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Best Free Redshift Renderer Tutorials For Beginners

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Redshift is an award-winning CUDA-based GPU renderer that allows you to render photorealistic images in a relatively short timeframe.

The renderer has been used by prominent studios such as Digital Domain and Blizzard Entertainment, among others, meaning it’s a production proven tool.

These free tutorials will help you learn how to get going with Redshift from the ground-up. Most of these tutorials are geared towards beginners but they’re packed with information helpful to 3D veterans too.

While some of the tutorials listed here use different software, the concepts can be applied one-to-one as Redshift is ported seamlessly. So don’t rule out a Maya Redshift tutorial just because you’re a Cinema4D user.

Take advantage of Redshift’s speed and start making photorealistic renders fast!

Quickstart To Redshift

Check Out This Tutorial

Andrew Silke is the creator of and the creator if this awesome quickstart tutorial.

He runs through the basics of rendering characters in Redshift from start to finish.

This tutorial is perfect for those preparing a character portfolio with a focus on 3D animation.

Andrew also demonstrates his custom material and lighting manager for faster iteration. Throughout the tut you’ll get some handy guidelines such as having minimum samples at a quarter of maximum samples, turning Arnold renderer off, and making a “metallic” material to accentuate the shape of an organic model.

Also be sure to download the sculpt and light ups to follow along.


Getting To Know Redshift

Check Out This Tutorial

Greyscale Gorilla’s Chad Ashley establishes a unique workflow for the Redshift plug-in for Cinema4D.

He runs though the essentials to get you started: render settings, lights and materials.

Chad has spent time dabbling in all the major rendering engines but Redshift still draws him back. And after using it for a while it’s not hard to see why. Redshift renders fast and it’s almost as responsive as the viewport.

Throughout this clip Chad shares production tips such as using sample settings in the power of 2 (i.e. 32 ,64) for better performance with algorithms. Or tips on using the render view’s sample pass to trouble shoot renders.

If this free video grabs your attention then maybe check out their paid course for even more juicy info.


Redshift For Maya

Check Out This Tutorial

In this first part of a comprehensive walk through you’ll explore Redshift’s render settings including depth of field and subsurface scattering options.

You’ll learn tricks and handy workflow suggestions such as using randomized noise patterns for animation and having a bounce number from 3 to 10 for interior set-ups, among other ideas.

While this tutorial is “dated”, the majority of the features are still applicable in the latest version of Redshift.

This is a testament how Redshift was made to last from the get-go.

And be sure to check part 2 for the complete series!


Intro To Lighting

Check Out This Tutorial

In this tutorial you’ll learn how to light an object in various scenarios using the Redshift plug-in for Cinema4D.

Starting from an HDRI light you’ll be going through a gobo atmospheric light and capping it with a three-point lighting set-up.

If you’re brand new to this, don’t worry! It’s not as complicated as it sounds.

What’s also interesting here is how the teacher layers several light types rather than just one. This shows the strength of each type and how to make the most lighting with Redshift.

Be sure to finish this video all the way through as the instructor teaches you how to optimize your lighting for final delivery.


Physical Lighting

Check Out This Tutorial

Redshift comes with several physical light types for various scenarios.

In this video 3D artist Jesus Fernandez differentiates these scenarios in detail.

Area light for an all-purpose light is one approach. Point light to simulate a light bulb is also handy.

Spot light for fall-off focus and even directional light to simulate the sun. There’s so much here that you’ll love to practice.

The author also demonstrates the common parameters such as ray contribution, color, and shadow control. Apart from physical light Redshift also offers IES, portal, and dome lights.

Be sure to check out the author’s YouTube channel for more tips like this.


Subsurface Scattering

Check Out This Tutorial

Subsurface scattering is a material parameter that simulates translucent objects such as skin, marble, milk, and even grapes.

Jesus Fernandez covers plenty in this video and breaks down this complex material to its fundamental settings.

He explains the differences in backward and forward scattering and demonstrates how you can manipulate them for a more stylized look in your work.

He also goes further to mimic a thick(or thin) object through adjusting the phase parameter.

With the help of this tutorial you can achieve more realistic translucent renders in no time!


How To Render Ice Cubes

Check Out This Tutorial

With a cool drink in your hand there’s nothing nicer than a couple ice cubes.

And in this tutorial you’ll learn how to model an ice cube all in 3D!

Through the help of fractal noise and the Redshift plug-in for Maya you can build some pretty believable cubes. You’ll also learn how to add a more appealing result by modifying the tint in the lighting.

Definitely a must-watch if you’re new to 3D modeling/rendering.


Unified Sampling & Cleaning Noise

Check Out This Tutorial

Rendering has always been a compromise between quality and time.

You can either have a high quality image but at the cost of ridiculously long render times, or have an instant render but with an undesirable grain.

With the tips in this video Saul Espinosa shows how to optimize your scene to meet any deadline and still create a presentable output.

Saul digs in deep on why Adaptive Unified Sampling works the way it does and how you can control its behavior on a scene, object, and material level.

While the lecture is extremely technical you can also learn a ton, even with multiple viewings.

Rest assured that the lessons are applicable in every scene you’ll be working on within your 3D portfolio.

Also be sure to get a copy of the summarized lecture for future reference.


Material Tips in C4D

Check Out This Tutorial

In this recorded live stream you can watch Aaron, creator of, set up complex procedural texturing through the use of Redshift’s tri-planar, curvature, and camera map node.

He also shows how to set-up X-Particles wet maps to drive art directed illumination in your work.

The author teases a bit from their upcoming VFX course that tackles the complete pipeline rendered in Redshift. If you want to seriously master Redshift then keep an eye out for Aaron’s upcoming course in the near future.


3D Rendering Workshop by Naughty Dog

Check Out This Tutorial

Christophe Desse, a veteran environment artist at Naughty Dog, shares his workflow on lighting a scene mainly focusing on a car render.

This comes with its own unique challenges such as using Redshift’s dedicated car paint shader.

It’s a very interesting presentation and it gives you some insight into how the pros do their 3D work for the video game industry.

Christophe illustrates his workflow on making a more realistic image by using HDRI to catch complex reflections, adding chromatic aberration, depth of field and shadow catcher, among other features.

He also shows how to integrate Substance Painter with Redshift.

For more in-depth content you can check Chris’ Gnomon Workshop here. There’s also a bunch of similar free content on YouTube created by other game artists sharing their knowledge.

Author: Ben Traje

Ben is a stylized character rigger based in Davao City, Philippines. Proficient in Maxon, Cinema4D, and Autodesk Maya, he's available for remote freelance work with plenty of samples in his portfolio.