Cinema 4D Team Render, Part 08: Preparing C4D Scenes for Network Rendering

Photo of Rick Barrett

Instructor Rick Barrett

Share this video
  • Duration: 09:15
  • Views: 8234
  • Made with Release: 16
  • Works with Release: 15 and greater

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to prepare C4D scenes for Network Rendering.

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to prepare C4D scenes for Network Rendering. Because network rendering usually involves different types of machines and operating systems, you need to keep a few things in mind.

Make sure any plugins support Team Render and are installed on each Team Render Client. Avoid Quicktime and CMYK textures, and ensure all textures are linked properly relative to the project file.

You’ll see the importance of caching Particles, Mograph, Dynamics, Hair and Cloth, and see a basic overview of how to cache each of these effects.

You’ll also learn about some features not supported by Team Render, including Stereo Rendering, Sub-Frame Motion Blur, the Vector Motion Blur post effect, Legacy Irradiance, Quicktime VR, the Spline Shader and Pyrocluster.



- In this tutorial, I'm going to talk a little bit about preparing scenes for Team Render. The first thing we need to talk about is plug-ins. Now in general, plug-ins work fine with Team Render. The main thing you need to be concerned about here is that you have installed instances of the plug-ins on all of the Team Render clients. If the plug-ins aren't on all the Team Render clients, you may have inconsistencies or even failed renders. So the main consideration with plug-ins is to make sure that the plug-in is also on the client. There may be certain plug-ins that have incompatibilities with Team Render, and you'd want to refer to the third-party developer for more information on that. The next thing to be aware of is with textures, and the first thing is don't use CMYK textures. In general, it's not a great idea to use CMYK with 3D anyway, because CMYK is a print-based format. RGB will be a much truer representation of what you'll see when you render. Cinema 4D does have the ability to load CMYK images. However, they're currently interpolated differently between Windows and Mac computers. So if you use a CMYK image, the appearance of that image will change based on whether it was rendered on a Windows or a Mac computer. If you do this with buckets it gets really fun, because each bucket actually has a different color to it. It almost starts to look like a patchwork quilt. The next thing I'd like to advise you against is to avoid QuickTime movies. Cinema 4D works better anyway if you use still image sequences for your animated textures. It just allows quicker previews within Cinema 4D, and also you won't have to worry about QuickTime being installed on all the clients. Along the same line, try to avoid specialized image formats that might only be supported by QuickTime. As long as you stick to the basic formats that Cinema 4D supports for rendering, you should be in good shape. Finally, with textures make sure your textures are linked properly, and if you're using Team Render Server, don't use any absolute paths. The best way to make sure all your textures are linked correctly for Team Rendering is to either render out of Cinema 4D directly, or if you're using Team Render Server save project with assets into the Team Render repository path. That will copy all of your textures directly in, and if there are any texture errors you'll get warned when you save the project with assets. The next thing is that you want to make sure that you cache everything, everything that you possibly can cache. Because differences between computers can cause differences in your renders, so that from one frame to the next things might jump, or the appearance of the image might change. So for instance, any type of Particle effects, any Mograph, any Dynamics including Cloth and Hair Dynamics, a radiance-based GI, and anything with Noise are things for which the calculation might change from computer to computer, and so you'll want to cache all of these objects. Let's take a look at what it looks like when you don't cache everything. Here I have a scene that I have Team Rendered to the Picture Viewer of some leaves falling to welcome fall, and you'll see first of all this big jump here is that CMYK warning I gave you. That background image I used is in CMYK, so as we switch from a Macintosh computer, which is Puffer, to a Windows computer, Bloodhound, the rendering of that CMYK image is going to be drastically different. Now, another thing you'll notice if you look very closely is that switching between these two computers, the leaves all change positions. That leaf, look at that leaf right there, and as we go here they're in totally different positions. As we keep scrubbing here to the next time we change, here we're changing from Bloodhound back to Puffer, see? All the leaves change positions again, as well as that CMYK, which makes it completely obvious. So you want to make sure to bake everything. The way you would bake a standard Cinema 4D Particle system is to go to Simulate, Particles, Bake Particles. Anytime you've applied Dynamics to anything, you can go into the Cache tab and choose to Bake All in the Dynamics cache. I'm just going to cancel out of that, rather than waiting for the entire Dynamics cache to complete. With Mograph objects, you can go in and add a Mograph cache tag, and really quickly I'll just add a plane in here, make it editable. It's not even visible, but we will just add a Cloth tag to it, so that you can see that there is a Calculate Cache button here within the Cloth tag. If we were to add Hair onto an object, you have a Cache tab here and the ability to calculate the cache there. So these are all of the different places where you'll want to calculate the cache in order to make sure that your renders are consistent from image to image. Now, another reason to calculate the cache is that Cinema 4D will do its best to save you from yourself. So if you have things like Particle systems and Mograph objects that aren't cached, it's actually going to pre-roll the entire scene up to the frame that it's assigned to each computer, which is going to take an enormous amount of time away from your Team Rendering, and make things take longer than they need to. So cache everything and you'll be good to go. There are a few things that don't have built-in caching mechanisms within Cinema 4D. But the great thing is that we now have Alembic support. So for things like Thinking Particles, you can export as an Alembic file and I'll just save it like that. You want to make sure to save the Particles. You can also just save the Particle geometry and save yourself from reassigning it, and then when you merge that Alembic file back in you can utilize that instead of the Thinking Particles. So the actual position of all the Particles will be saved within the Alembic file. While we're talking about Alembic, it's a good time to point out that with Xrefs and Alembic caches, you need to make sure that those also are relatively referenced inside the project folder. Again, Save Project with Assets will take care of that for you. With Xrefs, you need to make sure to set the master scene within the Team Render Server interface. Otherwise, you might be in for a nasty surprise when one of your tiny, little asset files gets Team Rendered, instead of your master file that would take hours to render. Finally, I want to make a comment about some of the things that aren't supported in Team Render, and the first is Stereo rendering. Team Render just isn't set up to handle both the left and the right cameras in a Stereo render. Another thing is the Sub-Frame or Scene Motion Blur. This is the type of Motion Blur where it renders multiple frames for each frame, and then blurs them together. That is not supported currently in Team Render. The Vector Motion Blur post-effect also isn't supported. However, you can do motion blur using either the motion vector pass or using the Physical Render motion blur. Another thing not supported is the Legacy Irradiance GI mode from Release 14 and earlier. In general, it's not a good idea to use Irradiance when you're Team Rendering anyway. It's not a great format for animations in general. You'll want to typically use QMC for that. But you can use the modern Irradiance that was introduced with release 15. You just cannot use the Legacy Irradiance mode that existed prior and is still in there for compatibility purposes. Another thing that's not supported is QuickTime VR rendering. So you can't render directly to an object or panoramic-based QuickTime VR. With the Spline Shader you need to be careful, because fonts that don't exist on the machine will not render properly. Generally, with text objects and Mograph text, Team Render will cache the shapes of those objects, so that if a font isn't on the machine it will still render properly. But the Spline Shader doesn't have the ability to cache the shape of the font. So if the font isn't on the machine, it won't render properly. Finally, on a non-homogeneous render farm, Pyrocluster probably won't render properly. So you may be able to get away with it if all of your machines are the same processor type and operating system. But if you have a mixed farm, you'll probably see differences from frame to frame in the rendering of the Pyrocluster. So that's a quick overview of some things to consider when you're preparing scenes for Team Rendering. Many of these are general concepts. But they are specific to the release that I am currently using, which is 16.038. With later releases, some of these limitations might be removed. But these are some things to keep in mind and to look at when your Team Renders don't come out as you'd expect. As far as Team Render not working like you expect, we're going to cover troubleshooting in more detail with the next tutorial.
Resume Auto-Scroll?