Cinema 4D

Cinema 4D Guide

1. Download and install

Log in to Web Manager (web dashboard) at https://app.garagefarm.net 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 panel. Plugins installation panel should automatically open after the first renderBeamer startup. You can also open it anytime you need to install additional plugins for your 3D apps.

renderBeamer 3D app plugins installation panel

Here in the plugins panel, you can install plugins that allow you to work with our farm. Once you installed the plugin for your 3D app, you can proceed to the next step.

Note

Please keep in mind that each 3D app (DCC) you use needs to have a plugin installed to properly connect to and render on our farm. 

2. Prepare the scene

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

  • Supported versions - R18 and above
  • Scene files should be saved in .c4d format
  • All assets should have correct links in C4D’s 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 the 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 the 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 - including “auto save” switches in all GI caching modes.
  • Output - it should be set the same way as when rendering on your local machine. We support 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. To render the frames to video, you can use our dedicated “convert to video” feature which will take all the frames you rendered on the farm and merge them into a desired video output.
  • Takes system - it is fully supported on our farm. You can render scenes with render settings for all your takes package, or with individual render settings for each take.
  • External render engines like Redshift, ProRender, V-Ray, Corona and Arnold are also supported. Redshift, ProRender, V-Ray and Corona are fully supported and are all inclusive. For Arnold rendering, please contact us via our live chat to learn about licensing or read more here
  • 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 and saved, please open C4D’s Extensions menu. Here, you will find two renderBeamer options - Beam it up and Cost calculator. Beam it up, should be used for project upload & rendering on the farm. Cost calculator is the tool which will give you the opportunity to estimate render cost and render time on the farm.

To proceed, just use renderBeamer: Beam it up. Next, you will see the main plugin window.

Our main Cinema 4D plugin window - on the left Camera mode / on the right Takes mode

Depending on your scene setup, the plugin UI will start with the Camera or Takes tab. That means, if your scene does not contain any of the takes system, the Takes tab will stay hidden, and the only option available will be the Camera mode. If your project contains any usage of takes - the plugin UI will start in the secondary Takes tab. Please note that if you are using the takes system, you should not render a scene from camera mode and vice versa!

  • Camera - This mode should be used to render any kind of animated scenes. It allows you to render single frames and frame ranges. Here you can select any of your scene cameras with the “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 the same render range or a different one. When using the Camera mode every camera will be rendered as a separate render job, while all assets used across multiple-camera render jobs will only upload once. This feature allows you to skip the usage of the “stage” tag as the main camera selector tool in Cinema 4D.
  • Takes - This mode should be used to render projects which are built with the use of the takes system. Our plugin automatically checks for takes usage and starts in the Takes tab selected. Takes can be rendered using one render settings, or with an individual render setup for each take/group of takes. Everything is read and set automatically so you don't need to split your scene to use per-render presets.
Takes setup with one render setting. Every take in the scene is using the same render setup. For example, same render range and resolution. The only difference between takes is the selected camera. In such a scenario, you should use the “Takes” plugin mode, not the “Camera” mode.
Please keep in mind that all your desired takes should have the “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.
Takes setup with multiple render settings. Every group of takes is using a different render preset. For example, different render range and resolution.
  • Strips switch - it is an option which should be used for rendering hi-res still frames. Strips is an additional mode which can be used for both cameras and takes projects. When it's on, it allows you to set the number of strips, select the orientation and set the resolution. Next, you just need to select a single frame range for your camera or take and continue with the process.

4. Upload the project

Once our plugin completes the scene export, your project will be redirected to renderBeamer to be uploaded. In a nutshell, 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 use the 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 any time (more on that in the next step). You can also copy the link to clipboard and manually paste it into your web browser.

renderBeamer window with options to add job to render farm

5. Submit the job & monitor render progress

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 a home to all your projects and render jobs. 

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 about priorities on Pricing page and FAQ page). You will also see information about the queue length for each priority, which should help you decide which priority to use.

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 (the panel on the right side of the screen) 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

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.

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

Some Job Settings are only available for a specific software. It is no different in the case of scenes from Cinema 4D.

Depending on the selected plugin mode, the job submission window will look different for the camera and the takes. Most Web Manager settings like resolution, priority, aspect ratio and output format are common for both render modes, however, there are some differences between the camera and the takes render jobs.

Web Manager job submission window for the “Camera” mode. All scene cameras and render ranges are listed here.

Camera mode will display all renderable cameras in the main table. You can turn them on/off and set the desired render range for each camera. Also, the render range can be adjusted globally for all available cameras. This can be done through the main Frame range field (top left). Please keep in mind that when submitting a job, all checked cameras will be added at once as separate jobs.

Web Manager job submission window for “Takes” mode. All renderable takes, cameras and render range are listed here.

Takes mode will display all renderable takes from your scene. Also, it allows you to check and change cameras connected to the takes. To do that, just click on the selected Camera in the takes table. Our plugin automatically reads takes lists and cameras connected to them, so if your scene was already prepared well before uploading it, you don't need to change any of those settings. 

If your scene contains render settings combined with different takes, our system will automatically add them to the render. In this example each of the takes from the list (Chair_1/2/3) have different render settings. This includes not only camera, but also frame range. All of those settings are automatically pulled from your scene, and set before rendering.

When adding a job to render, you can also switch between modes. To do that, just use the Mode selection dropdown. Changing mode will force our system to render scenes in camera mode, instead of takes. This feature is recommended to use for advanced users only.

Switching the job mode. All available render switches like selected camera, take and render range are displayed in Web Manager’s job submission window.

If your project is prepared and good to go, just hit the Submit button. At this point your scene will be added to the render queue.

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 in Beamer's "downloads" tab, 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.

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