This article is Aleksey Voznesenski’s personal opinion, this question comes up a lot, so he is going to try to answer it down here. He decided to add a bit more about what you should pay attention to when picking a render engine, rather than just listing off pros and cons.
Some render engine that he shares to below:
Vray – the granddaddy of 3rd party render engines for c4d.
- Big user base. Like REAL big
- lots of material presets
- many/most features of c4d supported
- Honestly hard to pick anything with the new releases. As far as I can tell it is doing really well. Has a GPU engine that supports a large number of features, fewer settings than before, so it’s easy to use. Just a bit expensive.
- The license model recently changed, so now it’s subscription based, but on the bright side, development should be faster.
Price: €60 (68USD)/Month or €340 (382USD)/year (no perpetual license)
Arnold – The new big gun.
- Can handle astronomical sizes of scenes without problems
- Supports lots of features straight off, including hair, xparticles, openvdb volumes from houdini.. etc..
- if you are planning on working in production houses you should know Arnold or Redshift
- New GPU and denoiser support make Arnold a pretty nice option on par with the others.
- acquired by Autodesk… (chance of being discontinued development for other applications)
- also no render node licenses, but really only go for this render if you are relatively free with your budgets.
Price: 45USD/Month or 360USD/year (no perpetual license)
Octane – The first GPU render, with super fast growing popularity
- lots of features supported. especially turbulenceFD
- very large user base, and growing rapidly, so lots of tutorials
- $20/month no commitment make this a great render engine to try out and get into without any commitment.
- otoy don’t sell render nodes, so you will never find farms that support it. they promised their own farm solution, but its not out yet. And even then there will be one farm, so if something happens to it, if its down, you have no alternatives. $20/month licenses to compensate though
- only gpu render, so if you run out of memory on your video card, there is no work around, no fall back.
- Otoy actively fights against users using external render farms, which are not their own. Right now most octane capable render farms require you to use your own license on the, because legally they can’t provide this service. This means if you have a tight deadline and need to enlist say 3 render farms, you can’t just pay them and send them all your fines, you have to set stuff up, purchase more licenses etc. Not a good idea for time sensitive projects, for example for trade shows, other openings etc. Where legal can require changes at the last minute for large chunks of your work.
Price: 20USD/Month for 2GPU limit OR $619 perpetual
Redshift – Biased GPU render engine, very very popular, especially in production houses.
- Supports lots of features
- You get all the plugins with one purchase, so you can use it Houdini as well as cinema 4D without paying extra if you want.
- Vast amount of tutorials and knowledge which is usable from other applications since settings are the same.
- Great dev team, really invested in supporting pipeline stuff, so great for production houses and post work.
- Lots of settings to fiddle with, might not be your cup of tea
Price: $500USD – permanent, includes one year of updates. $250 per year after that
Write by Aleksey Voznesenski - ACE5Studios