Posted On:Rendering Archives | Greyscalegorilla
Autodesk is completely rebuilding Arnold from the ground up on the GPU. Here’s everything you need to know.
There are a lot of questions floating around about the just announced Arnold GPU render engine. Lot’s of Arnold users want to know what features are ready to use, and artists currently using Redshift, Octane, and other render engines want to know about speed.
Let’s answer some frequently asked questions and talk about the changes coming to Arnold. Read More
Chaos Group takes over the development of the V-Ray for Cinema 4D plugin, aiming to take on the likes of Arnold, Octane, and Redshift.
Big news for those who love V-Ray renderer, Chaos Group has officially taken over the development and marketing of V-Ray for Cinema 4D. Previously, the V-Ray for C4D plugin was developed by LAUBLab. As of November 1st, 2018, it is now under the control of the inventors of V-Ray, Chaos Group. Read More
We chat with Trevor Kerr from MANVSMACHINE about 3D workflows, third-party rendering, and the new Greyscalegorilla Guide to Redshift.
Trevor Kerr, the Technical Director at MANVSMACHINE, chats with Chad Ashley about all things rendering. They talk about the strengths and weaknesses of Arnold, Octane, and Redshift, and also dive into the many topics covered in the new Greyscalegorilla Guide to Redshift.
In this informal discussion Trevor Kerr and Chad Ashley discuss the meteoric rise of Redshift in production as well as an in-depth Redshift training product the two recently teamed up on.
Early 2018 has brought about tons of new products, major rendering announcements, and much more to discuss. Let’s dive in.
Most developers and companies announce their new products and updates in Q1. This year, it was a big year for 3D designers and video game developers. We saw some big updates on rendering. Let’s take a look at all the big announcements so far this year. Also, be sure to download the free tools from Greyscalegorilla, and well as some beta downloads from third-party renderers down below.
Real-Time Rendering is Changing the Design Landscape + Free Unreal Studio Beta
In this great piece on CG Society, you can take a look at the work of Unreal Studio in terms of these real-time renders.
“73 percent of respondents stated that real-time rendering is important to their workflows, suggesting a major shift towards modern rendering engines is already well underway. Unreal Engine was cited as the most popular real-time engine among respondents who aren’t already using it in their design pipeline.”
NVIDIA, Unreal Engine, and the Future of Ray Tracing
Earlier this month, Epic Games, NVIDIA, and ILMxLAB released a Star Wars short showing off real-time ray tracing in Unreal Engine. Lighting is moved around the scene interactively, and the shadows and reflections render in real time.
You can dive much deeper into ray tracing over on the NVIDIA blog, where they show off their API and pipeline.
Engadget dives a little deeper into ray-tracing with this breakdown video, which is definitely worth a watch. Chris Schodt also touches on tesselation, shaders, occlusion, and mapping to achieve nearly photo-realistic renders.
You can read more about this video on Engadget.
For an even more in-depth dive into ray tracing, you must listen to the GPU Technology Conference panel with founders, lead engineers, and supervisors at Pixar, Blur Studio, Autodesk, Otoy, Redshift, Epic Games, Chaos Group, Isotropix, and NVIDIA.
Free Tools, Models, and Scene Files from Greyscalegorilla
At NAB, we compiled many of our free downloads from over the years, as well as some of the files we presented at the Maxon booth this year.
Autodesk announces Arnold 5.1 and Arnold GPU Updates
The Arnold 5.1 update brings users adaptive sampling, a new toon shader, denoising solutions, and more. The company also updates us on bringing Arnold to the GPU.
First, let’s check out this Arnold 5.1 video from Autodesk.
The Arnold video features Chad Ashley’s work with the new toon shader. You can see some of his final renders on his Instagram account.
Here’s a glance at his proton pack from the Happy Toolbox model pack.
And another with some shading tests from the new toon shader.
You can read more about the 5.1 update on the Autodesk site.
As for the GPU, there was much to be said in the update and demo you can watch here from the GPU Technology Conference.
Otoy Octane 4
In more rendering news, Otoy recently announced OctaneRender 4. Octane 4 introduces AI light, AI scene, AI denoiser, and out of core geometry.
You can read more about Octane 4 here, and if you have a V3 license you can download this build, which Otoy has also released a list of current issues.
The newest tool from Greyscalegorilla, GorrillaCam allows you to add natural handshake and organic movement to your Cinema 4D camera.
Think of GorillaCam as a filter that you attach to your original camera. You feed GorillaCam a pre-animated (or still) camera and that becomes the “reference” camera. That way you are free to add as much overshoot, smooth, and shake as you like without destroying your original camera.
GorillaCam was recently used by designer Ash Thorp in his latest piece for Nike. We had a chance to talk to him about the project, and you can read the full Ash Thorp interview here. You can read more or buy GorillaCam in the GSG store.
Renderman XPU Update
Pixar announced that RenderMan XPU is currently in active development, with a release planned after the delivery of RenderMan 22.
“The RenderMan XPU project is addressing the challenge of rendering Pixar-scale production assets on systems with a mix of CPU and GPU capabilities. From a single set of assets, RenderMan XPU produces film-quality renderings by seamlessly using all available compute cores concurrently. RenderMan XPU is a single renderer that can operate on a variety of systems, from render farm machines with mid-range CPUs only all the way up to workstations or servers having many-core CPUs and multiple extreme GPUs.”
Happy Toolbox on Adobe Stock
The whimsical 3D models created by The Happy Toolbox are now available on Adobe Stock. You can individually license a single model for you project needs, or you can bundle up and get the entire pack right here on Greyscalegorilla. Read more about the 3D models on Adobe Stock here.
More articles worth a read:
In addition to all this news, we have a few more pieces and projects you may enjoy.
- Review of LogicKeyboard’s ASTRA C4D scissor-switch keyboard
- Greyscalegorilla 5-Second Projects are Back
- Nick Campbell named StudioDaily 50 Top Creative + Technologist
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