.

      I just screen grabbed your image and in a hot second tried to give a visual to this explanation.

    • Han Solo

      Force! Awesome.
      Thanks for the run down. I was illuminating the letters too and looking at it again it might have been too much. (if by might have been I mean absolutely)

      Just started playing with C4D and using the software is easy, figuring out what looks right…. not so much.

      Thanks for the feedback!

  19. As said before I would love to see some animation issues…
    I did try to use the animation preset for GI and saw more flickering than the Ir qmc…

    And I thought that I heard on this blog that animation is for getting rid of the flickering more easily.

    You had a live chat with someone pretty good on GI maybe a month ago and some stuff that had been said were confusing, maybe you should repost the link on the new tut.

    • Definitely more GI tuts coming soon. I’ve been diving more into this lately so that I can explain it better. The one tomorrow is all about a sill image. But I will have animation ones soon.

  20. Cool man. I just did a render test of your first GI tut last night out of random boredom. This is a nice step from that

  21. This is what I came up with:

    Fairly happy with the result but getting some funny shadowing on the letters, I’m sure it’s just not knowing the right settings to tweak in the GI settings. I’m only using C4D 11.2 so the GI might have improved since then.

    Looking forward to seeing how you went about it.

    • Pretty close, Brad. Try turning up the quality a bit to get rid of the weird shadows.

    • Thanks Nick. It was just a matter of upping the diffuse depth to 2 and that fixed it. I take it that’s what you mean by quality, unfortunately there isn’t a quality slider.

      My final render:

  22. Thorsten

    Cant wait to see the tutorial, you are awesome Nick!!! You bring my c4d skills every week to the next level.

    Greetz from Germany

  23. Hey Nick, out of curiosity how long did it take you to render this tutorial?

    I tried making something using your technique (w/o GI and using light sources instead) and holy crap, its still taking forever! rendering on a Quad core i7 with 16GB RAM. Then again, I am using ambient occlusion and DOF. Probably the reason. Guess I’ll wait to see what day 2 brings :oP

  24. Chris Chestnut

    Can’t wait for this Nick. I’m always looking for new tips and tricks when rendering with GI. I’m really excited for this next tutorial!

  25. looks great .. I’m waiting for it Nick πŸ™‚
    thank you man and I think we really need more tutorials about GI technique.

    • Danner

      “GI Lighting Takes Forever”

      HA!! Sure does!… I like how changed your scene around for a different look with the same techniques.

    • Adam Schmisek

      I haven’t watched Nick’s tut yet. I was inspired by his render and tried to come up with my own look. I will be sure to check it out soon and see how I can improve my render.

  26. Kevin

    I’m still fairly new to C4D (but years with Lightwave) and I’ve been doing a fair amount of GI rendering in the last couple of months and I’ve been really happy with the results. No flickering, even when I drop down below the default settings.

    Should I be knocking on wood or something? Also…I’ve set up a net render farm in my office and so I’ve been using the net render GI setting, not sure why or what this is doing but so far so good.

  27. Hey Nick,
    could you also make a xmas-tutorial?
    Something nice that we can share along during christmas time?

    Would appreciate it,

    • Not sure all the Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, Shintos & Shamanics MoDesigners would be stoked on a Christmas tutorial. Haha, Just model in some gift boxes or some jingle bells into this tut and use the words Merry Christmas rather than Global Illumination. Candy Cane shade those letters up and blamo! Better yet make candy cane glow sticks and then make it snow, . . . now Bob’s your uncle!

  28. Nice one Hamilton,
    but I rather prefer Nicks specialities, he knows how to make it really perfect regarding to the quality and atmosphere.
    AND it would fit to the actual christmas time.
    I dont know about the Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, Shintos & Shamanics MoDesigners, but others would like it too.

    • I have to say nice reel Ryan!
      I mean it!
      Good stuff!
      Think someone was asking for a simple creative request.
      It is a profitable business making X-mas commercials.
      Lets just not get religious.
      That was all I am saying.

    • lol, I was making full jokes. Just figured one can make any tutorial out to be christmas feeling with out having to follow a step by step Joyeux NoΓ«l Tut. I kinda dug the idea of candy cane glow sticks after I said it, haha. Next 5 sec project will probably be an xmas theme I reckon.

      All fun here, not bashin nobody. And an uncle Bod eh, does he drink tons of whiskey?

  29. Spot on with this write-up, I absolutely believe that this site needs much more attention. I’ll probably be back again to read through more, thanks for the information!