3D Print Resin Octane Material for Cinema 4D

Download this Cinema 4D Octane material here. This is not an official document from Formlabs and was created for learning purposes.

As part of my job at Formlabs as a UI/UX Designer, I often use Cinema 4D as a prototyping tool for rendering image placeholders. It allows me to quickly generate different content, compositions, and scenes when designing webpages and proves to be a much faster iterative process than going through the photo studio. Those renders can then be used to convey the vision to the photography team for the final image.

While of no real importance for placeholders, I have developed a liking at achieving highly-accurate and realistic results in my renders. Most recently, I have been fascinated by the very peculiar texture and properties of Formlabs’ 3D printed pieces.

The Form 2’s SLA printing leaves incredibly small horizontal layer lines on the printed pieces which are only noticeable up close when taking macro-shots of the prints. Additionally, the prints have an overall plastic feel to them with very subtle subsurface scattering only visible on the thinnest edges where light can go through.

Ring mold printed on the Form 2 at a resolution of 50 microns. Credits to Formlabs.com.

Using the above photograph as my main reference, I tried to re-create the material in Cinema 4D.

I found a great Normal map by Alan Warburton, available on his website, which allowed me to replicate the horizontal lines as well as the subtle plastic-like grain and imperfections.

Normal map. Credits to Alan Warburton.

I added subsurface scattering to get the see through parts like the bottom supports, and added a roughness map for a more uneven reflection and gloss.

Render of the ring mold in Cinema 4D, rendered using Octane.
Original picture on the left. Render on the right.

I’m blown away by the results and detail I was able to achieve. While the render still misses the subtle imperfections, scratches and print flaws to give it the photo-realistic effect, its overall look and feel are pretty close to the real thing. I think for a first try, the results are definitely convincing.

This material exploration has taught me so much about understanding how objects are seen in real life. From learning the resin’s index of refraction value, to its subsurface scattering properties, to light’s interaction with bump and roughness maps, I have now a much greater appreciation of the small details found in Formlabs’ 3D printed pieces.

Photograph of the ring mold alongside the casted ring. Credits to Formlabs.com.

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