What Renderer Should I Use In Cinema 4D?

August 14, 2017 - By 

It’s the number one question artists ask me. “What renderer should I use? Which one do you like the best?” Ok, so here’s my answer…

*Updated March 2020 

I’ve been doing 3D professionally for over twenty-five years, built pipelines, ran jobs (large and small), creative directed at several award-winning studios, and during that time, I’ve used MANY different render engines. It’s become a bit of an obsession.

So, I recently collected all my thoughts and decided to update my ideas on rendering in Cinema 4D (my favorite 3D application). Below you’ll hear my thoughts on what I consider the big three render engines, Arnold, Octane, and Redshift. Let’s jump in!

My Recommendation:

So What’s the deal, Chad? What should I use? Well, I recommend to everyone the same two I use on a daily bases. Arnold and/or Redshift. Arnold is a versatile, rock-solid, and feature-packed and creates photoreal images with ease. Redshift is fast as hell, and it’s production features get better with every release. There is a full breakdown of my thoughts below if you really want to dig in.

How do You Choose?

You need to do your homework, download the trial versions of all three and take them for a test drive. I encourage you to map out what you value in a renderer. Is it purely speed? Versatility? The look it delivers? Stability? There are so many criteria to consider, I suggest making your own pro-con list and see which one rises to the top.

Why no love for Physical/Pro-Render?

So before we begin, I should address the elephant in the room. You may have skimmed this post and noticed that I didn’t include any of the built-in renderers for Cinema 4D. Namely, Physical Renderer and Pro-Render. Both are decent enough, but given how the technology has advanced in the last few years and how incredibly behind Physical is and how incredibly limiting Pro-Render is, I decided to not include them in this post.

The Big Three Players

Aside from the Standard/Physical render engines that come with Cinema 4D, there are dozens of third-party renderers for C4D and the other 3D applications.

In this post we are going to focus on the big three, Arnold, Redshift, and Octane. These render engines support most major 3D platforms (Cinema 4D, Maya, 3ds Max, Houdini, etc) and you can use them between these apps with a proper license.

In this scenario, we are going to focus on the render engines as they work inside Cinema 4D.

Arnold (C4DtoA) by Autodesk

Arnold is best known for being the built-in renderer for Autodesk 3D applications. It’s also been used in film production for over fifteen years. This renderer has been built around rock-solid features and uncompromised quality.

  • Compatibility – Works on both Mac and PC, works on both CPU and Nvidia RTX GPUs
  • Annual Price – $342 (locked) via Toolfarm
  • Annual Price – $598 (floating) via Toolfarm
  • Monthly Price – $45 via Autodesk e-Store
  • Educational Institutions – Free
  • Trial VersionYes

Image by Kakela Studios via Autodesk

  • Versatile – The most versatile out of the three boasting CPU and GPU versions, works both on Mac and PC, and even includes a robust Toon system. It’s also widely supported on cloud based render farms like Pixel Plow.
  • Feature Rich – The most feature rich renderer in it’s class matched by one of the best plugins out there.
  • High Quality – There is a reason Arnold is synonymous with quality. It’s been the go-to for feature films for over 15 years.
  • Easy to Use – Arnold has fewer knobs to fiddle with and that’s something I appreciate.
  • Fun – I can’t stress this one enough. If a plugin/tool isn’t fun or a pleasure to use, I’m gonna be looking for alternatives. Arnold never gets in my way.
  • Speed – Both the CPU and GPU versions are not the fastest in this comparison, but because I value features and look over speed, it’s not a game changer for me. Though I totally understand those who value speed over everything else.
  • Licensing – Though the license system has improved, it still has a long ways to go. It’s overly technical and a bit of a pain to get set up properly.
  • Autodesk Stigma – Many artists are skeptical about giving Autodesk money or supporting a renderer owned by the mega-giant. There is always that feeling in everyone’s’ mind that at one point they may stop supporting other 3D applications outside of their domain. However, these fears are mostly unfounded and so far the only negative thing to happen has been the loss of the beloved Arnold logo in exchange for the Autodesk version.
My Take:

Arnold is my daily driver renderer, I use every-single-day. I use Arnold primarily for the incredibly beautiful looks it delivers, but the plugin itself is a joy to use thanks to it’s thoughtful design and added production features.

More on Arnold


Redshift by Maxon

Recently purchased by Maxon, Redshift is quickly becoming the go-to render engine for the motion design market. It’s biased approach to rendering makes it one of the fastest around.

  • Compatibility – PC native, Nvidia GPU only
  • Node-Locked Price – $500
  • Floating License Price – $600 (minimum 5 licenses = $3,000)
  • Annual Maintenance – $250 for node-locked ($1,500 to cover floating 5-license minimum)
  • Annual Subscription (including, but limited to, Cinema 4D) – $81.99 per month via Maxon
  • Monthly Subscription License (including, but limited to, Cinema 4D) – $116.99 per month via Maxon
  • Educational Institutions – Free
  • Trial VersionYes

Image by Chad Ashley

  • Fast – Redshift’s biggest advantage is its incredible speed. Being a fully GPU accelerated renderer (biased at that) means that this thing is gonna fire out renders fast.
  • Production Focused Features – Redshift directly targeted 3D production environments when they designed Redshift and it shows. As far as GPU renderers go, Redshift is one of the most feature complete.
  • Large User Base in Motion Design – Redshift’s popularity over the last few years have skyrocketed largely due to the fantastic training out there. If you’re a freelancer, you’ll want to learn this renderer.
  • Maxon Owned – Not long ago, Maxon announced it had purchased Redshift and I’m confident that soon we will see the benefits of having Redshift developers and Maxon’s engineers teaming up for something awesome.
  • Limited Features / Plugin – I know what you’re saying. “Hey, didn’t you just say that it was packed with production features?” Well yah. Sort of. Redshift is still very limited in terms of Mac/PC support (until Metal drops), CPU/GPU versatility (a long shot), no toon system, and a Cinema 4D plugin that still annoys me with a cumbersome UI/UX.
  • Many Quirks – Anyone who has used Redshift extensively understands this one. The plugin often requires far more clicks than you would think necessary and there are often many hoops you are forced to jump through or to endure to get cookin.
  • Effort for Realism – You can most certainly achieve beautiful results with Redshift, but it will take more effort. This one is entirely subjective so take my opinion with a grain of salt, but I can just tell when something is rendered with Redshift.
My Take:

Redshift is my go-to for quick turn around 3D work. Perfect for simple or fast bashing out of ideas. I’m typically using Redshift for shiny stuff, logos, machine parts, etc.

More on Redshift

Octane by Otoy

Octane has been a big player in the motion design industry for over four years. It’s ridiculous speed and stunning output quality has earned it a rabid fan base. Lately, it seems to be falling out of favor with artists and studios in production due to it’s instability and lacking features.

  • Compatibility – PC native, Nvidia GPU only
  • Annual Price – $600 (super confusing pricing structure)
  • Monthly Price – Starting at $19.99 for small studios
  • Educational Institutions – NA
  • Trial VersionYes

Image by Cornelius Dammrich via OTOY

  • Fast – Octane is the fasted GPU renderer I’ve ever encountered. It’s speed is unparalleled and often feels like some sort of magic.
  • Beautiful – I think the look Octane delivers is reliably gorgeous. Due to it’s unbiased spectral approach to rendering, it’s just friggin sexy. It’s actually hard to make an Octane render look bad.
  • Innovative – Otoy’s CEO is sort of like the Elon Musk of our world. Jules Orbach is just as much as a personality as the mogul behind the Tesla. His vision and wild ideas are gonna push Octane into exciting new areas (holo-deck?).
  • Community – Octane is used by MANY artists and often many studios. It’s large user base can be a blessing and a curse.
  • Unstable – With innovation comes instability. It’s just a fact of life. Octane is probably the most likely to crash of the big three. It’s the complaint I hear the most.
  • Not Feature Focused – Often it feels like the Otoy team is not certain which market they want Octane to serve. It is lacking quite a few production features and most studios learn to stay away from Octane on large projects.
  • Quirks – I think most GPU renderers just suffer from quirks, it’s a trend I see. Octane has many things that annoy Octane users but that incredible speed and look keep them coming back.
My Take:

I simply don’t like creating materials and doing work in Octane. I find it’s material system confusing and cumbersome, it’s settings too complex and quirky, and it’s features too limited for shot-based production. That being said, I still use it occasionally to do concept boards and I’m always impressed with the beautiful images it renders.

More on Octane
  • Really interesting article. I use Octane because for me its speed is really important. I need to see what I’m doing without waiting 4 minutes to previsualization. But I’m learning Octane and I see that It has a lot of things that doesn’t work well, like the textures or the displacement maps, and lot’s of little issues that obstruct my work. Do you know why Octane has that much problems? Is Redshift fast like Octane? And do you think I have to change to Redshift?

    Thanks and really good job Grayscalegorilla team!

    • Hi Gabriel! First off, if Octane is doing what you need there is really no reason to switch. However, if you find it’s limits getting in your way, Redshift is a great alternative. Yes, it’s just as fast at final frame renders (faster in most cases), but the IPR is a touch slower. Good luck!

    • Yeah, Octane is buggy as hell, not sure if i saving time, because of restarting c4d. I love Arnold for stability, very handy when you can drop node into beauty channel to see what is in, but of course it is not gpu and not quick enough as Octane

  • Hi. Why didn’t you mention anythink about vray ? I think it’s an awesome and stable renderer for c4d. Please give me your feedback. I am really interested about your opinion .

    • I get this question quite a bit. The reason I don’t cover V-ray for C4D is that I used to use it in 3DS Max (for 8+ years) which was developed directly by the Chaos Group. The C4D version is not. Though it has recently received a great update, this plugin still has a poor history of updates, inadequate documentation, and support. I try to cover only renderers that I myself would TRUST in production. Again, this is my opinion based on 20 years of CG motion design production experience. Plenty of awesome artists are using V-Ray for C4D and I’m sure are getting great results. However, I am not interested in that plugin unless it becomes developed directly by the Chaos Group. Sorry to disappoint you. Again, if it’s doing what you need it to do, that’s great. To each their own.

      • These are all perfect reasons not to use it, especially in a production environment.

        Their software’s documentation is spread across 1.8, 1.9, and 3.4 versions of the software and it’s often confusing to find the most up to date workarounds and settings.

        If you haven’t used the most recent version; it’s very fast and blasts through huge frames at 2-3 min regardless of resolution without GI flickering that was problematic in 1.9.

        I think it’s a shame NOT to recommend it to new artists or small shops that want a better physical renderer though. $900 for a floating license with 10 render nodes is a steal and it’s probably the cheapest option for getting a render farm going other than loading a system full of GPUs and buying Redshift for $500 or Octane @ 20$ a month.

        • Arnold just announced 5 licenses for $1500 so that’s definitely a step in the right direction for the small shop with a CPU farm.

  • Great and thorough write up. Thank you. Would love to get your thoughts on KeyShot.

    • I’ve seen some really cool stuff done in KeyShot. I’ve never tried it. Mostly because my interest lies in production animation. We have quite a few KeyShot users that have used our HDRIs with great results.

  • Does Arnold have better X-Particles support compared to Redshift?

  • Redshift has the same old ugly interface like expresso.UI is a shame. Besides that is not very intuitive,maybe (also) because of the documentation lack.
    The c4d shaders are just partly compatible with Redshift.

    • Agreed, the documentation is lacking. Mostly because they are changing so much of it right now. I’m sure once the dust settles, proper docs will be available.

  • You should add one more con for Physical, Flickers in animation!!!!

  • Hey Chad, great article. Would love to hear your opinion of Corona.

  • Moutaz Al-Husseini August 15, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    A great descriptive article, but i’m still wondering which renderer is better and faster for the complex animations and MoGraph rendering, also the x-particles support… I want something that gives good quality renders also with fast rendering time for the tight deadlines… And also a simple learning curve for it… Usually i use standard renderer and Physical… But i want something more in delth with better quality, and fast rendering time… Thank you for the efforts

  • Hi, what do you think about the Thea Render? Really like to hear about it.

    • I haven’t tried it yet.

      • Thea messes up cinema’s mapping in some cases – my roof textures will NOT map properly and I have not been able to find a solution. It was one priced temptingly, but they’ve upped their price recently also, more than $500 – which you can get redshift for at the moment.

  • Man, where are VRay and Corona in this comparsions? Corona & VRay for c4d as 2 great renders – especially corona. And they are used like a lot 🙂

    • Agreed! I’ve been using Corona for several months now, and love it. It’s very easy to pick up and being a CPU renderer, it’s still pretty quick. Just wish development for the C4D version would pick up a bit…

  • I`m using Vray 3.4 and I’m happy with it. It is really stable and fast. The only problem is the support, Stefan Laub is a mess!!! 🙂
    It’s a pity, that it was not considered.

    • Simone, I’m irritated about your posting – are we talking about the same person ? I know a Stefan always paying attention for the needs of the vrayforc4d community. Even on weekends and in the late evening … And the forum community is very helpful, too.
      I was amused about the absence of Vray in this very helpful overview. OK, my needs are modest: a stable renderer for professional productions with very small time frames, support by the publisher, and by render farms, too.
      Sometimes these discussions remind my of the Nikon/Canon/Minolta … discussion of photographers. The truth is: you cant´t identify the camera system by the picture. The only way to achieve optimal result is knowing your system and all the tricks by persistend usage.

  • Good article.
    I use octane and physical sometimes too. I miss volumetric light in octane. Voxel volumes are quite slow here. In physical render is it easy to make light volumetric and to create moving fog. In octane I do not know how to do it since now.

  • Since the announcement of R19 having ProRender. I have been excited for it, until I heard you guys saying that ProRender is not up to par with its competitors yet. I am currently building a new workstation and Octane has me locked into using Nvidia cards. Which are not bad, it would just be nice to have more options in terms of hardware. I think eventually ProRender will be on this list in a few years.

  • Thanks, Chad.. Love the work GSG doing))

    Wish Arnold were GPU, then render wars will end))

  • What’s that ‘Octane Effect’ you guys were talking about in the cons section? I couldn’t find the podcast you guys were mentioning. Thanks for enlightening me.

    • Octane Effect: When an artist or studio starts an animation production using Octane and that production gradually increases in complexity making once instant render times climb dangerously high while also leaving the artist/studio no options for scaling (lackluster cloud support). This “Octane Effect” will have the studio/artist scrambling to find additional GPU machines to get the job done (driving to Best Buy at 8pm). 🙂

  • And Vray its no good for render

  • You guys never talk about hair and fur rendering. If you do character work like myself this is critical, and very few renderers focus on making it look good in different lighting setups.

    VRAY is the only renderer I’ve found that can realistically portray the way direct outdoor sunlight hits hair/fur. So none of the other renderers are viable. Just a heads up if anyone else is interested in that sort of thing.

  • Not only Arnold has good integration with X-Particles, it also has integration with Realflow in a way that you can write out all your meshes, hybrido particles and other parts of the simulation as Arnold Scene Source files and obviously open them in Arnold Procedurals. It makes workflow with large simulation sequences a lot faster. So, +1 to Arnold.

  • Why is Arnold less good at rendering interiors?

    • It’s not that it’s less good, it’s just not best suited for them. Arnold can be rather slow on interiors with many GI bounces compared to something biased like Redshift.

  • Nice article. You should talk about Corona which is fast, easy,CPU and powerful.

  • Great article Chad!!!
    I recently started using redshift. But couldn’t find much tutorial on redshift for Cinema 4D. Waiting to see a GSG tutorial on this.

    • I’ll be doing RS tuts, live-streams, and tips as soon as they tell me I can. Right now the UI is still changing so much that they’d rather wait till it was more locked down. Stay tuned and thanks for the comment!

  • You’re soooo right on track here Chad. Definitely looking forward to hopefully discussing this over a pint or many during Half Res next month.

  • Hey Chad,
    First of all, great article, thank you for your work!
    For the moment I use physical, as it seems for me that C4d material system allows me to create all of the materials procedurally (like marble, waffles, brushed metal and etc) without using texture images.
    Not long ago I started thinking to switch to Arnold. Is it possible to create a lot of different materials procedurally in Arnold without using any texture images (not just plastic or car paint)?

    • As of right now, none of the native C4D procedural map types are officially supported. I’ve been using a texture map based workflow for so long, it has become second nature to me. I recommend checking out Substance Designer if you still want the ability to create complex materials with procedural maps. THanks for the coment

  • And what about standard Cinema renderer (AR)?

  • Hey Chad

    Thanks for the article, it’s an intersting read. Redshift seems like a great renderer.

    I understand your concerns about VRay4C4D and I agree to some extend.

    On the other hand, it is really a great and fast renderer and the Vray Bridge has improved alot in 3.4 and 3.5 Beta. Note also that it uses the official Chaos Group SDK and is shipped with the Vray Standalone software. The Vray image viewer with post processing / effects manipulation is fully integrated in C4D. IPR / RT in GPU mode still has some issues tough. Network / Distributed Rendering works great. V3.5 even supports X-Particle attributes now. Lights, materials, subsurface and hair rendering are fantastic. There are tons of great material libraries available and all cgaxis models come in the Vray4C4D format.

    Also important to me: the license is bound to the C4D serial, no AD online crap. That’s actually the reason I got Vray instead of Arnold.

    But I find myself using Physical alot, thanks to the great GSG Topcoat and HDRI Rig / Link plugins.

    By the way, Renderwars update from today: Chaos Group bought Corona!

    Best regards, Michael

    • This is not entitely true … VRay did improve A LOT with 3.4 but as Chad stated, the implementation feels like a rogue dev team just did a C4D version and it is far away from a official built like chaos group. I think this isn’t a problem of the software team (I use it for 7+ years now and love it) but the communication, documentation, support handling just feels like a one man show (Stefan) with a few developers. They’re doing a great job, but it doesn’t meet the requirements of a production house. For me as a freelancer I’m totally loving it because of the Rebusfarm support – hence outsourcing the hardware costs with using a cloud service.

      But as a Mac user for instance, the Vray Frame Buffer feels like a peace of crap stuck on the GUI.

      Vray is a great option, but has downsides. It would be great, if Chaosgroup overtook the development.

  • Hello Chad,

    I don´t know if you are the one who moderates this discussion. But if you´re not please forward my question to the appropiate person.
    I replied to Simone remark about Stefan Laub (owner of VrayforC4D) with the report of my good experiences with VrayforC4d and its support.
    What was the reason to delete my answer ? It was polite in case of wording (in contrast to Simones description of Stefan as “a mess”) and reflected my experiences.
    I´m a customer of GSG since several years , and I aprecciate the company and website as always open for different opinions and well-founded discussions.
    Thank you for clarification .

    • Hi Idris, we never deleted it. Every comment must be approved and sometimes we don’t approve them for a day or so. We only delete comments that do not adhere to our rules of common decency or are outright spam.

  • What about the upcoming AMD Pro Render?
    Would that be suitable for someone working in an ad agency, creating less complex visuals now and then?

    • Without knowing the exact type of work you’re doing, I can’t really say. I suggest giving it a try and seeing if it meets your needs. Thanks for the comment!

  • Hey Chad!!! what do u think about the new Maxwell Render???

    • I’ve always liked the output of Maxwell. It’s not a renderer I’ve seen used much in animation production much so I haven’t been paying close attention. What’s cool about this new version?

  • I like how you pointed out that physical renderers like redshift are a good choice for stills and distributed rendering. My nephew is graduating high school and he wants to learn about rendering later on. It sounds like redshift is an affordable and versatile option. If I was in his position I would consider finding someone that offers those services.

  • Great article Chad. I love hearing the insights from a person who has had some time to experiment with the features of several engines. This is such a fast moving area of CG and it’s always exciting to see what’s new in this field.

    Lately, I’ve really been enjoying the Cycles 4D engine. I wanted to mention a few major pros of the engine that I think are often overlooked.

    1: The new Principled BSDF shader is amazing. It almost makes physically based photo-real rendering too easy.
    2: The adaptive subdivision of the micropoly displacement is really impressive. It also saves tons of memory allowing you to push your GPU renders a lot further before running out of memory (even speeds up some renders).
    3: The denoiser is really good (in many situations). You can get clean renders with like 8 samples in some cases. Haven’t used it in animation yet though.
    4: NETWORK RENDERING without paying per node! Cycles 4D works with Cinema’s Team Render, giving you the ease and flexibility of Team Render, with the speed increase of GPUs. If you’ve got a few machines, you get a free render farm, just like Cinema’s Physical Renderer. The main limitation is you can’t distribute buckets for a single frame over the network.

    For a really cool example of what Cycles it’s capable of check out the latest from the Blender Institue:

    *One other slight bonus is that that you can work in Cinema & Blender on the same project and only need to know one render engine. For instance I’ll sometimes export my Cinema scene as an Alembic file and then render smoke & fire sims out of Cycles in Blender (and composite them in Fusion).

    Can’t wait to add X-Particle 4 into this mix!

  • Akingbola Oluwafemi December 5, 2017 at 5:23 am

    but you didnt write an article on vray, what about vray? that is what i primarily use.

  • What texture did you use for the wooden floor with the cameras, please? Is it one out of the texture kit? (which one, please?).
    Tx a lot, Peter

  • I was trying to use the pro render but it is not working with scenes with many objects and materials. the gpu gives an error memory (ProRender: gpu memory limit exceeded) . Also try to use the bucket rendering option but it does not work either. Any ideas?

    octane works just fine.

  • I have recently purchased the octane monthly subscription but to be honest I’ve no idea what I’m doing when I use it. I don’t want to spend a long time learning it if it’s not the right renderer for my needs – is there one you’d recommend as best for a newcomer to anything other than what comes with C4D?

    I’m just an independent fine artist working on images for my own portfolio, not in industry or or freelance or anything, so I don’t have a lot of frame of reference for some of the technical bits. I am saving up to buy everything greyscalegorilla sells though ?

  • Let me start by saying I have only used the built-in renderers, and am pretty much a C4D novice. I’m trying to decide what 3rd party renderer to learn. I just ordered a dual GTX 1080 laptop from Origin with the intention of using a GPU renderer, and have pretty much narrowed my choices down to Octane or Redshift.

    Is the consensus that Octane won’t fix the issues people are complaining about? It seems like a good renderer that has been around for a little while and has pretty good resources and community.

    Another plus to Octane (I think) is that they have “integrated plugins” for most popular 3D software. I use Sketchup sometimes for quick stuff (there basically is no built-in renderer), and might end up learning other 3D software in the future, such as Maya, Blender or Rhino, and getting familiar with one renderer that I can use with other software seems like a pretty strong benefit.

    Redshift does seem pretty good, but there are only a few 3D packages that it works with, and I doubt there are nearly as many learning resources or options for buying textures, etc.

  • I’ve just upgraded to R19 to be able to use ProRender but I use ZYNC render by google to actually render, I have tried using ProRender directly on my imac and it cant cope, there are no plans from Google to support ProRender, do you know any render farms that might support it? We are buying new pro macs shortly at work that I am hoping will be able to cope with the renderer but I like using render farms as we dont have a standalone machine to use and no plans to have one. No one seems to support it 🙁

    • Sorry, I don’t know of any render farms that are supporting Pro Render. BUT, I haven’t looked around much either. Have you checked Pixel Plow?

  • No Corona renderer no Vrayforc4d. Of course you don´t need those because you are not archviz artist. GSG is limited to animations only when it comes to Cinema 4D.

  • Hi guys,
    thank you for good article. I’m long time user of VrayforC4D and as was mentioned above the problem with support is very painful so I finally start to looking for different render. Under impression of this article and good words about Redshift and yes, Greyscalegorilla use it 🙂 (excited) I installed last version of RS demo on my brand new machine (GPU P4000) with fresh installation of latest version of R19. RS is rendering but view port doesn’t work correctly. To get it operate as usual I have to restart not into only C4D but whole computer. So I looked at community at RS site and start to read all the issues in the pipeline and my impression leads to decision not being volunteer tester and wait some time and then give it a try once again.

  • Excelsior article… I came from Rhinoceros and 3DS MAX with Vray and Corona and now I want to learn C4D for motion graphics and his good relationship with After Effects (until now this is what I read before to start to learn C4D) so… I have 2 computers with i7 4930K, 16GB DDR3, SSD units and 980ti for each one… with this configuration… what renderer do you think that I should use? I already did read the comments, vray and corona it seems to be discard and it´s fine for me, so… Arnold or Redshift for motion graphics with my configuration? Thanks. PD. Sorry my bad english but in my country we speak spanish and my english is a little forgotten. Greetings

  • Thank you for the super helpful article! You have made my life a lot easier through reading this! Lol. I was just wondering:

    Could you please elaborate on Arnold having “weak caustics”

    That is a really cool natural looking effect the way it plays with light and I’m just curious to know why/how Arnold is weak in that department. Are there any ways to work around that and compensate for it to achieve the same or better results as other renderers? Thanks for your help again!

  • terryranson@mac.com May 16, 2018 at 7:05 pm

    Are there updates to you “short answer” based on the current state of development in these renderers? I am using Nvidia on a hot rod mac setup (which oddly causes total incompatibility with pro render, go figure), and I had been using Octane for the speed and easy realism. But I’m looking to step up. Redshift seems like the best move for me. Again, any updates you your reco?

    • I think a workflow that includes Redshift and Arnold is the best option (if you can afford it). The two compliment each other well and can handle nearly anything you throw at them. If you can only choose one, I’d test both and see which one suits you. thanks for checking out the post!

  • Could you please elaborate on Arnold having “weak caustics”

    That is a really cool natural looking effect the way it plays with light and I’m just curious to know why/how Arnold is weak in that department. Are there any ways to work around that and compensate for it to achieve the same or better results as other renderers? Thanks for your help and for this great article!

  • Hi Guys.

    Great article.

    Do you have any links or advice for those of us on Macs looking to set up a eGPU solution to run octane?

    I’ve heard it can take a few workarounds but I can’t find a good write up on this anywhere…


  • Hello Chad

    I would like to say thanks for your job.. I like Greyscalegorilla 🙂
    I was trying to work with Octane. But I think there is very weak setting option. And some issues where I would like to change. Also Im affraid of more complex renderer, let say street with buildings in very high quality and 2-4k texutes. In some test renders I was limited with GPU (For now only 2 GB). Also noise support is very weak and sometimes materials not working very well, mainly in rescalling. However I really like that fast render update and I speed up my workflow like a 100times. Can I achive this with redshift?
    Do you thing for my purpose is better to use Redshift? I do not want spend so much time for learning something which after developing my skills will be weak. Also I do not know if it my bad skill but working with AOVs layers in C4D is no problem for me but in Octane it seems not that good and simple like in C4D.

    Thank you for your time and any help you can provide me.

    Kind regards

    • I think that the best way to find out if a renderer will work for you is to grab a demo and try it out. I always recommend folks “try before they buy”. That way there aren’t any surprises. As for what you’ve laid out here it could be your hardware that’s holding you back. Octane should be able to handle the scene you’ve described but no GPU renderer is going to do well on a single GPU card with low memory. So I imagine if you have a single GPU with only 2GB of memory, you’ll have a similar experience in Redshift. Good luck!

  • Hi Chad!

    Such a great article, super helpful to hear your insights.
    Can you speak a bit towards final render speeds using Redshift/Octane? I know IPR speeds are really quick. But on the other hand I have also read that final renders might not be that much quicker that CPU based rendering. Is this something you can share your experience on? Thanks!

  • I am looking to start using Octane but I’m on an iMac, what is the best route/set-up to make it work flawless on my computer? Can it run on AMD, no right? Rep from Octane said no… So what is the best Egpu set up case and cards, and best option for plug and play so I don’t have to worry when I update my OS.
    Thank you GSG and GSG fans!!!! ?

  • Hi all Gorilla ,I loved your all !

    I am C4d arnold user for a few years and I attend your most supports from youtube and this site also Twitter ( nick) ,also chad tutorial in renderer apps variation I loved it all.
    I need recommendation from you ,I have only Hp laptop with 2Gb card and 12 Gb ram core i7 ,so I want to upgrade it my laptop ,but not more expensive .
    I don’t want leave Arnold renderer it is so perfect renderer .
    SO what is your recommendation for me to buy a laptop ( pc ) requirement or something what you say to me .

    Thank you all !

  • Cycles 4D – mentioned in the list but not seen it in the comments yet so thought I’d give some input on it.

    I got it a couple of weeks ago as the first GPU renderer for my new system and R20. Currently it has to use a bridge to work in R20 due to not being a python based plugin and so stability is a bit of an issue or facing delays in production time. The live preview is good and not too slow, but needs pausing or closing to make changes without crashing. For large scenes (physically that is, not amount of models) it takes a long time to render, a simple infinity floor scene with a chair takes 85 seconds, add a large object to the scene and it jumps to 9+ minutes so it has a learning curve with optimisation to go with the node based material learning.

    Definitely has pros to it but cons are I wouldn’t advise it for animation unless you use a render farm or have a lot of graphics cards, I’ll update this post when they make a full R20 compatible plugin if there’s any improvements.

    Intel Xeon Skylake W-2155 3.5-4.5 turbo boost (10 core),

    32GB Corsair DDR4 RAM

    1 x Nvidia Quadro P5000 16GB Graphics card

    Windows 10 64 bit on Samsung Pro Evolution 970 SSD

    Love the article Chad and you guys at GSG really are amazing with all the help you put out.

  • Novice question: Which renderer is good on a MacBook?

    I’ve tried using Octane but it doesn’t seem to have the right driver.
    Any advice?

  • Hi guys,
    Thanks for your video, they do help a lot.
    I am a Mac user and i am wondering if it would worth to invest on a PC as a node and keep working on my mac ? I thought about Team render link.
    I love the mac Os but I m not naive about the hardware ….


  • Hey Chad I see you guys have a guide to redshift for people who want to learn but why havent you guys made a guide to octane even though its being used so much on instagram ? Is it because of the octane effect?

  • Hi! I’ve been done a test about Vray Vs Redshift (in Max) after your tips and tricks about RS on youtube. I’ve been watched the official video about how get rid of noise in Houdini.

    Hardware specs:
    Dell 7559 / I7 6700HQ / Nvidia 960m (4GB) / 16 GB dd3
    Resolution 2800*1500

    Scene 2 AI37 Archinteriors

    Vray Next (brute force/LC) at 2% = 2:18 hours
    Vray Next GPU (brute force/LC) at 2% = 2:18 hours (the same above but with a less powerful GPU compared with my CPU I guess.. soo good result)

    RS 2.6 with tweaked samples for GI/lights/materials from general settings: 3 hours (and still some problems like yellowish sunlight but because of my conversion I don’t say anything about it)

    So, after other work on it:
    Fstorm with one-click conversion = 2 hours but still too immature for production.
    Vray Next with IM/LC proper settings (conceptually close to RS right now) = 49 minutes with no visual differences.

    So, my conclusion:

    Until RS 3.0 (with automatic sampling similar to what was introduced in Vray 3.3 for Max) I guess that it is a step back to old Vray-biased workflow where right now all the trial and error time (and learning time necessary to reduce that time) does not compensate the requested effort.

    My two cents, cheers.

  • really helpful stuff in there!
    thx a lot!

    But I am a mac user, so was looking for a renderer as well, and at the convention i went last week, they mentioned to give corona a try. any thoughts there?
    because there is nothing about corona in here or in any article.

    thx in advance

  • i used redshift’s trial version on 3ds max its amazing and very very fast for example i rendered a realistic ferrari with one son light in 3 seconds with 1660 ti GPU

  • I used Octane a year or 2 ago but soon switched to Redshift. Octane looks great but when you set up an animation to render overnight and it crashes you soon learn to find another more reliable renderer, and Redshift has proved itself worthwhile. Plus Redshift is available on a few render farms too.

  • Hi guys.

    what’s the best GPU renderer to get with a new 16″ Mac Pro, AMD Radeon Pro 5500M ? I worried about compatibility


  • I really dont know why but it feels like u guys(both of you) are so much obsessed with Arnold over any other renderers. Whenever i browse greyscalegorilla website or tutorials..its like 90 percent time u keep repeating d word ARNOLD..sorry to say this but sometimes its so annoying…atleast give a chance for other renderers too.I personally used all 3 big letters and believe me OCTANE RULES (For me) not sure about others but still calling ARNOLD worlds best renderer only gonna divert newbies from exploring any other renderers…u dont knw wat they want to do in 3d world so dont create impacts like arnold has got it all….help them to explore the innovation and creativity rather then downstreaming them to one side….i hope u dont misunderstand my points.

    • Deirdra (Greyscalegorilla Staff) April 24, 2020 at 7:58 am

      Thanks for the feedback! We do have a Guide to Redshift in Plus and include training videos for Arnold, Octane, and Redshift with most of our products.

  • Please advice me on which one is better : corona – vray – arnold ….

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