Posted In:Redshift | Greyscalegorilla
Cinema 4D Noises and Nodes are now available in Redshift, or are they? A look into the confusing world of experimental updates.
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.
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 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?
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.
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!
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 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 Version – Yes
- 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.
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
- Free Arnold Tutorials
- Arnold is the Most Versatile Render Engine for Cinema 4D
- Intro to Arnold Training Series (Over 6 Hours of Pro Training in Greyscalegorilla Plus)
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 Version – Yes
- 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.
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
- Free Redshift Tutorials
- What to Know about Maxon’s C4D and Redshift Subscription
- The Rise of Redshift
- Maxon Acquires Redshift
- Guide to Redshift Training Series (Over 18 Hours of Pro Training in Greyscalegorilla Plus)
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 Version – Yes
- 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.
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
- Free Octane Tutorials
- Lighting iPhones and Products in Octane
- Coming Soon – New Octane Pro Training Series in Greyscalegorilla Plus