Our goal in this section is to introduce you to Octane Plugin quickly. In this tutorial, you will quickly learn how to create materials with Octane, use light tags, camera tags, and final render without much detailed information.
Our recommendation is to download the sample scene file on the link and open it in cinema 4d. So you can practice at the same time as you follow the tutorial here.
You can download the sample scene from here:
Let's get started:
STARTING THE LIVE VIEWER
Open the Cinema 4D file you downloaded before. As you can see, the scene is pretty simple. There is Octane Logo in the middle with a few cloner objects. The scene has also animation. In short, a very suitable scene for the start.
Info: Cinema 4d's native Floor Object can now be used with Octane
First, Let's Open Octane Plugin. Choose "Live Viewer" window from the Octane menu.
It's time to start Octane. Press the gear shaped icon as you see in the picture below. Here is Live Viewer - the heart of Octane. We will see most of our work from this window. The first thing to notice here is that the Live Viewer has updated the scene in real time. Every move you made in Cinema 4D's viewport will be a real time update here. Yes, it is incredibly exciting to get such a gift after being cursed with the flawed viewport views for many years.
Feel free to navigate as you like on cinema 4d and do not bother yourself for the appearance of the image in LV right now. It's because of the Live Viewer's default settings.
We will make this dull image "looks good" in the next steps.
Info: You can place Octane icons in the GUI of Cinema 4D for quick access. Check this section for detailed explanation.
Info: For now, we are not bother ourselves most of the options in the Live Viewer. There are detailed explanations in the relevant sections of this help file. Our current purpose is to quickly create a scene and getting familiar with Octane.
CREATING OCTANE MATERIALS
First, let's create the materials. Go to the Material menu in the LV window and choose the Octane Diffuse Material from there (you can also create octane materials from Cinema 4D material window). Change material name to "Inner_Diffuse".
Go back to the "Materials" menu and this time create Glossy and Specular material. Change the names to "Outer_Glossy" and "Middle_Specular" (double click the materials icons to change names).
We continue to create materials. Now go to the material menu again from the LV window and create three more Glossy materials. Change the names to "STROKE", "FLOOR" and "GEAR" respectively.
ADJUSTING MATERIAL PROPERTIES
And we are finished with the material creation. Now we will change the properties of these materials. First, let's start with the diffuse material. Double-click "Inner_Diffuse" to open the material. You will see the properties of the diffuse material in the opened window. Right now, we will not talk about what these features are for. Change the properties of the "Inner_Diffuse" material as you see in the picture below.
Now double-click the "outer_glossy" material and change its properties as you see in the picture below.
Info: You can also change the material name from this window
Now do the same procedure for the remaining four materials. These materials are "Middle_Specular", "GEAR", "STROKES" and "FLOOR". The following picture show the properties of each. Change these properties from the relevant parts of the material.
APPLY MATERIALS TO THE OBJECTS
After setting the properties of our materials, it's time to assign them to the corresponding objects.
There are two ways to do this:
1) you can drag and drop the material onto the object in the object manager window, or
2) you can drag and drop the material onto the object in the LV window.
Let's assign the materials to the objects as you see in the picture below.
Before finishing this section, go to Settings in the Live Viewer window and change the settings in the Kernels section as shown in the picture below.
Info: Again, we are not bother most of the options in the LV settings. There are detailed explanations in the relevant sections of this help file.
ADD OCTANE LIGHTS TO THE SCENE
As you see, the render in LV is still far from being attractive after you've added materials. This is because the scene is illuminated by the default light. Now we're going to add Octane Daylight to the scene. To do this, go to the Object menu in the LV window and select Octane Daylight.
As you can see, two things happened in our scene: 1) Our picture in LV has changed and became darker and, 2) "Octane Daylight" object has been added to the Object Manager. But the current picture is darker than the previous one. Why? This is because of the default settings of Octane Daylight. We are going to change that.
First, select Octane Daylight from Object Manager. In the Attributes Window, go to coord tab and change its rotation parameters (See below image). Then select Daylight Tag and change the values you see in the picture below.
Info: Octane Daylight is actually a sunshine model. And the only important thing in this model is the rotation. In the rotation part of the attributes window, the "R.H" value is the similar function of "North Offset" in the Octane Daylight Tag. But there is no direct connection between them. So when you change one, the other does not change. You can use both. However, the "R.P" is a value that allows the light fall vertically or parallel to the scene.
After entering parameters of the light, the render in the LV window changed a lot. As you can see, the materials characteristic is more visible as expected from them. And shadows also began to change shape and soften according to the light's angle.
Info: In this example, the light falls parallel to the scene, not perpendicular, due to the "R.P" value. By playing with this value, you can observe both the shape of the shadows and the overall darkness ratio of the scene.
Let's put another Illumination Model into the scene: HDRI Lighting. To do this, go to the Objects menu in the Live Viewer window and select Hdri Environment.
Now we have a new object named "Octane Sky" and "Hdri Environment Tag" in our scene. This lighting model requires an image in HDR format to work properly. Light values that are defined in these HDR pictures also illuminates the scene. In this example, we used a HDR image downloaded from an Open Source site. You can download it from here. You can also use your own HDR images if you want. Now enter the settings you see in the following images below.
Info: Keep in mind that every HDR source you want to use will completely change the light and appearance in the Live Viewer. You will get different results every time you changed the HDR image.
Info: If you want to use the "OctaneDaylight" and "HDR Environment" together, you need to make a small adjustment by selecting Octane Daylight Tag from Object Manager and activating the "Mix sky texture".
After playing with HDR values, the scene has changed as you see in the picture. Instead of the green-yellow mood, we have achieved a more consistent darkness-to-lightness ratio in the current picture.
Info: You can change the appearance of the image in LV by playing with the "RotX" and "RotY" values in the HDR environment Tag settings.
SETTING UP an OCTANE CAMERA
Now let's add a camera to our scene. To do this, go to the Objects menu in the Live Viewer window and select Octane Camera. Now there is Octane Camera and its Tag on the scene. You can adjust the camera position using the ALT + LMB / RMB / MMB, either from the viewport or from the Live Viewer window. We recommend using Live Viewer because it is a very different experience to play with the camera on real time render. You'll love it.
Info: to look through the camera lens, click on the small box next to Octane Camera in the Object Manager.
Now we will change some settings of the Camera Tag. To do this, select Octane Camera Tag from the Object manager and change the settings you see in the picture below.
FINALIZE THE PICTURE IN LIVE VIEWER
After playing with Camera Tag settings, our picture got another look as you see it. While the shadows shifted a little further, the brightness darkness ratio of the scene differed. But this is not the result what we're after. Why? Because the appearance of the glass cubes in the middle is not exactly the glass feature.
Specular materials are hard to work with. We will not go into depth here, but let's briefly mention that it comes from the Directlighting settings in the Kernels section. Now, once again, click Settings in the Live Viewer window. Go to the Kernels section and change the settings you see in the second picture below.
After playing with Path tracing settings, our picture was exactly what we wanted. In this result, all the materials reflected their true character and unnecessary shadows disappeared as you noticed. In addition, the Specular Material on the middle cubes produce correct result as it should. While the reflections are a little more obvious, a special reflection called "caustic" began to appear on the scene. Also the light distribution is much better than before.
But be prepared to pay for all of these improvements as a render time. Because Path Tracing or PMC kernel modes produces accurate and correct result by using the unbiased feature but takes time to clean the noise on the scene during the image sampling. That's called "Unbiased Rendering". There are no tricks here. If you want to get a realistic and accurate render, you have to face the challenges and must overcome of these. That's a good thing. Anyway, we are satisfied with the result. You can get different results by playing with the settings mentioned above.
SET UP A FINAL REndER WITH OCTANE
Now we will get the final output of the picture in Live Viewer. First, let's make some adjustments for the Final Render. Go to the render menu of Cinema 4D and select Edit Render Settings (or press CTRL + B). In the opened window, change the settings as you see in the pictures below.
After you have done the below settings, you can finally start the Render. To do this, select Render to Picture Viewer from the Render menu of Cinema 4D (or press Shift + R).
As we mentioned at the beginning of this tutorial, our goal was to quickly introduce you to the Octane. We think that we are succeeded. We did not intentionally describe the features you see in most parts of the plugin. Because there are detailed explanations for each of these features in this help file. It was also outside the scope of this tutorial.
Octane is a very comprehensive renderer. And it takes time and patience to learn. We believe that you will be a master when you compete against with such complex softwares. Accept the competition and push the program. You'll see the results.
In addition, since the Octane is a very flexible and fast software, any creative solution is also welcome.
Finally, we recommend that you always read, always learn. Then practice.
Because practice makes perfect.