How to Make a GFX Course: Part 3, Choosing Your Software

If you didn’t read my last topic I would highly recommend reading it.

Well, now you know some common practices for GFX and how to use color to tell a story in your GFX. Now, this will be a little less art related and a bit more technical. Now we are deciding which software to use.

Choosing Rendering Software

Which Workflow is Yours?
Usually Cinema 4D is a more rendering focused app rather than modeling, and Blender is more of a modeling app than rendering. You can do any in both, but this is (in my experience) what each of them excel at. Blender can pretty much do anything though, so many of you may disagree with what I said. So basically, if you don’t see yourself pursuing a 3D modeling career and see yourself doing mostly GFX, Cinema 4D is your better bet. However, if you want to do modeling in addition to GFX, you may want to choose Blender because of its versatility and flexibility in lots of industries and usecases (it can even be used for video editing and color grading!).

  • I do both.
  • I do rendering only.

0 voters

What Is Your Level?
For people starting out with GFX, I would recommend Cinema 4D since I found it way easier to use than Blender. The user interface is way easier to navigate, and even though there were keyboard shortcuts, there were less keyboard shortcuts than Blender. You could easily find the menus and you didn’t have to memorize a truckload of useless information and could get right into GFX. Some of you guys’ may disagree with me on this since this is a subjective matter, but this is just what I think.

  • I am a beginner
  • I am intermediate / advanced / have some past expertise

0 voters

How Serious Are You in GFX / What is your budget?
Now it is time to address the elephant in the room. Many of you may be wondering why I am not mentioning cost. Well, I thought I would save it for later in this section.
Many people may just want to make a profile picture for their friends, or do a few small commissions. Or some people may want to try to make a living off it. For people who are not too serious about GFX, I would recommend Blender since it is free. For people who want to make a living off it, I would recommend Cinema 4D. Now, some professionals use Blender too and it is an absolutely amazing software to use. However, sometimes it can be a little limiting. But do not let this stop you if you want to get serious about GFX but don’t have money. However, you would see more professionals using Cinema 4D, for example @i5k. Another important thing that is worth mentioning is that if you are in a qualifying high school or collage, you can get Cinema 4D for free. You can apply for a license at
But discussing cost reminds me about something Graham Cochrane said (he owns a music making channel called recordingrevolution). You can give a beginner $7000 worth of software, and they will still make a worse end product than a professional with completely free software.

  • I have decided to use Cinema 4D
  • I have decided to use Blender

0 voters

Other Alternatives
If you are feeling a bit adventurous or have more experience in other softwares, you can certainly use them for Roblox GFX! Some of these are Maya, 3DS Max, Katana/Modo, or Houdini. I would personally recommend Maya if you want to choose something other than Cinema 4D or Blender since that seems most suited for rendering needs. I haven’t tried any of these softwares though, so take what I said with a grain of salt!

Choosing a Render Engine
Well, you could obviously use the built in Render Engine in Blender or Cinema 4D (wouldn’t recommend built in Cinema 4D render engine, but Cycles is pretty damn good!), or you could use an external one which may get you better results.
Are you using Blender?
For Blender, if you are going to choose anything else, I would recommend Radeon ProRender. This render engine is developed by AMD and has given me fantastic results. However, I noticed the render times are a bit slow. If you don’t like that option, you can choose a more obscure render engine called “Appleseed”. This is ideal for those people who don’t have a super powerful GPU but have a good CPU. This render engine is CPU based. Next, there is a render engine called LuxCore Render which is great if you are rendering water/caustics. I wouldn’t recommend it otherwise though. Anyways, I would recommend you stick to Cycles or ProRender unless you have one of those special cases that you need to render water or you want to leverage your CPU.

  • I’ll be using Cycles
  • I’ll be using an external render engine.

0 voters

Are you using Cinema 4D?
Well, the built in Cinema 4D render engine is not very high quality and I would recommend another render engine. If your wallet is already crying and you can’t afford any more software, I would recommend LuxCore for Cinema 4D. However, if you have a student license or can afford it, I have created a list of render engines that would be best for Cinema 4D.
Arnold is a pretty solid option for Cinema 4D. It is best if you are rendering lots of smoke or effects, this is the best render engine possible that you can get. It is probably going to be most peoples’ default for an external render engine.
Cycles 4D
Developed by Insynium software, this bridges the gap between Blender’s default render engine and Cinema 4D. This works best with their other software, XParticles, so if you are rendering lots of particles/liquid, this is a really good render engine.
Octane is more expensive than some of these, but for good reason. This render engine combines speed with quality and is the industry standard for Cinema 4D rendering. Some very successful artists like @i5k use this render engine. This is GPU powered, meaning if you have a really good GPU, go for this. This render engine is unbiased, which means that it will be as physically accurate to the real world. Generally you don’t want this for GFX since most people are not going to care about photorealism and this slow downs render times by a lot
Another render engine by Maxon themselves, this engine can be bundled with your Cinema 4D purchase. This render engine is widely regarded as the best render engine for Cinema 4D, although that is hugely subjective. This render engine is biased, so it is optimized for GFX. If I had the choice, I would go for this, but I have a crappy GPU so- cries in apple. Never buy a Mac for rendering.

Not related to the coronavirus, Corona means crown in spanish,

Anyways, this is the render engine I use simply because nobody else would accept my student license :frowning: . Well, this render engine is good for archvis so it is really good for rendering glass, and it has a handy interactive viewport render which is really cool. This is CPU based, so go for this if you have an amped up CPU.
You should probably stay away from this render engine. It is not very good for GFX and is incredibly slow, and costs a lot.
This is one of those not so good options for GFX. It will work, but it is unbiased and takes a long time to render. I would stay away from this, but it can work for some people.

There are many more render engines I could go rambling all day about, but these are the main ones you have to worry about

  • I am leaning towards a GPU render engine
  • I am leaning towards a CPU render engine

0 voters

Using Anything Else?
Just use the default render engine man, Arnold is pretty damn good and it comes default with 3ds Max and Maya.

  • I am using something else.
  • I am not using something else.

0 voters

Choosing Post Processing Software
Okay, post processing is pretty important in GFX. However it is important to not rely on it too much and only use it in moderation, to enhance your GFX, not transform it. So I will cover 4 major post processing softwares, Photoshop, Darktable, Magic Bullet Looks, and Blender Color Grader.
Ah yes Photoshop, the software made by Adobe, world famous company known for their high quality (albeit expensive) software. Also the company which I forgot to cancel my free trial from and I was paying for InDesign for 4 years now.
Now, Photoshop is essentially the industry standard of GFX post processing and post processing in general. To make your render look professional, photoshop can greatly help you with that. This is a must for those who can spend money on software.
Can’t afford Photoshop? Well then use the FOSS alternative Darktable! It is available on Linux and it is completely free! It is meant for photographers but I find it works great with GFX too.
Magic Bullet Looks
Color grading your renders in Cinema 4D is best done in Magic Bullet Looks (there is an addon for Blender I think too, but better just use the built in compositing for that if you want to go that route). I so far haven’t used bullet looks yet, but in my next render I for sure will.
Blender Color Grader
This can be found in the compositing tab of Blender. You can adjust saturation, colors of shadows, midtones, and highlights, and it has a great nodal based workflow. Strapped on a budget and love nodes? This is for you!

  • I am using Magic Bullet / Blender color grader.
  • I am using Photoshop / Darktable

0 voters

Well, thanks for reading this, my fingers have died while writing this. Whatever, I hoped this helped you. One more thing before I leave though.
Piracy is absolutely one of the worst things you can do online. Not only is this killing revenue of the people making your software, it is making people loose jobs and most of all it is illegal. Pirating a software shows that you are insecure with what you have and you are such an unskilled artist that you decided to pirate to cover up your mistakes. Furthermore, you can actually get jail time for this and a huge fine exceeding $100k sometimes.

On a scale of 1-10, how helpful was this guide?
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0 voters

Thanks for reading :upside_down_face:


I added a new poll to collect some more info about what software people are using.

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Yup! Originating from the Latin “Corona”, also meaning crown. It’s called Coronavirus because it spreads in a crown shape. Just a fun fact.

Anyway, great tutorial! There is so much new software in here! I hope you go through how to do different GFX with these softwares in the future! The surveys make it much more interactive!

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Yes I will make one GFX in cinema 4D and one in blender so that people can follow along.

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By the way you say that you are using something else, so does that mean you are using something other than c4d or blender?

No. I use blender. I may have pressed wrong

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did u make the tutorials ?

Sorry I didn’t get to that part yet, now that you mention it I will get started.

ok thank you
and if u can, mention me when u make the tutorial

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How would you like to be mentioned?

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i mean u ping me, like this : @fireluckyday12

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My take on this:
As a GFX artist it goes into a lot of detail on what software is best. I used to use blender 8 months ago for GFX. It took me a long time to realize that an external renderer was very much needed. The standard c4d renderer is not very good. I use corona renderer because the student license is pretty cheap and it is a great render engine. It is worth the ~25 bucks a year.

If you had a good GPU I would reccomend you use redshift since corona render is more for architecture rendering. But if you are limited by hardware like me, I would reccomend you use corona.

That is the most biased, illogical, irrational, aberrational thing I’ve ever heard on this forum.

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Sooooooo are you in favor of pirating?

It is not that I am in favor or against - it is a fallacy - It is just that pirating software does not mean that I am insecure, or unskilled. I can pirate graphic manipulation software like photoshop and then make great art. Piracy has nothing to do with skills, it has often nothing to do with a mental state. It has only to do with money, or with the approach to the developers of the software. What you’ve said previously was just incorrect.

Ok. I recognize that it is a fallacy. Now, is this fallacy hurting anybody?

Those that pirate software for a magnitude of reasons and are more capable and more mentally sane than you claim they are - thousands of people, maybe a million or so.

So I offended people who pirate software, which is a crime. What’s wrong with that?

This is getting off topic let’s take us to DMs.

Pirating software in many Nations is not a crime if it is for non-commercial use. And it shouldn’t be either, but that is a topic for off the forum. What is wrong with insulting those that cannot afford programs to make art? Figure it out.