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Old 08-24-2012, 03:10 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricM
Isn't "render element" basically doing most of that already ? (controlling tags, materials, render settings, including layers on/off etc...).

Off course, the problem is that you can't send them automatically to the render queue (unless I'm mistaken). Is that the you're asking for ?


In large, complicated scenes its very slow, it doesn't work with user data, it doesn't have a master layer or hierarchy, won't transfer through xrefs, etc... And even after using it for years, I find it can be hard to manage. It's the only way to do it right now, but it's no where near ideal.

But to your second question, yes, the main problem is that it requires you to save out separate .c4d file to render. I want to be able to save - one - scene.
 
Old 08-24-2012, 10:07 PM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EricM
Isn't "render element" basically doing most of that already ? (controlling tags, materials, render settings, including layers on/off etc...).

Off course, the problem is that you can't send them automatically to the render queue (unless I'm mistaken). Is that the you're asking for ?

Slighlty OT, but still on the topic of multipasses, anyone knows if there's a simple way to create "per material mattes" without resorting to shuffling tons of black and white materials in the whole scene manually ?


AFAIK render elements is no longer being developed...so that is also another reason to start finding alternative solutions.
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Old 08-27-2012, 11:13 PM   #33
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A slightly related question. Is there a way to have Alphas named the same way as the multipass layers? as in renderName_A_0001 instead of A_renderName_0001?

It's kind of annoying that when handling files all multipass layers are dumped in the same folder, and separate alphas break the naming conventions we use in the studio. I mean sure, I can just use FastStone or another image management software to rename files, but it's pretty bothersome.
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Old 08-28-2012, 03:15 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rustEdge
It's kind of annoying that when handling files all multipass layers are dumped in the same folder,


That's what multichannel EXR's are for!
 
Old 08-28-2012, 05:59 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LucentDreams
This case is a prime example where yes I want a render layer type system, but I've seen a few people refer to the atrocity that is Maya's render layer system and would for one hugely oppose that type of implementation.

Maya's render layers work quite nicely now. I cannot remember the last time it gave me any issues.

A good point has been raised here and I'm curious to know how Maxon deals with it. The idea about development priorities based on user-requests, but perhaps the majority of users not being aware of the possibilities should mean that Maxon should take the charge in production-critical workflow design, rather than waiting for x number of users to vote on it first.

Cinema 4D may not have had 14 releases since Maya introduced Render Layers, but Softimage has had this feature from at least 2000 onwards, if not before. That's a long time.

Being aware of render layers back then, I couldn't wait for them to come to Maya, which took half a decade longer and was still worth it in its buggy and nearly totally broken state.

I think it's safe to say that it's long overdue in Cinema 4D.
 
Old 08-28-2012, 06:28 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fusepilot
Say I wanted to composite an apple slowly fading up to full visibility on a table in After Effects. To do this correctly you need to render the scene at least twice to get a render of just the apple and then just the table separately. An object buffer on the apple wont work in this case because when you apply the buffer and reduce the apple's transparency, there wont be anything behind it except a black area in the shape of the apple.

So to do this in Cinema, you must save 2 different versions of the scene to render. One where only the apple is visible and the other where only the table is visible. Simple enough. But, now the client comes back and wants to make changes to the scene. You now must either go in to each file and make the same changes twice, or, make the changes in the original scene and then save the two .c4d files again to render. Hardly convient or maintainable, especially when things get more complicated than this simple example.

In Maya, you would have the apple on one render layer, the table on another. And from just one Maya scene you can render both layers to different files, no need to create multiple .ma's. And when the client comes back and wants to make changes, it's easy because the two layers are children of a master layer. In the master layer you can make changes globally and have them trickle down to the children layers. Hit render, done.

Again, extremely simple example.


To expound on this, Maya's render layers allow you to override pretty much any attribute per layer. This effectively allows for a "scene-within-a-scene" type situation.

You can have different materials per object, different light set ups, different transform values per object, different render output settings per layer, including switching renderers altogether, so if a feature doesn't render well, with say the Physical Renderer, or takes too long, put it on a render layer and set it to render with the Standard Renderer.

Setting up mattes is also more flexible this way, compared to object buffers, because you can have the same object render as white in one layer, but black in another layer.
 
Old 08-29-2012, 09:43 PM   #37
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Before this post I didn't think of a C4D render layer system to be any different than Maya's implementation. But now I'm interested in what could be improved or simplified over Maya's.

For me, the essentials of this system are:

Ability to view and render different layers(states) of a scene from one file.
Ability to override and inherit parent layers with parameters, tags, user data, materials, renderer, etc...
Precise control of output paths using tokens. For example, this tokenized control string, "/<Camera>/<Layer>/<Pass>/<Pass>_####.<Extension>", would generate files at these locations:

"/camera_one/apple_layer/diffuse/diffuse_0001.png"
"/camera_one/apple_layer/specular/specular_0001.png"
"/camera_one/table_layer/diffuse/diffuse_0001.png"
"/camera_one/table_layer/specular/specular_0001.png
"/camera_two/apple_layer/diffuse/diffuse_0001.png"
...

I'd like to mockup what I think this would look like in C4D once the project I'm on is over.

What other features are people looking for within this system?
 
Old 08-30-2012, 03:37 AM   #38
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Maya's render layers work result wise, its the actually management of them that isn't the best solution. Then again the system we use, while better has the worse terminology I know
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Old 08-30-2012, 05:20 AM   #39
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I can actually see some sort of render layer management system that can piggyback on C4D's Compositing Tag, where Object Buffers can double as identifiers for render layers. Instead of identifying mattes for objects it could have objects render-enabled. (using render visibility and object layers to say which object should be in the render isn't enough as you can only assign one on any object.)

It'll probably be better to have a separate tag or another manager window to make it easier to read if it ever happens.
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Old 08-30-2012, 05:50 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rustEdge
I can actually see some sort of render layer management system that can piggyback on C4D's Compositing Tag, where Object Buffers can double as identifiers for render layers. Instead of identifying mattes for objects it could have objects render-enabled. (using render visibility and object layers to say which object should be in the render isn't enough as you can only assign one on any object.)


The problem with tags as they currently are, which you hinted at, is management. Especially since you can't search for them. I can remember a few times where I've searched 30 minutes for an object on a buffer that it shouldn't be on. Tags also can't have any kind of logical inheritance.

I think the most obvious solution is to utilize and enhance the layer system already in place.

Or a not so obvious idea, because a lot of people are scared of nodal workflows, is to use Xpresso to have a more dynamic way of linking objects and virtual layers together. Maxon would have to seriously revamp Xpresso though, far past a simple facelift. So, its very unlikely.

I'd vote for an enhanced layer manager.

Last edited by fusepilot : 08-30-2012 at 07:15 AM.
 
Old 08-30-2012, 06:51 AM   #41
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+1 on an enhanced layer manager. That alone can help move towards a proper render layer system on top of a better way of organizing scene files.

I also agree with trying to adapt XPresso for render-related attributes. Don't know if it's lack of priority or if they're afraid it could lead to stability issues, but it's worth adding IMO.
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Old 08-30-2012, 07:56 AM   #42
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From what I understand, you can only have an item (material, object etc...) pertaining to ONE layer at a time in the current system.That wouldn't work for complex setups, would it ?

Registering properties la "Render elements" but with the added funcionalities to link to the render queue and within that to specific passes would do the trick for me most of the time.

xpresso would be great (albeit a bit scary, like TP) but it would then be akin to a compositing environment (like blender) and is probably much more demanding in terms of development.

(On the other hand, an xpresso "compositing" workflow could be very similar to and be the foundation for a node based material system, like the one that was in Finalrender, only more efficient).
 
Old 08-30-2012, 08:12 AM   #43
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Yep. 1 layer on an object, animation track, tag.
You can nest layers, but all it does is let you collapse the group. "Parent" layers don't affect their children at all.

I still use them to make manual render layers a bit more manageable, but it means I still have to turn things on and off before every render session. Pretty much I have to keep track of which layers I'm using for a certain render pass, though it's much better than manually hunting down visibility dots/compositing tags in the Object Manager.

Render Elements sort of automates the process, though it's a brute-force method of dealing with the problem.
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Old 08-31-2012, 02:00 AM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chi
AFAIK render elements is no longer being developed...so that is also another reason to start finding alternative solutions.


I would not 100% say that. I updated it when V12 came out and broke it. And if it breaks with R14 I will try to fix it (have not tested it yet). I don't plan to add new features, as I rarely use C4D these days, except for modeling, so I don't have much incentive to add to the development. In terms of its usefulness, it does what I need it to do, how I need it to work. Definitely was never intended as a full-fledged solution. That being said, I simply CANNOT use C4D in a professional setting without it. For me, it is a must-have plugin (and a lot of people tell me the same).

I would strongly encourage people to submit this feature request to Maxon. Based on downloads, I estimate about 3000 users of my plugin, so there is definitely a demand for this feature. At one point several years ago I met with a bunch of the senior programmers at Maxon and showed them the plugin and explained what it does and why it was needed, but they didn't really get it at the time. I think the only way to make the necessity of a render pass system understood is through a volume of feature requests.
 
Old 08-31-2012, 02:52 AM   #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bandini
For me, it is a must-have plugin (and a lot of people tell me the same)

Well I'll say it again. I use Render Elements on a daily basis and find it indispensable.

I've tested some heavy R13 scenes in R14. All of the elements I've looked at are working normally. They are:
Layer switches
Visibility dots
Enabled switches
Texture Tag material links
Compositing Tag settings
Render Settings

Thanks again for the plugin.
 
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