Cinema 4D Tutorial – Otoy Octane Render Overview


hey everybody my name is David arias I’m good friends with EJ hats and frats which is part of the reason why I asked me to do a guest tutorial today other reason is I am addicted to octane render for cinema 4d so that’s what we’re going to be doing a whole bunch of madness inside that third-party render engine let’s check it out okay I’m going to share with you a little known secret about octane normally it’s $500 but there is a version that exists that is only 20 bucks a month and very few people know about this because of how weirdly it’s been advertised so if you create an account with Oh toy so there I’ve got my account and you go to shop and then you scroll down to subscriptions there’s this thing called octane VR beta and this is really terribly named because what it actually is is a version that’s a subscription of the entire cinema 4d plug-in and the standalone renderer for only 20 bucks a month so you can see you can get the combo now the only caveat is that you can only use two GPUs but if you’re just starting out this is fantastic like you probably only have one GPU anyway so you can see a maximum of two GPUs are available for rendering and network rendering is not available but like this is a great way to get introduced to octane without having to pay the full price tag so that’s just a pro tip right there I definitely suggest kind of if you’re interested in this dipping your toes in by trying out this octane VR beta I have no idea why they call it VR doesn’t make any sense I guess you can you know do VR stuff with it like it’s positioned to do that but it’s a full version so really really cool and you should definitely take out that opportunity okay so I’m going to run you through a really quick tour of the interface and kind of how I use octane this isn’t going to be like how to click every button kind of tutorial or even like how to set up every type of material I’m just going to jump all over the place and kind of go crazy and show you how I art direct a scene in octane and kind of take it from start to finish this is a scene for the music video I just completed and I brought this in fresh this is exactly how I would get it from turbosquid and I want to show you how I go about converting all of the kind of materials to octane and making decisions to try to make a good looking image all inside of this software so first off this is kind of how I lay everything out in cinema I try to make a bunch of buttons so it’s easier so I don’t have to go digging for things and I just kind of like this layout you can customize it however you want but at least for octane it makes sense to me to have this live viewer which is basically a real-time preview of everything that’s happening up here in your viewport it makes sense to have it docked right underneath so that I can kind of see these in perfect parity with each other and I’ll show you what I mean so if I click this button here this will take everything in my cinema 4d scene in my viewport and basically send it to the octane standalone renderer which runs in the background and once that all the geometry has been sent you can see it’s updating once it’s all been sent um you’ll be able to in real time navigate and see this update live with your viewport so this is super awesome and kind of for me it was like next-level stuff this is what really allowed me to quickly art direct and make those decisions without having to look through that peephole a physical renderer and just see those boxes turning forever that process was maddening and so I was so happy when I was able to switch over to octane um so again like this is straight from turbosquid and you can even see if I go in these are still physical materials they’ve got the reflectance and all that but octane is on the fly converting them just to be viewed now this is like a less efficient process so we do want to actually like convert them to legit octane materials to be able to kind of manipulate them and for it to be more efficient so what I can do is I can just grab them all and go to materials convert materials and instantly they’ve all been converted – octet materials and once it’s done updating you’ll see there will be some weird kind of changes like this got all red and we’ll fix that in a bit now I want to go ahead and get rid of all the physical materials because they’re just taking up space at this point so octane has its own version of remove unused materials just like under materials here you’ve got function remove unused materials but this doesn’t work with octane so you want to use the one that’s in the octane window some material remove unused materials okay and now we are 100 percent octane materials so the first thing I want to do is fix this ugly crap with the red light so I can go up here and I can actually just right click on the screen and say select material and that will give me whatever’s underneath my cursor and just select that material associated and so if we look here we’ve got a bunch of different channels they’re somewhat different from physical renderer we’ve got diffuse roughness bump normal etc but the main one we want to look at is emission because this is what’s telling octane to emit light so if I jump into the emission you can see I’ve got this texture emission in there right now and if I jump into that it’s got this texture that came from turbosquid that’s controlling all this stuff and I’m actually just going to totally get rid of this I’m going to jump back up and I’m not as big of a fan of texture emission as I am of something called blackbody emission so if I clear this out you can see it’s not emitting light anymore but this texture is still in the diffuse channel as well but if I go back to my emission and go see 40 octane blackbody emission rather than texture emission these are just the only two ways you can emit light in octane from geometry it can put in blackbody emission and that’s obviously way too bright so I can jump in here and turn down the power and this is great because you can select any geometry you want and make it emit light so I could like right-click this and select this big thing here and that’s the reactor material and I could go and change it from a glassy material to a diffuse because diffuses the only type that will actually let you have that emission so now we’ve got the emission channel and we can add in a blackbody emission and now we’re emitting light from from this object to now it’s not something we’d want to do but you can see like you can just go through and select geometry and turn them into lights immediately it’s really cool kind of similar to cinemas like default luminance material but it’s a lot more powerful and let me show you how so if I add in an octane camera and I can do that normally by going to see objects octane camera and I look through that and then I turn on this post-processing here and turn that up you can see that I get this glow right inside octane I’m going to turn down the glare because that’s creating these streaks that I don’t like but you can see now like that looks a lot more like a light and the other thing is that octane is constantly calculating GI on the fly like it just takes all that for granted GI and ambient occlusion like all the bells and whistles are just in there by default so like light is bouncing and unlike the luminance channel you don’t have to go and do a bunch of tricks to get it to actually feel like real light that’s actually casting and causing all these bounces so if I go back here and select this material we do that better select material there we go back to my screens so I can take my temperature and slide it this away until I get back to that kind of red glow that was kind of cool and that might seem a little bit extreme but what I can actually do is I can go back to my octane camera tag here and go to my camera imager and then there’s this cool slider called saturate to white but I need to actually turn on the camera imager for that to work and then the second I pull that up you can see it turn it turns those pixels that would have been like super saturated into white and that gives it a much more natural glow and look so I really like that and then I’m going to show you another thing to do with this in a little bit but one thing that’s really bugging me is that this is like super white and I kind of want this seem to be like more dramatic and dark so what I can do is I can just right click and select this material and I’ve got this reactor material and there’s a bunch of different channels and honestly like the easiest way to see this stuff at a glance is by going to Octane’s node editor and nodes sound scary but an octane they’re actually super easy and it makes it like much simpler to understand like what’s going on with material so I’ve got the node editor docked here and I’ll give myself a little more real estate you can see okay this material is like really simple it’s just a single texture that came from turbosquid if I click on this edit button it’ll show me the actual texture so it’s all UV mapped which is awesome but just this kind of weird black-and-white map and everything else is just like default octane white like super boring so the first thing I’m going to do is I’m just going to click this texture and if I want it to be darker well I could probably invert the material so if I click on that instantly it looks so much cooler and it’s got all these kind of lighter edges already in there which is super great I don’t have to go in and create that myself and you can see now this red light is really showing up casting on this side here so if I go back to this material select material and I’m just going to go back to my normal view and pop into my emission here there’s some there’s one other thing I wanted to point out that there’s this cast illumination tick box so if I turn that off you can see it’s not actually showing up anymore here it will show up in reflections there you go you can see it’s still showing up from reflections but it’s not the same as if I’ve got this illumination ticked and then the red light is actually casting so I think that actually looks pretty cool so I’m going to keep it like that and now the next thing I can do is do something really similar for the floor so if I right-click and say select material I’m probably just going to go in and take a look at this and click on edit here and you can see this is the floors material so I can probably just hit invert and there you go things are a lot more moody and interesting looking now let’s take a look at this material from a glance and make it even better so I’m going to go back to my node editor here and there’s something slightly different going on you can see this texture is used twice once in the diffuse Channel and once in the bump channel so I kind of want this floor to be like really reflective so what I can do is I can go in here and go back to my normal view just kind of clean things up the first thing I want to do is make sure that my specular channel is a lot higher so let’s just make that white okay so it’s a little bit more reflective maybe the bump you can really see it now is kind of going crazy and others big thing is roughness so roughness means the blurriness of the reflection so in physical renderer it’s it takes forever to do blurry reflections and an octane they’re just kind of taken for granted and they exist everywhere so right now the reflections are really blurry and if I bring this all the way down you’ll see now we’re getting much sharper reflections so this bump is still kind of breaking things up so let’s go back to our node editor and let’s just disconnect this bump and there you can see now we’ve got a super reflective floor so that’s pretty but um we could probably still use this this texture for something because it has like those black and white areas and kind of an interesting noise in it so what if we actually use this to drive the roughness Channel so if I pipe this into the roughness channel so that’s doing something but it’s not exactly what I want because now everything’s super blurry so then what if I invert this okay see that looks a lot cooler I think my specular channel is a little bit too high let me bring that a little bit back down so as we go along you can see certain areas get like very blurry reflections and other areas get very sharp reflections and that’s determined by this black and white map and we could take this one step further and put a gradient between these so if I scroll down there’s all these different nodes that you can kind of pick and choose from and I’ll just pop a gradient in there and this is just a you know like you would expect from a gradient and after effects it’s just a way to clamp that texture so I could like really blow out the lights and crush the blacks and make it more extreme to where let’s try to get this a little bit better dial in so we’ll just play around with this and you can see like now we’ve got this really strong like kind of almost like wet puddle look here where everything’s really clean reflections and then here where everything’s like super broken up so that is a much cooler look and this is something called a roughness map where you’re putting a black and white texture into the roughness slot alright so that’s pretty cool I think I still want a little bit of roughness in here so what I can do is I can click this not here and make it a little bit kind of off of black so even this has a little bit of blurriness maybe even more there we go and there we go and I don’t need this guy so cool that’s kind of more what I’m looking for now another thing that I do all the time to make my scenes look a lot better is I’ll go into this camera imager and there are all these different response curves so if I open this up and just kind of like start arrowing through them you can see you get all these different crazy looks and these are essentially Luntz and what that means is look-up tables so if you ever do any color correction you’ll know what that means it’s basically like a preset or grade but you can get much more interesting looks than the default so I really like this one called ektachrome 400 xcd and if I put it on it looks like crap at first but what I can then do is I can balance against it with the gamma and exposure so I can pull the gamma up until it kind of like reveals a little more light and bring the exposure down and kind of play these values against each other to get something a little nicer but it’s still really orange but thankfully there’s this white point here and it’s kind of like color bin balancing a camera like a white card where you just if you select orange it’ll go a lot more blue so I can kind of dial this up and you can see it’s getting more blue though it’s a little magenta so let’s push it this way until we get something a little more neutral and so to me that looks a lot more interesting than what we had before and a good way to show you that before and after is if I hit compare I love this feature in octane if I hit compare store render buffer I get this wipe so I’m going to undo until we were back to where we were before okay as you can see this is a lot flatter and this is just kind of a grade on top of that image and I really love doing everything all of that stuff right inside octane because either because I’m lazy or because I’m just over After Effects so yeah I’m going to redo into Lum back to my cool look here and turn off enable AV comparison by the way if you want you can also do a vertical white by just dragging down so I turn that off and next I want to do the same kind of thing I did earlier with with this floor to the wall because I’m this wall is bugging me so let’s just kind of zoom on up here and right-click and say select material ok and again it’s just a really simple material loaded into the diffuse just grungy black and white material so again let’s take that and actually first let’s see if we can increase our specular to actually get that reflection going ok and now let’s go to our roughness and bring that all the way down and there we go now we’ve got reflective walls and once again we can use this material to drive the roughness instead so if we take this away from the diffuse and just put it in the roughness you see that is a lot cooler looking so in certain areas you’ve got sharper flexions and other areas you’ve got diffused reflections and if I want I can make a copy of this material by control dragging and then putting that into the diffuse but then from there I can take this and just dial down the power however much I want to kind of just bring in a little bit of that diffuse texture so I’m kind of getting the best of both worlds that way cool umm I think the next thing I want to do is I’m just going to be totally ad D here I’m going to right click and select this material and just go back here it’s my search one it is right click select material nope it’s the light here and again I don’t like texture emission as much as blackbody emission but that made it kind of crazy kind of crazy so let’s power it down and I want to bring the temperature up towards more of a blue with black body emission you get this realistic Kelvin scale which is pretty cool though you can still totally break that if you want by adding in the texture you can add a RGB spectrum let’s see where’s that and that just means a color and right now it’s super white so it’s going to get all blown out but what I can then do is bring this down and turn it a different color so say I wanted a green like there’s some greeny lights so that’s kind of cool um but I actually just I didn’t really want that at all let’s let’s just get rid of this guy I think it was pretty good with just the subtle blue there all right so things are getting cooler looking now you can see how this is kind of grainy compared to the rest of the scene and one really good way to optimize an octane is to figure out what lights are causing the grain and so in this case I’m going to select that material actually we already know it’s this screen material so let’s jump in here and there’s the sampling rate that is there for each light and this is a ratio so each light gets its own number of samples and so if I give this one an extra zero octane will devote ten times the number of samples to this light compared to the other lights and so in this case that really cleaned up the scene and you can see immediately it’s looking really really nice whereas before if we only have like 10 or 100 samples you can see now we’re getting all of these ugly fireflies and it’s going to take forever to for that to clean up so let’s bring this back to a thousand and this is I think the best way to optimize seems in octane and prevent getting that nasty kind of grain cool let’s add a unique texture this rim here so let’s kind of look at this get on in here and to see it more easily we can always just kind of expose the scene more so I love that we can just kind of ramp exposure ramp to gamma there’s so many controls in here you can mess the saturation yeah I just love all the camera controls so I’m going to right click and select this material like before and it’s this one and let’s look in our editor our node and there’s nothing happening so like no textures are loaded in whatsoever so we don’t need our node editor right now let’s just go to our specular and we can make it a bit more shiny like that and we can also take down the roughness we can even go all the way and now it’s super glossy which is actually a really cool look on its own so there’s also the index which as you know it’s like it’s the index of refraction so right now it’s at 1.3 if we wanted a plastic it would probably be like 1.5 so maybe that’s more like plastic and then as you go further and further up it becomes more of a metal though it’s not that’s actually not super obvious right there I think we want to add some roughness for it to be more apparent so that’s more obviously a metal whereas if we bring this down this is kind of what you would expect from a plastic so I’m going to go I guess for metal and let’s see one other cool thing you can do is in your specular here if you tint this to say we wanted a gold we would go kind of oranjee there and that’s ugly is there’s all hex so let’s go actually go oranjee there you go so now that’s more of a gold type material though in this case maybe I want some kind of crazy blueish metal let’s make it more like that and let’s make it more subtle by desaturating it so just a very light kind of blue metal even more probably and then from there I want to do my favorite trick which is just adding in a texture to the roughness so click my little dot dot dot here and I’ve already got a couple so these are just black and white tile grunge materials and a really good place to find those is polygon comm it’s still quick assigned to polygon comm so it’s got two eyes and take a look these are PDR materials so that means like they’re already set up with like normal maps and displacement maps they work great with octane and there’s a whole section devoted to let’s see what let’s check out their textures here there is a whole big section devoted to surface imperfections and different overlays they used to call them overlays but let’s take a look at these surface imperfections so like you can get smudges and wiping residues and these are all tileable and super super useful and they’ve got tons of them it’s just kind of loading slow here but yeah all of these kind of things are great for adding interesting surface imperfections so I’m going to grab just this one here and you can see the second I load it in now we’ve got that variation of blurry reflection over the surface and I’m it’s still kind of grainy so what I can do is I can jump into this gear here this whole time I’ve only been rendering with 128 samples so octane is a progressive renderer meaning the longer you let it go the more it will clean up but this is kind of a cap so if I bring this now up to like a thousand you’ll see this will clean up more and more and you can see that better if I click once here you can see it’s at 500 samples out of a thousand and now it’s really cleaning up so that’s kind of cool and I can go compare store render buffer and then again I could try to invert it but something weird is going on that when I click this I’m not getting those same controls so let’s figure out what’s going on if I come back to my node editor here you can see I’ve got that texture loaded into the rough but it’s currently called a bitmap and there’s less control with a bitmap so what we actually want is the image texture node so let’s find that so image texture and now I can just copy this path here this local path so ctrl-c ctrl-v and now it’s the same and I can just replace that Boop and so everything should be identical except now I’ve got this invert tick box and some extra controls like power and gamma so I can invert it and now it should look just a little bit different it’s not like black or white is more dominant in this image so it just kind of changes it up to invert it but what we can really do to make this more interesting and I’m just going to delete this dude is go back to this gradient node and I can drop that right on this wire here and again when I crunch these in it gets way more dramatic and you’ll see that once I disable this there you go so now that’s like too crazy but you can see like that creates some really cool-looking grunge stuff and I mean in this case the textures a little too low res you can kind of see it’s a little bit crunchy and ugly so what I can actually do is I can click on this UV transform box and I’m just going to give myself some more real estate everything’s getting all jammed together and what that does is you’ve got this now you’ve got this twirl down here and we can now mess with the scale of the texture and what that’s actually doing under the hood is if I click get active material it just takes doesn’t update a lot of the time like it doesn’t show you the update but that’s added a transform node into this transform so you can see this transform node just lets you rotate scale and reposition so position scale rotation so simple now typically when I scale down textures I want them to do it uniformly so I took this lock aspect ratio and then I can just kind of pull this down and you’ll see now it’s a little more detailed and better looking cool and and still the gradient is like crunching it way too much so you let’s separate this a little bit and or maybe we scoot this this way and this this way and instead of having this be fully reflective let’s bring this up a little bit so that we’ve still got some blurriness you know at all times and then this one can come down more towards gray so we can just make it a lot more subtle this way so you still got all of this interesting texture but it’s maybe not as quite as crazy um so yeah it’s definitely fun to just go through and try different textures in this roughness and that’s called you know a roughness map so I’ll keep on tweaking because I’m I’m a Tweaker all right so I think I’m pretty happy with what the majority of this stuff we’ve got going on the next thing I want to show you is just a little bit about how I would go about lighting this now um so let’s go back to our materials and I’ll pull this back out so we can kind of see a little bit better what we’re doing and under our objects here we’ve got an octane area light and then octane targeted area light so I’ve also got them here and I like my big bright button so I’m going to do that I’m going to click on octane targeted area light ok and that’s just an octane area light with a target tag and now everything’s going to blow out cuz it’s all up in our grill here I’m going to scale it down and kind of move it out of the way and I want to tell it what to target so I could just grab this dude’s overall no but I know from experience doing this before that I really want to grab his face plate which is just like way down in this hierarchy somewhere crazy so let’s see so called the light filter here so let’s use our target object as the light filter and now wherever I move this light I’m going to scale it down even more so wherever I move this guy here it will point at him it’s kind of hard to see but one really cool thing that I can do is if I go to my options here I can uncheck check camera and what that means is now if I jump out of my camera or move the camera at all this won’t update so I can move this around but it’s it will still update the geometry and all the lighting and stuff so this is a great way to light is if I want to like actually be able to navigate here but still see it from this vantage point in octane so you can see as I bring this closer to him if I remove this and let’s make the light bigger and make it kind of tall try to move this around see it’s constantly pointing in the space so that just makes it easier to position area lights and I’m going to bring this as kind of a backlight so I’m going to just push it back to the back here and I don’t want to see this glow in this case so I can jump into my light tag here and there is you can turn off camera visibility here but I tend to just let go in for some reason I find this easier and just drop the opacity all the way down the same thing doesn’t really matter um so right now you can see this light is kind of grainy and that’s because we boosted all these other this other light up so much so it seems like this one should be at least a thousand so so there we go now it’s getting better so let’s actually let’s go to ten thousand and see if we can get it with that and you’ll see it’s a balancing act like one if this one cleans up this one might start to get kind of grainy so we just got to keep an eye on it and I tend to go by orders of 10 now see that’s totally screwed things up now everything else is looking really grainy so I think we’re in a good place around 10,000 here except that it’s blowing him out so let’s just bring the tower down some cool and then I can just hold down control and drag and I’ll get one on the other side and kind of pull this back here and I’m going to try to get this to be a little bit more of a kind of tight rim around him so bring this for the back like so and see so a really easy way to see is again compare store render buffer and I’ll just turn this light off and I don’t want this vertical so it’s weird if you drag it to the right there you go now it’s a horizontal wipe if you click it and drag it down fast it becomes a vertical so there you go that’s what that light is contributing right so maybe I want that one to actually be higher power so let’s bring it up to like I know 60 see what that does there you go so now I’m getting this cool rim light around him there and a bit more of a fill on the other side and then maybe we take the fill and we make it a little bit cooler in terms of temperature so that’s a little bit bluer whereas before it was it was kind of more neutral so there that’s a little more extreme you can see how that’s kind of blue on his leg there and on here and I think I dig that so it’s disabled a comparison and I think the last thing that’s bugging me is this wall is still too intense so let’s go back to our diffuse and just really take down the power of that there something like that maybe there we go and once bring this on up let’s find now again it’s not going to update my camera until I go options check camera and now it’s going to say hey oh you’re over here so we want to jump back in our camera there we go let’s find kind of a cooler low angle here this is much nicer I think and then we can he’s a little crunchy looking but because the subdivision surface is off so let’s turn that all those subdivisions on looking pretty sweet there we go let that refine for a bit and then if I want to just quickly save this still I can just right click and say show in picture viewer and that will actually just load that still into the picture viewer whatever resolution this is so it’s not going to be full HD it’s 1078 by whatever cuz it’s only portion of my screen but this is great for like just outputting quick like Instagram things or just kind of you know doing tests or showing your friends cool stuff alright so let’s see what else do I want to do another thing that I have not covered and that’s super awesome so I can real quick this is a not very well known secret is if you hold down you know how you can hold down the two key and kind of dolly in and out well if you hold down the two key and right click you can zoom in and out and so this is actually dynamically changing my focal length so I’ll prove that to you real quick if you look here see how that’s totally changing there so if I want a long lens look then I will just kind of right click and hold down to and zoom in like that so now I’ve got a much longer lens and this will kind of aid the shallow depth of field that I’m going to give it so if I go to thin lens here I can just kind of pull this in and now I’ve got my six shallow depth-of-field going on and if I want it to go even further I can kind of crank this up so it’s like we’ve hit this the end of this slider but you can still punch in numbers that are higher and get an even shallower depth of field but that’s pretty extreme I think we’re good at five and I’ll kind of punch in even more and so he’s now out of focus right but there’s this tick box here and it’s not working right now and the reason is because we’ve got auto focus on so we want to turn that off and now wherever I click it’ll snap to focus there which is super awesome a cool cool cool okay one of the last things I want to show and not many people know about this is that you can actually override Octane’s focal depth here with the default cameras focus object so if I just drop something in this field like my guy it will stay locked to him so wherever I go he he’ll be to focus and I can demonstrate that better if I go really crazy with the shallow depth of field so he’s always in focus no matter where I am so this can be really useful if you’re tracking somebody attracting focus with somebody and it’s getting a little off so again I want to add my fun our camera here and instead of this overall no I want it to be my faceplate so let’s come down here to the light filter and drop that in and now that should sharpen up so that’s just locking focus to his visor here so I can go anywhere in the scene and he’ll stay super sharp there’s everything else is shallow so honestly that looks terrible and I’m just going to go back to how I had it oh yeah that’s a little more interesting don’t don’t astronaut alright I think that that that was a lightning fast tour of all of my favorite buttons and settings and octane I hope you guys enjoyed it hopefully in the following weeks I will be releasing a bunch of like more detailed like specific you know here’s every kind of material you can create here’s how to optimize an octane here’s how to do volume metrics how to do lighting how to do yada-yada so thanks for listening guys and I will catch you next time peace

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