The Reflectance Channel, Part 06: Dealing With Imported Materials

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Instructor Patrick Goski

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  • Duration: 09:19
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  • Made with Release: 16
  • Works with Release: 16 and greater

Working with imported materials from versions prior to Cinema 4D R16.

In this video you’ll see what to expect when working with materials imported into Cinema 4D R16 from previous versions of C4D. This includes a breakdown of what is imported and where you can find it, as well as some of the pitfalls you may experience. It should be noted that files saved in R16 will not render properly in previous versions of C4D as the Reflectance Channel is not supported in previous versions.



- In this video, we're going to be taking a look at how materials created in Cinema 4D R15 are handled when you bring them into Cinema 4D R16, using the reflectance channel. So, here we have the same owl object with materials that have been created in Cinema 4D R15. If we click on the owl body material, we can see that we have a basic material with a color set to blue, a reflection channel using the fresnel shader, and this is set to be physically accurate. And we also have a specular channel using the plastic mode, with a width of 54%, a height of 83, and fall off of minus 8. We can see that we don't have any color set in the specular or in the reflection channel. If we go ahead and render, we can see the results that we get in R15. Now, if we go to Cinema 4D R16, we're going to start by loading in the file that we saved out of R15, which we have right here. We'll see that everything comes in as expected, and we have our materials here, and if we click render, we'll see that the results match what we had in R15. So, now that we have this, let's go ahead and take a look at the owl body material, and see what has been done to convert this for us. We'll start by clicking on the owl body material, and then taking a look at that in the attribute manager. We can see that the color channel comes in as expected, and we already have a reflectance channel added. If we click on the reflectance channel, we'll see that this has two reflectance layers in it: the default specular and the default reflection, and these are both set up to mimic what was created in R15. The default specular is set to the add blend mode to blend between the two reflectance layers. And if we take a look at the properties, we'll see that the specular type is specular Blinn legacy. This matches the plastic mode that we had in Cinema 4D R15. The attenuation is also set to additive. This is controlling how the specular blends with the color channel. We can see that the width and the falloff match what we had in R15, and the specular strength matches the height of the specular in R15. In previous videos, we did cover that when you're creating a specular, it's best to set the specular strength to 100%, and then just use the layer mask amount to control the brightness. But in this case, when the material is converted, it is fairly safe to leave this as is, as the blending is controlled by the additive attenuation. This means the specular strength can be adjusted without really worrying about breaking anything. If you did want to work in a similar fashion using the layer mask amounts, you can adjust the specular strength back to 100%, and then reduce the layer mask amount to adjust the brightness. But again, if you are just worrying about this converted material and you're not going to be adjusting it further, you don't really need to do this. Next, we'll check the reflection. So, this is the default reflection and the blend mode here for the layers is set to normal, meaning it would overwrite any layer that's underneath it. And this is fine right now, because we don't have any layers underneath it, and again, if we're not going to really be working with this beyond just dealing with the basic settings, then everything here is fine. The type is set to reflection legacy. This means the shading model is using the same shading model that was used in Cinema 4D R15. We can see that the reflection strength is 100% and the specular strength is 0%. These again, are expected. The attenuation is set to average. Again, this is something that we would want when using a reflection layer. We can see here that the fresnel shader that we created is set to the layer color, and this is going to essentially mask out the reflection contribution based on the shader. Now, this doesn't really match what was talked about in the previous videos, where you should be using the layer mask to control any of these effects. This isn't wrong, it's just something that is going to change how your work flow could possibly work. So, having the shader set to the layer color is only really going to affect things once you start wanting to work with multiple layers. If we go ahead and add another reflection layer, in this case, something like GGX, and we just reduce the specular strength, we can see that the reflectance layer here is overwriting everything below it, and this is completely expected. And if we render, we're going to see that we just get a perfect mirror. But, let's say that we wanted to have this blended with the layers below it, and in this case, let's go ahead and add some roughness, just so that we get something that is a little bit different. Now, we could simply adjust the layer mask amount to get a blending between all of these channels, and that would work just fine. As we can see with this finished render, we see a little bit of the color channel showing through, as well as some of the sharper reflections from the default reflection. But, let's say that we were using a 100% value for this new layer that we added, and we tried to place this below the reflection layer that came in from our R15 file. We'll see that even though we are using the layer color strength here to create a fresnel effect, it's still completely overwriting the values from our new reflectance layer that we created, and this is because the layer color is only going to affect this reflectance layer's contribution or blending with the color channel. It's not going to allow us to see through this actual channel. So, if we wanted to work with this in a way that fits our workflow that we'll be working with when we creating new materials, what we want to do is copy the shader that we have set in the layer color, and then we can go ahead and clear that. And when we do, we'll see that we are just getting a complete contribution from the default reflection, and we're not seeing any of the blurry reflection underneath. So, we're going to go to the layer mask and then to the texture slot, and paste that channel that we copied in there. This now gives us a blending between the default reflection layer that was imported and the new blurry layer that we created. At this point, we can go ahead and adjust the material as we see fit. So, we can add a fresnel onto the blurry material, and then our fresnel shader is going to be using essentially the same thing as the layer fresnel options. But, since we are using the shader itself, we can leave it set to the layer mask, and we are able to see through this just fine now. And if we render, we'll see the result of this adjusted material as a whole. So here, we can see the finished render with some of the blurry reflections coming through, the sharp reflections from our default reflection that we had, and then the specular highlight that is on top. So just to recap, when we imported the material, we took a look at the default specular, and everything here was set up correctly, and the specular strength was set to match what the R15 material was. And this was just fine because it was using the additive attenuation to blend with the color channel. To update this for working with the material in R16, we simply increased the specular strength and then adjusted the overall strength using the layer mask amount up top. The default reflection came in with settings that we would expect again, except the fresnel shader that we had placed inside of the material in R15 was in the layer color. And this would be fine if we were just using these two reflectance layers, but because we also wanted to work with a third layer underneath that was blurry, we had to copy the shader from the layer color, and then paste that into the layer mask, allowing the contribution from the reflectance layer underneath to come through. Again, these changes that we've made really only need to be made if you're looking to continue to work with these materials or update them for R16. Otherwise, you're pretty safe just importing the material from R15 and working as normal.
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