Rendering is a vital part of any production, and knowing how to create great looking renders in a short amount of time is important for any project. Becoming comfortable with a program's settings is the first step to achieving this. In this article and video tutorial you'll learn about the different features in CINEMA 4D's rendering system such as Render Region, the Picture Viewer and what settings to begin to tweak in order to get the results you want.
Rendering is something that can be extremely time consuming, both in the setup process and the amount of time it actually takes to render the scene, after reading this article you'll have a strong foundation in rendering in CINEMA 4D and how to setup a render that produces nice results, but isn't something that will bog down your system.
Rendering in the Viewport
In CINEMA 4D you have several different ways to actually render out your scene. Each way provides a unique advantage and when utilized can help the process. The first is rendering directly in the viewport of CINEMA 4D. This can be achieved two different ways. The first is by selecting the Render View icon at the top of the CINEMA 4D UI. The next is by simply using the shortcut Ctrl+R. Rendering in the viewport does exactly what it sounds like, it creates a render from where your camera is currently focused directly in the viewport. It doesn't open up a separate window or options.
Depending on the complexity of your scene, the lights, materials, etc., this can take some time to finish. Rendering in the viewport still renders the final output. One thing to keep in mind as well is that as soon as you move or adjust the angle in your viewport, the render will no longer be there.
This method is excellent for quickly seeing your lighting setup, materials, shadows, etc. without spending a lot of time actually rendering the image because it renders at a lower quality. This is great for first setting up your lighting, and making sure your materials look how you want. You're also able to isolate only a certain region, so you don't have to calculate the rest of the scene if you just want to focus on one area in the render.
You can activate the Render Region tool by going up to Render>Render Region, this will activate the tool, and you can click and drag in your viewport to select the area you want to render. You'll see that it renders in just a few seconds. While the results are not as high as using Render View you're able to get a good idea of how you're render is going to look in the final output.
Rendering the Picture Viewer
Rendering with the Picture Viewer opens up a separate render window letting you save the image out, adjust the Filters on the image as well as work with render Layers. This Picture Viewer is what you'll want to use when you're ready to render the final image, because it renders at full resolution and gives you different options to adjust.
The render settings are vital for fine tuning your render. You can open the render settings by selecting the icon at the top of the viewport or by pressing Ctrl+B. The first thing you'll see is the Output settings. Here you can adjust things like the width and height of the area you want to render. You also have the option to use some of the image presets defined by CINEMA 4D, there are presets for print resolution, web, screen and film.
This is where you can setup CINEMA 4D to render out an image sequence or movie file if you're rendering an animation. Within the Output settings you can adjust the start and end frame, so you can start the render at frame 1, and render to the last frame of the animation. When these parameters are set, CINEMA 4D will automatically render out the sequence when you start to render the animation in the Picture Viewer. You can change where you want the animation to render to by going to the Save settings. Here you can choose where you want to save the images on your computer, as well as change the file format.
The render settings are also where you enable various effects, like lens effects, caustics, depth of field, etc. You can find these effects by selecting the Effect menu in the render settings. Once you choose an effect it will be added to the render settings and you can adjust the parameters of the effect.
Now that you know some of the basics of rendering in CINEMA 4D let's walk through the process of setting up a render that will be great for something like Motion Graphics, something that can be setup quickly, and produce nice results. If you want to use the project file in the tutorial you can download it here: Project_File