The goal of this quick start article is to provide the three most relevant topics for getting started quickly in Octane for Cinema 4D. This includes the use of progressive rendering, illumination basics, and material design. For more detailed information, please reference the online documentation.
Activating the Octane Render Engine
Octane is tightly integrated into Cinema 4D. Once the Octane plugin is loaded, much of Octane's functionality can be found in the Octane Dialog window (Figure 01).
Figure 01: The Octane Dialog window
The Octane Dialog window is found in the Octane menu (Figure 02).
Figure 02: Opening the Octane Dialog from the Octane menu
The Octane Live Viewer is the primary rendering window when editing scene elements such as materials, lights, and cameras. The Live Viewer can be activated in the Octane Dialog (Figure 03a). It provides immediate feedback in the form of a progressive rendering (Figure 3b).
Figure 03a: Activating the Octane Live Viewer in the Octane Dialog window
Figure 3b: The Octane Live Viewer window
The Octane Live Viewer should not be confused with the Picture Viewer. The Picture Viewer should be used to produce final renders and animation-based renderings. Octane can be set as the active render engine for the Picture Viewer in the Render Settings (Figure 04a and Figure 04b).
Figure 04a: Edit Render Settings Button
Figure 04b: Activating the Octane Render engine in the Render Settings
Lighting in Octane
By default, there is an omnipresent ambient light in the scene. This illumination does not provide any attributes for control, therefore, an Octane environment light should be added to a scene. Octane lights are found in the Objects menu of the Octane Dialog window (Figure 05).
Figure 05: Available light types in Octane
There are three types of environment lights in Octane.
- Texture Environment: Provides ambient light that can be controlled with a Power setting. There is an additional Octane node (RGB Spectrum) connected to the Texture parameter to control the light color.
- HDRI Environment: This light type is identical to the Texture Environment light with the exception that it has an ImageTexture node connected to the Texture parameter. This allows HDRI images to be imported for use as lighting information.
- Octane Daylight: In addition to providing ambient light in the form of a sky, this light type also provides a directional light source in the form of the sun.
There are also three types of finite, direct light types available in Octane. These include the Area Light, Targeted Area Light, and the IES Light.
A typical lighting solution using Octane includes a Texture Environment light to control ambient illumination and a directional light source such as an Area Light (Figure 06).
Figure 06: Ambient illumination controlled by an Texture Environment and direct light from an Area Light
Materials in Octane
Octane-specific materials can be accessed and created from the Materials menu in the Octane Dialog window. There are five material types available in Octane for Cinema 4D (Figure 07).
Figure 07: Five material types available in Octane
- Diffuse: used for dull, non-reflecting materials or light emitting surfaces
- Glossy: used for shiny materials such as plastics or metals
- Mix: used to mix any two material types
- Portal: a special type of material that assists with bouncing exterior illumination into an enclosed space
- Specular: used for transparent materials such as glass and water
Octane also provides an online database with pre-made materials. The LiveDB can be access via the Materials menu in the Octane Dialog window (Figure 08).
Figure 08: Octane LiveDB access from the Octane Dialog window
Figure 09: The LiveDB window containing libraries of pre-made Octane materials
Octane will only render its native material types. However, C4D materials can be converted to Octane Glossy materials using the material convert tool (Figure 10).
Figure 10: Access to the material conversion tool via the Octane Dialog window
Octane for C4D also provides a dedicated Node Editor for creating and modifying Octane materials (Figure 11).
Figure 11: Accessing the Octane Node Editor
The Octane Node Editor provides access to not only material and texture nodes but all nodes available in Octane for Cinema 4D. Complex material networks can be more easily visualized using this editor window (Figure 12).
Figure 12: The Octane Node Editor used to create, edit, and visualize complex material networks
Additional Online Resources
- Online Documentation