Creating preview renders is an absolutely vital part of a production pipeline because they allow for the export of animation to quickly check work outside of Cinema 4D. In this video, Andy demonstrates how to create preview renders and automate file naming with Tokens.
- [Tutor] Creating preview renders is an absolutely vital part of a production pipeline. You wouldn't commit to a final render without seeing it in motion to check for any errors and to play back at the expected frame rate, something not always possible when playing back a scene in the viewport. Preview renders can also be useful to show clients for sign of key stages of a project. So what we're going to do is create a preview of this scene. We'll come up to the render settings. We'll change the renderer to viewport renderer. And in the frame range, we're just going to choose all frames. I'll close down the render settings and we'll just render this to the picture viewer. Don't worry about this warning. We're not worried about saving this just yet. We'll click yes. This renders really quickly and we're getting a good sense of what's happening in the scene. And for internal review, this could be quite adequate. However, to a client, this will look odd. There are various objects and axis in the viewport, grid, and leaving these things in can cause problems. And we can certainly make this look better by filtering them out. Let's close down the picture viewer and think about how we'll make this better. In previous versions of Cinema 4D, you would clean up the viewport by adding display text to objects and filtering out various elements like the grid, the world axis and horizon and things like that. But with this release of Cinema 4D, all that is a thing of the past with the geometry-only filter. Let's turn it on. It may not be immediately obvious, but a lot of things have been cleaned up and we have no more grid, horizon, axis, things like that. All that remains is the geometry. So enabling this, allows you to instantly clean up the viewport, and it means you can quickly render a clean client-ready preview. Let's just change the display to Gouraud shading. And we can turn on some of the viewport options to sweeten this image further. We already have reflections on here. Let's add shadows, and we'll also add screen space ambient occlusion. So we can see the shadows here. And we're getting a little bit of contact shadow here with the screen space ambient occlusion. Now I think we're ready to render a preview. So let's just come up to our render settings. So all this looks good at the moment. We'll come into the viewport render settings and in the basic tab. Remember those effects we just turned on? Well, if you forget, you don't have to worry. You can simply click copy effects from viewport to mirror, what you have set in the viewport. In the filter tab, we want to make sure that we check on geometry-only. Otherwise, we'd end up with all the clutter that we're trying to filter out. Let's just move over to the Save tab. And before we write a file name, I'm going to come down here where it says My Render Setting and double click and I'll type preview. We're going to use this when we name our file path. And we're going to name our file path using tokens. Naming renders with tokens has been available since Cinema 4D R17. And it's such a useful feature. Tokens are just simple text variables used in path and file names. And we're going to use a relative file name. So I'm going to to put a full stop or a period and then a forward slash. And what all this will do is it will tell Cinema 4D to put this rendered file next to the project file. We're going to put it in a folder called renders. And if this doesn't exist, C4D will create it for us and another forward slash, and then I'm going to use the token dollar RS. Now what that means, if we come over to here, this little dropdown, that's the token for render settings. So we renamed our render setting preview. This will put the file into a folder called preview. And then we want to name the file after our project. We'll use the token, project name, Dollar PRJ, and then we could type an underscore or a hyphen. And then I'm going to to reuse that Dollar RS as well. So it'd be the project name and then we'll have the word preview appended to the end of the file name. I find this a really nice way of naming files. So we'll save our preview as an MP4. And I'm not worried about using a movie file for a preview because I know it's going to render quickly and it's actually going to save a step of not having to encode it after the render has completed. If we come into the format dropdown here, you can see the codec is H264 and we also have a data rate. We could use one of these precepts to set up the data rate. Now I just want to point out something that's in the output tab. This is Adapt Data Rate. Now what does that do? Let's just lock the ratio. And I'm going to reduce this width to 960. Now let's come back into our Save tab. And you can see that that data rate that was set before has adapted to the new frame size. So that's what that option is doing. And if you wanted an automatic data rate, just keep this at zero. So it looks like we're ready to go now. Let's close down the render settings and just render this to the picture viewer. We have automated our file naming with tokens and generated a fast preview render that looks great because we filtered out distracting viewport elements. You can accurately review the animation, and if needs be, send this on to a client for feedback.