Posted In:Motion Design | Greyscalegorilla

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Arnold is the Most Versatile Render Engine for Cinema 4D

December 11, 2019 - By 
Arnold is the Most Versatile Render Engine for Cinema 4D - Featured

With the latest release, Autodesk’s Arnold renderer becomes the most versatile C4D render engine that works on both CPU and GPU.

One of the most asked questions Greyscalegorilla receives is which render engine to use. It’s still not a simple answer, but for the first time, we can definitely recommend one based on versatility + features.

Autodesk Arnold is one of the leading Cinema 4D render engines that can be used by both Mac and PC artists, and now that the NVIDIA GPU version is fully released it’s incredibly powerful.

Arnold 6 is not the most feature-rich new release, but it doesn’t really have to be.

The removal of the word BETA from it’s GPU offering could be called premature (and I wouldn’t necessarily argue with them), but there is no denying the power of being able to flip from CPU to GPU. The new licensing methods are also a welcome change to the old, overly complicated system that required a degree in IT to get up and running (though still has tons of room for improvement).

Let’s dive into the latest release, and really take a look at things.

Overall Benefits to Arnold 6:

  • Easy to Use
  • Most versatile renderer for both Mac and PC (CPU + GPU), though GPU is not supported on Mac
  • Works across all major DCC’s including Cinema, Houdini, Maya, and Max
  • Most feature-rich renderer (including a full Toon System)
  • Supports more native C4D features than most current renderers (Noises, Background Object, Floor Object, etc)
  • Extremely stable
  • Memory Efficient
  • Affordable Single Seat Licenses
  • Monthly subscriptions available
  • No watermark restrictions – You can work on the watermarked version with no feature limitations
  • Extremely responsive IPR in both CPU/GPU
  • Supports industry standards like OCIO+ACES, OSL

5 Must-Know Things About Arnold 6

  1. Arnold GPU:
    • Out of Beta
    • More Stable
    • Supporting nearly every feature of CPU (including light filters, LPE’s, and nearly all AOVs)
    • No Mac Support
  2. Lower Pricing Structure
  3. New Arnold license process – Somewhat easier to get up and running, and cheaper options.
  4. A ton of bug fixes. Stability matters in production.
  5. Quality of life updates (node alignment tools, material exports, etc)

Thoughts on Arnold GPU

Arnold GPU was no small feat. Taking a production-proven CPU renderer and pushing it to deliver 1:1 results on the GPU is very difficult. Renderman is currently working on XPU which promises to harness the power of your CPU and GPU simultaneously, but it’s proved challenging to bring to market. We believe the future is about leveraging ALL your hardware. Power and flexibility will always win out. Arnold being able to give 1:1 results on both CPU and GPU is incredibly compelling.

If I were starting a small studio right now, I would be using Arnold GPU on my artists’ workstations to do look dev/lighting and then switching to CPU mode to throw to an inexpensive cloud render farm solution such as Pixel Plow. I’d outfit every 3D workstation with dual 2080ti’s and a Threadripper to give every artist the flexibility to use whichever mode better suits their work. What a time to be alive!

Now I’ve been on the beta for Arnold GPU since it opened over a year ago. I’ve watched it slowly go from a buggy, noisy mess into something I actually use on a daily basis.

The first question anyone ever asks me is whether or not it’s faster than it’s competitor Redshift. My answer is always the same, mostly no. In my testing, Arnold GPU is 10-20% slower than Redshift on most tasks. However, in some cases, it can close that gap very nicely (usually on scenes with tons of GI bounces).

Even with Redshift besting it in terms of sheer speed (as one would expect from a biased GPU renderer), it cannot touch Arnold in terms of features and user experience. Arnold outshines its competitors with production proven features and a Cinema 4D plugin that is easily best in class.

I’m also a bit spoiled as I use Arnold with a 64-core AMD Threadripper. So Arnold CPU for me is certainly no slouch. In fact, only now with Arnold 6 can I say that their GPU offering is giving my beast of a CPU a run for it’s money.

Should I switch to Arnold GPU?

Well, there are a few things to consider

  • Arnold GPU is Windows only, sorry no Mac support at this time
  • Arnold GPU is Nvidia ONLY and more cards the better. I HIGHLY recommend RTX cards as Arnold GPU is optimized for that platform. I’ve got two 2080ti’s and I wish I had more!
  • Arnold GPU takes advantage of NVLink (an $80 device that links multiple RTX cards together) and in my opinion, is a MUST HAVE if you want to maximize speed in Arnold GPU.
  • You also have to be “OK” with Arnold GPU taking a bit longer to render than it’s competition, but in exchange you get superior features and first-in-class plugin experience. Plus, you can always design in GPU and send to a CPU farm. Versatility!

What are the Key New Features of Arnold 6?

  • Faster creased subdivs: Hard creases are now fully supported in adaptive and multithreaded mode. This means creased surfaces will use all procs during subdivision.
  • Dielectric microfacet multiple scattering: Rough dielectrics are now energy-preserving by accounting for multiple scattering between microfacets for both reflection and refraction, avoiding the energy loss of the previous implementation. Disabling the global option enable_microfacet_multiscatter will restore the previous look.
  • Physical Sky shader improvements: The physical sky shader will now extend the color at the horizon all the way down to the bottom pole.
  • Improved roughness mapping of the Oren-Nayar diffuse BRDF: The Oren-Nayar roughness parameter has been remapped so that values close to 1 no longer result in excessive darkening. This change also improves the Standard Surface and Car Paint shaders.
  • Improved rough thin-wall transmission in Standard Surface shader: Refractions in thin-walled mode now appear blurry with non-zero roughness.
  • OCIO roles: Roles can now be listed with the color manager API by querying color spaces available in the Role (OCIO) family. This makes it possible to build UIs that list all known roles.
  • Skip RGBA denoising: Noise now accepts -ignore_rgba or -irgba to skip denoising of RGBA even if it’s present.
  • OpenImageIO 2.1.4: OIIO support is now upgraded to 2.1.4.
  • More accurate albedo AOVs: Albedo AOVs now correspond more closely to the true albedos of the material’s BSDFs.
  • New AOV Write Vector shader: This enables the writing of vector values into a  typed AOV, for example for recording positional values. These would previously have been clamped when using  typed AOVs

C4DtoA Plugin Enhancements

  • Material export/import: Materials can be exported to ASS files and MaterialX files (.mtlx) via the C4DtoA > Utilities > Material > Export to ASS… menu item or via the Alt~W+X shortcut in the Material Manager. Materials can be imported via the C4DtoA > Utilities > Material > Import from ASS… menu item or Alt~W+I shortcut. Selected shaders from a material can also be exported from the network editor.
  • Align nodes in the network editor: New Edit > Align nodes menu item and Alt~W+L shortcut is added to the network editor to align graph nodes in the layout.
  • Notification when no license found or license will expire: Now a message is displayed in the render settings when no Arnold license found or two weeks before the license expires.
  • New Licensing menu: Licensing menu moved to C4DtoA > Licensing with menu items to open the new Arnold License Manager, help and purchase pages. Note that single-user licensing is not available for testing.
  • Added aov_write_vector shader
  • Add Details and Project tabs to Arnold Sky: ****Light filters, user options and light linking settings are moved to these new tabs to be consistent with other lights.
  • Flush Caches menu moved under Utilities

Want to learn more?

Check out the C4DtoA 3.0.1 documentation and Arnold 6 overview.


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The 40% Off One Day Sale Has Ended

November 19, 2019 - By 

The Greyscalegorilla 40% Off One Day Sale has ended. This offer is now expired.

Cheers to everyone who saved, and a big welcome to all new Greyscalegorilla Plus members!


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A Must Watch: Promoting Wolkov’s New Watches with a Colorful Spot

November 11, 2019 - By 

Paul Clements on how he used Cinema 4D, After Effects and Arnold to create a style-conscious watch promo.

Like many directors, Paul Clements runs his own business, London-based RocknRoller Studios. While he often handles projects on his own, he frequently builds teams of freelance artists and designers from all over the world, allowing him to keep work moving forward nearly 24 hours a day.

Known for his motion design and directorial work for Adidas, Cadillac, Sky and other brands, Clements was recently asked to design and animate a promo piece for Wolkov, a new watch company looking for a distinctive way to showcase their product’s fresh, youthful features.

Because they had already seen and liked some of his previous work, Wolkov trusted Clements with a very open brief. And he spent two intense weeks using Cinema 4D, After Effects, and Arnold to create a launch promo that dynamically highlights the watch’s versatility.

Here Clements explains his process explains his process, including why he chooses to work in an iterative way that can sometimes means redoing shots 20 or 30 times. Read More


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Exclusive New Pro Training and Last Chance Savings | Greyscalegorilla Plus

October 18, 2019 - By 

Here is your Fall 2019 Greyscalegorilla Plus update, featuring all the new training and downloads that members can access now and in the coming months.

When Greyscalegorilla Plus was first conceived, the goal was to bring you all of Greyscalegorilla’s industry-leading professional training series in one place at one low price. Starting with the Guides to Cinema 4D, Redshift, X-Particles, and other pro training series, Greyscalegorilla Plus quickly became a platform where we could give members so much more.

Today, not only can you stream the training guides and exclusive new training series, members also get access to our popular drag-and-drop material collections. All of our material collections will be in Greyscalegorilla Plus before the end of the year, and even more assets and downloads are on the way.

Render via Zachary Corzine’s Procedural Systems.

Greyscalegorilla Plus is growing at a rapid pace, and things are not slowing down anytime soon. The team just introduced new Head of Plus, Todd Blankenship, who will oversee the release of new training series, downloads, and more.

He has already put together a new quick overview of Greyscalegorilla Plus so he can introduce himself and show you what’s already inside.

Take of tour of Greyscalegorilla Plus by clicking here to checkout the lesson previews

Join before October 31st, and you will get over $1500 in pro training and product downloads for only $348. That’s just $29 a month. The price goes up on November 1st, so don’t miss out. Head over to the Greyscalegorilla Plus page to join, and use discount code NEW2PLUS at checkout to save $120.

Curious to know what is coming to Greyscalegorilla Plus? Let’s dive into a few of the Fall 2019 releases Read More


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Making The Lonely Island’s Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience

October 1, 2019 - By 

How production studio Lord Danger helped The Lonely Island realize their crazy Netflix visual poem tribute to ‘80s baseball.

Comedy Trio, The Lonely Island—Akiva Schaffer, Andy Samberg and Jorma Taccone—met in junior high and have been collaborating on creative projects for years. After a longtime stint with Saturday Night Live, the troupe has lately become known for producing their own viral videos and studio albums.

Among their recent releases is a Netflix comedy special called The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience. Billed as a “visual poem,” the half-hour mockumentary features Samberg and Schaffer as 1980’s baseball legends Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire (a.k.a. the Bash Brothers). The storyline imagines what their rap album and accompanying videos might have been like if they had really captured their experiences chasing the ladies, taking steroids, working out, being rich, and occasionally pondering questions of love and the meaning of life and fame.

For “IHOP Parking Lot” freelance artist Josh Johnson used a modified TurboSquid model, the Everyday Material Collection, C4D and Octane to create a Back to the Future-like car scene.

Mike Diva (Dahlquist), of the LA-based production company, Lord Danger, teamed up with Lonely Island’s Akiva Schaffer to co-direct the special. Diva also assembled and led Lord Danger’s team of global freelancers who worked on the show from concepting to completion over four months using a combination of Cinema 4D, After Effects, Blender, and Nuke. Read More


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The 3D Design + Motion Tour is Coming to a City Near You (Get 25% Off)

August 27, 2019 - By 

Join fellow 3D artists and motion designers around the world at the 3D Design + Motion Tour. Save 25% on your ticket price with this special offer code.

Maxon has teamed up with AdobeNvidiaDell, Perception, Greyscalegorilla, and Pixel Plow to bring you an epic tour unlike any other motion design event. 26 major cities with dozens of speakers, special guests, and software for you to take home.

3D Design + Motion Tour

The 3D Design + Motion Tour runs September 4 – December 10, 2019 in 26 different cities around the world.

Attendees can expect to see presenters and guest panels featuring motion design and VFX artists like Andrew Kramer, Nick Campbell, EJ Hassenfratz, Chris Schmidt, and many more! Read More


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What Version of Cinema 4D Should I Buy or Subscribe to?

August 8, 2019 - By 
What Version of Cinema 4D Should I Buy or Subscribe to? - Guide Featured

With several options to choose from, which version of Cinema 4D is right for you? Follow along with this guide to choose the right version or subscription.

In an attempt to simplify the entire purchasing process, Maxon has eliminated the various versions of Cinema 4D (Studio, Prime, Broadcast, etc) and has announced that going forward there will be only one version of C4D.

While choosing the right version of Cinema 4D has now become a lot easier, choosing the right subscription bundle has users scratching their heads.

So let’s dive into the new options to pick which is right for you.

Cinema 4D Purchasing Options

Cinema 4D is available as either a one-time purchase with the perpetual license or as an ongoing subscription. Read More


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Beeple Reveals Everyday Secrets and Shows His Daily C4D Process

July 9, 2019 - By 
Beeple Reveals Everyday Secrets and Shows His Daily C4D Process - Featured

Mike Winkelmann, AKA Beeple, shares insight to his daily creative process and offers tips and tricks for 3D artists of all levels.

For the uninitiated, Beeple is a 3D artist and motion designer who has reached legendary status for his daily creations. He helped grow the “everyday” movement which inspires artists to create new pieces of work everyday so they can continue to grow their skills. To date, Beeple has created over 4400 daily renders.

His work has been featured in places like the Louis Vuitton runway and was recently admired on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast.

Read More


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Our Thoughts on the New Mac Pro for 3D and Motion Design

June 3, 2019 - By 

The new Mac Pro has finally been revealed. Is it powerful enough to get us to switch back to Mac?

All images via Apple.

It’s been 6 years since the last Mac Pro redesign, and the “trash can” mac left much to be desired.  You couldn’t upgrade the machine, it was under-powered, and it was overpriced.

We just learned about all the new laptops NVIDIA has planned for the year, but the big question remaining was if Apple would finally announce a new Mac Pro in 2019.

So where do we stand now? Well, the new Mac Pro returns to classic from and has overly embraced the cheese grater design of old. You are once again able to expand and upgrade the machine, but there is a big downside. Still no NVIDIA support. Let’s dive into the details. Read More


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Assembling Avengers: Endgame User Interfaces and Holograms with C4D

May 16, 2019 - By 
Assembling Avengers: Endgame User Interfaces and Holograms with C4D - Featured

Territory Studio Creative Director Marti Romances on working with Marvel Studios on Avengers: Endgame graphics and futuristic UI.

Territory Studio has worked with Marvel production designer Charles Wood’s team to realize aspects of many Marvel blockbusters, including Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America: Winter Soldier, Avengers: Age of Ultron and Infinity War. Now with Avengers: Endgame Territory’s San Francisco team once again helped bring directors Anthony and Joe Russo’s vision to life.

Here Territory Creative Director Marti Romances describes the studio’s latest foray into the Marvel Universe, explaining the team’s use of Cinema 4D and other software, as well as what it was like to be embedded with the Marvel team in Atlanta, Georgia. Read More


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Painting Over Cinema 4D Renders to Animate a Spotify Music Video

April 16, 2019 - By 
Painting Over Cinema 4D Renders to Animate a Spotify Music Video - Featured

A behind-the-scenes look at the surreal and powerful Spotify music video for Mitski’s “A Pearl.”

In the new music video for Mitski’s, “A Pearl,” from Be the Cowboy, a barefoot woman walks determinedly for a while before breaking into a run that turns into a freefall as the lyrics lay bare her soul. Eventually, the Mitski-like woman lands on her feet and begins walking again and it’s hard to know whether to breathe a sigh of relief, or cry.

Artful and heart-wrenching, the Spotify-commissioned video is a collaborative creation by Brooklyn-based studio Art Camp and New York City-based designers/animators Saad Moosajee and Danaé Gosset. Read More


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The Killer New Tools and Features in X-Particles

April 3, 2019 - By 

The new X-Particles gives you control of shattering, squishing, and exploding down to the particle level. Learn more about this big update.

INSYDIUM has released details on stellar new X-Particles features like xpShatter, xpDynamics, and xpQuickTools. These new features are available now with the Early Access Programme.

What’s New in X-Particles

The first big update is xpShatter, a particle based shattering system. The new object-breaking engine was designed to work seamlessly with the new xpDynamics.

Here’s a great overview from Bob Walmsley.

Read More