Tachyon Render - Realtime Renderer for C4D


Video preview:

Click here for the interview on Lesterbanks.com, excerpt below:

Tachyon Render uses OpenGL to render. In this way it is different from all other GPU renders that facilitate CUDA or OpenCL to use the compute power of GPUs. They are mostly unbiased raytracers. Tachyon Render is based on techniques developed by the video game industry. We are using a deferred render method specifically.

In contrast to video games we focus on image quality rather than frame rate. This allows us to use more complex algorithms that are still too slow for games. In this regard we bridge the gap between GPU rendering and realtime rendering as we can still use several seconds to render a frame but we don’t need several minutes our hours.

Rendering in a few milliseconds naturally requires some trade-offs but so far we are happy with what we can achieve with this approach…

Tachyon Render requires an OpenGL compatible graphics card. Most current Nvidia and AMD card should work. We are testing with a GTX970 and a Radeon 380 but will expand that once we get closer to launch.

They are aiming for Winter 2016


Cool. That will have a lot of uses I’m sure.


<frankbarone>Holy crap.</frankbarone>

That looks like a legit solution for Mac users NS pretty nice for an alpha-ish preview. Thanks for posting that. Look forward to seeing updates this year. I want to see how it handles particle systems and see how the HQ setting match up to Octane 3 / V-Ray (if those are out by winter 2016 that is… taking nothing for granted at this point).


It’s very important to understand what this product is trying to do…and what it isn’t trying to do.

If you read the interview Martin Weber is quite clear about it. He’s building a product for speed…for real-time or near real-time response.

Tachyon will hopefully rival next-gen game engines or Element 3D. He explicitly states that they are building the ‘renderer’ on OpenGL. He compares his ambitions to what can be done in Unreal 4. He never compares Tachyon to VRAY (he’s a well-known c4d VRAY user, btw) or other elite 3rd party renderers.

That being the case we aren’t talking pure ‘rendering’ as much as a displaying/presenting technology. There is no such thing in this world as multi-light bounce, and certainly not full global illumination.

He does tout ‘global illumination’ but you can be pretty certain it will be a single-light-bounce implementation where objects reflect an environmental HDRI object. Again…just compare it to Element 3D in this regard.

If you look closely when he brings up a Terminal window you’ll see the command, “Print VRAM” That tells you a lot…it’s not doing raytracing like we think about. It’s relying on what you can get with OpenGL: shadows, shading, light reflections…maybe environmental reflections.

Just like Element3d you won’t enjoy inter-object reflections. It’s results are not far removed from what you are getting in the advanced viewports with Modo 901, Maya 2015 and in the latest iteration of 3DCoat.

I think it can be an exciting product–one that I’d be interested in purchasing. But let’s not place it in the same conversation with Octane, Arnold, or VRAY. Except in limited cases, it won’t be able to achieve that kind of high-end quality.

Also of note. At the end of the video he toggled on ‘HQ’ (a high quality setting). That increased the AA smoothing and appeared to add a glow post effect. With those effects enabled it was churning out 820x460 frames at 5 seconds each. (watch the video closely)

Look people. There is no such thing as a free lunch. There is no Santa Claus or Render Fairy. This is no monster product that will give us instant renders and feature elite quality. It doesn’t exist.

But if they can really deliver, Tachyon might have a wonderful role in rapid client visualizations, story telling, conceptualizations, training animations. A clever 3d artists might be able to make a tv commercial–but that will be more the exception.


WOW. This looks amazing!


He does tout ‘global illumination’ but you can be pretty certain it will be a single-light-bounce implementation where objects reflect an environmental HDRI object. Again…just compare it to Element 3D in this regard.

Reflecting an environment HDR isn’t Global illumination, it’s simple PBR shading (what you have in Modo, 3D coats, Element 3D, etc even Pixelberg for C4D…)

There are actual solutions for GI in realtime on the market : http://www.geomerics.com/beyond-gaming/

But I’m not sure they can crack it up by themselves if they want to deliver by winter 2016, they’ll probably have to license a middleware solution like the one above, or settle for something much simpler.

You can also get reflections now (screenspace, or using probes), and you could get object to object reflection in a rather convincing manner if you attach a reflection probe (like a tag) to one or both objects. It’s all tricks, but in many cases it could fool your audience.


im not sure what features it will have, but pixelberg already does this


Element 3d version 2 actually does do a bit of this. It’s not technically accurate, but you can do some reflection of one model on another. It’s actually pretty neat. It’s pulling some cool tricks in the background to make it work.


This and pixel berg get me excited because I have work that would absolutely benefit from this being “good enough”. Not everything I do is a green screen shoot with VFX or high fidelity… in fact, I’m moving more away from any sort of realism just to do more work faster.

It may not fit everyone’s needs, but this and pixelberg may be my only options to even attempt 3d work anymore at my company. it’s always “find ways to do this faster/cheaper”. Otherwise, I simply don’t do 3d work at all because the sales people won’t even bother trying to sell it to potential clients.


OK…noted…I see Element3d v2 does offer ‘reflection’ feature here:

But as described, TheGreatSzalam…those ‘reflections’ are more of a trick…and limited to one of two projections… flat and spherical. It’s not generated from the interplay of light as we think about with a real renderer.

Again…I’m not belittling it. Not every client or project needs photo-realism. I purchased Pixelberg and might purchase this. Let’s just keep it real.


I personally think this is a great demo of what could be a great product.

I have a love hate relationship with Element 3D, Looks great, hate using it.

I think this is going to be HUGE for Mograph artist. If your ever dealing with 3d text with very tight AE integration C4D, rendering as simple as it is, is painfully slow. This looks ‘Good enough’ yet gives you the SPEED of Element 3d.


In the video I watched for Geometrics at their site, the video describes their product this way…
"Simulates the effect of indirect illumination.

Now he does insure us that light bounces are used…but what we are getting is likely an extremely generalized light tone or few distributed samples.

There won’t be detail. There will be noise and blockiness.

He may be using he same word…but it has a different meaning.

That’s not to say there isn’t a use case for such lighting. There definitely is. Indoor lighting can be painfully slow.

The Geometrics technology is perfect for games…and that’s their intended audience. I could also see it used in industrial/corporate training…digital story-telling, etc.


I hear you bro. Sometimes cost justification drives these things.
3d projects with pseudo GI > No 3d projects!

If that’s the dynamic at your agency/business… I understand!

And I think for most of us…it could at the very least fill a niche.


Agreed. Working in Broadcast Graphics this sort of thing will be a fantastic solution. The quality is exactly right for quick turnaround work, and it’s way better than Viz.


We will have to wait and see…and agree to disagree. I don’t see it as ideal for broadcast graphics and I don’t think it’s even being touted as such. But then I don’t see Element 3d as a broadcast graphic tool either, so again…just my perspective on my own work, niche, clients…

Tachyon developer Weber says:

We also struggle with the issue that clients often get nervous when we show intermediate results that are playblasts or reduced in quality. They often cannot visualize how the final product will look like. With high quality realtime rendering we would be able to mitigate this.

My interpretation is that he’s looking at upgrading intermediate approval renders…not final client renders.

I think a 30-second commercial is the domain of Octane/Arnold/VRAY/Thea.

But we all have different sensibilities, clients, branding niche, budgets, etc. Some of us don’t even have the liberty to decide…where others here are bosses/directors/indies.


I just want a constantly updating, near-instant, plausibly accurate, progressive quality preview renderer like Modo, Maxwell Fire, and Lightwave VPR inside of C4D.

Would this do that job?


That’s all I’m talking about. Icecave I know this isn’t a wholesale replacement for V-Ray or Octane, however it MAY be a replacement for one of the most important features of those two products, namely the RT / Interactive rendering (which is C4D’s achilles heal right now in many non-Mograph scenarios).

And ultimately getting output that is let’s say 85% the quality of a fancy Octane or V-Ray render, that is done very quickly, is a big deal potentially. And frankly, with both of those products long overdue (especially V-Ray) it’s cool to see a third alternative that might work in the C4D universe… particularly on a Mac. Which is its own can of worms.


Fair points, Blinny! I hear you.

But there are still other issues we’ve yet to chat about:
–It’s extremely unlikely you will get displacement. So bump maps will be all
–You get shadow maps not the lovely shadows I’ve come to love
–Does it require you to bake or prepare items (like you have to do for/gaming)
–Hair? I very much doubt it
–AO? (Element3d has something approximating it, so maybe)
–Motion blur?
–Depth of Field?

The biggest unknown to me is…does it work with native materials or require its own materials… I’d guess that it might work with native materials and for me–if it required use of yet another material system–that might be a deal breaker.


I understand you’re skeptical but you should check Unreal Engine and the current version of Element 3D. it seems you have a 5 year old perception of game engines (which is natural if you’re not a gamer).

Games don’t bake all their lighting and AO in the texture anymore as they used to. And when they do, they usually are used together with the realtime AO and lights.

Same thing for Depth of Field and Motion Blur. By the way, Element 3D has both. Pixelberg has realtime Depth of field inside Cinema 4D already. So I’m pretty sure Tachyon will have both.

Element 3D also gives you the option of using either shadowmaps OR raytrace shadows. So I don’t think Tachyon will have only shadow maps.

Anyway, you should check the Element 3D page and check some modern games to see what they are capable of.

I’m not much a gamer myself, but I keep checking games and related sites about game art (like polycount) because, in my opinion, the game industry is years ahead of the rest of CGI field in practical and fast solutions.

It really annoys me that I have to wait seconds to render something in Cinema 4D that Element 3D or even my old PS3 will render in real time.


You make some fair points. And you’ve made me think so I’m grateful for your post.

I’m not as intimate with PC/console gaming as most. But I know a little. I was a Unity guy a few years back…More recently I’ve watched some very impressive videos of Unreal…and considered taking the course at PluralSight, where I’m a member.

The course is all about using the UnReal engine to animate a film. So I certainly appreciate game/real-time rendering is a moving target here. And it will continue to advance…just as renderers like Octane and VRAY are advancing.

As for Element 3D…I own it…the latest version. I concede I’ve not used it much but that’s mainly because I felt limited with it and felt it was a kludgy 3d world squeezed inside a layer inside After Effects. I’m sure if it had been in c4d…nicely integrated…I’d feel differently. I really like doing my 3d work inside c4d. I’ve got tons of assets and rigs and materials. So I concede: maybe I under-rate E3D…somewhat.

On the flip side…I’m old school enough where I don’t mind waiting for quality. And that waiting shrinks in time constantly. Octane and VRAY RT seem to hit a sweet spot…a sweet spot where I imagine I’ll be targeting most of my work.