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Setting up a multipass render

From: CINEMA 4D Essentials 5: Rendering and Compositing

Video: Setting up a multipass render

Multipass rendering is the process of breaking your image from CINEMA 4D into specific layers that correspond to the image channels that make up your final image. What we're going to end up with is the ability to control virtually every aspect of our rendering inside of After Effects. It takes a little bit of set up in the render settings here in CINEMA 4D, but it's worth the time. This is our Multipass-render-START file. It's based on the previous movie. So we've got our External Compositing tag set, we've got our Compositing tag set with our object buffers.

Setting up a multipass render

Multipass rendering is the process of breaking your image from CINEMA 4D into specific layers that correspond to the image channels that make up your final image. What we're going to end up with is the ability to control virtually every aspect of our rendering inside of After Effects. It takes a little bit of set up in the render settings here in CINEMA 4D, but it's worth the time. This is our Multipass-render-START file. It's based on the previous movie. So we've got our External Compositing tag set, we've got our Compositing tag set with our object buffers.

Everything is ready to go. So let's go into the Render Settings, Command+B or Ctrl+B. And first thing we want to double check is under the output options that we're going to be rendering, the correct size and the correct number of frames, and we are; 640x360, and 0 to 89. Now what we want to do is to go to the Multi-Pass settings. The Multipass is on and you can see that I've got my object buffers already set up. So 1 is the Hero Cube, 2, 2 is the other cubes, 3 and 3 are the type. Now if I go to the Save option, you can see that I've got a Multi-Pass Image Save dialog.

Now this is going to default to having the Multi-Layer File check box active. We are not rendering a still image, so this has to be unchecked. After Effects will not work if this is turned on. Next thing, if I hit Command+D or Ctrl+D on the keyboard, and I'll scroll down in the Project settings, you can see that I have Linear Workflow turned off for this scene. That means I don't need to render 16-bit. So I'm going to turn the 16-bit render from 16-bit to 8-bit. I'm also going to change it to QuickTime Movie.

Yes, I know, some of my students are probably thinking, Rob, you always say to render it to image sequences. Sometimes I don't. This is a very fast render relatively speaking. And it's much easier for members with access to the Project Files to manage a folder of QuickTime movies than a folder of thousands of image files. So I'm going to render to a QuickTime Movie sequence for this project. Now the next thing I need to turn my attention to are the multipass layers. So I'm going to go under the Multi-Pass option and click and hold on that. When I do that, I get all of these choices, and there are a lot of choices.

At the very bottom is something called the Depth Map. So let's go down here to highlight the Depth Map. The Depth Pass gives us a grayscale image that corresponds to the Z-distance of all the objects in the scene from the camera. It can be used by a filter in After Effects called the Camera Blur filter to generate depth of field. It's very useful. I may or may not need it for this project but I always want to have it just in case. Let's add the depth. Then, we're going to go to the Multi-Pass options, and do Add Image Layers. The Add Image Layers is going to add in a whole list of things.

Now we don't need all of these things. Basically, the way you know what you need and don't need is you ask yourself some questions about your scene. So the Ambient Pass relates to the Luminance Channel. If you have the Luminance channel in any of your materials, you need to have the Ambient Pass. So if I click on this material right here, you can see that it does use a Luminance Channel. So I know I'm going to need the Ambient Pass. The Diffuse Pass is the base level of color in your scene. All my materials have the Color channel turned on, so I know I need the Diffuse Pass. Same thing goes for Specular, all my materials have it. I need that on.

I am casting shadows, I need that on. I do have reflections on my materials, got to have that. Refraction; I do not have any transparency in the scene, so I don't need Refraction. So I'll select the word Refraction, and delete. Let's scroll down just a bit. Ambient Occlusion, you notice I have not turned on. Let's add that effect because I know that I want that on for the scene. So let's click on that, and go to Ambient Occlusion. Now with the Ambient Occlusion turned on, I know I'm going to need that pass.

Next step is Global Illumination. I'm not using Global Illumination as an option so I can delete that. Then I'm going to go to Caustics. I'm not using Caustics. Caustics is another property of transparency, and we're not using any of that, so I'll delete that. Atmosphere and Atmosphere (Multiply) relate to the environment object that I have in the scene. That's what's causing the fog that you see, that's kind of giving a hazy look to our render. So I need both of those. I don't have any post effects, things like Depth of Field or Motion Blur turned on, so I can delete that as well.

And that's pretty much all the settings that I need. So I've got Depth, Ambient, Diffuse, Specular, Shadow, Reflection, Ambient Occlusion, Atmosphere, and Atmosphere (Multiply). Next thing I need to do is tell my render where to go. So I'm going to go to the Save option, and I'll click on the Save Image button. Let's navigate to the desktop, to the exercise files, to our Workflow, and then in the C4D-renders. I already have a workflow render here set up, so let's make a new subfolder and call this one Workflow-working, and hit Create.

And in that Workflow-working folder, let's call the rendering Workflow, and hit Save. And that's pretty much all there is to setting up a multipass render. The most important thing to remember about this process is that you have to ask yourself questions about your scene file, and what it is you're going to need to have control of in After Effects. Once you've answered those questions, you should have all your settings complete.

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CINEMA 4D Essentials 5: Rendering and Compositing

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Rob Garrott
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