Cinema 4D guide

  1. Download and install
  2. Prepare the scene
  3. Use the plugin
  4. Upload the project – renderBeamer
  5. Submit the job
  6. Download and review frames
  7. Purchase credits
  8. Contact us anytime

1. Download and install

Log in to Web Manager (our web dashboard) at https://garage.farm and download our renderBeamer app for you operating system.
Web Manager downloads panel
Install the renderBeamer app and start it. Once renderBeamer is done with the installation process, you need to choose the default download directory. This path will be used as the main output place for all your renders. Next, just log in using the account ID you received or your account email. Please keep in mind that the app should always be running in the background whenever uploading a project or downloading rendered frames.
renderBeamer startup windows - default download directory on the left, and login panel on the right
Once renderBeamer is installed and you’re logged in, you’ll see the “Plugins” window. Plugins installation window should automatically open after the first renderBeamer startup. You can also open it anytime you need to install additional plugins for your 3D apps.
3D app plugins installation panel

Here, you can install plugins that allow you to work with our farm. Please keep in mind that each 3D app you use needs to have a plugin installed to properly connect to and render on our farm.

Once you installed the plugin for your 3D app, you can proceed to the next step.

2. Prepare the scene

Open your scene in Cinema 4D and prepare it for rendering on a render farm.

  • Supported versions – R16.021 and above
  • Scene files should be saved in .c4d format
  • All assets should have correct links in C4Ds Texture manager. Ideal situation is to have all assets in a folder next to the scene (default C4D folder \tex\) and linked in Texture manager to that path. Also the scene should be free of missing assets when submitting to render farm.
  • If there are dynamics / particles features used in the scene, you should create a cache for them. This should also include mo-graph effectors and similar solutions. Generally, C4D should handle such modifiers with no issues, however it’s highly recommended and much safer to cache your dynamics (or bake it to frames) before using render farm.
  • Plugins – we support a lot of Cinema 4D plugins & addons including the entire Greyscalegorilla package, however, if you are using some extra add ons, please send us the info. We will check for the plugin availability and purchase options.
  • If you are using pre cached GI or Ambient Occlusion with cache, please always make sure that your links to cache files are correct and C4Ds cache setups are in “Auto load” options with “Skip prepass if present” switch ON. Otherwise, please turn off any cache “saving” options.
  • Output – should be set the same way as when rendering on your local machine. We are supporting most of C4Ds output formats. Please keep in mind that we are rendering to frames – not animations – so any kind of animated formats like .mov is not supported.
  • Takes system – is fully supported on our farm. You can render scenes with render settings for your all takes package, or with render settings separated for each take.
  • External render engines like V-Ray, Corona and Arnold are also supported. V-Ray and Corona renderer are supported in a standard way. For Arnold rendering, please contact us via our live chat to learn about licensing.
  • For V-Ray and Corona Gi settings, please keep in mind that those setups should be prepared for rendering on multiple machines. If you are not sure about the GI setup, please contact our support to get assistance.

3. Use the plugin

Once your project is prepared, please locate the renderBeamer sub-menu in C4Ds “Plugins” main menu to open the plugin window. Depending on your C4D version, in main plugin window you will see two or three tabs. Users with Cinema 4D R19 and lower will get 3 available render modes – Animation, Tiles and Takes. Users with Cinema 4D R20 and higher will get only 2 modes available – Animation and Takes. This difference is connected with C.O.F.F.E.E. C4D extensions in R20 and support for them, which was limited by Maxon.

Our Cinema 4D plugin main window. On the left R19 – version with full support for Tiles mode. On the right R20+ version without Tiles.

Depending on your scene setup, you can choose between render modes – Animation, Tiles and Takes. Each mode is designed for different kind of rendering. Please keep in mind that all three render modes are common for all supported render engines – Standard, Physical, V-Ray, Corona, Arnold and ProRender.

  • Animation – This mode should be used to render any kind of animated scenes. It allows to render single frames and frame ranges. In animation mode you can select any of your scene cameras with “renderable” switch on. Cameras with “renderable” switch off will not be visible in the plugin settings window. Depending on your scene setup, every camera can have same render range or a different one. When using “Animation” mode every camera will be rendered as a separate scene, but all of them with common assets. That means, you don’t have to use “stage” tag in Cinema 4D while building your scene as main camera selector tool.
  • Tiles – This mode should be used only to render still images. It works only for non-animated scenes. That means, if your scene contains any kind of animation like keyframe, animated effectors or mograph – it cannot be rendered in “Tiles” mode. This is a crucial setting because Tiled mode – which uses C4Ds tiled camera object – renders still images not as parts, strips or render regions – but as frames. At the end of rendering, all “frames/tiles” are connected into one final image. If you scene contains any animations, it will be visible during tiles rendering and final frame will not be usable for production work. Due to Cinema 4D limitations Tiles mode is not supported with Physical renderer.With Tiled mode you can render multiple camera still shots in a single plugin usage. All you need to do is just select the desired cameras with a checkbox and set the number of tiles to render. Tiles are rendered as grid view, so setting 25 tiles will render your scene as 5×5 grid. Note that Tiles mode uses 2 types of jobs in rendering. 1st is the direct rendering. 2nd is the image merge. Once 1st job is done, image will be automatically merged into one final frame.

Please keep in mind that if you are using GI in your scene, we strongly recommend making GI cache and connecting it to your scene before using Tiles mode. Otherwise, your scene can be rendered with visible connection lines in-between rendered tiled grid parts. Also, we strongly recommend rendering a low-resolution test before submitting the final image. Lastly, as mentioned earlier, each uploaded camera/c4d scene will have 2 types of jobs – render and merge – and separated render output.

Tiles render mode with multi-camera scene
  • Takes – This mode should be used only if your scene setup is build with Cinema 4D takes system. It’s designed to operate on two different internal setups connected with render settings – Global and Per Take. Its crucial to select the correct one, which is corresponding with your scene settings. Below you can find more information about both takes modes.
Takes render mode with internal setup selection.
Global – for one and the same render setup, Per Take – for multiple render setups in a scene.

Takes/Global setup should be used when your scene is a standard one and it’s using only one render preset settings. That means, all your takes will be rendered using exactly one Cinema render preset. Frames ranges, resolution, GI setup and other render switches will stay exactly the same for all selected takes. As there is no need to set each take as separate scenes, your project will be uploaded only once. Crucial setting to use in “Global” mode is to have all takes render setups overrides with “off” flag. With the “Global” takes mode selection, your scene setup should look similar to the image below.

Takes override render settings mode setup for usage with “Global” mode. Every take in the scene has “override render setting” switch off, and the scene is rendered with one render setup.

Please keep in mind that all desired takes should have “renderable” switch on. Otherwise, they will be skipped during the rendering process. Renderable switch “ON” should be used for both internal takes setup – Global and Per Take.

With Global setup your outputs will be split to takes name sub-directories. That includes all kinds of multipass outputs, render elements (V-Ray) and similar solutions in other render engines.

After completing the scene setup process and logging in to your WebManager account you should see similar options as in the image below.

Takes mode with “Global” setup on Web Manager

If everything is good to go, just use Submit button. Otherwise, you can still turn on and off some of the scenes takes.

Takes/Per-take setup should be used when your scene is more complicated and it’s using different render setups for each take, or takes group. With “Per take” setup your scene can contain different render settings connected to each take or takes groups. With such a setup every render setting can have different render ranges, resolutions, GI solutions or even render engines. When working with “Per take” solution your scene should be prepared in a similar way as in the image below.

Scene setup prepared for working with “Per-Take” mode. Each take group has different render setup override options. Also, each takes group has separate render settings.

As you can see, there are 3 different render presets connected to 3 takes groups. Our plugin setup window will look exactly the same, however with Per-Take setup, each take will be treated as a separate render scene. Textures and assets will be uploaded only once with the first take upload. The rest of data – which are just c4d files created by our plugin – will be uploaded sequentially after the first take upload.

Once the scene is uploaded, you can login to your Web Manager. With Per-Take mode the job submission window looks a little bit different than the one for the Global mode.

Per-Take setup workflow – starting in the plugin and ending in Web Manager
>

As you can see, there is nothing in the “Takes list” table. That’s because every take was exported as a separate render scene. To proceed just hit Submit button.

4. Upload the project – renderBeamer

Once our plugin completes the scene export, your project will be redirected to renderBeamer to be uploaded. renderBeamer is a standalone uploader/downloader application that works in conjunction with our plugins. Simply put, it takes care of the file transfers.

After the scene has been fully uploaded, the app will show you a window with a direct link to your scene on Web Manager (web dashboard). To continue just use click here to submit job button. If for some reason you closed the window with the link or it didn’t work, don’t worry, you can locate your project in the web dashboard and submit your scene by clicking on the scene file later (more on that in the next step). You can also copy link to clipboard and manually paste it into your web browser.
Project uploaded successfully
renderBeamer window with options to add job to render farm

5. Submit the job

Now that your project is uploaded you will need to follow the final step - creating and submitting a job to render farm. Web Manager is where all your projects and render jobs reside.

If you followed the link generated earlier by renderBeamer, you will now see the job submission window with several fields and settings. If you didn’t follow the link or it didn’t work, you can do it manually by locating your project in the Projects panel, finding the scene file within the project folder (in your folder structure look for the folder called “data”, i.e. Project_name/data/SceneName.max), and clicking on it to open the job window.

adding a scene to rendering directly from Web Manager file browser

You can choose between three priorities when submitting a job: High, Medium, and Low (more info on Pricing page and FAQ page). You can also view the current queue on the farm, which should help you inform your decision about selecting the priority.

After giving your render settings a final check and choosing your preferred priority hit Submit to add your job to the render queue. If you’re a first time user, you will have received $25 worth of credit to test out our service. The credits should be enough to run a few test jobs and get you familiar with the service.

TIP: You can right click on the job to get additional options: change priority, pause job, kill job, and archive job.

NOTE: The estimate is based on the currently finished frames, and is an approximation at that point. Rendering a test as prompted in the plugin (using a step i.e. 1to100s10) is highly recommended for more accurate estimates and for detecting potential errors.

jobs added to render queue and options available under right mouse button
When the job has started rendering, you can check the real-time progress of currently processed frames. To do that, just select the render job from the main project list and then click the arrow on the top right side to open the progress panel.
Web Manager progress panel showing currently rendering frames

The progress panel will show its content only when any of the jobs is selected. The panel is divided into 3 sections.

Active frames - it shows currently rendering frames. When a frame finishes, it is moved to the second section Done frames. If you select any frame in the Done frames list, you can then access the render output process log in the bottom section called Process results.

TIP: When you’re in the Progress Panel and right-click on any of the currently rendering frames in the “Active frames” section, you can access the real-time render log from our nodes.

NOTE: Please keep in mind that if a job has finished rendering, the frames list in the “Active frames” section will be empty because all frames are already rendered and the list is moved to “Done frames”.

real-time render log from our node accessible in the “Active frames” section under RMB

6. Download and review frames

Each frame that has completed rendering is downloaded automatically to your local drive to a directory you selected in the renderBeamer application. If you’re not sure where your download folder is located, you can double check it or change it in renderBeamer’s settings (click on the cogwheel). Also, make sure you have auto download turned on to get the frames downloaded as soon as they are available. If this box is unchecked, you will have to click on each job and manually download the frames.
renderBeamer default settings with auto download ON
If you prefer more control over what to download and when, you can also download your frames manually. To do that, just turn off auto download switch in renderBeamer settings and go to the “downloads” tab. Next, select the desired render output using a checkbox, and click the download button.
renderBeamer downloading frames for a selected render job
This kind of workflow will download all rendered frames for the selected job or jobs. However, renderBeamer also gives you an option to download individual frames. To do that, you need to use the list files function under RMB.
renderBeamer listing files option for selected render job
Once files for the selected job are listed, just roll down the list and select the files you’d like to download using checkboxes. Next, use the same download button.
renderBeamer downloading only selected frames from a render job
Once your frames are downloaded, you can use open directory option under RMB to open the folder where frames are saved.

NOTE: Please make sure you keep renderBeamer running whenever you have jobs rendering to get the frames downloaded right away. It may happen, however, that your frames aren’t downloading in the given moment, and most likely that’s because our application checks for the files on the server in 15 minute cycles and it is currently in between the cycles. You can click refresh list to force the check without waiting for the next cycle.

7. Purchase credits

When you use up all your trial credits, you’ll need to charge your account to continue using the service. Please note that when your balance goes below $0, you won’t be able to download rendered frames or start new render jobs. You can make payments in the Billing panel in Web Manager. We accept debit cards, credit cards, PayPal and DotPay payments.

If your rendering needs are high or you plan to render regularly, please make sure to check out our volume discounts.
billing panel where you can buy credits, view cost & payment history, and view discounts

8. Contact us anytime

You can talk to the GarageFarm.NET’s tech team any time of the day, any day of the week. We’re here to help you get started, answer your questions, and assist you in any way. Don’t hesitate to give us a shout.

You can contact us through our live chat accessible in the web dashboard or our desktop app when you log in to your account or message us here through the guest chat.

We also recommend checking out our FAQ page which answers most of the questions new users have.