Posted In:Rendering | Greyscalegorilla


Top 10 Most Popular Training Videos Inside of Greyscalegorilla Plus

March 31, 2020 - By 

What do Greyscalegorilla Plus members love to watch and learn? Here are 10 of the most popular lessons.

Who better to share feedback on training than those who have already completed several pro training series in Greyscalegorilla Plus? We reached out to Plus members to tell us about some of the most popular lessons you should be streaming now.

Here are 10 of the most popular lessons that will help add valuable 3D tools and tricks to your workflow.

Not a Greyscalegorilla Plus member? Click here to learn more and join today.

Create Dynamic Procedural MoGraph Animations

Training Series: Procedural Systems in Cinema 4D
Teacher: Zachary Corzine

Watch This Lesson Now

1. Sign into your Greyscalegorilla Plus account
2. Click here to watch Procedural Systems training
3. Scroll Down to “Part 02 – Base System / Approach”
4. Click PLAY to start learning

Pro tip from this lesson
By using Fields to drive changes to your base  system, you can dynamically affect Polygon Selections, Shader Changes, Deformers, and much more. This lets you play around and quickly try out different setups without have to rebuild the system or make unnecessary changes.

Here’s what one of our members had to say about this training series…

Not a Plus Member? Click here to join.

Drill Holes in Plywood to Make a Pegboard

Training Series: Modern Surface Material Training
Teacher: Chad Ashley

Watch This Lesson Now

1. Sign into your Greyscalegorilla Plus account
2. Download and install Modern Surface Material Collection
3. Click here to watch modern surface material training
4. Scroll Down to “Create a Pegboard in Cinema 4D”
5. Click PLAY to start learning

Pro tip from this lesson
To create the drilled holes, you can use a Cinema 4D Boolean, but you will likely take a speed hit with your render times. A new faster option available for Arnold users is Clip-Geo.

Not a Plus Member? Click here to join.

Make Beautiful Redshift Materials

Training Series: Guide to Redshift
Teacher: Trevor Kerr

Watch This Lesson Now

1. Sign into your Greyscalegorilla Plus account
2. Click here to watch Guide to Redshift
3. Scroll to Training > Redshift Color > “Redshift Materials”
4. Click PLAY to start learning

Pro tip from this lesson
If you increase your IOR, your surface will look more metallic. Plastic values tend be be around 1.3, glass around 1.52.

Here’s what one of our members had to say about this training series…

Not a Plus Member? Click here to join.

Cinema 4D Fields Masterclass

Training Series: Guide to Cinema 4D (R20)
Teacher: Matthew O’Neill

Watch This Lesson Now

1. Sign into your Greyscalegorilla Plus account
2. Click here to watch Guide to Cinema 4D
3. Open the “Introduction To Fields” chapter
4. Click PLAY to start learning

Pro tip from this lesson
Instead of using the traditional target to have objects follow, you can now use other objects as a target. For instance, you can use a spline as the target object

Here’s what one of our members had to say about this training series…

Not a Plus Member? Click here to join.

Make it Rain with X-Particles

Training Series: Guide to X-Particles
Teacher: Jon Bosley

Watch This Lesson Now

1. Sign into your Greyscalegorilla Plus account
2. Click here to watch Guide to X-Particles
3. Open the Training > “Rain” lesson
4. Click PLAY to start learning

Pro tip from this lesson
Rain is one of the easiest ways to introduce you to X-particles concepts. You’ll learn that the smaller the particles, the slower they fall from the xpEmitter.

Here’s what one of our members had to say about this training series…

Not a Plus Member? Click here to join.

Finally Learn How Houdini Works

Training Series: Introduction to Houdini
Teacher: Russ Gautier

Watch This Lesson Now

1. Sign into your Greyscalegorilla Plus account
2. Click here to watch Introduction to Houdini
3. Scroll to “Part One – Getting Started with Houdini”
4. Click PLAY to start learning

Pro tip from this lesson
Houdini is a great complimentary program to Cinema 4D, and solves problems differently. Once you learn how to create and manipulate data, the program is completely and totally open to you.

Here’s what one of our members had to say about this training series…

Are you still not a Plus Member? Click here to join.

Push Your Polygon Count Higher Than Ever

Training Series: Guide to Cinema 4D (R20)
Teacher: Nick Campbell

Watch This Lesson Now

1. Sign into your Greyscalegorilla Plus account
2. Click here to watch Guide to Cinema 4D
3. Click the “Multi-Instance Pencil Project”
4. Click PLAY to start learning

Pro tip from this lesson
In the past, you were limited to how many times you could clone things, based on polygon count. With Multi-Instance, you can crank the numbers way up! Now instead of always seeing the geometry, you can change the Viewport Mode to a Bouding Box or Points. This allows you to keep working quickly without taking any speed hits while you make changes.

Here’s what one of our members had to say about this training series…

Not a Plus Member? Click here to join.

Give New Life to Thinking Particles with Field Force

Training Series: Guide to Cinema 4D (R21)
Teacher: Andy Needham

Watch This Lesson Now

1. Sign into your Greyscalegorilla Plus account
2. Click here to watch Guide to Cinema 4D
3. Click the “GSG Particle Titles” project
4. Click PLAY to start learning

Pro tip from this lesson
By combining the Volume Builder and Field Force with a Matrix object, you can generate Thinking Particles natively in Cinema 4D.

Here’s what one of our members had to say about this training series…

Not a Plus Member? Click here to join.

Learn to Color Like a Pro

Training Series: Getting to Know ACES (Academy Color Encoding System)
Teacher: Chad Ashley

Watch This Lesson Now

1. Sign into your Greyscalegorilla Plus account
2. Click here to watch Getting to Know ACES
3. Scroll to the “Setting Up ACES” lesson
4. Click PLAY to start learning

Pro tip from this lesson
ACES CG is a wide gamut color space that was designed specifically for doing 3D rendering. It is a broader color range, wider gamut than SRGB, meaning you can push your color and light intensity much, much further.

Here’s what one of our members had to say about this training series…

Not a Plus Member? Click here to join.

Design Amazing Arnold Shaders

Training Series: Introduction to Arnold
Teacher: Kamel Khezri and Chad Ashley

Watch This Lesson Now

1. Sign into your Greyscalegorilla Plus account
2. Click here to watch Introduction to Arnold – Part One
3. Scroll to Section Four “Arnold Shader Network” lesson
4. Click PLAY to start learning

Pro tip from this lesson
The Arnold Shader Network allows you to view, modify, and develop shaders. If you hit Alt+W and then type N, a new shader network will be created immediately.

Here’s what one of our members had to say about this training series…

Not a Plus Member? Click here to join.

Not a Plus member? There are hundreds of hours of pro training just like this waiting for you in Greyscalegorilla Plus. This is your all-access pass to becoming a better 3D artist.

Join Greyscalegorilla Plus today and get over $3000 in training and material downloads for only $39 per month.


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.


Redshift Gets Cinema 4D Noises and Nodes ⁠— First Impressions

December 6, 2019 - By 

Cinema 4D Noises and Nodes are now available in Redshift, or are they? A look into the confusing world of experimental updates.

C4D Noises in Redshift by Chad Ashley.

This week I found the latest Maxon Press Release, Redshift update integrates Cinema 4D Noises and Nodes for improved rendering workflow, in my inbox. It was some exciting news that I was quick to open and read.

Per the release, Redshift 3.0.12,

provides content creators deeper integration of Redshift within Cinema 4D. Redshift materials can now be defined using Cinema 4D’s nodal material framework, introduced in Release 20. As well, Redshift materials can use the Node Space system introduced in Release 21, which combines the native nodes of multiple render engines into a single material. Redshift is the first to take advantage of the new API in Cinema 4D to implement their own Node Spaces. Users can now also use any Cinema 4D view panel as a Redshift IPR (interactive preview render) window, making it easier to work within compact layouts and interact with a scene while developing materials and lighting. – Maxon

It was some pretty exciting news that garnered quite a bit of attention online.

Now there was something blatantly missing from this press release. Maxon never clarified that the latest Redshift release was in fact a beta.

Then I looked at the version number again. “3.0.12”

Redshift 3.0 has not yet been released, so this new announcement just fed further confusion.

If you were to head to the Redshift download area, you’ll notice that only v2.6.50 is currently listed. That is the recommended production-ready build of Redshift.

If you actually want to experiment with the C4D Noises and Nodes, you’ll need to find the Redshift experimental builds in the forums.

Experimental builds is the term used by Redshift for their beta builds. You get what you get. Know that there will be many bugs and likely crashes involved.


Typically Redshift experimental builds are just rolled out to users without much fanfare. But in this case, I was led to believe that C4D Noises and Nodes were production ready.

It seems like there may be some miscommunication between Maxon and Redshift regarding “updates” versus “experimental builds” but despite the confusion, we still wanted to investigate the newest feature additions to Redshift.

After a quick install, it was quickly apparent that this release IS NOT production ready.

Now to further investigate, I turned to our resident render expert Chad Ashley to take a deeper dive into the latest Redshift release. He too found a series of issues with this release. I asked for him to catalog his experience, and here are his findings.

First Impression

This is a good first stab at supporting both C4D noises and nodes, but this still feels very beta overall. I’d say that the noises seem farther along than the node experience.

I should note that the noises are missing some key features, like looping and movement, but they are at least functional. However, until the node system gets a bit more mature, I’ll be sticking with the Xpresso editor.

Redshift Node Implementation

I’ve never particularly enjoyed using the Xpresso nodes in Redshift or Arnold. Connecting those minuscule lines make my eyes water, so when Maxon released its own node-based material editor, I was very excited.

I even did some C4D node training (using physical) and got to know it a bit better. Overall their node system has a clean, functional, UI that doesn’t cause blindness but is not without its flaws.

A majority of the issues I found were with the node editor itself, not necessarily the Redshift implementation. Though there were a few things that bugged me.

  • Ability to Mute wire’s is nice
  • Ability to right click to replace nodes is useful
  • Grouping is useful but would be better if groups could be opened/closed quickly
  • Overall Node issue: Undo doesn’t work when connecting/disconnecting nodes.
  • Overall Node issue: UI desperately needs a CTRL+A select all hotkey.
  • Redshift Node issue: Some RS previews show black or are the wrong color for no apparent reason.
  • Redshift Node issue: Frequently, nodes require a manual renderview refresh to see any changes.
  • Overall Node issue: New nodes start in the center of the UI and not under your mouse as one would expect.
  • Overall Node issue: Cant save node materials to the content browser (big one for me)
  • Overall Node issue: No preferences to set initial view state for nodes (no previews, etc)
  • Overall Node issue: Doesn’t support custom material previews
  • Redshift Node issue: RS Texture nodes are shown on sphere material preview for some reason (see below image)
  • Redshift Node issue: Referenced materials are not yet supported
  • Redshift Node issue: Soloing upstream textures in a material with displacement shows the material with no displacement. Displacement seems to be omitted from upstream solos.

Redshift 3.0.12 textures display on sphere versus standard flat image.

Redshift Noise Implementation

Redshift’s implementation of Maxon’s noises is a welcome and long-awaited addition. It is fairly feature-complete with only a handful of omissions. I’m especially delighted that they included UV/vertex, Object and World source (spaces).

  • Missing looping animation features.
  • Missing movement + speed features.
  • Would be nice to drive noise types with user data.
  • Would be nice to drive noise seeds with user data.
  • Maxon Noise material preview is on a sphere despite being a texture?

Left Redshift C4D Noise, Right Maxon C4D Noise.

It looks like Redshift 3.0 is on it’s way to incorporating some nice new features, but it’s apparent that the build just isn’t quite there yet. Which brings us to wonder when the public will finally see a Redshift 3 full release.

We saw issues with Arnold’s first GPU release beta which has made major strides since it’s first release earlier this year. With Maxon backing Redshift, let’s hope that Redshift is also quick to innovate and release big updates soon. It’s really starting to look like the GPU rendering competition is about to heat up.

Overall, it looks like there was a lot of “noise” made for features that aren’t ready for the public, but if you are tempted to play with the new experimental build, Redshift customers can find a download in the Redshift forums.


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


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.

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