Depth Of Field Quick Reference

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For me, Cinema 4D camera depth of field settings and how they relate to what is and isn’t blurred in a Cinema 4D scene was a little confusing. Front Blur, Rear Blur, Start and End, Target Distance and how they all work together isn’t immediately obvious. So for my benefit and for those of you who are also confused, I’ve created a  Quick Reference Guide. This guide shows a top view of an actual Cinema 4D camera with extra visuals to help explain what the numbers in the Camera Depth Of Field dialog box are actually doing. There is also a black and white depth pass, where black indicates sharp focus, plus a full render with depth of field. Thanks to @bma_morris and @pariahrob for assistance.

Discuss
  1. Steve
    Reply

    This is awesome. Every time I use the DOF in C4D I always have to stop and think about what those numbers are actually doing to my image. This diagram is an instant refresher course. THANK YOU!!

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      I agree Steve. It would be handy in Cinema 4D is there was some kind of visual reference for the Front value. I think that would make DOF easier to grasp. Best, John.

  2. Shalom Ormsby
    Reply

    Very helpful. Thanks!

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      You’re welcome Shalom.

  3. Marv Gilbert
    Reply

    Love this. I’m printing it and hanging it on the wall. C4D DOF is less blurry now, thanks.

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Why not make it into a mouse mat? Best, John.

  4. Quba Michalski
    Reply

    Great post John. I have a post-it stuck on my computer with pretty much the same graph 🙂

    I think it may be worth noting, that if you intend to render a depth matte pass from C4D and use it to adjust the focus in post, it may be a better idea to keep front blur off, target distance close to 0, rear blur start at 0 and rear blur end at a high value.

    This way the resulting depth/z matte will be a proper Black-to-White gradient (where Black is closest to the camera) rather than White-to-Black-to-White one.

    It all of course depends on whether you want to adjust and change the focus in post, or simply move its rendering to another stage but keep the exact values from C4D.

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Handy tip Quba, thanks. Best, John.

  5. Felix Schäferhoff
    Reply

    Nice guide. I got a little question. The DOP in my animation stops suddenly at frame 432. Are there some preferences which could be the reason for this?

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Hi Felix, I’m not sure why that is happening for you.

  6. Daniel
    Reply

    Thank you John for this great tip, I was always struggling too.
    And Quba, that’s a great advice too. Helps a lot!
    Cheers!

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Great Daniel, thanks.

  7. Chris Rees
    Reply

    Thanks so much for doing this. Makes DOF issues much clearer!

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Thanks Chris, it’s kind of an oxymoron hey… making the blurriness clearer! Best, John.

  8. Andy Hui
    Reply

    That’s cool ! Thanks

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Sure thing Andy.

  9. Tyler
    Reply

    Awesome!!!

  10. Quba Michalski
    Reply

    The fact that Cinema 4D’s Depth of Field requires such graphs inspired me to develop a new camera rig that should help all the users of this software eliminate needless frustration and get the results they need in just few clicks.

    You can download the preset and watch the tutorial explaining how it works at QubaHQ:
    http://qubahq.com/2011/01/presettutorial-c4d-dof-camera-rig/

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Great stuff Quba, I’ll check it out. Best, John.

  11. Hamilton
    Reply

    Nice one John, thanks. I just went through confusion a few days ago and resorted to c4dcafe.com to get some explanations. This makes it very clear.

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Thanks Ryan, I kept getting confused each time I came back to it, so decided to put an end to that! Best, John.

  12. illd
    Reply

    Thats nice. Thanks JD!

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      You’re welcome illd.

  13. Tarek128
    Reply

    Thanks John, you always do great tutorials and tips , really thanks 🙂

  14. Bert Smets
    Reply

    Hi,

    Is this workflow resolution independent. Can I render THE same scene for web and print? With THE same DOF results?

    Thanks for your answer.

    Regards,
    Bert

  15. martin from East Africa
    Reply

    Hi,

    am working on a cartoon animation in c4d and i want to do DOF but when i rend i find that it doesnt look good when i take it to after effects the textures have changed and i dont know what to do. please do you have a way out

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      That could be any number of things Martin! We’d need a lot more detail to be able to help you.

  16. Ron Nohre
    Reply

    Wow this was so extremely helpful. I have always wondered what exactly was happening by adjusting the start and end blur, could never quite figure it out. I am so happy I submbled upon your site, great job with everything here. Love the experiments and great tips and tutorials. I’m hooked. Thanks and keep it up

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Thanks and welcome Ron!

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