How to Optimize Your Scene to Render Faster In Cinema 4D

March 31, 2011

An expensive new computer may make your renders 2-8X faster. But learn how to optimize your scene, and it can speed up your renders 10-100X. In this video, I show you some ways to optimize your scene in Cinema 4D for faster rendering so you can hit that deadline and still make it look great.

Five Likely Render Hogs

  • Global Illumination
  • Ambient Occlusion
  • Anti-Aliasing
  • Blurry Reflections
  • Area Shadows

Tutorial Focus:  ,
Software:  ,

  • Very interesting! Thanks!

    • Thanks you so much.But i am making a minecraft animation and i need lots of the graphics up super high.So i can make it look good.And i was wondering if i could send it to you guys so you can render it because i am using a laptop and rendering suck’s.
      My laptop takes 3-4 min to render a pic with globle-amiat should be done by the end of the month and when its done i will put you guys in the credits AND I WILL PAY 5-10 Dollars.My email is and my Skype is knifingni but
      My YouTube is knifingninja i only have 81 sub i had other vids but i deleted them to start fresh if you can help me thanks .And good video.

      • Buddy, its going to take a lot more than $5-10. Thats nothing. Google render farms. Thats what you’re asking for. To be fair, if you don’t have a dedicated computer for this kind of stuff, you shouldn’t really be using a 3D program.

        • Dude, don’t be such a douche to the guy. He’s asking for help. Anything is possible on any computer if you have the passion. How about actually giving him some USEFUL information that may HELP.

  • hey nick what is the font yiu use for the golden hor studio I lovet

  • Thank you very much Nick,incredible tutorial,
    Thanks πŸ™‚

  • Thank you Nick, this is very help full!

  • Biggest render hog is GI.
    Always learn to light without GI, You will get faster and better looking results!

    • pro tip here. GI is pretty freakin cool, especially for still images with luminant objects or glass… but you can almost always get a very similar result with standard lighting. And SO much faster!

    • I think Nick said it before.
      Rendering for a product you dont want GI but simple lights that you know exactly what is going on.

      GI is for scenes where there arent a couple of models in the middle surrounded by lights. GI is for places where you want to simulate real light conditions. Well thats not all but you get the idea.

  • Also if you’re on older versions of c4d, you can also go into render settings, options, and adjust ray depth, reflection depth and shadow depth to lower settings in order to speed things up…

    though if you’re on the newer r12 keep in mind that maxon changed the defaults of these all down to 1…

    if you go into the help file on these 3 settings you can see why are they important in render times and when you should or not mess with them

    • Very important when it comes to saving redner time. And even in R12 you can tweak it in the options menue. And it helps to not use ambient occlusion for the whole scene but only for the objects you need.

  • Anti-aliasing is the one I use most often that causes my renders to be long. I’m never happy with the results at the default, I use sync, best and I turn the threshold down to 0%. Longer renders but I always like the results.

  • GI could be the most time consuming but i’d like still try to render in full animation mode. One possible cheat is to render GI pass separately and twice smaller than original render and later scale it up and add to original pass while compositing in AE. I have not tried it yet but i will soon.

    • taavi,

      I take it a step further…render the gi prepass separately and change the frame step to 2-4 (depending on the amount of motion/camera motion in the scene) and that really helps. I’ve never tried doing the gi pass smaller and scaling up but the frame step reduction probably would eliminate the need to scale down.

    • Kevin, how do you handle changing cameras? Working with frame step may lead to a wrong calculation for a scene after a cut, doesn’t it? So is there a better workaround then forcing each cam switch to align with the chosen framesteps?

    • @Kevin How do you scale up the GI-prepass for final rendering in higher resolution ?

    • neosun…I rarely use multiple cameras so I don’t know how that would affect it. I assume you’d want to break up your scene to render it out at that point.

      thomas…taavi did that, I didn’t. And the more I think about it, I’m not sure if that’s even possible? Is there a way to open up the scene file in a text editing program and change the parameters there?

    • @thomas /kevin: change the output setting to half res or something like that. then go to the irradience chache file settings and check prepass only and autosave. hit render. i also almost always use custom location. when the prepass is done, uncheck prepass only and autosave, check autoload and lock.
      then change the output setting to full res. hit render.
      but the whole procedure is not really recommended. almost never works out right.
      hope that’s what you guys mean.

  • So Helpful. Thanks Nick!

  • Hi Nick .. i have a acer laptop with 4Gb in RAM .. but the problem in renders .. ot taks a loooot of time .. what should a do ?? By a MAC ??

    • build your own. It’s easy to upgrade later for a fraction of the price of a new machine. Macs don’t really give you that option. With technology changing so fast, staying on top of the game is tough with a prebuilt brand like Mac, Dell, or anything else.

  • ehm.. JESUS! How many cores have your Machine?? O_o

  • Some other tips:-

    1). Turn on details enhancement if using GI. Low performance hit compared to sometimes very good detail improvements.

    2). Lower settings for test renders but not so much that your test renders don’t reasonably resemble your final render.

    3). I skimmed through this so not sure if Nick mentioned it, but lower that res for test renders – and turn off/down AA!!!

    4). Do over-night final renders whenever you can.

    5). If you have access to several PCs, but not one single fast one, use Net Render (but learn about if first because under certain conditions the renders won’t always look the same across different PCs).

    6). Get the fastest PC you can. It’s not just the final render time that matters, it’s also the quick test single frame renders that really, really make a difference to how quickly you’ll get it looking good and therefore have more time to improve your skills.

    7). The goalposts move massively depending on your system. Going from a quad-core to an overclocked 12-core gave me nearly ten-times faster renders, I find the difference incredible – going back would be hellish! Get the fastest system you can.

    8). Speeding up that viewport with a good OpenGL graphics card also matters, especially when using Cloners.

    I’m no expert, just sharing what I’ve found out so far in the few months I’ve been using C4D…

    • Oh and almost forgot HT – 12 cores, 24 threads vs 4 cores, 4 threads that my old Q6600 gave me…C4D loves that πŸ™‚

    • Regarding #5; I love Net Render but you’re right, there’s a bit of a learning curve to go through. When I’ve got a really intense scene, I prefer to prepass first and then use Net Render. I don’t have proof but it seems that Net Render is the fastest and most stable way to go. I’ve got a mac render garden (not big enough to call a farm) but I’ve never had a problem with renders looking different.

  • Thanks Nick, great tutorial.

  • Great troubleshooting-tut, especially for beginners.

    Another problem which saw the light in R12 is the use of IES-lights.

    IES Light can have a tremendous impact on rendering speed.

    A simple test room, lit with 9 spotlights renders on my machine without GI in 10 seconds. The same scene using 9 IES-Spots takes 1:42 to finish!
    And in addition to that, there seems to be a huge difference in performance between different profiles.

    So if you are doing Interior renderings using IES LIghts do some testing using different profiles or simple spotlights if IES isnΓ„t absolutely necessary.

  • Thanks once again for making Cinema 4D more approachable Nick. Best wishes, John.

    • a master giving another master a pat on the back.

      don’t feel worthy enough to be in this company…

    • I saw that John D tweeted the other day about learning to light without GI, which I thought was great advice, as it’s tempting for beginners (such as myself) to fool around with GI immediately and get unnecessarily huge render times.
      Then, Nick posted this great tutorial.

      I suspect that my efficiency has increased dramatically in the last 72 hours, thanks to the both of you.

      Keep sharing, guys – it is greatly appreciated!

  • So usefull…as usual ! Tks

  • this is one piece of advice i pass on that i kind of stumbled on while playing (which is the best way to sum up c4d! play!!)

    to add back GI look basically turn on / up luminence, its tricky but i sometimes introduce new materials and play with the inks once a simple colour is added to your lower material section (ie not the main colour picker at the top)

    and, and this is a nice touch for you all, add an environment light (make colour of the main colour) and turn it up plus play with its inks (add/subtract etc etc)

    this can turn up and give you very vibrate colours when using just a omni light sometimes depending on your set-up. one test i did started at 4-5 minutes per frame (30 second advet at 1280×720) mental timeframing, but this option i got down to was 37 seconds (NICE!!!!) i didn’t look exactly the same but the colours were rich and i rendered a seperate AO secondary at lower settigns and run that through ae comping tricks. mainly friftluft blurring and buffer objects.

    another good way to blur thigns is to do it in ae, saving bags of time.

    peace world, life is breathtaking!

  • ABOVE POST AMMEND>>>> sorry i ment turn on environment in the material!!!

  • Great tutorial thx!!!

  • Greatest GSG tutorial ever !

  • This topic just came along two days too late πŸ™ had my poor old pc rendering for hours on end will know next time, thanks for the info Nick.

  • The tutorial I’ve been waiting for from you, right at the right time.


    You are my hero.

    Thank you very much.

  • A couple more tips:

    1. In “Render Settings” –> “Options”, Experiment with Ray Depth, Reflection Depth & Shadow depth. I’ve gone down to 6, 4, 6 & still been very happy with the results.

    2. Have an indepth look at materials. I’d love to see or perhaps make a tutorial for you guys to show you all the tricks you can do, like putting “Ambient Occlusion” into the texture field for Diffusion, or how to fake blurry reflections with diffusion noise.

    3. If possible, set up your scene to do post in AE – blurring of the floor reflections is much easier & faster in AE.

    There’s heaps more I’m sure, but nothing’s springing to mind. I love tutorials like this cos they go right to the “Why is it so” of things.



    • Hi there,

      I would love to hear someone talking about tricks with material- and shader settings. If you have some ideas and time to spare, try it, for sure a lot of people will appreciate your work.


    • Thanks Luke – I forgot about that first tip in my comments – this really is worth doing!

  • Does anyone in here can point me to a tutorial on rigging a lens iris?

  • Great video Nick. I am really looking forward to the vid about GI and animation!

    A quick question: I have been working on projects without GI recently – around 10sec in length. I am finding flickering in the shadow areas. I have turned up shadow settings but still finding subtle flickers. Anyone with advice about how to produce render perfect shadows? Maybe I need to run with more lights. Thanks in advance.

  • Nicely put… I’ve been having lots of problems with this lately. I hate working in Cinema4D on my MacbookPro… It’s insanely slow.

    I’m sure these tips will help my animation render times. The last 2 renders I did recently took all night.

  • Thank you sir Nick, this is very help full!

  • I also recommend using the render tag to tweak only some objects who need the high details.

  • There’s always multipass rendering too. While it may add to your initial render time it can help immensely working in post, and can even save you from having to go back into 3D. Blurry reflections? Just render a pass and blur them in post. Just wish object buffers had premultiplied alphas :/ that’s really my one complaint with multipass, besides the inability to render a single pass at a time.

  • Hi Nick,

    Thanks again for this one. I am a great fan of your tutorials.
    But one tip. Plaeseeeeeeese leave the menus where they are it is very disturbing when you move the pictureviewer from one side to the other constantly when you are talking. Please don’t touch it.

  • Thanks Nick!
    It’s very helpfull.

  • I have a couple of tips for the video…

    You can optimize your AA on individual objects. I think its on the object settings called Force AA. TO turn it up on transparent small things where you need it and then you can turn the global settings down.

    Also a workflow tip. I believe there is a global brightness setting in the render settings if you turn off the GL and have a lot of lights in the scene and don’t want to have to go around and fiddle with all the values individually Just raise this setting (This is a proper life saver when you just need to tap a bit more overall brightness into a scene).

  • Hey Nick,

    Not an optimisation tip fore C4D, but for your tutorials.
    I notice that the audio is out of sync with the video which is obviously to do with the the screen recording.
    If you want to sync it properly without having to take it into an editor, there’s a small, free program called QT Sync which allows you to resync the audio while playing, and then resave the video without adjusting anything else.
    Simple, quick and effective.

  • has anyone played around with the motion scale setting (under global brightness) i have not yet but i have a feeling it may be connected to lowering render speed maybe. also i tried render tests with / without bluriness on (option settings) and i saw a difference. if you use RE:vision motion blur and / or the vector motion path you can re add any subtle blurring that this may have taken away.

    anyone else figured this setting out? im only going by my tests, but it cuts down and with AO and GI in renders buzzing away on high settings its saving lots of time. ive only tried on very small movement things though

  • Thanks Nick. Very helpfull!
    Different subject question: Is there any keyboard shortcut to turn on and off the cameraview ?

    • not by default, but u can/should make one for yourself, press shift+f12 write in the first field “editor camera” and assign a shortcut.
      but it aint as easy to switch back to the camera u used before, since the scene may have more then one camera.

  • These are great methods for “simpler” scenes but more complex scenes require more tweaking. I mostly do architectural visualizations and here are some of the methods I use:

    1. medium resolution output
    2. AA set to Geometry or None
    3. GI medium settings, usually with 3 bounces
    4. AO off
    5. Ray/Reflection/Shadow Depth reduced
    6. Blurry Reflections off

    1. high resolution output
    2. AA set to Best->Still Image->default values. Set compositing tags for objects that need higher or lower AA setting.
    3. GI the same as before, maybe use Enhance Details. Also set compositing tags with different quality settings and disabling Seen by GI for windows and glass dors.
    4. AO on/off depending on the scene, but mostly off. If needed I add it as a shader in the material with 50% precision. I always use the scene AO in conjunction with compositing tags, enabling it for some objects and disabling for others.
    5. Ray numbers same as before
    6. Blurry Reflections on, 35% precision.

    These are just a couple of tips since render optimization is always scene specific. I don’t even dare to mention render optimization for animation… πŸ™‚

  • Heck of a tutorial Nick. I’ve been searching for a solid explanation of all of these settings for a while. And providing a side by side time comparison is incredibly handy. I’m excited to hear what you have to say about global illumination and animation. Thank you!

    • I’m also waiting for this GI/ANM tutorial πŸ™‚ Nick, you should get Cinema Nobel Prize for all you did for us…C4D funs!

  • THanks Gorilla

    People of c4d… anybody know website por something for download samples with objective make tracking 3d…

    sorry my english

  • thanks for these tricky tricks !

  • Thanks Nick! This was super useful.

  • Hey Nick,
    it would be great to have a master controller for the brightness of the lights in the hdr light kit pro!
    (I mean, that changes the brightness values relative…)

    • I put in the comment above there is an overall global brightness you can tweak, saves you having to to each light….Its in the render settings…

  • haha you should mention that your machine scored 14.8 at cinebench (not to say maybe the best machine available on the open market for renderings apart from the overclocked machines, net rendering & render farms), so rendertime decrease of some seconds can be several minutes on other machines…

    maybe some people who are new to c4d won’t understand why to juggle these settings to save only seconds.

    quick reference:

  • Hi gang,
    I found that if ur AO is taking forever. Make a copy of your .c4d file, remove ALL your textures and just render out the AO to comp into AE. For some reason, the AO renders out 4 times faster.


  • yo nick, many thanks for this one !!
    i always have turned on all that stuff to make it look better and wondering why it takes hours to render.
    well, now i know πŸ˜‰

  • Very usefull for me. Thanx a lot!

  • sometimes when you has using a lot of glass objects or reflective objects… can down the ray, reflections and shadow depth in options, but need to be careful and check your render in every change of this values.
    helpful tutorial dude, congrats!

  • Just in time! Thank you πŸ™‚

  • One of the most helpful tutorials, GSG πŸ™‚

  • Great video again Nick. Love to see more of this!

  • Hi Nick,

    Thanks for another terrific tut. Very informative. Keep up the great work.


  • 10 out of 10 Nick…

  • Nick, just wondering if you’d seen the animation for the crysis 2 armour showcase… I was wondering if even you could pull it off. :L

    Skip to 1:50, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

  • how did you make the glass ball, really pretty.

  • hey Nick,

    first, thank you for great tutorial, awesome as usual.

    my question is, is there anyway to optimize Object Glow? im only using GI and Object Glow, luminance material, but no lights. My GI is optimized but its still taking ages!

    thank you

  • Great rendering tips, Nick. I do have a question about anti aliasing though. I can’t seem to get a good crisp image even with the setting on best. I’ve tried upping the minimum and maximum settings (and take the render hit), but when i bring the resulting tiff into AE to sexify it I get the dreaded jaggies? Am I missing something. I’m pretty new to C4D, so forgive me if I’m making a simple mistake.

  • nice tutorial but what i’m missing is some alternatives or work arounds for some problems like blurry effects.
    You could take as an alternative a blurry HDR image. Using this image with normal reflections on you can achieve the same blurry results but without using the blurry adjustments. So you save a lot of time and you got similar or equal results as with blurry adjustments on.
    So what i mean is, getting same results but without heavy renderings. So you don’t loose too much nice quality in your renderings.

    But all in all it is a good starting point.

    Cheers Giacusi

    • try blurring in ae. render with objects buffers, lots if needed to tweak each thing and control more. then use depth map and friftluft or sapphire / boris plugins to really nail that reflection. THIS SAVES ALOT OF TIME. i usually do this if i need to make a massive massive render with close up logo.

      check out one that i did the blurring afterwards in ae.


      its a real lifesaver if the client decides to play that last minute game (WHICH YOU DO YOU SMELLY CLIENTS!)

      ha ha, got to love them though they hold the cash at the end of the day!

      peace out G

    • You could also just send out a reflections/refractions pass and then blur that in AE and comp in with mattes

  • My tip for AO is to turn down the maximum ray length so it will spend a lot less time calculating. Depending on the objects in your scene you can lower it drastically and get the same results. If your object is 10m from the floor or wall, you don’t need AO to be looking 100m away with every ray.

  • Would of been cool to do a second part to this where you talk about some of c4ds own time saving methods like the baked GI textures/baked shadows shadow map resolutions for area shads and even the AO textures you can make. I think a lot of people overlook them and most are really effective given there used correctly

  • Thanks Nick, these tips just got deeper inside me even though I knew some of them.

    Id like to suggest a tut maybe…
    I just wonder if you’re gonna talk about lights with photons and stuff… Im sure I used them couple of years before for caustics.

    What do you think?

  • Sir check this Project , Please help all friends ,

    How to Make this Project .?,cinema4d_project_0017,p700.html


  • From a self taught Cinema 4d user: You are the man!! I’ve been watching all your tutorials and learning things about cinema 4d that I never would have found otherwise. Keep doing what you’re doing!

  • If you “baked” your studio set up onto a HDR sky dome and still had GI on, would it render quicker and it doesn’t have to calculate the soft box objects?

  • Hello Nick,
    You didn’t talk about render settings/options where you can adjust reflection numbers. It seems to be very helpfull.
    bye and thanks for all!

  • Thank you!

  • Yo Nick,

    Can we DL your optimize scene?

    Great tutorial.

    • Very important:

      menu render settings: buttons ray depth (from 15 to 10), shadow depth (from 15 to 10) can reduce the rendering time significantly.
      You can reduce, even more depending on reflections and shadows of the scene.

      thanks for the good tips.

    • What Fred said.

  • use Compositing tag to exclude or include object,Bake Object and Bake going to be more faster.unfortunately I wont be able to explain how to use each object. because my English is not good.

  • Thanks this totally helps out a lot!
    The only thing I am missing in cinema is network bucket rendering or distributed rendering? I know that you can do a cheat with the tiled camera, but the network renderer of Maxon feels a bit cheap. It just sorts the PC`s, calculates frames/computers and then it locks frames to the network computers. For example pc1 F0-15 pc2 f16-31 etc. So if my first pc is a i5 and the second a i7 then the i 7 is a lot faster completed and doing nothing cause he has done all the locked frames. And the i5 is still rendering some frames. Am I doing something wrong or don’t I get the point? Normally its: server that has the queue. Sends the frame to the computer that’s idle.

  • Very usefull tips. Thanks!

  • As far as I can tell nobody commented on this…
    Go under your Global Illumination settings > Details and check the Hide Prepass Button. This will always speed up your renders with out sacrificing any quality. Now you won’t see the Irradiance cache prepass renders which nobody really needs unless you find them fun to watch.

  • When you have dynamics you can change a number of substeps in document info.Lower values result in less precision but also in short render times.

  • This is the kind of info that should come on the box cover! A definite must-see tut, Nick. Thanks!

  • Really cool tutorial πŸ™‚
    Thanks for all the tutorials, im a begginer in c4d and I learn a lot from you Nick, thanks!

    and I have a question:
    How do you make this glass material? I tried to make some realistic glass materials but not like yours :]

  • You can also optimize AA with the composite tags. One way I did things was in the render settings, put your AA to Min – 1×1 and Max 16×16 or 8×8 and put the threshold to like 5%. Then use the Compositing tag to force lower AA on objects. Works like a charm.

  • Hey Nick, i noticed you mention you have a 12 Core Machine, yet you have 24 of them Boxes rendering your image, i have a i5 Quad Core iMac, and i get four, so shouldn’t i get 8?

    Love ALL the work as well!

  • thank you!

  • Just wanted to let you know that you’re an outstanding teacher. I was about to give up on learning any 3d applications, then I stumbled on your tutorials and things finally started to make sense. I can’t thank you enough. Keep up the good work

  • Hello great help but i was a bit late seeing this video , one of my Animation Intros,

    Using Global Illumination for rending and the render time has been going on for 35Hours:38Mins+ Time which is Bad , lol

  • is it nick…well hands down best tutorials that make rendering faster and mine was about 17 hours and i said f it and left but once i saw your vids it went down to about 4 or 5 seconds and the at&t tutorial is such a help for my project thanks so much:) GREAT TEACHER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Hey Nick! how about a texture tutorial? (uvΒ΄s, unwrap, etc)


  • well more about lights = every light have a “contrast” value – as a contrast value is “-50” the shadows are almost the same as with global illumination. at it renders much faster

  • I’m kind of new to cinema 4d, how do you get so many yellow squares in the render window?

  • A god of tutorials πŸ˜€

  • Nick, thank you. Very very helpful!

  • Hey Nick! Thanks so much for this tutorial. I wanted to ask your opinion on something. I’m totally new to 3D and a veteran in Photoshop, Illustrator, etc. I want to make sure that Cinema 4D is something that will really give it’s value back to me, not because I doubt it’s ability, merely because of the type of work I normally get requests for. Do you know what the render quality is like for Cinema 4D prime? Is it sufficient to import into Photoshop and clean up there or is it really crappy?

    • The render quality in Cinema 4D is great. But, it always depends on the work you put into it. Cinema artists that have been using it for years can make the tool shine, but your results may vary depending on your talent and how much work you put in to learning the tool.

  • Thanks a ton for this tutorial, it helped me shave off about 30 hours of render time for an animation I’m working on!

  • Good Day Gorilla!
    Recently I’m creating a animated logo which I would like to render it out into “Gif” format with transparent background.

    I couldn’t find a “gif” format with C4d and when I render it out with alpha,.mov file,and trying to use After Effects to render into gif format, the results of the quality is very bad.

    Is there any way to make things easier? for “gif” file, (example: animated website logo)

    **Aaaaa…Hopefully you can understand what I am trying to say ..**


  • Woohoo!!!!!
    Used you’re techniques and reduced a render time for a frame from 1 hour and 25 minutes to 6 minutes with my deadly breathing PC!
    Very useful and very easy, also, as a writer and a client (one who reads magazines and stuff) you explain too deeply.
    That reminds me of a designer (May be it WAS you) who made tutorials with two videos:
    1 – The making with fast explanations (not fast talking)
    2 – The explanations and all the technical stuff

    That way, every one enjoys and aren’t skipping parts (like I do when I’m not so curious) and loosing important information\steps.

    Thanks for the video!

  • HOLY CRAP! Thanks man! helped me ALOT! I’m making my first animation and it has 601 frames! After 16 hours of render upto 250 frames i canceled it and optimized seeing your video…One difference:

    Before Magical Optimization: 1 Frame = 4 minute render.

    After Magical Optimization: 1 Frame = 25 second..

    πŸ˜€ and i didnt turn GI off…i’ll make softboxes and try to make it seem like GI in my later animations hopefully…


  • Hey nick, I’m working in 1080 in my after effects. – I was wondering if that was really required aspect ratio for cinema rendering? I’m just wondering if you could work with a small ratio to increase rendering time?

  • Nick,
    Nice job. Would have loved to see how Scene Motion Blur fits into the conversation. It’s murderous. Does anyone ever use it or just fake it in AE? Even at 9 it’s a costly solution for longer animations.

  • DUDE you save my life!!!

    I m autodidact on c4d.

    1h am: i have been crazy with my renderer (my rendrer take 1h53min….and i must be finish it for 10h am)
    1h30 am: i find your tutorial.(learning, working!!)
    2h am : rendrer take 3min53 sec!!!!!
    3h am : finish my work!
    10h45 am : i gat the bisness!!

    Tks you so much.
    peace & respect.

  • I’m new to C4D and have been rendering intro’s using Thrausi. My last render (10 seconds long) took nearly 40 hours to render (using a i7 Q720@ 1.60 Ghz Laptop, 4GB Ram. I’ve done what you have suggested and it looks like it is making a MASSIVE difference πŸ™‚ Thanks for the help πŸ˜‰

  • Thanks nick. a real time saver!

  • Hey nick,

    I rendered a 30 sec animation on a 2 year old macbook pro with GI. Diffuse depth at 1 at 640×360. It took 9 hours. Im rerendering this animation on an intel 3ghz 8 core with 9gb ram at 1280×720. I wacked up the diffuse depth to 2. Those are the only changes in settings. Its already taken 29 hours!!! and its only on frame 197! 751 frames to render overall. Can it really have that much of an effect?

    The weird thing on my laptop was that although the prepass took 6-7 hours the actual render only took 2 hours. On the intel the prepass took about the same time but now its render chugging! What gives?

    happy new year gorilla…


  • Good grief, what a helpful rundown…Thanks Nick!


  • MUCH Thanks Nick, excellent info, as always … saw John Dickinson offering praises!
    You two are so much appreciated in this motion graphic community; real time life savers.

  • thanks nick! just found your website and its just like finding golds man!! lots of good stuff here! keep it up man! πŸ™‚

  • So much thanks for that tutorial !

  • Holy cow just by setting the global illumination to low i brought my render time from 25 min to 5 min!!! The video would have taken me 4 days to render but now it will take me 1!!!!!!!! Thanks soooooo much!!!!!!!!

  • Arif ABdulssatra April 4, 2012 at 9:27 am

    Iam fresh into 3d , iam starting with cinema 4d and i want to understand things slowly, i didnt do any
    any 3d ot sum yet , iam reading some infos, and they are very helpful , tnx a lot gorilla u rock. keep with the good work

  • i wanna buy you a beer for this. awesome.

  • hey man! can I make like a lil tutorial bout this, givin you the credis of course but I wanna make it in spanish version, cuz I’m from southamerica… hope you answer as fast you can πŸ™‚

  • That is a good collection of render time savings tips for cinema 4d. Thank you!
    I’d be interesting also to see in that video how render time changes in case reducing in Render settings > Options: Ray Threshold, Ray Depth, Reflection Depth, Shadow Depth.
    But anyway reducing from 61 to 1 is a perfection. Enough said!

  • Thanks for all your tutorials …keep up the superb work !!

  • hey,thank u for the tips Nick…try using a different codec on your save options change from microsoft RLE to INTEL IYUV codec it really helps when rendering an animation…

  • Leonardo Correia August 19, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Hello Nick, excellent info. Thanks.
    What Macintosh are you using?

  • Where is the optimize button in cinema 4d r14?

  • Saved my life tonight its 3am,
    just waited an hour for a render and thanks to this its now gone down to 15mins

  • Wow this is a great tutorial. I would’ve never known about the Gi irradiance setting. It looks the exact same set to low! Thanks so much! You made my day!!!

  • HI Nick, Just a reminder to those of us who render all night long … it only works it your pref’s are set to keep the energy going all night, while letting the display sleep; otherwise the whole system sleeps. Optimization is clearly the mandate to work efficiently. Good to review this tutorial from time to time.

  • Thanks for all your tutorials dude! i’m a beginner self-teaching myself through your videos and others, and yours are really helpful! This is def going to speed up my renders.

  • Hi,
    This is a great explanation. However, I have enormous trouble with optimizing a full physical sky render in a 24 hour cycle, night/day/night.

    There seems to be very little writings on this. Physical Sky remains a bit of a mysterie because of this.
    Do you have any advice or a link?

    Else I have to figure out and make a tut myself. πŸ˜‰

    Keep us inspired, mr. Gorilla!!

  • I found this very informative, thank you. I would’ve like to see some talk on elements that are easy to recreate in AE (or PS). For example, in this you talk a bit about reflection bluriness; can’t you render out the reflection in a multi-pass and add the blur fairly easily in your compositing program? I’m new, so i’m figuring this stuff out.

  • Hey Nick !
    Thanks – this is great.
    Did you make the tutt. about Global illumination in Animation which you talked about ?

  • You just literally saved me 10 hours. I wanna send you a fruit basket. Seriously, you rock.

  • THANK YOU SOOO MUCH, FROM 9 HOURS TO 3. just by not using global, and ambient. And instead using substitutes

  • Thanks Nick. Your tutorials are very clear and very very very useful. Thanks again

  • Nishant Pandav May 31, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    i tried out this tutorial from cg.tutsplus, which was basically a “techno-spheres” kinda scene.
    it took me 12+ hrs to render just one frame on my 13″ MacBook.
    I’ll try out these tips now and see the difference.
    (i think i used the Physical render option in R14)

  • hi nick! im new on C4D, do you think i have to use Vray plugin always to get the best renders? or the config that you are showing in the video is the best for renders? im getting my new Macbook pro i5, with 16gb ram.. can you send me an email please! im feeling like a lost child in the middle of the artic..

  • This is huge!
    Thanks Nick

  • thanks Nick!
    most helpful!

  • ItΒ΄s a very understandable and well explained tutorial Thanx 4 taking the time of having so many examples and compare each situation.

  • Great tutorial! Even though it has passed some time.

    I have an issue that perhaps someone knows how to fix.

    I have an animated project with some dynamics in one part (20 little balls aprox.), depth of field and had rendered it with physical render. I render a 1 minute video (aprox.) and everything was fine. Each frame took 2 minutes aprox.

    But I had to retake the project as the client asked for some changes. Now, I don’t know for which reason each frame takes a lot more (5 minutes). All the settingsand materials are the same (before and after). I have the before and after files as I saved with different names.

    I am sharing the files (with the animation ereased) so if anyone can help me IT WOULD BE VERY MUCH APPRECIATED.


  • Thanks Nick! I am who I am just because of you!

  • how absence Cinema 4d R16?

  • heyyy nick…. you are the best !

  • I’ve just rendered a scene in R11.5 and then in R16. At 1920×1080 the image took 32 seconds longer to render in R16.

    What might cause this?

  • Pulled some levers, changed a few settings and removed most of the reflection in my materials as they were all very subtle reflections, went from 10 minutes per fram to 11 seconds. Thanks πŸ™‚

  • OK! I ‘ve got a way old machine….
    Intel Gateway E2610 3.0 Ghz (Pantium 4 Processor)
    3GB RAM, 512 Mb NVIDIA GeForce 210
    Cinema 4D R12 Studio full version…..However my question is:
    I tried your settings but I got a bit little luck….still the same time killing render…
    What render settings should I set “according to my machine” to get a fast render?

  • Researching, thanks!

  • It takes me 1 hour and 30 mins to do a frame and my intro has been rendering for 3 days and still is not done its barley done 3 seconds of my intro.

  • Thanks Nick. Very helpful as always. A few extra tips. I’d recommend the old rendering image sequences if you can. For those who don’t know, TIFFs will be your highest image quality render and half alpha capability but they are very large due to their lack of compression and that can be a hit on when you try to composite a render downstream. PNGs are your best bet for an image that needs to have alpha transparency, as they are the smallest I know of thus far in terms of compression. They make for are a pretty high quality image too that can be manipulated better later, as they keep more color information in tact. For this color info reason, I use them a lot even when I don’t need an alpha channel embedded. The smallest file, which will be slightly smaller than PNG will be JPG. JPG basically flattens out all of the color information though and does not have alpha transparency capability, so you would have to export a matte and a fill which can complicate your file structures, etc and slow you down. They also can downgrade the image quality of your final render (ie. if you plan to import your C4D render into a compositing program) since, when exported a second time they have flattened all the color information the final codec would have had to work with. Another reason image sequences are definitely the way to go is that, if your render crashes or you notice you need to restart your system, the power goes out, etc. midway through an export for whatever reason, you can always comeback to whichever frame you are on and also minimize your worry for file corruption. Image sequences also help if you want to work remotely or in multiple places (via Dropbox, Google Drive, etc) as the frames can upload one by one as soon as they render, as opposed to having to wait until the end of the video file render to do so. This can allow you to import at least part of your sequence into AE or whichever compositing program you might be using, so you can A) check for errors right away B) start comping while the C4D render is still cooking the remaining frames. All you have to do is reload the sequence from time to time as you work to keep loading the new frames in. One extra point I’d add is to try to bake your artwork whenever possible using things like mograph cache tags, etc. This will help if you ever choose to render farm a file but also help if you have to restart a render midway through. I also believe it will put less work on your CPU in general through the process.

  • What about reducing geometry? baking textures? That can save a HUGE ammount of time as well..that could be covered maybe in another video.

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