Create Floating Crystals in Cinema 4D and Octane

April 5, 2016



I have been getting a lot of tutorial requests on how I make my crystals in my everyday renders. In this tutorial we are going to jump into C4D and create these crystal clusters. We will be using Cinema 4D, rendering in Octane, lighting with GSG HDRI Studio and Compositing in After Effects. We will dive into my tricks of how to model these Crystals and then use Octane to create this transparent crystal material. We will also use a GSG HDRI Studio image with the upcoming Octane Link Tag to light our scene. Once we create the main setup of this scene we will add the background and remove grain in After Effects and refine our Octane render settings.

Wait for the Upcoming GSG HDRI Studio Octane Link Tag. I have been playing around with it and it is so much fun. It is coming soon!

Here are the Crystal frames from my everyday projects that were the inspiration for the tutorial:


  • Was just wondering if you’re using Real Displacement Textures or something like that for your environments in your everyday renders? Great tutorial btw!

    • I was hoping to get an answer on that as well in this tut, or at least some clues.
      I’ve been playing around and got really close to the ground surface with blue crystal, with cracks running through it (happy accident), using multiple layers in the displacement and bump channel. But then my computer decided to do an auto update mid render and restart so I lost the settings.
      Spend hours trying to recreate it, but without any success.

      What I would really like to know is how the ground surface in the one with the purple crystals was created.

  • Great, more octane 🙂

  • Great tut! Do you think that it could be possible to port the seamless floor rig from the HDRI studio pack with the Octane link tag? Would be great to have a one click way of using HDRIs with infinite cyc backgrounds. At the moment octane doesn’t support compositing tags which is annoying at times. Would be great if there was an easy way round rather than rendering zillions of passes!

    • Great suggestions Ben. We are looking at more and more ways of integrating GSG tools with other render engines. We will keep you posted!

  • Colin McCormick April 5, 2016 at 8:46 pm

    Having massive trouble getting the Demo Octane Render plugin to show up after installing in my R17 plugins folder

    Does anyone know if there is trick to this? Running a Mac on El Captan, we are dying to trial this for our workflow

    • You need to have the standalone renderer installed as well as the C4D plugin for the plugin to work. Took me forever to figure that out.

  • oh no i just looking at your just publish everyday render and thinking about that. Thanks for the tutorial. Can you also make the tutorial on molecules as well?

  • I want Octane so bad.

  • Great Tut David! I know you probably don’t want to give away too many secretes to your amazing art but I would love to see how you create those very detailed grunge floors.

    • Thank you Noah. I have no secrets! I will be doing an in depth tutorial on how to create the detailed grounds coming out soon.

      • Great as always David 🙂 I would love to know that as well. I imagine it is using something like world machine which I have looked at but not many tutorials on it and it looks quite complicated??? Is it World Machine you use???

  • Is there a way to procedurally generate the crystal shapes instead of manually going through and creating layers like this?

  • Love your work David, great to see more tips and tricks for Octane.

  • Brilliant….I love this! Thank you so much!

  • Hey David, just curious about the HDRI Link tag; is it available anywhere? I have the studio and browser already… thanks

  • Hi David, I cant find the HDRI Link on the octane sky right click, im using R16, with octane 2.2 and I also have HDRI studio 2.0, but i cant find this particular HDRI link to connect both octane and HDRI studio together, thanks in advance!! truly apreciated

  • Great! thanks!
    But I wonder to know what did you do at about 26:35 to make the crystal looks brighter? and better transmit?


  • Thank you for the great tutorial.

    Post “Yeah” if you can afford Octane.

  • Mwesigwa Peter Love April 10, 2016 at 5:07 am

    hi I need more information
    On Arnold nodes and shading for photo real shots

  • Absolutely brilliant tutorial! Just got octane and this has been such a great jump start in figuring out some of its features!

    One question though, when building the crystals, how is it that you have gotten the outline of the cube that you are using to create the cuts? It’s not a massive problem, I’m just eyeballing it but it’s frustrating me that I can’t figure it out!
    I’ve gone through all the display settings in which I usually just leave on Gourard shading (Lines). Am I even in the right spot?!

    • Thanks Carl! To answer your question, what version of C4D are you using? I know the outline of selected objects is new for the past couple version of Cinema.

  • How is the stone texture done? please..

  • Thank you! More Octane!

  • Stephen Dossett June 1, 2016 at 4:06 am

    Really nice tutorial, glad from reading the comments you will be sharing how to do the floor as this is the what i have wanted to know for so long.

  • Any news on the HDRI Link?

  • I use MacPro 2013 with graphic card AMD FirePro, Can I use Octane for Cinema 4D???

  • Great renders David.
    Quick tip: Fastest way to connect overlapping vertexes like you do in the beginning is just selecting them all (Cmd+A in vertex mode) and hit U-O (or right click, Optimize). Way faster than using the connect object. 🙂

  • Just had a quick play around and found another way of creating the cuts without messing in the objects manager and potential speed increase.
    In edge mode, use the Knife (M-K) with mode set to ‘Plane’, ‘Select Cuts’ on, ‘Create N-gons’ off, and Coords set to ‘Camera’. Now just rotate your viewport and move mouse across object till you get a desired cut.
    Then hit Fill Selection (U-F) and select the polygons circled by your cut.
    Next hit Melt (U-Z) and voila your cut is complete.
    Revert to edge mode and repeat the process.
    I found this process is less messy, tedious and more intuitive than using the boole, however I can imagine some people might prefer the visual guide of using the cube to cut.

  • Really helpfl and easy tutorial. Inspired me for making the first render on this series

  • Figured out a way to automate the crystals in a semi-procedural way. Using a radial cloner on the cube with a random effector to form the top “cuts”. This can be layered a couple times to get the multi-faceted look. Then using the free plugin magic-merge ( ) then applying the boole object. It makes the process of making unique crystals much quicker.

  • Is it possible to shade these outside of octane? Just using what c4d has?

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