Render Challenge – Natural Formula Grape Bottle

April 22, 2014 - By 

I found this 3D render today and I thought it would be perfect for a new Render Challenge. Try to copy the render above EXACTLY and see how close you can get. I love learning this way because it forces you to look at some of the smaller modeling details and it teaches me to try subtle lighting tricks to get a render just right.

Share Your Results

Drop links to your renders in the comments below. Let’s see how close we can get. Also, if you get stuck, we can use the comments to ask questions and share techniques. Have Fun!



Posted In:  Inspiration
  • Do the grapes need to be laid out exactly the same? Or just the overall effect the same.

    • I’m not bothering on laying each one out. But it’s a personal challenge, so get as detailed as you can to make it look exact.

    • If you can find or model a bottle, you can use a cloner on the grapes to align with the vertices the bottle model. Should give you a similar or closer result.

  • I am still pretty new to C4D and couldn’t figure out how to make any stems and stuff but I wanted to see what I could come up with for textures and the look of the grapes on their own.

    This is what I came up with:

  • Not the same item, but I created this for a client using fruit and veggies.

    • Those are awesome renders, Harley. Care to share any tips?

      • Thanks Nick. Im not sure what I can share really, It was just a matter of trial & error. Playing with different lighting setups & playing with reflections on the object surfaces. Also try looking at finding textures of the objects you are after.
        Hope this helps πŸ™‚

  • Hey guys,
    I’m still new to c4d here. How the heck have those grapes been positioned like that. I’ve put my grape in a cloner in object mode. The object is just a rough bottle shape. To solve the intersecting grapes I used a rigid body tag with Nick’s follow position trick.
    I threw a random effector in there to rotate them all a little but it all looks too random. Any clues from you gurus πŸ™‚


  • Hm the stem texture mapping isnt great and some of them look a bit.. melted. But not too bad i think:

  • ” and we used an advanced shader n order to give the grapes the translucency they have in real life”

    Ok, i like to know which shader it was. And was it C4D? Vray or Octane Renderer? To get close to this it could help. To use the same tools it might be easy to get this.

    • Carlos Wallaberto April 23, 2014 at 5:37 am

      Most Probably: subsurface scattering

    • I think that doesn’t really matter. It’s about trying and failing and correting and trying and failing and correcting, and so on…
      Apart from that, the key to success isn’t the tool itself. There are a thousand ways to achieve a result that looks similar to the above one. It doesn’t matter if you work with maya & mental ray, with cinema & AR/PR or with max & vray. With every of these tools you can achieve a render that looks close to the original. Use the tool you like most and go fir it! πŸ™‚

  • I’m stuck. I need a Map reflection. I have tried it with the alpha channel. But that does not work. There appear black spots on the texture. But I would like to have reflections there. Where do I make the mistake? The texture should serve as a wet map.

    • Carlos Wallaberto April 23, 2014 at 5:38 am

      You can fake a wet look with a high and thin specular

      • I thought I can create a texture, in which only the areas reflect where is black in the alpha channel available.

        • I try this: i load a noisy Bitmap (black and white) as alpha. 100% transparant is on an than a try reflection and specular. In the texture preview all look fine. In the rendering i see all areas are black where black is in the alpha bitmap…

          • Did you have any luck with the second layered texture for the reflection map? I can’t get it to work either.

  • Hi, I’m a c4d beginner. Rendering is very difficult for me.
    But this challenge is very fun. πŸ™‚
    my grape bottle here,

    • I posted a wrong link, and it took me a long time to leave comments. While posting my comment, I thought there was something wrong with it. So I tried it again and then realized that three comments were posted together. πŸ™‚

  • I think I will struggle with the water on the grapes too. The droplets are easy enough but the actuall water over the surface may be more difficult.
    What it honk is amazing and adds to the realism are the green streaks on the grapes that look almost like veins. How would you approach them?
    When do entries have to be in as I can’t work onto for a few days.

    • I think I would go about that water in the specular, try using a noise pattern with a close low/high clip. Maybe a Naki/wavy turbulence. Then it’s a matter of getting the right scale and placing your lights to get the right hits.

  • It would be really useful to have a universal scene file then everyone can concentrate on the look rather than the modelling.

    I forget the name but there’s another (Maya based I think) site which holds render contests, and always posts up the source files for people to use as the basis.

    I realise it’s not the most complex scene in the world, but the consistency would make the final results even more interesting.

    Nice challenge πŸ™‚

    • Good idea. This one should be simple enough to model. But, for more complex scenes, that would be a good idea.

    • Yeah when they have render challenges on C4DCafe the scene file is usually provided.

      I think if its a render challenge then it should be a render challenge and focus should be on the texturing/lighting etc. No matter how complex the scene, everyone should be working with the same model.

      Though I guess if its just a fun thing and no prizes are at stake its not as important…..its all good practise.

    • Here is the model I am using for my render if anyone wants it as a starting point. Its not perfect but it gets the point across.

      • Hey Jarom,
        Thanks for sharing. I went about it in a completely different way to you and I learnt a lot about your workflow just by looking through the scene file.

        I originally drew a spline of half of the grape and threw a lathe nurbs on it. I much preferred your approach – starting with a sphere primitive and shaping it with the effectors. A couple questions if I may…

        Did you use any dynamics originally or did you manually position all the grapes/vines?

        Did you use the connect object as the parent purely for the purpose of plugging into the water drops cloner object? If yes then I take it that grouping them as a null doesn’t work in the same way.

        What a great community! Thanks for all your contributions.


        • Hey Trent,

          I’m glad my file could be useful for you. Ive learned so much from Nick and all the guys at GSG and this community so Im always willing to give back.

          When I approached this I started with a basic model of the bottle. I cloned several variations(different deformer values) of the grape, with a short vine coming out of the grape, onto that bottle. I found a seed I like of the cloner, then added dynamics to the grapes and a collider to the bottle and cranked up the follow position. That helped spread out the grapes. That got me pretty far, but then I then hand placed them to look as similar to the original picture as possible. I then drew a spline for the main vine, added a sweep NURBS and hand adjusted the vines coming out of the grapes to attach to the main vine in a grape like fashion.

          Yes, I did use the connect object as the parent purely for the purpose of plugging into the water drops cloner object. No, grouping them in a null does not work. The null wouldn’t work because the cloner will ignore all the children of the null. The connect object makes C4D think everything beneath it is all one object.

          Hope that helps


          • Hey Jarom,

            Sorry for the delayed response.
            Thanks for providing even more insight into your workflow.
            I didn’t know about the connect object – that one will definitely come in handy!

            many thanks,

  • had a go: used the gsg grape texture to start with then another built in grape texture. Tried the gsg cherry texture and changed it around (left). Struggling to get the wet look happening. Using the water surface texture in the reflection channel. Also my water drops have gone black for some reason.

  • Here’s my attempt:

    I’m happy with the scattering and reflections in this one. I tried the texture with noise in the diffusion channel with a huge vertical scale, but I feel that it could be more veiny. Render times started getting very high sub-surface and some transparency.

    I’m not even sure where to begin with the water droplets and sheen over the grapes.

  • Hey guys, don’t know if it was mentioned already, but there is a SSS Grapes.c4d file in the Studio/Render folder in the content browser (via

    Not a bad jumping off point. Cheers!

  • I’m not going to be content with messing purely with speculation for the wAter. At the end of the day the water lies on top of the grapes should it ought to have depth(albeit very thin). I believe that the context for rendering is a great idea with pre supplied scene files. We could all contribute. I have stuff I’ve modelled and never got around to texturing.

  • Hi, Need some help, I used Dynamics Body Tag and Force 10 for not grapes to overlap with each other but its still overlap… I tired other force setting also but same still overlap, anyone suggest any setting for not to overlap…? Greets. TIA.

  • I couldnt just do the normal thing and try to recreate this…so i kind of did my own thing and did a bunch of grapes rather than a column…lol
    But i just couldnt get the color right with the subsurface scattering.
    Ended up with 2 versions….on with G.I. and one without….
    Feedback is appreciate…

  • Here is what I came up with:

    Couldn’t quite figure out the splashed water (not the drops), but I got as close as I could without spending all day!

  • Here is what I have come up with:

    I tried to post this comment a bit ago, but it didn’t show up. Hopefully better luck this time!

  • HereΒ΄s my entry. I didnΒ΄t have much time but wanted to give it a quick go anyways. πŸ™‚

  • Worked on it a little more:

    It was tricky getting them to look wet

  • Did you all go with SSS as my initial tests are proving fruitless as the render is too long. I have r15 too. Nick do I have to still add global illumination outside of the physical render or is there a setting I side of it?

  • I’m just playing with it and… crap… It seems like I never used c4d materials before! we need definitively some good tutorial on materials and shaders.
    I tried to load from the maxon package the project grapes, and the material is sooo complex!! then I tried to add some lights, and I couldn’t get I want.
    Nick please you should post a tutorial with a render of some fruit, with some good infos about scatter, fusion shader ecc
    like a banana an orange and a watermelon!
    I (we) beg you!!
    I searched on the internet but it seem there are no valid tutorials about it.
    Christian Otten got a really good result in my opinion.

    • I definitely agree….although alot of people here dont seem to have an issue…that was one thing i had issue with in my example. Getting the materials to look just right. Something i thought i had well in hand. But with something natural like grapes in this example….its just so hard to get it to look right.

      A tutorial on things like….the fusion shader….the SSS along with other effects…etc would make a world of difference.

  • I couldn’t get the bottle shape exactly right without arranging them by hand, so I made them dynamic and hoped for the best, but I’m happy with the texture. Added a label for those who aren’t familiar with grapes.

  • Hi guys.

    Here it is my result.

    Still struggling with the water drops and the wet feeling of the grapes.

    Done with Vray and SSS.

    Great challenge this one Nick.

  • Hi guys!

    This is my version. Did not have that much time, but I wanted t give it a go anyways. I hope you like it. Advanced Renderer with some SSS

  • hi everybody, check my render πŸ™‚ :

    used Cinema 4D’s physical renderer, enabled material channels: SSS, Diffusion, Reflection, Alpha, Specular. no GI, only nick’s softboxes πŸ™‚

    nick create more requests like this one πŸ™‚ when you’ll find some good looking piece of project, share it under title: who can recreate it in 100%, or something like that πŸ™‚

    • Best looking so far. You can use a second material on the grapes without blurred reflections and with some alpha for the wet splashes. And maybe add another hard light that excludes everything but the water drops for those sharp reflections. Also a turb noise as a layer mask on the diffuse for the little veins (those are looking great but with this small visibility variation might look super real).

      Good job

    • How did you get the veins? I’m really struggling to get the a hd yours look amazing. Did you have to uv unwrap ?

  • Tried posting earlier, but I guess it didn’t work. Very valuable lessons learned in this challenge. Everything was accomplished with procedural textures, and standard lighting. I used the Standard Renderer with no GI. Struggled a lot with translucency, but I’m pleased with the overall result. Nick, along with the 5 second projects, you should do a monthly “Monkey See, Monkey Do” (aptly named) challenge like this one. Great learning experience!

  • Hey you guys, beginner C4D guy here. I’ve been doing this render challenge for a couple hours and wanted to post my project. I’m liking the grapes but not super happy with the stems.

    I used the connect object to connect a stem to a grape, cloned drops to the grape object and made that cloner a child of the grape object, then used the connect object on that hierarchy, put it in a null and cloned the null onto a capsule object with a taper. Rigid Body tag seems to work on the grapes but the stems poke into the grapes.

    If anyone has any advice/CC I would love to hear it and I would love some insight on how to remove that pixelated look in the shadows. I also had trouble making the grapes collide with the floor.

    • Joel, if you are using area shadows (which I presume you are), in the Shadow tab of your light(s), increase the number of minimum samples. This will smooth out your shadows, but it will increase render times.

    • The problem with this is that the droplets will be on the same place on all the grape clones. Does anyone have another way of applying a clone to an object which is already cloned to an object? Other than that way I’m going to have to hand place the droplets individually.

  • my attempt:

    intentionally forgot the stems, and focused on the grape texturing, please comment.
    And thank you Nick, for the exercise

  • Here is my attempt … i only tried to get the Grapes textured, without the stems and the Bottleform…. hope u like it anway… i also try to keep the rendertimes low… these images where rendered in 4 Minutes… with GI and HDRI Map

  • sorrry for offtopic, but can any one give tip how to make these laser lines in this image ?

    • I would probably start with a sphere and change the Type to something like Icosahedron. then add it under a Atom Array. change the Cylinder and Sphere radius(in the object tab of the atom array) to something really small so it looks right, then add a material with a red luminance channel. Turn off color and specular. Crank up the strength for Generate GI under the Illumination tab. Maybe mess with the transparency.

      hopefully that will get you going in the right direction

    • MoGraph Tracer – it’s fiddly but there’s a few tutorials on how to use it kicking around…

  • Not the same yet, but sub-surface scattering is killing my old iMac!


    I created a b/w bitmap vein texture in Photoshop and put it with some other shaders into the diffuse channel. I noticed that a fresnel shader in the luminance channel looks much better and gave me better results. I didn’t used any post effects such as ambient occluision or GI.

  • K?rlis K?rkli?Ε‘ April 27, 2014 at 9:45 am

    hi there.
    here is my version of this reference

    had some real fun making out this, and its been a real struggle for me to understand the basics of SSS2 engine..

  • Here’s my little test on the grapes:

    Next up some water sprinkles. Could maybe tone down the shininess and the saturation of the grapes a bit. Then the bottle shape… Nice challenge!

  • Hi Nick
    This is my render…

    I really hope youΒ΄ll make a short tut, so we can see how close you can get.
    I hope you guys like the render… its strait out of Cinema, no post done…

  • Hi guys! check my render πŸ˜€

    I really enjoy this challenge πŸ™‚

  • Fun!

    C4D Physical Renderer. Very slight color correct in post.

  • tried my best, its been a real struggle, fun though.

  • Wow I ran out of time (going out of town) and never really got it! Hopefully Nick will explain how to achieve seedless grapes. Here is my best attempt which is more stylized than photorealistic.

  • Hi Guys
    Wow, this is a tough one.
    I thought I’d get the texture right first – this is just a quick model with no stalks so the composition isn’t right.
    I’m quite pleased with the texture, although there’s more work to do on the water smears. The lighting needs work too – also, I think the SSS needs more strength.

  • Here is my grape :
    Special thanks to Jarom Brand for the nice model !

  • Its a little off to the original one but here is mine.

  • My try – didn’t have time for petail details. Comment if you like. It is done with V-Ray render.

  • Final texture render which I’m pretty pleased with:
    Now to model it properly!

  • Emmanuel Vincent April 30, 2014 at 6:30 am

    Here is my try :

    Thanks to Jarom Brand for the model. I ran out of time and couldn’t finalize the water drops and the wet effects
    That’s a nice challenge!

  • Really struggled but just wanted to contribute something. Feedback welcome

  • Is there any model ready to test the lighting? Would you like to participate but I’m not good modeling. Thank you.

  • My attempt. Really fun challenge. Learned a lot.
    Thanks to Jarom Brand for the model.×1182.jpg

  • My re-test since I had some free time waiting for my client to revert. I think I can get closer to it than this if I had the time, the original has more shallow SSS in my opinion than mine/ Either way here is my test.

    Thanks and any critics are welcome.

  • Final Render – not a great model, but I like the texture.

  • Here is my shot at it.

    Thanks Nick for the challenge!

  • Daniel Pazatka May 2, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    Wow, I learned so much. This is really hard to achieve.
    I have no idea how to make some water that relates to gravity and I’ve got a strange black drop in there but here is my render, thanks for sharing the awesome reference!

  • Any idea when we will get a copy of the scene files and a tut?

  • Hi Nick,

    When can we get a comment on this challenge?
    I would really appreciate some of your thoughts on all the renders people achieved.

    Regards from DK

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