Rendering Help Wanted from Cinema 4D Artists.

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  01 January 2018
Rendering Help Wanted from Cinema 4D Artists.

I'm no Cinema 4D master, nor am I great at any other 3D program or 2D, I just want to start with that. But I really want to finish this project good, my first project on Cinema 4D and I have been stuck for some day now on the matter and I can't figure out the answer alone..

I have built a semi-mid-scale galaxy with the cloner object using spheres, then used a random effector to displace them randomly. I do not know how many spheres I have created, I am aware that I can find somewhere how much geometry/objects I have in the scene, but they are as many as my laptop can muster before becoming unworkable. I have then animated a camera flying through it backways and then backing up on it to get the whole galaxy in the frame. There is a lot of small particles, and the problem is that when I'm zooming away from the galaxy and having the camera facing it, the particles start to flicker, popping in and out of existance between frames.

My question is, how do I fix this? Can I fix this? With all the amazing VFX being done out there I cannot imagine there is not a fix for this? I has to be something I am missing since i'm a beginner.

All the spheres have one material with the Luminance Channel set to white, I have tried to max it out at10000% Brightness, still the same. The scenes has no lights in it.

I have tried the Standard Renderer in Cinema 4D and the Physical Renderer, both yield the same results, though the Physical Renderer deliver a lot of more detail but still there is this odd flickering. I have tried with the highest Anti-Aliasing settings, 16x16, I have tried changing the MIP Scale, I have tried to render to 32 bit psd sequences..

I'm just out of ideas, it should just work, I dont want the spheres to pop in & out of existance. Can I fix it with Xpresso, or I have fundamentally missed something? If some of you know the answer please let me know, I would be very happy to know how to fix this. I will post a gif to give a more accurate representation of the scene, I have added it to the post.

// PurpleSun
  01 January 2018
Are you rendering with global Illumination?

It is important when you use the luminance channel to enable GI Area Lights in the illumination tab within the material editor.
When rendering be sure that in render settings / options to uncheck Identical noise distribution.
Then in the GI tab / cache files uncheck full animation mode and only check auto save in the first image, this will calculate the cache for the first image.
Then uncheck auto save and check auto load and render the rest of the sequence.
Hope this will help. CU
Cinema4D Studio R19 on an iMac 27" Core i7, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 775M, 1TB SSD and 32 Gb RAM
my 3d stuff

Last edited by birdy : 01 January 2018 at 12:31 PM.
  01 January 2018
If you are using geometry for this (and you are), you may be asking for trouble. If the spheres are very small, the flickering may be caused by antialiasing or sampling issues, and cranking up the brightness won't help.

I think most VFX people doing a project like this would probably use visible lights rather than geometry. They will use less memory, and render much faster. Whatever you do, don't render with global illumination for something like this: you will get no benefit but have vastly increased render times.

Below is a link to a file with a cloner containing three different visible lights (important: the lights must be set to "No illumination"). Some of the visible lights are soft-edged, some are hard edged, and some are big, noisy, and dim to imitate interstellar gas; you can mix and match these however you want to get different effects. They are cloned inside a squashed sphere. Their positions and colour are randomized with two random effectors. You could cloned them inside any galaxy type shape you want...
  01 January 2018
As NWoolridge has said, C4D renders visible lights very quickly. You can even emit thousands of little visible lights in different colors as particles to get swirling galaxies type effects.

So if you are after white dots/stars/glowing spheres in space that zoom past the camera, use visible lights, not polygon spheres with a luminance material on them.

With raytrace rendering, if you have tiny geometry in a 3D render (very far away from the camera) that is smaller than an actual pixel, and it is white against a black background, then in some frames that geometry will light up a pixel, and in some it won't.

The effect will be like a starfield with a lot of tiny stars that flicker on and off randomly, almost like noise. A workaround may be to render the animation at much higher resolution (e.g. 4K or 8K) and then scale it down to HD. That may make the flickering much less noticable. Of course your render times will also quadruple or more when you do this.

There is also an old C4D plugin called StormTracer (don't know if its still being developed) that can do some impressive space stuff like galaxies and gaseous looking nebula:

It basically renders sprites with lighting into a 3D scene, so you could render a few images of different color spherical planets for example, and then render them as particle sprites in their hundreds of thousands with different scale settings to populate a hugely complex galaxy.

If nothing else works, you could try writing an Xpresso expression that fades the luminance of your planetary bodies to zero gradually as they get further away from your camera.

Putting black fog into your scene acting over a very long distance would also achieve the same effect and would be easier to set up. (As you stars get really far from the camera, they start to get dimmed to nothing by black fog that is indistinguishable from black space).

In both instances, you would effectively gradually dim your stars to nothing before they become so small that they make the raytrace render flicker badly.

If you have tens of thousands of stars in your frame, chances are nobody will notice that really small far away ones gradually disappear from view.

I hope that some of these strategies help you.
  01 January 2018
birdy, NWoolridge and skeebertus, thank you very much for your helping and detailed answers! It has been very informative and i have improved upon my knopwledge!

@birdy - Thank you for your answer. I was not rendering with GI, in the matter of fact I haven't used it up till now. So I took some tutorials on GI and I have learned a lot! So thank you very much. I will be definitly using Global Illumination in Cinema 4D. I followed your steps, and rendered with GI, with the highest settings and still got flickering in my rendering.

@NWoolridge - Yes Woolridge, my initial though was that I wanted lights for this and not actual geometry since stars are huge Light producers, my knowledge on Clonic lights was short and I approached the project wrong, but since then you have given me a wonderful Cinema 4D Project, it looks beautiful, it looks just as I first invisioned, my thought was to recompose the spheres with glow and so on to something similar in After Effects, but now my starting point is much closer to what my final product will look like. I am deeply thankful for your file. I have looked at it and studied it to understand the lights in the cloner object and all its attributes. I want to thank you for stearing me in the right direction, you have opened a world of possibilities for me.

I created with the Pyrocluster some clouds, manipulated the size and colour of them and placed them through the scene, it looked beautiful but the render time was pretty long, this cosmic gas you have created for me with the lights and turbulence looks so good and render so much faster! And the random coloring was cool. I want to thank you again very much, I am gonna restart my project and now do the galaxy even more detailed and more beautiful using the tools you have given me.

@skeebertus - Thank you for answer, you are right, visible lights is the way to go. I will restart my project and try to make it with visible lights.
Yes it sounds logical what you are saying about raytrace rendering, I was afraid of it when my first renders where made but I was unsure if that was the case, and thus seeked help, I guess this is the answer. As your solution was brilliant, render at a higher resolution for more pixel density, it actually got a lot better. I tried at 4k some frames, I imagine at 8K the effect would be even better, but since I am doing it with visible lights I did not render the whole sequence out.

I looked at stormtracer and i've learned a little about sprites, looks really beautiful the effects the plugin could create, making galaxies and space. If my scene with visible lights don't shape up to be beautiful maby I will look at Stormtracer.

Thank you very much all 3 of you for your suggestions and strategies to improve my project. Great community!
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