Springs, Coils, and Bolts – Replicating a 3D Max Render in Cinema 4D

March 15, 2012

In this tutorial, we will try to recreate this render by Robert Hirsch. He posted it to the Greyscalegorilla Facebook Page a while back and I assumed it was made with Cinema 4D. But, after asking more about it, he let me know it was actually made with 3D Max. So, I thought it would be fun to try and recreate it using Cinema 4D. Follow along as we sweep-nurb and Physical render our way though trying to recreate this stunning image.

Final Render

Tutorial Focus:  , ,
Software:  ,

  • Nice new look!

  • looking at the renders:

    3DS Max – 1
    Cinema 4D – 0

    • It’s probably more my skill level than the software. I’m sure with more time and in better hands, we could get closer.

      • I’m not sure, looking at your other renders your skill level looks fine to me 🙂

        there’s a reason why soooo many ppl use VRAY with Cinema.

        • I have to disagree. I like nicks better. I think it is the gradients he used. the Cool to Hot tones. In the end, both are good.

          • C4d’s renderer gives you more of a stylized look than vrays photo-real look. Both look fine. Just depends on what you’re after.

        • I believe that the software doesn’t make a huge difference. Who looks for an high quality and photorealistic look uses external render engines (Vray, Maxwell) whether they use Max or Cinema or something else.

          Plus, don’t forget that Nick is a motion designer. His job is to make things move, can’t afford photorealism. Someone who works with stills would certainly obtain a way more realistic render.

        • I think that if he doesn’t spends so many time as the original artist, the results may also be different, i think that everything depends of who is cooking the render and how many time he/she is setting the job. By the way, you can’t say that people use a program because whatever. People usually use the program that falls first in to their hands because when you learn anything, it’s difficult to move to another way of doing things.
          I know my english is not so propperly accurate, but im trying to improove it thoroughly each day. Greetings from Spain.

      • Hola no se hablar ingles, soy de México y me parecio interesante el ejercicio, yo antes usaba 3dmax pero me decidi mas por cinema 4D y e aqui mi Resultado con physical render….
        Saludos a la comunidad…..

        • TRANSLATION:
          Hello, i dont speak english, I’m from México and this tutorial seemed interesting to me. I was used to use 3d Max but i turned to C4D and here’s my Physical Render result….

      • I would agree. It’s not about the softwares we use, but the skills we have. No need to score. Both are so awesome! Thanks for the tutorial Nick! It was fun!

    • @ SugaDuga it’s good thing we don’t all have the same taste I actually Liked the Gorilla’s attemt better as it looks more like a Highclass photo and less like a quicksnap!

    • na na.. your thinking about things the wrong way.. both have thier advantages. silly to get into a discussion about this.

      my name is neto, i have bright red hair, and i write haiku

    • not fare 🙂 .. i think the advanced renderer is not the to go with cause he used iray ..
      here is my shot without even post production (VRay with Vray Studio Tools though)

      thanks for the Tutorial Nick !

    • Well, that is subjective. and i think that creating this simulation in C4D would have taken about half of the time to setup. kudos to the Gorilla for recreating this image to such a high standard.

    • Actually, I’m pretty sure that the Max image was rendered using Vray, 3D Max’s default render engine is not THAT good. Cinema’s default engine is much better than Max’s.

      After using the three engines I would have to say:
      Vray = A+
      Cinema 4D = A
      3D Max = A-

      • Hi Sazarret,

        3DS Max default render engine is (as far as i know) scanline renderer. and if you want GI you can use radiosity solution.
        and you should give it a C-
        but, 3DS Max come with mental ray renderer bundled in it. and it’s comparable with other renderer, and it’s fast
        cinema 4D renderer is also good and fast, need some trick to make it nice & realistic (thanks nick for tons of c4d render tutorials)
        Vray render speed scared me most. so I never use it if I should render it myself.

  • Great Tutorial!!!

    And Great Hipster Haricut!

  • wow great tutorial ….can you made this tutorial on 3d max…

  • BTW your render looks a lot better than Robert’s image, it’s just more fresh looking, its not as dark and heavy as the original image, great job, Cinema 4d was better…again!

  • It’s a good attempt Nick! What made Robert’s image so believe-able is the light energy, color, and dof. Iray is a physically accurate path-tracer. It bounces light around continuously and refines the image until you tell it to stop or define a render time (like Maxwell). So you get extremely reals-tic secondary light. I think that is whats missing in your render (although it could be your shaders). I’m missing the brown table influencing the white springs. The DOF also feels more gaussian than bokeh. Another thing is that Robert’s image looked like it may have been using a sharpening AA filter method (lancoz?) which sometimes helps the image look more realistic (like something a digital camera would do). Your render’s AA looks silky smooth, but sometimes a little sharpen can make it look even more realistic. Just my 2 cents. Nice Job! -chad

    • You can do the same in c4ds physical render. its called “progressive and ye it just keeps going until you click to stop it and also I think the the chrome could benifite from some more blur

  • Great stuff. Why didn’t you include the last adjustments you did(I can see a red and a blue tint in the final render) in the final render? In either photoshop or Aftereffects.

  • 10:35-10:50 awkward silence 😀 (in the old version i should say)

  • there’s the gorilla i know and love. please become the main guy once again. please.

    • i would prefer the gorilla taking care of the lightening part of the works of chris… you know chris knows a lot but if Nick can help him with the final results!!!

      Les work for both of them… more tutorials for us! everybody wins :)!!!

      • i agree with what you are saying, i wasn’t implying that chris is bad, i love chris, but i come here to see nick, not chris. 🙂 its a huge let down when i come here and all i see is other ppl’s tutorials, thats good and all, but where is the gorilla??

  • Dude! Glad to have you back on tutorials!!
    Don’t get me wrong, Chris, Simon , Mike, are great, and they know ton of stuff.
    But dude, whatever you do, you make it look mega-awesome!

  • Super Cool work yet again Nick!
    You should get some one to do some Vray for c4d tutorials on here, that would be great….Vray for c4d tuts are hard to find!

  • This is great. You have the best tutorials ever, Nick!!

  • SugaDuda’s comment lightened me up on some thoughts about this VRay stuff
    Is it worth the learning curve? Should I get it and start to mess up with it? Or does Cinema 4D’s current tools gets the job done in a very similar way?

  • Great to see the Gorilla back in his chair!!

    Great tutorial and great result

  • ur haircut is funny today lol … thanks for the tut!

  • Keep the phlem Nick, its sexy.

  • Hi,
    just want to add an alternative on the bolts. Instead of using the spline mask you could just combine the two splines and then use the extrude nurb. Well, nothing fancy, just another workflow…
    Thanks for the tutorial,

  • Nice tutorial, definetly heading into the physical renderer now!

    As far as I’ve understood, here’s where you have an issue with the resolution/angle setting on the helix: Whereas the circle spline consists of four points by default – making that one point pr 90 degree in a 360º circle – when you set the intermediate point threshold to 90º you actually don’t have any intermediate points. Whereas the helix have more points by default, hence you will already have points on less than every 90th degree even before you set the intermediate points. And because the next point probably comes within 30º or so, you’re only going to get intermediate points if your value is less than 30º.

    However, on the helix, there’s a subdivision-option over your plane-axis. Decreasing this will lower the point count of your helix – and also decrease the overall resolution.

  • Waited so long till you putted an tutorial up glad you still are alive ;D

  • I love Cinema 4d and its render engine but the 3ds Max is far better. You can spot when artwork is made from a certain program and in my opinion the 3ds is nicer. The pearl colour of the springs is fantastic. Vray is a beast for rendering.

  • nice Tut Nick! I like the break on 10:36 min.
    I keep on following you.

    greetz from Hamburg


  • Great tut, as always 🙂

    heres my take: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/4731771/springs.jpg

  • Nice tutorial, and good to see you back.
    One thought on this – in order to contain the springs in one place, have them fall inside a tube that has a collider body tag on it. This contains then as they fall and stops them slipping all over the place. Then set the traffic lights on the tube to red so it doesn’t render.
    I used this on a job recently to get wooden blocks to fall and land on top of each other without collapsing – the invisible tube keeps everything contained.
    I should say that 1 year ago I barely knew Cinema and now, thanks to your tutorials, I’m confident enough to be giving the Gorilla advice!?!?
    Thank you.

  • Nick made it more Vivid and shiny. Kind of commercial look. While the original image points more at realism. I think u cant compare these two renderings at all.

    Tastewise (does this word exist?) I like Nicks version better.

  • hai nick how r u. this is riyaz from India. i am watching u r tutorials. you r tutorials are very insuperable . i lernd so much of knowledge from them. this is my first c4d works .. pls check below links (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdsyk9KikyY&context=C4178c6dADvjVQa1PpcFMpBbNX__jZwctW0HEMtr1aunYDDhrTkxM=) (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSZ7MjHblOc&context=C4bff947ADvjVQa1PpcFMpBbNX__jZwTM_uHd1mx88xXzUl4uPSeE=)
    give me u r valuable suggestions……….. Thank U so much…

  • Excellent tutorial.I learn many things each time.Thank you from french.

  • hey hi.
    just curious to know to do i achieve something like this


    • Looks like AE Particular tracked to a null from C4D

    • a general plan would be :
      1) start with a tube in C4D and make it long and thin to look like an empty tunnel.
      2) make a cloner of cubes (mode:object and assign tube at object tag), and then select
      “surface”at distribution tag, also increase number at count tag so to have more cubes.
      3) repeat step 3 with a cloner of spheres, adding a different number at the seed tag.
      4) add a random effector at both cloners and adjust the x,y,z position in the Transform parameter until u like the visual part.
      5) add a luminance channel at the spheres material selecting a bright color
      6) enable global illumination at render settings so to have those spheres actually emitting light into the scene
      7) for the particles, create an emitter with little (enable glow in material) spheres and animate its motion
      8) move camera

      • – there is also an option of adding actual lights into the (transparent) spheres, and thus avoiding the whole GI situation which might lead into slow render times. In that case, make a cloner of (omni) lights with the exact settings of that sphere cloner, also watch this great GSG tut : http://vimeo.com/15571178

  • I myself never really had much luck with 3d max renders .
    may of been the lighting or the material editor or my lack of skill with max

    the C4d material manager and lights seem to be a lot easier to use and give a lot cleaner look
    faster and with less effort than max.
    I have used vray but the material editor is different and the conversion of materials does not always work right 100%
    be cool so see some vray stuff not a lot of good tutorials out.
    is the c4d physical render a prelude to GPU rendering ?
    I would love to see a way to use a video card with CUDA cores (not chips lol) to render inside C4d with out buying another product and learning to use a new material editor.
    I have thought of looking in to http://www.randomcontrol.com/arion but i would need to buy a new vidcard and everything then I may not even like it 🙂
    and I have not seen any benchmarks of how what card compares to others.
    would a GPX590 be that much better than a 580 or would you need a $ 3000 Quadtro or Tesla to see any real difference?
    spending 500 for a card is one thing 3k is another

  • Ahem… it’s a NUT not a bolt.

  • I like the 3DS version over the C4D version mostly because of the neutral lighting in the 3DS version, where the C4D version has weird tonalities. The plastic in the 3DS version looks a lot more like a real color than the C4D plastic.

    But that’s just the way I see it. So just my opinion.

  • Blimey Nick, Welcome back! I nearly fell off my chair seeing you doing a tutortial.

    Hope for many many more in the future.

    Nice work!

  • Hey Nick!

    Thank you very much for all this tutorials, look this is my result http://eddguerrero.blogspot.mx/2012/03/utilidad.html , i hope you like it

  • Nice to see how many people had positive responses to this tutorial and also attempted their own version. It’s kinda crazy that such a simple scene could evoke this kind of reaction.

    As for the render engine, I used iray in 3DS Max. It’s relatively new and unbiased, which means it doesn’t cheat. The rendering time can be incredibly long if you don’t have a great graphics card. Photorealistic results are possible, but only if you have good models and materials first. Then the lighting and camera needs to be set up correctly as well. Also, when setting up DOF try to choose something that makes sense in real life.

    No matter what application you fancy, have fun with it 🙂

  • hi
    we love you nick
    welcome back
    i think the 3d max render is very very real than the cinema 4D
    but thanks for tutorial

  • Thank you, Nick.

    I’ve been enjoying your tutorials for some time now, having come here as an absolute noob. I am now just a noob, but here are two renders I’ve some up with using your latest tutorial, and using the HDRI Light Kit.

    Again, I greatly appreciate the efforts of everyone here.




  • Great tutorial!!! I learned a lot!!! Thanks!

  • Good tutorial! You working stand up already? Keep it up!

  • thanks for this great tutorial, nick! especially the progressive rendering is extremely useful, keep up the good work!

  • I’m working in R12 and learned a fair bit about DOF working through this (R13 DOF looks waay more user friendly). In my opinion DOF is one of the key elements to making a render mimic a photograph. I love how your tutorials always end up with a sexy result, it makes me WANT to do the tutorial!

  • its really not that hard to make the images look the same as vray, in r13 it just tooks a bit longer to render, but for me its ok, as long as the physical render stays simple.
    here is what i got: http://www0.xup.in/exec/ximg.php?fid=10506649 🙂

  • Here is my render: https://vimeo.com/38983651

    tnks nick

  • So damn awesome!
    Everytime i watch a video of yours i learn and learn and learn!

    Btw: What screen capture software are you using? I’m on mac too and looking for one since AGES!

  • I was fiddling around in C4D whilst listening to this Tut on Friday.

    Came in to the office Monday and realised I’d left a preview-sized progressive render going on ALL WEEKEND.

    8,900 or so progressive passes: http://db.tt/H9qGpb9M

  • Is there any case to be made for using the progressive renderer for motion work? I could see it being quite useful if you wanted to knock out a quick image sequence that was then constantly updating whilst you worked on it in After Effects….

  • Hello. A big thanks to the Gorilla for the tutorials and for keep pushing us and himself to be more creative. Based on idea from this image i made couple renders. All of the modeling is done in Blender 2.6 since i have access to c4d only when I’m at work.
    First one is from Blender and the Cycles render engine:

    And the second is C4d and Vray:

  • Hey Nick, I just wanted to give you a quick tip about the bolt. You use a spline mask, what seems better to me is to first make both splines editable and then connect and delete them this will give the exact same result!

  • Hi Nick,

    I think I have the same computer as yours, 12 core Mac Pro with 32GB RAM, I even have NV Quadro FX4800 graphics card installed. I also use C4d R13. I follow your tutorial but I feel my render speed is not as fast as yours………….. actually is much slower then yours.

    Did you fast forward the video when you do the render? If it is not, I really don’t know why my computer is way slower then yours. Can you give me some advice?


  • Great tut!!! I love your tutorials!

  • Great tutorial! Thanks a lot!

  • Hey Nick, good tutorial.
    With regards to the resolution of the Sweep Nurbs (via the spline settings), you basically tune them for the very foreground.
    I suggest a slightly more efficient way is to keep them much lower res (ie about 25 deg adaptive). Then, after all your camera & render testing setup is done :
    Grab the few foreground ones where the polygons are visible & hold Alt while adding a Hypernurbs. Then you only have high detail on the sweep nurbs that need it.
    A minor point, of course. Thanks for the tut.

  • great work as usual.
    just wanna say THANKS for the time you spent showing us all your stuff.
    here is my outcome with a lil tweaking and aging in photoshop. as you can see in the second one, it needs a lot of coffee to follow all your tuts in just a bunch of days.



    View On Black

  • Tastes are different. To me personally – as a software trainer and enthusiastic photographer I find the speed and flow of the tutorial, the skills shown and used, etc. perfect and would like to both congratulate to and thank for this great tutorial.

  • I like the dynamic on C4D, it’s look fun.
    Robert Hirsch image done with iRay engine (the default render engine in 3ds Max), not done with Vray.
    Yeah, Vray renders more faster than iRay or MentalRay (both default 3ds Max’s render engine) at same photorealistic quality.
    Keep in mind that iRay is unbiased render engine, different methode while calculating as Vray do.
    I think, the problem in the render engine not a 3d application or artist’s skill . That why C4D user prefer to use Vray as still image renderer.

  • yes that is very nice without any plugin like vray,octana,and other renders you did a great job nick thax for your hard work.keep doing

  • Hi Nick,
    Its was a awesome tutorial Nick and i am a great fan of 3dsmax & Vray. i have seen lots of comments here like 3dsmax vray render more realistic and c4d not & opposite also . You done great job Nick to share your ideas and your knowledge!! its awesome..
    i just want to tell you all.. never mind the tools you are using just thing about the output. every tools meant to be for your creativity and depends all on you. so please no tools comparison and appreciate Nick for his awesome tutorial..

    Thanks Allen

  • Hey thanks first than all to Nick and scalegreygorilla team. I,ve been following the tutorials n this is my result may be, 2 years after it doesnt matter for no one, but i feel proud of it


  • I’m glad to hear that, 3ds max. Good luck to you. Blogging is a great thing, and you get better with practice. 3ds max training in Hyderabad One of the best ways to grow is to read other people’s blogs. See what they do, how they do things. It’s always food for thought, and sometimes, it’s downright inspiring.

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