School of Motion

An Overview of Octane in Cinema 4D

  • By Liam Clisham
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Curious about using Octane in Cinema 4D? Here's everything you need to know before you get started with Octane in C4D.

Welcome to part two of our render engines series where we are covering the four main third-party render engines for Cinema4D that you need to know: Arnold, Octane, Redshift and Cycles . If you missed part one, where we covered Solid Angle's Arnold, you can check it out here.

In this article we will introduce you to Otoy's Octane Render Engine. This will be a good starter if you've never heard of Octane or if you're curious about using Octane in Cinema 4D.

There are definitely some terms used in this article series that may sound a bit geeky, so we created a 3D Motion Design Glossary if you find yourself stumped by anything written below.

Let's go!

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Tina loves her render engines!

A Quick History of Otoy, the Creators of Octane

Otoy is a relatively new company and has pretty minimal bio. Essentially the company was founded in 2008 by Jules Urbach (Founder & CEO), Alissa Grainger (Co-Founder & President) and Malcolm Taylor (Co-Founder & CTO). They now have over 60 employees and their render engine has been used to create incredible works of 3D art at the highest level of design.

And that's about it for their bio. Even the Wikipedia page is pretty barren. I guess their work speaks for itself. 

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Still from David Ariew's work for Ivan Torrent

What is OctaneRender?

Otoy writes, “OctaneRender® is the world’s first and fastest GPU-accelerated, unbiased, physically correct renderer.” 

Simplified, Octane is a GPU render engine that uses a way of calculating final rendered images that aims to be photo-realistic. Similar to Arnold, but using GPU technology.

The Benefits of Using Octane in Cinema 4D

These articles are meant to present facts so you can make an informed decision in your career. If you're looking for a compare and contrast of render engines, we'll have one of those for you too in the coming weeks.

#1: Octane is Pretty Darn Fast

One of the great things about GPU rendering technology is how fast you can render an image compared to CPU rendering. If you're currently using standard or physical rendering in Cinema4D, you know that sometimes a single frame can take minutes to render for a simple scene. Octane cuts through simple scenes like butter and turn those minutes into seconds.

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Gotta go fast!

#2: Octane will Increase your Workflow Speed with the LiveViewer

A giant perk of using any 3rd party render engine is the Interactive Preview Region (IPR). The LiveViewer is Octane's label for an IPR. It allows users to see a rendered scene in almost real time. Especially since Octane uses GPUs to processes the rendering. IPRs update in real-time whenever an object is changed, a light added or texture attribute changed. It is awesome.

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Using the LiveViewer inside of Octane for C4D

#3: You Can Use Octane Anywhere...Soon...

When Otoy announced Octane v.4, they announced that users will soon be able to hop around between different 3D software using a single license. However, that feature currently isn't available. We'll dive into that more below.

#4: The Octane Community is huge.

At time of writing, there are 25K members on the main Octane Facebook Group. Plus, there are many more places beyond that group to find users and get help, from Reddit to the official Otoy forums

#5: GPU Seems to be Where Rendering is Headed.

Since Octane is a GPU engine, you're coming into the future by using a GPU engine. While there are still lots of reasons to use a CPU render engine, the speed increases that you get from using a GPU is hard to ignore.

A GPU is also much easier to upgrade than almost any other part in a computer. After a couple years of using a GPU, and the technology improves, you can open up the side of a PC and swap out your old card for a new model. You don't have to build a completely new system like you often have to if you want the fastest, newest CPU. Now you can save that money and spend it on things that you really need.

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The Downside to Using Octane in Cinema 4D

As we mentioned in our previous Arnold article, using any third party engine is something else to learn and purchase. You can't beat having everything you need to render images included in Cinema 4D, so there is likely going to be some downsides. Here's a few pain-points for Octane at the moment.

#1: It isn't Render Farm Friendly...yet...

Currently, one of the biggest drawbacks to using Octane is that you're kind of stuck when it comes to really large jobs. You pretty much need to have a small render farm in your office/home.

Octane does offer ORC (Octane Render Cloud), which is their own version of a render farm. However, it is super expensive. There are other render farms that you can use, however, it does break the EULA (end users license agreement), and if you get caught, could mean you lose your license. That would suck...

#2: Octane Licenses Only Cover a Single Application

As mentioned above, when you buy an Octane license, you can only use it for the 3D software covered in your license. If you're a Cinema 4D user, but also use Houdini, Maya, or any other supported software, you currently have to buy a license for each application. Otoy did announce that this will be going away with Octane v.4. However, At time of writing, this is a big short coming compared to other third-party engines.

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The incredible work of Beeple... The dude is insane.

How can I learn more about Octane?

Otoy's forums are quite active, however the most expansive resource list is from David Ariew's site. Going through his list, you can open Octane with zero experience and learn how to do just about anything you may need to do. 

Show and tell us what you’re using!

What render engines are you using or interested in? Got something cool that you’ve rendered? Let us know on Twitter @schoolofmotion!