April 14, 2023 Hana Trieu

How to use Octane ACES/OCIO for Cinema 4D?

Maxon has upgraded the color management system in Cinema 4D R2023 to integrate ACES and OpenColorIO, both of which are open color management standards used in the motion picture and video industries. OTOY has added ACES/OCIO compatibility in the most recent versions of Octane. Prior to Cinema 4D R2023, images rendered with Octane using ACES/OCIO settings did not display properly in the Cinema 4D Picture Viewer. 

Cinema 4D R2023, the latest version, now supports ACES and OCIO. As a result, Octane-produced images viewed in the Cinema 4D Picture Viewer now match the Octane Live Viewer output – as long as the Cinema 4D Color Management features are correctly configured. Let’s explore how to use Octane ACES/OCIO for Cinema 4D properly. 

1. How to use Octane ACES/OCIO for Cinema 4D properly?

This guide is for Octane 2022.1 and Cinema 4D R2023, and it only describes features specific to the proper configuration of ACES/OCIO within Cinema 4D, as those features are particular to Octane. It describes the ACES Color Management options in Cinema 4D so that Octane and Cinema 4D can operate together to produce accurate ACES/OCIO renders. If you are using an older version of Cinema 4D than R2023, you can skip this article.

Important note: The ACES/OCIO settings explained in this article are NOT compatible with the ACES Tone mapping option in the Octane Camera > Camera Imager tab. If you use the options mentioned in this article, make sure to disable that options.

1.1 Getting Started

This section describes each required ACES & OCIO setting in detail. It is important to completely follow the instructions; otherwise, some functions may not be available or operate properly.

Step 1: Download the complete OCIO package

Go to GitHub and follow these steps:

        • Select the green Code button
        • Select Download ZIP from the drop-down option
        • Save the file on your hard disk

Step 2: Install the OCIO package

The opencolorio package must then be installed so that Octane can utilize it. Go to Octane > Settings > Color Mgmt. tab; if an item already exists in the Environment config file slot, as seen in the below image, all that is required is to enable the Automatic(recommended) flag. 

Important note: The two intermediate color space entries must be set to the same option or the color management system will fail.

If no file is included in the Environment Config file, just pick the Use other config file option, click the ellipsis (…), and navigate to the directory retaining the config.ocio file, and restart Cinema.

Environmental Variable

You can create an Environmental Variable for your config.ocio file if you have experience in doing so. This will enable ACES/OCIO for ALL ACES and OCIO-aware applications on your system. Once created, the config.ocio file will be mentioned in the Environment config file slot in the Color Management tab of the Octane Settings window in Live Viewer the next time Octane is run. 

You can also use a separate config file for Octane, which is what the Use Other option allows you to do.

Step 3: Set up the Camera Imager

        • Go to Octane Settings > Camera Imager > Imager tab > set Response to Linear.
        • Go to Octane Settings > Camera Imager > OCIO > set OCIO view to ACES:sRGB (this will set the view transform to sRGB), and set OCIO look to Use View Look.

1.2 Before rendering

Step 1: Set up Color Management in Project Settings

Professional ACES and OCIO-based color management has been integrated into Cinema 4D R2023 and later. As illustrated in the below image, nearly all of the necessary options are located under Edit > Project Settings> Project tab > Color Management turndown.

Change the following default settings below:

        • Choose the OpenColorIO button
        • Set ACES in the Preset dropdown menu
        • Select the location of the installed config.ocio file. This needs to be the same file and location as specified in Octane Settings > Settings > Color Mgmt.
        • Set Render Space to ACES2065-1. This will conform Cinema to Octane standards. You can also choose ACEScg; however, after that, you will be limiting your color space to a subset of the full range shown in the ACES2065-1 option.
        • In Display Space, there is only one option which is sRGB. And it is correct.
        • Set the View Transform to Raw. This allows Cinema to show you the Octane results without additional processing.
        • Set the Thumbnails to Raw. This allows the Thumbnails to be correct, without additional processing by Cinema 4D.

Step 2: Set up Color Management in Preferences

Otoy needs the Display Color Profile to be disabled in previous versions of Octane. This is no longer the case in Cinema R2023.1.3. This setting should instead be sRGB (sets vary depending on monitor make/model). This setting is required for the Picture Viewer to support correct results when modifying the View Transforms.

Step 3: Set up Octane Renderer Settings

In Render Settings > Octane Renderer > Main tab, change the Buffer Type to HDR (Float 32-bit) and the Color Space to ACES2065-1.

1.3 Render

After setting up all these above settings, now, it’s time to render your scene.

1.4 After Rendering

Step 1: Picture Viewer Output

Picture Viewer results in Cinema 4D R2023, with the settings shown above, will match the results in Live Viewer. Begin with a Live Viewer preview (such as the one seen in the example below). In the Live Viewer Color Space drop-down menu, select OCIO <sRGB>. The sRGB transform will be applied to the ACES/OCIO rendered image. 

Now, using the output settings indicated here, render the image to the Picture Viewer. It is important to set the View Transform option in the Picture Viewer, placed in the upper right corner of the window, to Embedded/Raw. The Embedded/Raw option shows the Octane output without any color processing from Cinema. The final result is shown as follows: 

Step 2: Verifying the results

Using an external image comparison application (for this example, Beyond Compare) is an effective way to verify the results of Live Viewer (left image) with Picture Viewer (right image). Both of these images look to be nearly identical in the illustration, and they are; the only exception is differences in noise, as demonstrated in the results, as presented in the comparison window below the two image windows. This is shown by the red points that appear around high-resolution areas, indicating the noise itself. In the comparison, the image has a mainly gray presentation, indicating no change between the two images. This proves that the output from Live Viewer matches the output from Picture Viewer when the ACES/OCIO settings are correctly configured.

The image’s final validation is how it appears in another program that supports ACES/OCIO. The image is loaded into Affinity Photo in the following example. When the OCIO Transform is selected, the image in Live Viewer and Picture Viewer matches the output.

Adobe has upgraded After Effects (version 23.1.0) to enable OCIO without the use of plugins (but EXR support is still required). Select the ACES option in Project Settings. There are more options for display change in the View menu. For further details, you may need to see the After Effects 2023.1.0 documentation.

Following all the detailed steps explained in this article, you will know how to use Octane ACES/OCIO for Cinema 4D properly.

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Reference source: help.otoy.com

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