November 25, 2022 Hana Trieu

Rendering X-Particles in Octane for Cinema 4D

Rendering X-Particles in Octane is not too difficult when you understand the method. As we all know, X-Particles is a popular particle system for Cinema 4D, but OctaneRender does not render it directly. In order for Octane to render it, it is necessary to supply Octane with geometry. This is done using the Octane Object tag — typically a sphere. However, any geometry can do as long as it is efficiently constructed and minimal since many particles will consume a significant amount of VRAM. In today’s article, iRender will guide you on rendering X-Particles in Octane for Cinema 4D. Let’s dive into the details.

Rendering X-Particles in Octane for Cinema 4D: A detailed guidance

1.1 Set up X-Particles to work with Octane

The simplest way to create particles is with XP Emitters. However, the strength of X-Particles comes from the X-Particles Control System. This means that Octane Object tags need to be applied to either the xpEmitter, xpGenerator, or associated Particle Group (all of which depends on the specific setup.) Choosing the appropriate recipient for the Octane Object tag may require some experimentation. When working with scenes that include all of these aspects, you should begin with the xpEmitter, then the Particle Group (if present), and next, the xpGenerator.

The Particle Rendering tab of the Octane Object tag is used to add any geometry that is intended to stand in for the generic X-Particle. The Particle Rendering tab is only active on objects that Octane recognizes as a valid particle generators. 

And the Enable menu in the Particle Render section includes four options:

      • None: With this option, no particles will be rendered.
      • Geometry: Any Cinema geometry of C4D can be used as a particle. (Note to keep particle geometry simple to conserve VRAM). Depending on the specific setup, the geometry may also need an Octane Object tag applied. Materials can be applied directly to the geometry or to the emitter.
      • Voxel: This option does not work with X-Particles. You should ignore it.
      • SDF: Same as Voxel.

1.2 Wetmaps

When creating materials making use of the X-Particles Wetmap, you should use the Composite material instead of the Mix material. The reason is that Mix material has some limitations in Octane:

      • Mix Material works only with two materials
      • It needs to work in conjunction with two other node materials. Therefore, it is difficult to move to other scenes.
      • It doesn’t work in the Cinema 4D Asset or Content Browser
      • And it doesn’t work correctly with Solo mode

On the other hand, Composite Material solves all of these limitations. It works correctly also with Solo mode.

This is how you can convert Mix Material to Composite Material:

In the Cinema 4D Material Manager, select Mix Material, then go to Live View > Materials > Convert Material and select Convert Material. There will be a new Composite Material created and the contributing materials will be converted to the sub-materials. See here for more information on the Composite Material. 

1.3 XP Trails

Add an object tag and set it to hair mode. Because of dynamic point counts, motion blur is not accessible for XP Trails (or any other object that changes point counts on-the-fly).

Trail Color via Attribute Node: The Attribute node is utilized to extract the correct color for the XP Trails modifier.

Trail Thickness: The trail thickness is determined by the values in the hair root and tip nodes. Because these values are fixed, there is no ability to modify the size of the trail based on the particle that generates it.

1.4 Explosia

Octane will render Explosia output using the Octane VDB Volume object. Explosia must first be simulated and then saved in OpenVBD format before being loaded into the Octane VDB Volume object and rendered. If motion blur is needed, enable the Velocity channels before to simulation and save them as part of the Octane VDB Volume object.

      • Explosia Volume Position Offset: Because Octane and Explosia use different coordinate systems, the location of the Explosia volume when loaded into the Octane VDB Volume object will be different. It is necessary to make the Z value negative (typically -1) in order to correct this.
      • VDB Object Grids/Channels: All VDBs give channels/grids that contain various types of data. If a VDB contains multiple channels, these channels must be assigned. If not, Octane will make an arbitrary choice frame by frame, which can result in certain undesirable results. The same grid can be mapped to all three Octane.
      • VDB Color: Because Octane uses VDB channels or grids to shade the volume, it is essential to have similar channels in the Explosia VDB output. As needed, these channels are mapped into the absorption, scattering, and emission channels. Shaders can be applied to each of these channels to achieve the desired look.

1.5 Motion Blur

Depending on the situation, motion blur with X-Particles can be more involved than simply enabling the motion blur render option. Ensure that the xpEmitter (or another xp source and appropriate geometry in the particle rendering list) has an Octane Object tag. As particles are added to the scene, render times will increase frame by frame, so prepare accordingly. 

If X-Particles is causing Octane crashes, reducing the Motion Blur cache used by Live Viewer may help. To do so, navigate to the Octane Camera tag > Motion Blur tab and set M.Blur caches [frame] to 1 to avoid crashes (this value defaults to 25, which can overwhelm the Live Viewer if too many particles are active). Because Live Viewer is primarily intended as a lighting and material review system, motion blur is not rendered accurately. It may be essential to enable the Use Guides on Motion Blur option in the Octane Object tag > Motion Blur tab. 

1.6 xpCache/ xpOpenVDBMesh and Motion Blur

When caching the output from the xpOpenVDBMesher generator, The xpCache does not work correctly. Because the motion blur data is not written into the cache, the mesh will render but without motion blur. To resolve this issue, disable the cache for the xpOpenVDBMesher generator, and the motion blur will render appropriately. By removing the cache, the mesh is created “on the fly,” and the correct motion blur information is written out as the mesh is generated. Note that the usage of smoothing filters may affect the motion blur data; it can be necessary to disable these options as well. It is also necessary to enable Transfer Velocity in the xpOpenVDBMesher generator. This will generate the required information for Octane to properly calculate motion blur, as illustrated in the following illustration:

The Transfer Velocity will generate three velocity tags and attach them to the xpOpenVDBMesher generator. These tags must be placed in the right slots, which correspond to the specific X, Y, and Z axes, located in the Octane Object tag > Motion Blur tab > Vertex Speed turn down, which is displayed when the Object Motion Blur menu is set to Vertex Speed, as seen in the following illustration:

1.7 Network Rendering X-Particles in Octane

Third-party plugins whose output is to be rendered with Octane must meet the following conditions for network rendering:

      • X-Particles: Because X-Particles is a Cinema 4D plugin, it cannot render networks unless they are local (such as a Team Render or Deadline-based network). It is preferable to export the XP System in Alembic file format instead (the X-Particles documentation covers the process). Please keep in mind that this format has the potential to drastically increase scene file sizes as well as network transmission times. Any localized network which can access the X-Particles plugin should be capable of rendering X-Particles in Octane.
      • Xplosia: Octane renders Xplosia output through the Open VDB format only. And Grid data is correctly supported.

1.8 Getting proper X-Particle colors

Use the Instance Color node to match the colors from X-Particles. The node is added to the material that is applied to the primitive that serves as the particle object, as specified in the Octane Object tag > Particle Rendering tab. This will work only for geometric particles where the geometry is specified in the Octane Object tag.

Above are all the steps for rendering X-Particles in Octane for Cinema 4D that iRender would like to guide you through. Hope you find them helpful for your rendering process. If you are looking for a cloud rendering service for your Octane projects, the below section is for you!

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Hana Trieu

Hello everyone, I'm Hana, working as a Customer Support at iRender. Being interested in Computer Graphics, I admire CG artists around the world and always look forward to learning and sharing new things with them.


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