Cinema 4D Tutorial – Reflection Falloff?

There was a question over at The Motion Exchange about how to create a falloff type effect with reflections in Cinema4D.

Well there are a few methods to achieve this, some are more accurate than others, but because of this, they are a little more costly with render times.

Reflection Blur

Reflection Blur

The first and perhaps the most obvious way is to use the reflection channel blurriness parameter. This will however increase your render times somewhat if you are after a smooth grain free result. Also it isn’t necessarily the result you may be after.

Reflection with Ambient Occlusion Shader

Reflection with Ambient Occlusion Shader

Another option is to use Ambient Occlusion in the reflection channel as Harry Frank from Graymachine shows here on The Motion Exchange. This is quite a cool trick, but again it can be a little slow to render.

Reflection using Distance Falloff shader

Reflection using Distance Falloff shader

There is also a shader available online that will allow you to achieve this called Distance Falloff. Possibly the least accurate way, but also the quickest. I think a lot of you will find this to be the answer when you want a quick result and have no problem with a little inaccuracy. Lucky for us the shader is written in c.o.f.f.e.e. so it still works fine with r11.5.

The guy who wrote this plugin all those years ago is Matt Savard. You can download the plugin with a simple example scene from here.

Thanks Matt for a really useful shader.

Cinema 4D Tutorial – Reflection Falloff

Author: Tim


  1. Steve
    Steve On December 4, 2009 at 10:47 PM

    Works well, but plugin: Very, Very Sloooooow! I guess it’s a single thread. What about using proximal?

  2. Snake Plissken
    Snake Plissken On December 5, 2009 at 10:31 AM

    Thanx for this.

    I compared render time between 3Dfalloff plugin & AO solution (after some adjustments to have almost the same graphic result with Matt demo scene).

    It took 4 seconds with the plugin and 14-15 sec with AO (iMac core 2 duo 2.8 Ghz, 4 Go RAM). I can’t manage to have the “exact” same look (but almost), but notice I prefer the softness of the plugin result.

    So yes, it’s a quicker way to achieve a good and pretty adjustable reflexion falloff (tweaking start & end color).

    Thanx again Tim !

  3. Brad Chmielewski
    Brad Chmielewski On December 9, 2009 at 5:52 AM

    Tim very cool, thanks for sharing! I saw Matt’s plugin awhile back but always seem to forget to use it.

  4. Ryan
    Ryan On January 24, 2010 at 11:49 AM

    This is a good attempt at solving the C4D falloff issue.

    However, a warning to those using this shader.

    When this plugin is installed, cinema no longer can achieve anti-aliased reflections. Even if you are not using the shader. I had to remove it from the plugins folder to get everything back to normal.

    Did anyone else notice this?

    • Tim
      Tim On January 25, 2010 at 12:59 AM

      Hi Ryan

      Not sure why you’re having that problem, but Best AA works fine for me with Distance Falloff.


  5. Kevin
    Kevin On April 15, 2010 at 2:00 PM

    Hi Tim,
    I have used the falloff distance shader with great efffect loved it till I got to cinema 11.5 and it gives a weid grainy result. Can you off any help as to where to get a fix or an upgrade.

    • Tim
      Tim On April 17, 2010 at 1:12 PM

      Hi Kevin

      This appears to be a bug that has crept in 🙁

      I noticed it too..

  6. oscar
    oscar On July 27, 2010 at 3:11 AM

    hey, i have the same problem on 11.5, any solution???

  7. Matt Savard
    Matt Savard On August 10, 2010 at 3:29 AM

    Wow, I can’t believe this shader is still being used. It was written for v6.x of Cinema 4D as that is what I had at the time. I can try and look at it in the newer version demo to see if I can get it working. I would imagine it’s just changes in the rendering engine and COFFEE SDK. Does anybody have any images that use this plugin? I would love to see them.

    Matt Savard

  8. Joel
    Joel On December 22, 2010 at 4:50 AM

    Unfortunately, it seems to be broken with R12 in respect to reflecting objects with alpha. I’m not noticing the grain issue though.

  9. Dave
    Dave On February 27, 2011 at 8:17 AM

    it doesn’t seem to work with R10 64bit ! 🙁

  10. Pauline
    Pauline On May 15, 2012 at 4:23 AM

    hi! I’m resurrecting this zombie thread – this is working super with R13! I cant believe how often this gets asked of C 4d and there is no built in solution even double-releases later (from 6 to 13) I wasn’t even in college when Matt wrote this!

    Its ULTRA slow, granted, but for stills is perfect.

    I tried opening the COB to check the code but not done yet. I’m sure this could be easily rewritten by a clever bod like Matt to be more efficient?! 🙂

    • Tim
      Tim On May 16, 2012 at 8:31 PM

      @Pauline I can’t believe there’s isn’t a simple solution to this as part of C4D either 🙁

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