Deadline and Cinema 4D

Version: Deadline 8.0 and 8.1 (note that 8.1 is still in beta)

Introduction

Deadline has fully featured support for Cinema 4D. It’s easy to use, and allows the user to focus on their work and offload the rendering from the user’s workstations. It has a number of very useful features which are covered in this blog entry, so if you’re a Cinema 4D user, or you’re just feeling curious, keep on reading!

Note that Deadline supports Cinema 4D R12 and later.

Submitting a Cinema 4D Scene to Deadline

Deadline has an integrated submission plugin built inside of Cinema 4D that allows users to submit their scenes directly to Deadline. This allows Deadline to pull information about the scene like frame ranges, render output filenames, and Take lists. Users can also submit a previously saved Cinema 4D scene file to Deadline directly though the Deadline Monitor application without the need to open Cinema 4D. Information about installing the integrated submitter and using both submission interfaces can be found in the Deadline Cinema 4D Documentation.

Deadline's Cinema 4D plugin supports a mode known as "Batch Rendering". When rendering with this mode, Cinema 4D and the loaded scene file will stay in memory in between frames of the same job. This allows users to submit multiple frames per task and save the overhead of reloading the scene between frames. Simply enable the "Use Batch Plugin" option when submitting the job to Deadline.

Submission Options

Deadline has a standard set of submission options available to all plugins, which are described in the Job Submission Documentation. This set of parameters specifies the frame range, the group of Deadline Slaves that are allowed to render, the priority of the job, dependent Deadline jobs, and more.

In addition to all the standard set of parameters, Deadline’s Cinema 4D support also ties into Cinema’s new “Take” system that was introduced in R17. Artists can set up various Takes inside of their scenes, and submit individual Takes to Deadline. Artists can also submit the currently selected Take, or have every Take be submitted as separate Deadline jobs.

Changing Settings After Submission

After submitting a Cinema 4D render to Deadline, users are able to modify a selection of render attributes, such as image output filename, image resolution, and the Take name, directly from the Deadline Monitor application. This can be done by right-clicking on the job and selecting Modify Properties. Then click on the Cinema4D Settings option of the left to view and modify the Cinema 4D specific options.

Additional Cinema 4D Features in Deadline

In addition to rendering image sequences, Deadline’s Cinema 4D support includes many additional features, which are covered below.

Cinema 4D Team Render Support

Deadline integrates seamlessly with Cinema 4D’s “Team Render” application. Deadline has a separate plugin for Team Render that can be installed, and users are able to mix normal Cinema 4D renders and Team Render style renders using the same render farm.

Using Team Render with Deadline is easy and intuitive. Deadline includes an integrated Team Render plugin that is launched directly from Cinema 4D. This plugin allows users to reserve nodes on the render farm to be used for their specific Team Render job. Once an artist has reserved the required number of nodes, those nodes are set aside for use by that artist. The artist can then submit a render to those reserved nodes. During this time, Deadline will not send any other render jobs to these reserved nodes. Once an artist has completed a Team Render, they are able to release the render nodes from within Cinema 4D and put them back in the pool of available render nodes.

Another reason to use Team Render with Deadline is because Team Render is free of license restrictions. This is an advantage over a standard Cinema 4D network render which requires an additional net render license.

More information on setting up and using Deadline’s Team Render plugin can be found in the Cinema 4D Team Render Documentation.

Region Rendering in Cinema 4D

Deadline includes support for basic Tile Rendering inside of Cinema 4D. Deadline splits up a single frame into a user-defined number of tiles that are rendered concurrently across many Deadline Slaves. Once each tile has completed rendering, Deadline recombines the tiles into a single image. This tile rendering functionality even works for renderers that don’t explicitly support tile rendering. Deadline handles creating the regions and recombining the image independently of the chosen renderer.

Deadline also has a more advanced form of region rendering called Jigsaw. Support for Jigsaw inside of Cinema 4D is planned for a future version of Deadline.

Deadline Draft in Cinema 4D

Deadline’s Draft application is a light-weight compositing program that is integrated into the Cinema 4D plugin. Draft is accessible via the “Pipeline Tools” options in the Deadline submitter (or under the “Integration” tab prior to Deadline version 8.1).

A typical use for Draft is to automatically produce preview video files of rendered images. Draft has many functions as a compositing application, such as:

  • Convert a sequence of Cinema 4D renders to an encoded video. A large variety of encoding codecs and encoding quality options are available.
  • Composite image slates to rendered images.
  • Resave output images as a different format or in a different resolution.
  • Perform color space conversions of output images.
  • Run custom Python scripts to process the output images.

See the Draft and Integration Submission Options for more information.

Integration with Shotgun, FTrack, and NIM

Deadline’s Cinema 4D support integrates with Shotgun, FTrack, and NIM project management applications. Artists can submit a rendered sequence and automatically add it as an entry to their project management application. Deadline allows the user to set the user, project, task, asset, show, description, and a variety of other options directly from within Cinema 4D. Once the render completes, an entry with these options is added to the selected project management database.

The project management settings are accessible via the “Pipeline Tools” options in the Deadline submitter (or under the “Integration” tab prior to Deadline version 8.1). See the Draft and Integration Submission Options for more information.

V-Ray Distributed Rendering in Cinema 4D

Cinema 4D artists that want to use V-Ray’s distributed rendering engine can do so easily using Deadline. Deadline includes a plugin called the V-Ray Spawner that is accessible from inside the Deadline Monitor. Using the V-Ray Spawner submitter, an artist can reserve a number of render nodes to be used for their specific V-Ray render. Once an artist has reserved a number of nodes to be used, they can start a V-Ray distributed render inside of Cinema 4D by specifying the reserved nodes. This process works very similarly to the Team Render support as described earlier in this post.

Arnold Rendering in Cinema 4D

Deadline’s Cinema 4D plugin includes special support for the Arnold renderer, which allows an artist to submit a sequence of export jobs for the Arnold scene source file. This exporting process is then distributed over the Deadline farm. Additionally, a dependent Arnold Standalone job can be created to render the Arnold scene source file after it is exported. Alternately, the user can export a sequence of Arnold scene source files on their local computer, then manually submit those scenes to Deadline through the Deadline Monitor.

Users can also submit an Arnold scene source file from Windows or OS X and render using on Linux via KICK specifically for Arnold jobs. This workflow can also work with V-Ray scene files as well.

These exporting options were added to Deadline’s Cinema 4D plugin to allow for flexibility in artist’s workflows.

Why Use Deadline With Cinema 4D?

In addition to Deadline’s fully featured Cinema 4D support, it also ships with a wealth of features that make day to day rendering easier. While these features are covered in the Feature Set Documentation, here are a few we’d like to highlight.

Cross Platform Rendering

A common use case for Cinema 4D users is to have OS X workstations and a render farm running Windows. Deadline makes this integration seamless. A user can submit from either operating system, and have the Deadline Slave running on either operating system. This is done through Deadline’s “Path Mapping” options which allow a global mapping from a Windows path to an OS X path, and vice versa. These “Path Mapping” options can be configured in the Repository Options.

c4d-job-properties.png

Once these settings are configured, all the artist needs to do is enable the “Export Project Before Submission” option when submitting their job to Deadline (see the screenshot of the Cinema 4D integrated submitter above). This option bundles all the assets required by the scene file and puts them in a network location. The paths to these assets are replaced with relative paths, and this combined with Path Mapping allows the scene to be rendered on Windows and OS X machines.

Idle Detection

Deadline also has the ability to enable Idle Detection and Scheduled Times where a user’s workstation will turn into a render node automatically. This feature allows your artists’ machines to join the render farm when they go for lunch or leave for the day.

Note that it doesn’t matter if the workstation operating systems are different than the farm’s because of the Cross Platform Rendering support mentioned above!

Sharing the Farm

Finally, a big advantage to using Deadline with Cinema 4D is that it allows you to share your farm with other applications. For example, if your 3D artists use Cinema 4D and your 2D artists use After Effects, a single Deadline farm can be used to share render nodes across both departments. You can even split your farm so that some machines prefer 3D and some prefer 2D, but 3D jobs can then saturate the farm when all 2D jobs are finished (or vice versa). This can be done using Pools, so check out the Pools and Groups documentation for more information.

Wrapping Up

This blog should give you a good idea of the wealth of Deadline features that are available to Cinema 4D users. While this list is extensive, we’re always looking to add more! So if there is a feature for Cinema 4D that you would like to see supported by Deadline, let us know by contacting our Support Team!