Manual Reference Rendering Menu Render Settings


Active Objects Only

If this option is enabled, only the selected objects will be included when you render the scene.

Auto Light

When enabled, if there are no lights in your scene, CINEMA 4D uses its auto light (a standard light source) during rendering so that you can see the objects.

Log File

If this option is enabled, a render log will be recorded in ‘Renderlog.txt’ in the CINEMA 4D folder.

The render log contains a complete history of the render process including system resource information. Check this log if you need to identify problems that occurred while rendering.

The information in the log file is not overwritten by subsequent renders. Rather, new log information is appended. As a result, this file can grow to a fair size over time. You may wish to delete the file manually every now and then — a new file will be created the next time the log is recorded.


Using this option, you can enable or disable textures when rendering. For example, you can disable the textures for a test render or when using the cel renderer.

If this option is enabled, textures will be rendered.

If Textures is disabled, the average color value of the top texture layer (the right-most texture in the Object manager) will be rendered for each object.

Cancel If Texture Error

If CINEMA 4D cannot find a texture when rendering the scene, an alert dialog will appear. If this option is disabled and you confirm the alert, the rendering continues without the missing texture.

If you enable this option, rendering will be cancelled after the alert. If you are rendering several scenes (batch rendering), the next render task will then be started.

Blurry Effects

Use this option to enable/disable the blur effect for the Reflection and Transparency material channels.

Volumetric Lighting

Enable this option if you want shadows to be cast in visible light. Since the effect is processor-intensive, you may want to speed up test-renders by disabling the option.

Ray Depth

The Ray Depth determines how many transparent objects (or areas made invisible using the alpha channel) can be penetrated by the renderer. The lower you set the Ray Depth, the fewer the number of objects that can be seen through. Those areas that cannot be penetrated are rendered black.

A Ray Depth of 1 means that calculations are finished for a pixel once its ray hits something in the scene. Transparencies and alphas therefore will not be visible.

A value of 2 means that after a ray has hit a surface a second ray is calculated for the transparency. The higher the Ray Depth, the further rays are followed into the scene and the results rendered.

The results shown above contain transparencies and alphas and have been rendered with ray depths of 2, 4 and 8. You can enter values up to 500.

Reflection Depth

When a ray is sent into the scene, it can be reflected by reflective surfaces. With certain arrangements, e.g. two mirrors opposite each other, it is possible that a ray will be reflected forever, trapped between the mirrors, and the raytracer would never finish rendering the picture. In order to prevent this, you can set the maximum number of reflected rays.

You can also use Reflection Depth to limit the render time for the picture. Often, only the first generation of reflections is important. Further rays tend to add little to the image quality, but increase the render time considerably.

A Reflection Depth of 1 means that calculations for a pixel are finished once a ray hits something in the scene. Reflections therefore will not be visible.

A value of 2 means that after a ray has hit a surface a second ray is calculated for the reflection. The higher the Reflection Depth, the further rays are followed into the scene and the results rendered.

The results shown above contain reflective objects and have been rendered with reflection depths of 2, 4 and 8.

Shadow Depth

Calculations are made to see if a surface point lies in the shadow of another object; additional shadow rays are sent from the surface in the direction of the light source.

The value you enter for this setting determines for which generation of rays shadows are calculated. For example, if you reduce the value to 2, shadows will not be rendered for reflected, transparent or refracted rays.

The results shown above contain reflective and transparent objects and have been rendered with shadow depths of 2, 4 and 8


This value helps to optimize render time. With complex scenes, particularly those containing many reflective and transparent surfaces, 90% of the processed rays contribute less than 10% to the general picture brightness and color. With a threshold value of, for instance, 15%, the rays stop their movement from the camera into the scene as soon as their brightness falls below this value.

What does this mean?

When a ray hits a surface, the transparency and reflection values are calculated. For example, if Threshold is set to 15% and the surface material has 10% reflection (Brightness slider), the material will not reflect. In order to render the reflection in this case, Threshold must be set to 9% or less, or the reflection of the material must be set to 16% or higher.

Sometimes it is useful to increase the Threshold value to prevent minor details being reflected. Although minor details are calculated correctly, too much detail in reflections can distract the viewer. However, if you want all rays to be calculated, set Threshold to 0%.

Level of Detail

This value influences all objects in the active scene that support a reduction in detail, such as metaballs, primitives and NURBS. However, objects that have their own Level of Detail setting defined in a Display tag will continue to use their setting. If the value is set to 100%, the objects will be rendered in full detail. If the value is set to 50%, the objects will be rendered with only half their usual detail.

If you render into a viewport, the viewport’s level of detail value (Display menu) is used in preference. The Level of Detail value here in the render settings is only used for rendering to the Picture Viewer.

Use Display Tag LOD

If this option is enabled, the renderer will use the level of detail specified in Display tags.

Render HUD

Enable this option to include the HUD in the rendered picture or animation. This can be useful for including information in the rendering such as the frame time. To learn how to use the HUD, look up HUD.

Cache Shadow Maps

CINEMA 4D must calculate a shadow map for each light in the scene that casts a soft shadow. A shadow map determines where shadows will be rendered. The shadow map calculations can add to the render time considerably depending on the complexity of the scene. In many cases, you can speed up rendering by enabling the Cache Shadow Maps option.

If the Cache Shadow Maps option is enabled, the shadow maps will be saved the first time when you render. The shadow maps will be saved in an ‘Illum’ folder under the name ‘**.c4d.smap’. You’ll find the ‘Illum’ folder in the scene’s folder. The ‘Illum’ folder will be created automatically if there isn’t one already.

If the option is still enabled and you then render the scene from another angle or render a camera animation, CINEMA 4D will reuse the saved shadow maps. This saves rendering time. If the option is disabled, CINEMA 4D will recalculate the shadow maps each time you render.

The Cache Shadow Maps option works intelligently. For example, suppose there are three lights in your scene that are casting soft shadows. You then change the parameters for one of these lights. CINEMA 4D will recalculate the shadow map for that light to ensure a correct result and will reuse the cached shadow maps for the two other lights to save rendering time.

The Cache Shadow Maps option should only be used when the light and all the objects that are illuminated by it are not moving. The option is primarily intended for use with camera animations.

The Cache Shadow Maps option is mostly useful when the shadow maps take a long time to calculate. You can tell how long the shadow maps take to calculate by looking at the status bar while CINEMA 4D renders the scene — the text Rendering Shadow Maps will appear in the status bar while CINEMA 4D is calculating the shadow maps.

To delete cached shadow maps from the hard drive, choose Render > Flush Illumination Caches. However, note that this command will also delete any saved global illumination or caustics solutions (Advanced Render module).


The algorithm cannot detect all changes that require the shadow maps to be recalculated. Changes to gels, for example, are not detected and may lead to incorrect shadows. In such cases, disable the Cache Shadow Maps option to force the shadows to be recalculated when you render.

If you are using CINEMA 4D NET, each client will cache its own shadow maps.

Sub-Polygon Displacement

If you own the Advanced Render module you can use this option to deactivate SPD globally for the entire scene, without having to do it separately for each SPD material. This option can be turned on and off quickly for test renders.

Global Brightness

This setting lets you simultaneously set the global brightness for all light sources present in your scene. A setting of 100% will utilize the intensity set in each light, 50% will decrease the intensity of each light proportionally by half, while a setting of 200% will double the intensity of each light.

Render Gamma

This setting defines for which output device the image should be rendered, i.e. if you want to render for a monitor or printer that uses a gamma of 1.1, this is where you will define this. Nevertheless, the image will be saved with a gamma of 1.0. Don’t worry, the image will still look correct on your output device.

In most cases, this gamma value will not have to be changed and only affects the rendering of HDR/32-Bit images.

Motion Scale

Use this setting to define the maximum vector length when rendering a Multi-Pass motion vector (see below). If the setting made is too small, clipping will occur; if this setting is too large, the result will be inaccurate.

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