NAB 2016 Rewind - Pixar: Renderman for Cinema 4D

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Brian Savery of Pixar previews the development of Renderman integration with Cinema 4D, highlighting many features of RenderMan 21.

Brian Savery of Pixar previews the development of Renderman integration with Cinema 4D, highlighting many features of RenderMan 21. You’ll see the PxrSurface Shader and Interactive Rendering within Cinema 4D. You’ll see the implementation of Light Types, Light Filters, Interactive Lighting and Holdouts. Brian shows the benefits of Pixar’s Marschner Hair and Denoiser, which will be available thru RenderMan’s Cinema 4D integration.

02:36PxrSurface Shader
04:40Interactive Rendering
05:58Marschner Hair
09:19Interactive Lighting
11:29Light Types
14:09Light Filters

Recorded Live from NAB 2016 in Las Vegas.



- [Chris Ford] My name is Chris Ford, and I'd like to introduce you to Brian Savery from our development team. We're both from Pixar's RenderMan Team. Over the past few years, we have received quite a large number of requests for Pixar's RenderMan rendering technology inside Cinema 4D. So, quietly in the background, we've been working on this. And what we want to do today is give you a sneak peak of some really interesting technology we think you're going to find really interesting for your experience in Cinema 4D in the future. So we can take some questions afterwards, but Brian now is going to give you a quick demonstration of what it is you'll soon be able to do. Brian. - [Brian Savery] All right. So RenderMan in Cinema 4D, I'm going to be showing a lot of new features here today. I'm going to go through them kind of quickly, but we'll have time for questions at the end and we'll get to that. So Pixar is really well known for putting out top quality animation, and we've also been selling our RenderMan software, which is industry-leading rendering. What's new and what we want to show today is both the RenderMan plugin working inside of Cinema 4D, and also we're showing some RenderMan 21 features. This is actually for both of those things. This is the first time these have been seen sort of to the general public. The really interesting thing with RenderMan 21 is we have worked with Pixar Studio to bring both the shaders and the lights, and some other workflows that Pixar Studios used for making actual movies, including our next feature animation, "Finding Dory." A lot of those same tools we're bringing to Cinema 4D to put them in the hands of artists like yourself. So like Chris said, we've been working on a rendering plugin for Cinema 4D, and it should feel pretty similar to other rendering plugins that you've seen before. You can render all of your geometry, lights, everything that you normally do with a renderer inside of Cinema 4D, spooler renderer. We can add in our RenderMan PxrSurface material, which is our uber-shader that was developed with the studio. We'll get into more of that later. But you can add all the surfaces, everything that you normally would with a renderer. So getting back to PxrSurface, or Pixar Surface, PxrSurface is an uber-shader developed with the studio's use for everything in "Finding Dory." So here, obviously, Dory, if you've never seen "Finding Nemo" before, this is Dory. And we're going to show this shader working inside of Cinema 4D. When I say it's an uber-shader, it's sort of like the whole kitchen sink in the shader. You can do Diffuse, Specular, everything you'd want to do in a shader. Subsurface, Scattering, Reflection, everything basically. So here we have it inside of Cinema 4D. And we won't go into too much detail with all the parameters, but you can see there's a lot of different options for customizing the shader. Again, this was used for pretty much everything that you see in this shot. The other really nice thing about the PxrSurface Shader is that it has the ability to layer stuff on top of each other. So imagine you have like a layer of rust on top of a layer of chrome. You can set up all those looks, and then layer them together on the PxrSurface Shader. What we're going to do is show that working a little better inside of Cinema 4D. What we have here is what we call our "Sterling Model," and this might look kind of familiar. It might look like something you've seen in "Cars 2." But what we have is, basically every surface in this scene is done with PxrSurface. The car paint, the chrome, the windows, the leather, the rubber, everything is done with PxrSurface. This is a pretty simple setup for the shaders. But you can create all these different looks all with one shader. The other thing that we're going to be showing here in Cinema 4D is Interactive Rendering experience. So we'll be able to, rather than go hit Render, decide that you don't like the look of the car and stop the render, and then change the parameter and go hit Render again, you'll be able to do this on the fly and see a really, really quick update on what the shader is going to look like. We're going to start our Interactive Renderer. What we'll see is our Sterling Model is just set up with grey right now. So we already have our car paint set up. All we have to do is drag it onto the car, and this should feel pretty similar for anyone who's ever used Cinema 4D before. We're going to drag the car paint shader onto the car, and then also onto the windows we're going to drag on our window shader. These are just looks that were set up in the PxrSurface. So if we dive a little bit more into the parameters for the car paint, you'll see we can change the color and get really, really quick feedback here in the Interactive Renderer. The nice part is that what you see in the Interactive Renderer is the full rendering solution that you would get if you were doing a full render. So rather than give you an approximation, we're giving you what you see from a full render, but with the interactivity that you're able to go and change stuff and see right away what the change is. So for example here, we're changing the clear coat amount, the color of the shader, and everything else. The other big material that we're shipping with Cinema 4D and RenderMan 21, and this is another one that was developed with the Pixar Studio is the Marschner Hair Shader. So this is a really physically realistic hair shader, and again used on all the Pixar movies. Again, just something we're really excited to get into hands of other artists to see what they can do with it. So the really cool part of this hair shader is it's, like I said, completely physically accurate. You can see a lot of translucence, of light scattering through the hair, and it's really easy to set up some really cool looks. So you might recognize this alien as well from one of our movies. But right now, he just has the little grey material on his hair. He's gone a little punk. This is the alien from the wrong side of the tracks. What we're going to do is we're going to assign the Marschner Hair to our alien, and right away you can see that's the light scattering through the back of the hair. It looks pretty good, but we want to make him look a little more punk. So what we're going to do is, just like if you're setting up your shader patterns in Cinema 4D, you can go and attach all of the Pixar node-based shaders to different patterns on the shader. Here we're attaching green. And what we're going to do is do basically a very simple ramp along the length of the hair from green to red as you go along the T distance of the hair, so along the length of the hair. So we'll make him look a little more punk here. Again, that's all running inside the Interactive Renderer. Another workflow that we're bringing with RenderMan 21 and into Cinema 4D is a Holdout Workflow. So this should be pretty familiar to a lot of Cinema 4D artists who are working with photographic plates and they want to render a model, and then put the model into the preexisting photo. Basically, what we're going to do is we're going to set up... All the reflections and shadows from our Sterling Model here are collected onto a plane. We can do that really simply with a couple of little tags here. So we're going to attach the Holdout tags to the plane. And then on the camera, we're going to tell it to click the reflection and shadows. Then, we just simply have to set up our image plate that we want to collect things onto. So what we have is an image that was taken outside of Pixar Studio, and then when we go and render, the shadows from the car are going to be comped onto the photograph from outside of Pixar Studio. Just like the PxrSurface shader, all of the lights that are shipping with RenderMan 21, and all of them are already inside Cinema 4D, these were all developed with artist direction in mind, along with they were developed with Pixar Studios. So these are the exact same lights you're getting that were used in "Finding Dory." Again, we can edit these lights and move them around, and do things interactively using our Interactive Renderer. Going back to our side render here of Sterling, right now we have a couple of lights on either side and a soft box on top. We just went and deleted the top light. And then all we're going to do is add it back in and put it back where it was before. So the Area light here is just added, and we're going to go move it around, move it on top of the car model, and then rotate it so it's casting some soft light down. The other really nice thing about the lights is, like I said, the lights are all sort of meant for artist direction. So the parameters on the lights are all stuff where it would be really useful for artists. So you can choose the color of the light, the intensity, the exposure. So if you just want to double the intensity, you can up the exposure one. You can also set the lights by a color map if you have an HDR map that you want to attach to a light, or you can set the lights by color temperature. Anyone who's not familiar with that, if you imagine going to a hardware store and getting your LED lights at a different temperature, you can do the same thing with the lights inside of RenderMan. The nice part of about that is it makes it very easy to match lights that you might have in a photographic studio. So here, we are changing the color temperature, and we get a much warmer color. If we go back to 8,000, it's a little cooler. Like I said, all of these lights were co-developed with Pixar Studio. We have a bunch of different light types. These are all true area lights, so they have a size and shape to them. They have all physically correct fall-off, and we have a bunch of different procedural light shapes that we can play with here. You can change the size of them, change the scale of them. So we're just trying a couple different light types here. Another interesting light we have is the Directional light. So say you wanted to simulate a sun in the sky, shining from one direction, so all the light rays go in one direction, we can do that. We can also do a Dome light, pretty standard stuff. But if you want to have a sky above, casting a light in all directions, we can do that here. Right now, we just have it with a simple color. But we can also obviously attach an environment map to the Dome light here, then we'll get a much more interesting render. This is also really useful. A lot of times you'll take an HDR photograph in your studio, and then just bring the HDR in, put it on the Dome light, and then automatically recreate the lighting that was in your studio or on the set. The other really interesting shader that we have for lights is the Procedural Daylight shader. So this is a shader, basically, that will go and physically simulate an outside sky. What that does is you can put in the day, month, year. So right now, we have it set up actually for the latitude of Vegas here, and in a couple hours. This is actually kind of what the light outside should look like. You can also set the haziness on it, so there's a lot of different parameters to let you do things. The last light that we have is a Mesh light. We can attach a Mesh light to any object in the scene, and that lets us basically make an object act like a light. So here we attached the Mesh light to the taillights in the scene and the headlights, and those were the only lights in the scene, and we get a pretty cool render from that. Another interesting artist tool we have in our arsenal is the light filters, and they kind of act like you might expect. They will filter light. But they're a lot more than that, because they allow you to basically artistically manage the samples coming out of your light. So you have the light that's being sampled and shooting photons into the scene. You can manage with the light filters where they get cast, if they get multiplied, if they get shadowed on and stuff like that. So we have a bunch of different light filters, and these are all stuff, again, co-developed with Pixar Studio, that we have working inside of Cinema 4D here. So there's one with no filter. You use a Blocker filter to cast a shadow in a certain area of the scene, Gobo filter to color the light in certain areas. The other interesting light feature we have is Portal light. So let's imagine that you have an interior scene that you want to light from outside of the scene, so like someone's bedroom with a Dome light outside of the bedroom, similar to this here. So what we have is we have a Dome light set up outside of the bedroom, and all of the light that's getting into the scene here is coming in from outside in the windows. This looks all right. We have a little bit of noise we can see here. The reason for that is that a lot of the samples from the Dome light aren't coming through those couple little windows. So basically, the way that we're going to use the portals is to focus all of the samples from the light through the windows. So we're just going to go over really quickly setting those up inside of Cinema 4D. It's as simple as adding some portals, and then we're going to have to align them to the windows. Basically, we want to get them to about the size and shape of the windows, and put them right in front of the windows, then attach them to the Dome light that's on the outside. Then, once we do that, we're going to be able to tell the Dome light to send all of its samples through these couple portals. So rather than samples being wasted out in space, we're going to have all of them used to get a better picture inside of the room here. So now we're attaching them to the Dome light, and it's as simple as going to hit Render now. I did this in a little bit of low sampling so we could see the actual noise here. It's a little hard to see on this screen, but it's definitely quite a bit less noise and you can notice the pattern here on the bedspread, because we're getting a much better light through the blinds there. You can see the pattern of the light coming through the blinds. So that's Portals. Obviously, managing noise with path tracers is a really important thing. One thing that we found is that with path tracers, doubling the number of samples that you use doesn't necessarily make the noise half as much. This is a big problem. So now we have a render of "Finding Dory" here, and it's pretty noisy if we look close here. We can see a lot of noise, up here or up here. The problem is if we let this render for twice the amount of time, then it won't be half as noisy. So we have a solution. This is one of the big advantages of Pixar is that we have the resources of collaborating with Disney and Disney Research. The Denoiser technology is something that has come over from Disney Research. It is used with Hyperion, Disney's renderer, in some of their movies, and also it's been used on "Finding Dory" here. So what the Denoiser is going to do is it's going to clean up the noise in this image without losing a lot of the sort of fine detail on the coral and everything else. To do that, basically we have to set up a bunch of different outputs, AOVs, from the scene. So we have an Albedo output here, just a Simple Color, and a bunch of others, Normal, Z-Depth, Diffuse, Specular. So we have a bunch of different outputs here. And then afterwards, we run this through a post-process and we get a much cleaned up image. If we look a little closer, we'll actually see that all of the fine detail here in the coral is still there, even though we've gone and filtered this image with the Denoiser. If we just went and ran this through a Photoshop filter or something similar to that, we would lose a lot of that detail. So luckily, we have this in our Cinema 4D plugin as well. And a lot of people have always asked us, "How do I make my image look pretty? Where's the Make It Pretty button?" We have a Make It Pretty button. It's right there. You just turn on the Denoiser and that's all you have to do, and you get all those outputs set up, and then we get a much cleaner image. This is the exact same render as before, no noise virtually in the whole scene. So a really easy way to get a very clean image. So that's a lot of the cool new artist tools we have going on, all of them working inside of Cinema 4D. Everything, except for the "Finding Dory" stills, obviously were rendered inside of Cinema 4D. We're really, really excited to get this into the hands of artists.
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