The transition from Physical, to Corona, to Octane, to Redshift

Today, I wanted to share with you some of my personal insights and decisions I had to do over the years when it comes to working with third party renderers in Cinema 4D. How I got into using different renderers and the organic transitions I personally had while switching.

My goal here, is not to emphasize the use of a particular render engine, nor to criticize another, but just to share my reasoning behind my needs and workflow habits.

I started working with Cinema 4D about 4 years ago now, back then, the standard and physical renderer were kind of the way to go for most of us, since third party renderers were not really adopted or implemented as they should for a stable workflow in Cinema. Even tho V-ray has always been a must have renderer option for Archviz artists, it was still all CPU based and slow for must of us, and personally for me, working with an intel 4 core without hyper-threading.

 

Physical Renderer

Working with the Physical Renderer has always been a frustration for me, due to the slow feedback and the amount of test renders I had to send in the render view just to preview the smallest change in my scenes.

I never really questioned this render engine, because it was working out of the box and doing pretty much everything, and to be honest, it was the only render engine I knew back then.

Despite my slow running machine, I ended up doing around 340 projects using the physical render engine, all part of my Everydays project I started in 2016. Apart from uploading the C4D project files on the site, I was also posting a screenshot of my final render time, just to share my waiting frustration with the community downloading my files.

At this point I knew, I had to find a faster render solution to try on.

 

Corona Renderer

I first heard about the integration of Corona render engine (beta) in Cinema 4D around 2017, it was still at its early stages but very promising, and free to use. After playing around with it for a couple days, I realized it was faster than the Physical renderer with better overall controls of the Image editor, with options like Flare, color correction and other camera settings, very easy to just play around with. Even tho it was still CPU based with no node editors, it was the switch I was looking for at that time for faster results, without having to upgrade my workstation.

Nowadays Corona have had a significant overhaul, with his node based system and it’s denoiser (GPU accelerated). I haven’t had the chance to play around the new update, but it’s a render engine I definitely loved and would use again at some point. I ended up doing 35 projects using Corona before switching again onto another render engines.

 

Octane Renderer

 I never thought I would be using Octane so soon in my everydays journey, and definitely not 1 month after switching to Corona, I was just getting used to it, but thankfully a friend decided to gift me a full license of Octane, fan of my project files, he just wanted to give me something useful to play with in return, and I will always be thankful for his generosity.

I had just upgraded my Graphics card with a new 1050ti, and it was finally time to go full GPU.

Of course, going GPU and seeing for myself the difference in speed and in my workflow was just amazing.

Once you go GPU, you will never look back. It is probably one of the biggest leap the motion design industry had during the last couple years, a real game changer. At this point, to be honest, GPU acceleration has become a must have in most softwares, it has become essential in everyone’s workflow, and most of all, for the well-being of our own sanity.

For me personally, Octane brought me a new way of working inside of Cinema 4D with its live render view. Lighting and texturing became fun again to play with. Scattering objects, node systems, denoising renders and fog options is something most Octane users can’t go without.

I ended up doing 355 projects using Octane. As fun as it was, there was always some minor issues and frustrations I kept getting while using Octane most of the time. From the constant crashes to the minor updates, that I still don’t really understand, I just needed something more stable to work with.

 

Redshift Renderer

 I was always intrigued by Redshift, but a bit scarred to just get into. I did however buy a full license 1 year ago, but never ended up using it until last month, when Maxon acquired Redshift. After watching some tutorials about the new node system and the overall settings. I decided to implement it in my workflow and continue my everydays project with it.

 Even tho I’m still new to Redshift and still have a lot to understand, the learning curve have been fairly easy so far. I do need to state that I am very impressed by its stability inside of Cinema 4D. Over the course of a month working with it on an everyday basis, I’ve probably encounter 3-4 crashes. I used to have those same number of crashes in the same couple of minutes using Octane on a couple projects, which has made me panicky every time I was starting the render view while having a fair amount of geometry in my scene. But the stress of crashing Cinema is no more, or at least kept to a minimum while using Redshift, it just handles itself very well. And for that reason, it has now become my new render engine for my daily projects.

 

In retrospect

Over the last couple of years, I slowly started to understand what I was looking for in order to make my workflow easier on myself, going GPU was a real time saver, but nowadays, having a strong versatile and stable engine is something I can’t neglect.

Stability > Versatility > Speed

Cheers.

Get creative, but not too much!

Today, I wanted to take a little bit of your time and talk to you about the process I have while working on my dailies. Where I find my inspiration, how do I keep coming up with new stuff on a daily basis and why being creative every single day is a bad idea!

Making one piece of art every single day is sounding exhausting just by saying it! and it can sound ridiculous when you know that Beeple have been doing it for 3508 consecutive days… I'm like ''how'' everytime!

But, as I went by doing my dailies I learned a couple of tricks to pass by the hard days. Yeah, those days… When your psychology is not on point, when you have your ''men's period'' (it's a thing, google it, I'm not crazy!) and where you just have no time or patience to just sit and do stuff!

The famous extra folder… it's a sin… it's the devil… but it's ok to use it when you're desperate!!! I started the Everyday's in April, but I started uploading the projects files the 11th of April, back then I knew what I was getting into and I was totally prepared for it! I started smashing those 3d models and rendering like crazy, I even modeled a car in 3:30 hours… Creativity over 9000… I was so into it!

However, I had a meeting already planned in Athens during this month and I knew I would be away from my computer for 7 days! I thought… easy, I'm just gonna put Cinema4D into my brothers shitty laptop and everything is gonna work fine! my renders will not be pretty but at least I'll have something to upload! If it was up to me, I would have taken my desktop computer, but you know… heavy stuff cost more to travel with!

I arrived in Athens, first thing I did was to see how Cinema4D would run on my brothers laptop… and funny story… it wasn't working, nothing… blank… rien du tout! I was so upset! I started a daily project and I was already having some complications the first month! I tried to find some alternatives but nothing was working, and I knew, for a week I couldn't upload shit! I did got that job interview tho… but who cares!

I lost 7 days of the Everyday's project, so to be fair I've been uploading for 218 consecutive days… but 235 project files are on the site! so you know… just go with it! When I got back in Thessaloniki I had to find a solution, for when I wouldn't be able to be near my computer, and since I got that job, I'll have to literally move to Athens in a couple of days again!

So I created this Extra folder in my Everyday's main folder, where I would put some extra project files that looked cool but didn't made it as an official daily upload the day I made them. And as it turned out, the extra folder is a life saver! I personally hate using it, cause for me it takes out the concept and meaning of a daily! but, since I can't do otherwise for now, it's the only solution to keep a daily upload schedule, and not miss a day! cause keep in mind that I also upload all the project files, and for me that's more important, to be able to give out my stuff for free on a daily basis!

I'm sharing this with you because next week I will be flying to Italy, Milan for 3 days and I will not have my computer with me! so… Some extras are gonna fill up those days! just so you know…

You don't need to be creative at all to start a daily project… It's easy! Just make a base model, render it a couple of times while changing your mood board and the perspectives and voila… you just made a week's worth of uploads in a couple hours. Or, you could keep the lighting and textures and make a variant of the base model. In any case, this will save you some time and help you with your lighting and texturing skill.

A lot of designers are doing it, to really analyze and work with a single piece of elements at a time, and it's working with little effort! So if you want to start a daily project, this is the way to dive in… smoothly.

Personally I have never reused any of my models so far, I don't like to share the same stuff, and you will probably never see the same model in any of my project files. But, I do like to reuse my textures and lightings. Cause this is probably what makes my renders… Mine, and there is no need to change that every single day, I am more into the modeling part of it, and I like my lighting to keep this kind of personification that is slowly progressing each day. And if you've been following my lighting setup and textures, it's simple and effective!

Coming from a Photography background, and having worked a lot in studios, my lighting setup was most of the time the same, because it was working for me and for what I wanted to create! So, when you find the lighting that ''represent'' you, keep it, and slowly improve it!

It might not sound as helpful to you yet, but from my personal experience, finding that perfect track to put you in the creative mood is a must! I am a very creative person, only because I find the right music to put me into that mood when I'm starting making stuff!

Think about going to the gym without your music… There's something missing and you know it, because you get bored easily! I started using Spotify a month ago, and I just love it… there's literally ''mood'' playlists you can choose from! so good…

This is pre elementary stuff but you know, it's good to hear it again from time to time.

When I'm modeling stuff, I always do it with short breaks in between, and usually I model for half an hour and then I pause everything just to look at it and think what should I make next! and yeah… no need further explanations, but I wanted to put it here, because I do a lot of speed up makings of the modeling parts where the breaks are not visible, and you all lose your mind on how awesome I am, but no, I do take breaks, I'm a simple man! keep in mind that I'm still learning a lot of stuff, and 3D modeling need some time to process, just to really be able to visualize what you are going for! So, take your time…

Let's talk about inspirations. you probably heard it, but, to become better at what you want to achieve in life, you need to find the people that are already making it, and follow them!

Fuck originality. Everything has already been done, so don't worry about that. (at least for now) It's all in the process of making it, having goals and trying to reach those by learning more and more everyday about your craft. I'm not the best at what I do, and I will probably never be the best at anything, but, I'm progressing and I can see that by myself!

It's hard to come up with good stuff everytime, I'm not Beeple, or hoodass, or even Philip, to be able to provide quality renders every day! There's times where I don't like my render at all, but, this was the best thing I could come up with during this day.

Be able to share the good as well as the bad stuff is really important, not for the criticism and comments, no one really need those, but only to be able to trace back where you started, and see that progression by yourself, this is the only way you will be able to see where you're going!

When I first began this project, I would never have thought that, I would still love it after 8 months, and I'm just getting started. Since then, I was able to make my own products, my own custom library, free packs and a Plugin. I found a way to make a little money out of my open source project that I started, just because I wanted to get better at modeling!

I found a way to be 100% original in my work, by trying to redo what I've been learning and seeing from the people that I am following all those years! So find those people you're interested in and follow them up close, because what they are doing is working and you can see why!

Peace and keep rendering… 

The French Monkey

About the everyday project!


Today I wanted to take a little bit of your time and tell you more about the everyday project, how and why it started, and where it will be going hopefully in the upcoming years! 

I've been playing around Cinema4D and making renders for the last 4 years now, and it has been one of the best tool so far for me, it has really unleashed my creativity in a cool and easy way. The first couple of years have been a pleasure to be able to play with this software, while watching the glorious tutorials of Nick campbell of Greyscalegorilla, which I will be forever grateful for introducing me to Cinema4D in the first place. I learned a lot from them!

During that time I had some jobs as a graphic designer and photographer, and my little knowledge in 3D was always a plus. The only problem was that, I live in Greece, and if you're not familiar with the crisis and all, well, long story short, if you're a freelancer, you are basically fucked! I used to do full projects 40+ hours for 50$ in total, just to be able to have some money, and most of the time a was doing free stuff for clients because I wanted to be out there, be known, and make some marketing! which never really got me anywhere.

During 2015 capital controls where put all over the country and are still heavily present today. However, that day, when the capital controls where announced, I lost a lot of clients, they just vanished, and some of them owned me money... The little amount that I was asking!

Of course, no story can exist without some romance involve! I had a very hard breakup back in 2013 which still haunts me today, and without a job or even someone I could relate to or lookup to, I got into a very deep depression. I was counting the days man... Heavy stuff, but that's another story.

I got to a point where I had lost everything. I was already back to my parents since my breakup and for about a year I totally disappeared, I didn't wanted to see my friends, or even go out! I just vanished, Scrolling facebook posts without leaving any likes or comments, a real ghost!

My only way of distraction was to create stuff, making artwork will always be a motivation for me and a way of making me feel good with myself! so I got deeper inside Cinema4D, Photoshop, and Chaotica, I started a couple of projects of my own. I was already watching up close the work of Beeple, which was a real inspiration for starting this everyday project!

My first daily project attempt was making cool and shinny spheres, this helped me a lot learning more about lighting and texturing inside of Cinema4d, but it didn't lasted long, I kinda stopped making them. But look at my balls!! So shinny!

I Like Sphere

My second daily project attempt where Instagram photos, landscape and sunsets, this got me to go out and take photos, it really helped me. But it didn't really lasted long either! As a photographer, Taking Sunsets will always be something I will be doing in the future, so follow me on Insta for more shots like this!

Sunsets

The third daily project attempt where fractals, I will always love this project, pretty cool stuff. But again, it didn't really lasted that long! I still do from time to time, because I use them a lot in my Cinema4D scenes, as sky objects, it's a really cool collection to have!

Fractality

These projects really helped me personally, I learned a lot, but, I wanted something more, I wanted to give something to the community, to build something on my own, and help others. I started playing around with Cinema4D again, and I pushed myself into making a render everyday, and learning a bit more about modeling.

A couple of weeks went by, making renders everyday, I started having some questions on my socials about how I made those models, and I fought, why not share my C4D files as open source to everyone, so they can see my setup! And that's pretty much how I started this daily project. It was hard at the beginning because I had to make everything from scratch, and I had to learn more stuff so my renders don't look like shit! But, day by day, I like to think that my stuff are getting better, I'm still not satisfied with anything, but if my projects can help you in any way, then It's good for me.

As of today, I am very satisfied with where the project is going, It's still very small, but keep in mind that I am one man running everything. It took some time to create this website, I was also working the first couple of months and It was hard to also find time for making renders and uploading the files, but after almost seven months of making this everyday, its starting to go somewhere, and that makes me happy. Finding people who like my stuff and telling me how my projects helped them, that's priceless! 

At the end of this month, almost 200 open source projects files will be uploaded on the site, that's about 13 GB of assets, meshes, textures, lightnings and all. Those projects have been downloaded about 3000 times over 40 countries in the last three months, which is not bad for a start. And the feedback I'm receiving from you guys, is priceless! Your support really keeps me going and I thank you for that!

A lot of ideas and goals have been in my mind when I started this, the first plan was of course to keep the site running, because to be honest, I don't have a lot of money to run everything on my own. So Patreon was my go to platform, to try and find some people willing to contribute to this project so that the site can run by itself! So far so good... however, the first couple of months have been really hard, I gave all the money I had into this project, and I was living with basically 50$ a month from small jobs I could find. Thank god, some people where generous enough to contribute to the project and keep this going, and I will always be thankful to my Patreons for that!

As of today, things got a bit easier, money wise, thanks to the products I was able to make and sell on the site. The everyday's project gave me a trustful source to make and promote something good, useful and affordable for everyone. Since every projects needs to be custom made, I had to find a way to create my own library of maps and textures, and that's pretty much how I came up with those Packs, and so far, you guys have been loving those, and that's real love right there!

For the upcoming months, I will keep doing what I already do, sharing my files everyday, making more useful packs to help you out on your daily projects, and creating more stuff, like those blogs, and probably tutorials to give you more insight and help you out further! More free packs are coming, like I did with the World Machine one, and that's probably all! For now at least!

Peace and keep rendering...

The French Monkey

What to do when waiting for a render!

I saw the other day a video from the Maxon booth at Half Rez 5, where Fred Huergo from ManvsMachine was talking about how they made the VERSUS teaser, showcasing the new features of Cinema4D R18. It's always nice to see how small companies are able to make this kind of things. Their ways of working around concept ideas, and being able to come up with solutions and workarounds to make stuff quicker.

But, the question always remains the same for everyone.

You're sitting in your chair, all the modeling, lighting, texturing and test renders are done, everything ''apparently'' looks good enough for the final render in 4K with GI and AO of course! You also crank up that sampling subdivision to get that smooth DOF Because why not! You press that render button, wait a couple minutes just to see if everything is working, and then... You just wait! The anticipation to see that glorious black screen slowly filling in with colors is so big that you can't really focus on something else. You know it's probably gonna take an hour, probably two, or even more. But, you just wait, starring at the screen while listening to music.

In his video, at the beginning, Fred Huergo was showing some images of the inside of ManvsMachine quarters, where they had some pretty cool options to choose from while waiting for a render to be done. Playing Ping Pong indoors, taking a walk around the canals in London, or even socializing a bit more with the other team members. It's these little things, these little distractions that can make a company be more innovative and effective. To have in overall, a better creative thought process within all their team members.

That's all good if you work in a company like ManvsMachine, but, what if you're working home alone like I do? Without the comfort and the motivation or others around you? Without Ping Pong Tables, Canals, or even a second computer to be able to make more stuff while the render is doing his thing?

It's a question that I had to make to myself today, and really try to focus on the subject to find an answer! Not only for me and my own sanity, but also to give you guys something to think about as well.

I've been waiting a render to be done for about 21 hours as I'm writing this, and it's the first time, in about six months that I couldn't touch Cinema4D in my daily routine. I've already cough up with all the youtube channels I follow, I've checked my emails, facebook, instagram, twitter, listened to music for about ten hours straight, washed the dishes, fed my guinea pigs three time already... It's a lot I know! Started American Dad, I've seen the first ten episodes. I've done some changes to the website as well. But, for some reason, I still feel I haven't done anything meaningful today.

So I started thinking about what this website needed, and for so long I've been wanting to start some ''first action'' blogging, to give a little more about myself, some insights of the projects I'm working on, and get a little closer to you guys, so yeah... I create this Blog tab, where hopefully I will be utilizing my time wasted starring at my renders to something more meaningful and productive. 

So, why don't you start blogging as well?

As a Visual Artist, all my work is mainly focused around the image, I'm working with shapes, perspective and colors. I don't really go in depth, explaining why I came up with this concept and this design or this color theme, or even what it represent for me personally, at a sentimental level. Visual Artists are usually not very good at explaining the meaning behind their artworks, because as we all know, an image equals to a thousand words, and a lot of times, it's just a long story brah! Where should I even begin?

The trouble all Visual Artists have to deal with their creations is the same for everyone. Explaining the true meaning behind the images, and what it really represents. Artists are good at keeping their thoughts and feelings to themselves, by sharing them over other mediums of communications than words. And that's a beautiful thing!

And yeah... My render just finished. I don't really know where I was going with this, but I'm just gonna leave it as it is. Feel free to leave a comment, I'll be writing more stuff in the upcoming days.

Peace, and keep rendering.

The French Monkey