Three Ways to Use the Arnold Curvature Map

July 5, 2016


First off, what the heck is C4DtoA?

You’ve probably seen that abbreviation around the interwebs and wondered. Well, C4DtoA is the official name for the Arnold Renderer plugin for C4D. C4DtoA has had a blazing fast development speed thanks to its amazing development team and leadership. When they added a curvature map some time ago, I made sure I put a note in Google Keep to do a tutorial on it. It is a fantastic map that I am constantly finding new uses for. I hope you have fun getting your curvature on!

Curvature Map? What is that?

Sounds saucy, right? Well, a curvature map analyzes the normals of the geometry returning different values for areas that are convex or concave. I’m no scientist, but they are cool, trust me.

curvature_HD_imageWhat You Will Learn:

  • A fairly decent explanation of the Arnold Curvature Map
  • How to use the Curvature Map to create a cool ceramic shader
  • How to use the Curvature Map to add wear/tear to your objects
  • How to use the Curvature Map to add a rounded edges look

Tools You’ll Need:

  • C4D R17 – Mac or PC (Arnold runs on BOTH)
  • Solid Angle’s Arnold Render (watermarked demo here)
  • Coffee and a comfy chair.
  • Free 3D Statue Scan (used in promo imagery) Courtesy of Turbosquid

On with the Tutorial!

Want more Arnold Tutorials? Hit me in the comments and let me know!


Tutorial Focus:  , ,
Software:  , ,

  • Fantastic, Chad. Thanks!
    …and yes: more Arnold please.

  • Awesome tutorial, thanks! Would love to see how Arnold would crush a massive scene and if there are any workarounds for using c4d noises with Arnold.

  • Great, thank you! Second that, more Arnold please!

    Q: What do you do so your sky doesn’t show up on the IPR? (it looks black on the background)
    Q: How did you come up with the gamma of 0.454? Any guidelines?
    Q: Diffuse weight of 0.7 and specular weight of 0.9 sum up to more than 1.0 for physically accurate renders. Although you used fresnel, what was your reasoning behind this choice?
    You didn’t want to build the camera shader in detail, or from scratch; just know that would be actually great!
    Thanks a million!

    • Deybis, I think I can answer all your questions…

      1. Under the Arnold Sky / Background (Sky) parameter un-check “Primary Visibility”
      2. .45454 is the inverse of a 2.2 gamma
      3. When “Use Fresnel IOR” is enabled, Arnold automatically will keep your energy levels physically plausible (unless you use emission)
      4. So much of my process of building materials is playing around and riffing, that a video of me playing around could easily last an hour and a half. Thanks though, maybe I’ll go into more detail next time!

      Thanks so much for the questions!


  • Thanks Chad 🙂

  • More Arnold please! Thanks for the tutorial!

  • +1 on the “More Arnold”!

  • Thanks Chad for this awesome Arnold Tutorial. Please release more of this tutorial tips.

  • I Really liked that Tutorial, but a bit to general for my taste. It would be Great to see more of Arnolds Power in Animation for e.g. or details for lightning and Rendering. MAterail resources or how to create own Materials cause the Nodes System is kinda new for average Cinema4d users.

    It would nice if Arnold would be supported more and more cause its a great alternative to the Vray System

    • Too general? I think maybe you mean too specific? I can definitely cover more general node based material workflows, anyone else concur? Thanks!

      • Would be great to see a general node based tutorial. As a newbie to nodes there seem to be lots of texturing tutorials about but you end up just following a long clicking buttons on command rather than having a solid understanding of why you are doing it! Thanks Chad!


  • YES!!!!! MORE Arnold tutorials!!!!

  • Finally some c4dtoA 😀
    Thanks Chad

  • i really like your video tutorial , so u can teach more abt range node , flake node , composite node , and can u give me ur nikon camera prj file plss
    tks a lot !!

    • Sorry, I cannot give away that project file. It has my own personal grunge textures as well as a model I don’t have permission to redistribute.

  • More Arnold tutorials? Yes please!

    I’d love to see your method on how to optimize samples for create noise free renders with the lowest render times possible. Also, I think you should at some point do a video on the beautiful shaders that alShaders ( brings to Arnold’s already great library of shaders.

    Looking forward to more Arnold tutorials!

  • Thank you Chad, this is helping me a lot right now.

    I just got started with Arnold and i never used a node based system before, so the insight of your node for the camera really helped me to understand how a realistic material should be build.

    Looking forward for more.

    Btw: Where did you get your grunge/scratch maps?

  • Great tutorial that exposes Arnold’s massive potential.
    Please do more Arnold tutorials.. Don’t give a long break for the next one!
    This is the fresh blood GSG needs!

    • FRESH BLOOD!!! YES! ha ha ha! Glad you enjoyed it! I’m scheduled to do one a month, but if enough people start commenting I could do some live Arnold stuff on Twitch. What do you think?

      • It would be definitely great.
        I live in Turkey, so I guess I can’t catch it live because of the great time difference. But I can watch the record forsure.

        To be honest, time management is a real issue to consider now. And GSG’s single shot tutorials are great in the means of time-efficiency. There are loads of tutors outside talking 30 min for a 3 min tip. And I am running away immediately when I encounter such tutorial, no matter what is the content.

        • I’m learning a ton about Arnold and am anxious to share it with all of you! Thanks for the comment!

  • Hi Chad,

    A Good tutorial about different C4DtoA Carshaders would be nice!

  • +1 more ARNOLD !!! Excellent, thanks Chad !

  • Hey Chad,

    Definitely more Arnold tutorials please! If you could tackle displacements and bumps, as well a procedurals, it would be awesome!


    • Thanks Mo, I’ll put that on my list!

      • Hey Chad,

        I just watched your twitch recording. It would be awesome to have another beginner intermediate one. I really enjoyed the pace at which you started. It made me understand very simple things that I missed or misunderstood in more technical tutorials.

        Please do these more often.


  • Hi, can you please tell Nick to make all of the shaders he has created for gag c4d and do them all again for Arnold. Specially the more grungy ones for us to buy please? Because these tutorial seem way too complex for beginners in c4dtoA.

    Oh and more tutorials on Arnold please!

  • Sorry, this may be a stupid question…but the moment I add a arnold texture to my object it doesnt get rendered anymore…do you know why this is?

  • more!!! more!!!

  • Those Xpresso shader input/output “trees” are daunting. Especially the camera grunge maps. Was hoping it would be more intuitive.

    • It’s really not that bad. I’ll do an intro to Arnold nodes tut soon. Once it clicks, you’ll want nodes for everything. 😉

      • Okay, awesome. Good to know, Chad! I do see how nodes help. Like Nuke vs After Effects workflow. Thanks for the info. Excited for the tuts.

      • That is true! When I started using Arnold I was worried about the nodes thing for the shaders creation…but now that I understand it…man, I just want to work with nodes from now on.

  • Hi Chad

    Thank you so much for this, it’s really great. Forgive me, but is there a way to use a standard shader as the ‘texture’ of a curvature?

    If that makes any sense at all?

    Cheers again!

    • Standard C4D materials cannot be used to plug into the curvature map, sorry. They aren’t compatible. Thanks for the comment!

      • Sorry Chad, what I meant was a standard Arnold node/shader.

        Brilliant tutorial again, cheers!

        • Oh ok…I’m still not entirely sure I understand 🙂

          What effect are you trying to achieve? Maybe I can help if you show me a reference. thanks!

  • More Arnold please!

  • Hi,
    Awesome tutorial, but I was wondering if it is possible to use the HDRI Studio with Arnold Renderer? When I just put it in my scene, arnold doesnt seem like counting the HDRI Studio as a light source.


    • HDRI Studio is not compatible with 3rd Party renderers, sorry. We are looking at supporting more in the future. Stay tuned!

  • GREAT! and please more more more C4DtoA tutorials 🙂

  • Thank you!! More Arnold Please!!

  • Thank you for the wonderful tutorial! I’m new to Arnold, so learning about the curvature map was moderately brain exploding. What are the other secret gem nodes for newbs?! Or ways of using common nodes that I didn’t think of? And since I’m being so demanding, how about demystifying the skin shader?

    Thank you again! This site rules!

  • Would love more arnold stuff, but do have some CC.

    For people like me, I learn by doing–so just watching a breakdown isn’t super effective as a tutorial. I’m sure it’s a time thing, but it would be nice to see you actually build the scene–not just walk backwards through nodes.

    Also, the image on the tutorial is somewhat misleading. Why not just show the camera or the box thing if that’s what you were going to use.

    Again, working through the process step by step can be much more effective for some people in retaining and understanding information, so that would be very helpful in the future.


  • Great tutorial Chad! Yes, please more Arnold.

  • Oh I was looking for a curvature shader tutorial for Arnold, what a coincidence.
    Thank you Chad!, you are the man! keep posting Arnold Render tutorials please…I started one month ago using this render and it became my default render.

  • Really useful tips on this tut. I’ve been diving on Arnold since a while and it’s so deep. So more videos like this would be great 🙂
    Thank you Chad!

  • Great one on my favourite node!More on C4DtoA would be great!Thank you Chad! (man you have some cores on your machine!!xD)

    • When I started at GSG, I treated myself to an amazing machine. I’ve had so many other cruddy ones over the years, it feels good to have a BEAST!

  • Great tutorial Chad! I’m torn between Arnold or waiting for Renderman? Any advice !!

  • Yay, Arnold! I’d love to see more! Thanks Chad.

  • Hey chad!!
    i try to do a work but i have a trouble because the curvature map it doesn’t apper and i don’t know why

    Did you know why this happen? 🙁


  • I know this is a Arnold tutorials but is there any chance you can do a proper Uving tutorial. Coming from Maya I really don’t like C4D’s Uv editor and would love to get some help on how to lay out some nice UVs.

  • can someone please tell me where can i get the Curvature shader as shown in the video (not Alcurvature,i already have alshaders) ?
    cause i dont have it in my network editor.

    • Make sure you are running the latest version of Arnold from their site. It was introduced in version

  • can you use a curvature map with R16? I could not find the node.

    • The Curvature map is a map unique to the Arnold renderer. You can find it in the latest version of Arnold on Solid Angle’s website. Thanks for the comment!

  • I really really wished you shared your grunge textures with us I’m trying to get that exact look so bad

  • There’s something that you do that have me lost.
    how do you change between which curvature link to the Arnold Beauty
    Example 07:26

    • I think you are referring to the hotkey to publish any node to the Beauty output. That hotkey is alt+w+c Hope that helps! If you hit alt+w you’ll see even more Arnold hotkeys!

  • Whenever I add the ‘Defuse Color’ into the mix my render goes all black. nothing shows. I also don’t know how to add the sky I thought that might be the problem

  • More Arnold! Im trying to figure out if my next build will be CPU or GPU heavy for either Arnold or Octane. I like the Arnold work flow and the overall look of renders, but I keep seeing more octane work and the render times are just unbelievably fast. Lots of freelancers in the same boat, which would you build out ?!

    • Johnny, thanks for the comment! I think both are fantastic but, I gravitate towards Arnold for the more professional features. I recommend building a system that is prepared for full-on GPU renderers (Octane, Redshift, and Arnold eventually), BUT don’t neglect your CPU either. This way, you are flexible. Octane is fast if you have the hardware but lacks many features.

      Also, keep in mind that there are render farms out there for Arnold (Pixel Plow) and none for Octane as of yet. So if you get into a bind and need more horsepower and your using Octane, you’re out of luck.

      I’m very excited for the C4D release of Redshift. It looks like the best of both worlds (pro features and fast).

  • Thanks Ashley!

  • Great Job !

    Thanks a lot,

    A carpaint tutorial (with flakes effect…), an another on skin shader or leaves shader will be great !

    On c4d (and arnold for render) , a tutorial to sculpt hairs (like daz3d elaborated hair-style)

  • Hi
    Thanks for the tutorial
    I am a user of Arnold for cinema 4D
    It’s my main render engine
    I need info on alshaders

  • Hiii Chad
    thanks for the tutorial,
    could you make another one about multi-pass in Arnold ? specially how to get the shadows pass out of Arnold ?
    Thank you.

  • Hi Chad,

    Thank you. I have a question, when I use the curvature node, it is visible or being applied to each polygon of my mesh. Is there a way get ride of that?

    I assume the skull is a high polygon mesh. The higher the mesh count the better the curvature node is not visible on each polygon, But when it is a low count it look bad.

    Please let me know if you have any suggestions.

  • Trying to recreate this look in V-Ray. Where did you get that camera model? I’d love to use it to test with.

  • Thanks, for now c4d to Arnold is the one for me,

    Always cool the gorilla’s team, for almost a decade, every time I try to figure out things in C4D, boom, they’re on it before questions & that is what makes you the best C4D’s ideas to development helpers around the interweb.

    already a pleasure to play with this new skill.


  • Hey Chad, thanks for filling a void with respect to Arnold to C4d-love the camera curvature tutorial, but any chance you can do a fairly simple approach as to how to use ambient occlusion and curvature to create “masks” for textures, ie, if i want to show wear and tear on a texture so it becomes greyer, and less wear and tear in the corners, thus brighter ? you started it in your camera tutorial but I am on Arnold V5, so I’m a bit lost, thank you sir!!

    • Hi Craig! I showed a technique towards the middle of the video with an old Nikon camera that explained one way to get that wear and tear look. Is there something else you’re looking for?

  • Hey. I just want a c4dtoa 5.2 texturing tutorials

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