AOV Type: Integrated AOV

AOV Output: Reflection AOV

Integrated Utility AOV

Depth AOV

Custom AOV

Custom wireframe


AOV stands for "arbitrary output variables". It refers to the different types of per-pixel information Redshift can produce. While typically Redshift will only produce a color for each pixel of the frame you can configure it to include individual shading elements like reflections, refractions, global illumination, etc. Redshift can output these shading elements isolated on their own separate AOV pass which can help with things like fast small-scale color adjustments in post without having to re-render the entire frame. These built-in AOVs are referred to as Integrated AOVs. You can add even more control with Integrated AOVs by making use of Light Group AOVs, these can give you per-light control of your render in post.

There are other built-in AOVs that can contain non-beauty data like depth information, motion vectors, and world position information. These kinds of AOVs can be used in post to allow for much greater flexibility, like being able to add bokeh depth of field effects by making use of a Depth AOV. These types of built-in non-beauty AOVs are referred to as Utility AOVs

There may also be times where you need to output custom data that isn't covered by an integrated AOV or wouldn't be output as a shading element of the beauty rendering process. In situations like this you can turn to Custom AOVs, these allow you to define your own custom render output for specific needs you may have like a custom ambient occlusion pass. Normally you might accomplish something like this as a completely separate render and pay the price in additional render time, but this can be avoided by using Custom AOVs instead since they are processed and output at the same time as your primary beauty render. 

This page covers the basics of creating and managing AOVs for Redshift as well as the most common options available for AOV output. 

Managing AOVs

To setup the AOVs output in Redshift for Katata, the plugin has the RedshiftOutputChannelDefine node, that can be used with the Katana RenderOutputDefine node to configure each AOV. The plugin supports all RS AOVs types available. The standard Katana workflow to enable/disable AOVs can be used with Redshift, and the output channels are available in the Live and Preview render modes, linked to the Katana monitor.

The RedshiftOutputChannelDefine is used to define an AOV type and its custom settings.All the Redshift available AOV types can be selected and configured using this node. The beauty AOV is the default one, so to render this AOV a RedshiftOutputChannelDefine node is not needed.


To setup the output file options, each RedshiftOutputChannelDefine node must be used linked to a RenderOutputDefine node. This node has a custom “color_redshift” render output type, that must be used with all the Redshift AOVs, and has been designed to support all the Redshift output file settings.



The multi-layered EXR output and the deep rendering features are configured in the Redshift for Katana plugin using a set of options available in the RedshiftRenderSettings node.


This is an example about how to setup the Redshift AOVs output for the beauty, P, N, diffuse and specular channels. The beauty channel is defined using only one RenderOutputDefine node, while all the other passes are defined using pairs of RedshiftOutputChannelDefine and RenderOutputDefine nodes.


To set the material ID parameter for each scene material, the plugin can extract an integer user attribute “material.materialID associated to the material nodes. 


In Softimage, Redshift leverages the native Softimage 'Framebuffer' and 'Render Channel' framework to expose AOV functionality. A Framebuffer defines an output file that will be generated by the renderer. Each Framebuffer has an associated Render Channel which defines the kind of data that will be written to the file. By default each Render Pass in Softimage outputs to a single Framebuffer which is associated with the Render Channel 'Main'. This is the 'Beauty' Render Channel containing the final rendered image. To output additional AOVs for a given pass, you create additional Framebuffers associated with the appropriate Redshift Render Channels. Because each Framebuffer is associated with exactly one Render Channel, the terms are often used interchangeably in the Softimage user interface.

Creating an AOV

To create a new AOV for a given Pass, Open the Render Manager and inspect the Pass Options. In the Output tab you will find a group of controls labeled 'Render Channel Output'. Click 'Add…' and select a Redshift AOV from the list of Render Channels.

Modifying AOV Parameters

To change the parameters of an AOV, such as the output filename, the image format or any AOV-specific parameters, select the AOV and click 'Edit…'.

Due to a limitation in Softimage, you should always inspect your Redshift AOVs via the Pass Options in the Render Manager (Render > Render > Render Manager…), rather than via the Pass Options directly (Render > Render > Pass Options), otherwise any Redshift-specific AOV parameters will not be shown in the PPG.

Deleting an AOV

To delete an AOV, simply select its corresponding Framebuffer and click 'Remove'.

The AOV tab in Redshift Render Options provides functionality to create, edit and delete AOVs.

Creating an AOV

To create an AOV, double click the desired AOV type or select it from the 'Available AOVs' list and click 'Add'. A new AOV of the selected type will appear under 'Active AOVs'.

The AOV tab in the Redshift Render Options with 2 active AOVs: Depth and Puzzle Matte.

Modifying AOV Parameters

To edit an AOV, click the small arrow icon for the AOV you would like to edit. This selects the corresponding RedshiftAOV node in the Attribute Editor which holds the various attributes that define the AOV including file format parameters and any attributes specific to the type of AOV.

Deleting an AOV

To delete an AOV, you can click the small trash can icon for the AOV you wish to delete, or you can delete the corresponding RedshiftAOV node.

The Render Elements tab in the Render Setup window provides functionality to create, edit and delete AOVs.

Creating an AOV

To create an AOV, click the "Add" button and double-click the desired AOV type from the Render Elements list that will appear.

The Render Elements tab in the Redshift Render Setup window with 2 active AOVs: Depth and Puzzle Matte

The 'Enable Filtering' checkbox common to all Render Elements in 3ds Max currently has no effect for Redshift. To control filtering for Redshift AOVs, use the 'Filter' combo box.

Modifying AOV Parameters

To edit an AOV, click on it on the Render Elements list. The AOV-specific parameters will appear under the common parameters.

Selecting the Puzzle Matte AOV

Deleting an AOV

To delete an AOV, select it from the list of Render Elements and click the "Delete" button.

The AOV settings can be located within Redshift's Render Settings, under the AOV tab.

Opening the AOV Manager

To create a new AOV you must first open the AOV manager which can be found in the AOV tab of the Redshift Render Settings as seen below.

Cinema 4D Show AOV Manager button

You can also open the AOV Manager from the Redshift Toolbar menu as seen below.

Opening the AOV Manager from the Redshift Toolbar menu

Creating an AOV with the AOV Manager

Cinema 4D AOV Manager

The Cinema 4D AOV Manager is an exclusive tool used to efficiently manage all AOVs for your current project. You can use it to create new AOVs from the left side panel as well as modify or delete existing AOVs. The AOV Manager provides an easy to manage overview of all the AOVs in the scene.

From the left "Available AOVs" panel you can click and drag AOVs from this area to the middle panel or double click them to create new AOVs. When you create these AOVs they will automatically be removed from the "Available AOVs" panel.

The middle panel lets you select, reorganize and delete AOVs.

The right panel shows you all of the relevant AOV options for the currently selected AOV.

Multi-pass vs Direct Output Method

AOVs can be output via the Cinema 4D's Multi-Pass system, in addition to Redshift's native file output system. For C4D's Multi-pass system and previewing in the Picture Viewer, the Multi-Pass output should be enabled. The Multi-pass setting needs to be enabled on the global render settings as well as per-AOV that you want passed through C4D's Multi-pass system.

Cinema 4D Render Rettings Multi-pass

Cinema 4D's AOV Manager Multi-pass settings

If you instead just want to use Redshift's native file output system and preview the AOV's in Redshift's Render View then Multi-pass can be disabled and you can just have Direct Output enabled.

Cinema 4D's AOV Manager Direct Output settings and an example with Multi-pass enabled simultaneously

Mult-Pass and Direct Output can be enabled at the same time and on the same AOVs but keep in mind that this will result in the output of each system's files, taking up more space.

Make note that Redshift's Render View will be able to view the AOV passes whether set to Multi-pass or Direct Output but at least one of them has to be enabled to be output at all.

During proxy export, Multi-pass-enabled-AOVs will be silently converted to Direct AOVs which RS knows how to store their settings in the proxy file.

A quick comparison of the potential pros and cons of each method are listed below:

Multi-Pass Output:
+ Integration with the Picture Viewer
+ Automatic handling of AOV images during TeamRender
+ C4D Render Post-effects are supported (subject to some limitations)
+ Supported by C4D’s Save Compositing Project function
- Limited saving options per AOV. Single save format for all AOVs
- Output may go through C4D’s color-space conversion functions depending on the output settings
- Order and naming of AOVs is not fully customizable.

Direct Output:
+ Save method identical to other Redshift DCCs, so output is consistent across DCCs
+ Per AOV save options
+ Supports special output for third-party denoising (two-pass render)
+ DeepEXR support
+ Order and naming of AOVs user controllable
- AOVs not visible in the Picture Viewer
- No automatic management of AOVs for TeamRender. Output paths need to be set manually to point to some network share etc.
- C4D Post-effects are not supported.
- No compositing project support

Disabling an AOV

To disable an AOV simply uncheck the "Enabled" option at the top of the AOV's settings.

Deleting an AOV

To delete an AOV simply select the AOV in the AOV Manager and hit the delete key.

The Output tab in Redshift ROP node provides functionality to create, edit and delete AOVs.

Common options

The output files and MPlay rendering preview common options can be set in the Common tab.

Creating an AOV

All the scene AOVs are configured in the AOV tab. To specify the type of AOV, use the Type drop-down menu.

Modifying AOV Parameters

Depending the AOV type different options will become available.

The AOV tab in the ROP node with 2 active AOVs: Depth and Puzzle Matte.

The 'Enabled' parameter allows you to toggle the AOV on and off. When turned off, an AOV will have no effect (Redshift will behave as though the AOV does not exist).

The output filename for the AOV is constructed using the 'File name prefix' defined in the Common tab and adding a custom suffix defined in the 'File Suffix' attribute. For example, if the 'File name prefix' is set to 'shot1' and the 'File Suffix' is set to '.puzzlematte', the filename for the AOV will be 'shot1.puzzlematte.EXT' where 'EXT' is the file extension associated with the AOV's selected 'Format' parameter.

Each AOV has a parameter to set a custom prefix path name for it. If left blank, the common prefix path is used. While working with multi-layered EXR files, all the AOVs with the same custom prefix will be stored in the same EXR file

The Redshift ROP has an additional variable “$AOV” that can be used to set the AOV suffix name in the output image file name. If this variable is not found, the plugin append the AOV suffix to the end of the file name, just before the file type extension.


Deleting an AOV

To delete an AOV, you can click the small cross icon for the AOV you wish to delete.

Per-AOV General Options

Maya AOV General Options

Katana AOV General Options

Houdini AOV General Options

Cinema 4D AOV General Options

This section covers only the Direct Output options.

This section covers the common per-AOV parameters that are available for most AOVs.


This section shows you what type of AOV it is. 


Here you can set your own custom name for the AOV, by default this is set to the type of AOV.

The name given here refers to the $filename token seen in the path section below.

File Name Prefix / Path

This section shows you how the AOV file names will be output and allows you to change that here.

The $filepath token will use the regular or multi-pass image path as long as it has a sensible file path value derived from the main Cinema 4D render settings.

Cinema 4D Render Settings Save Paths

Data Type

Select the data output type for the AOVs from the following options:

By default AOVs output as RGB image files with no alpha.


Select the image file format from the following options:

By default Redshift AOVs use OpenEXR file format. 

Bits Per Channel

Select the bits per channel:

By default Redshift AOVs use Half float (16 bits).

Bits per channel options are dependent on the AOV file format currently selected.


Select the compression method for the relevent file format:

DWA Compression Level

Set the level of compression for OpenEXR file format, default of 45 will yield a perceptibly lossless image but a drastic reduction in file size. Higher values mean more compression at smaller file sizes and vice versa. 

This setting only affects the DWAA and DWAB OpenEXR compression methods.

Storage Format

Select the storage format:

By default Redshift AOVs use scanline.

Apply Color Processing

Enables or disables "Apply Color Processing."

The "apply color processing" option means that gamma correction (if gamma is other than 1.0) and photographic exposure (if a photographic exposure lens shader is present) will both be applied to the AOVs.

Several AOVs have an "apply color processing" option which is enabled by default. These AOVs are:

AOV Processing

Maya AOV Processing under the AOV Tab

Katana AOV Processing

3ds Max AOV Processing

Houdini AOV Processing

Cinema 4D AOV Processing

This section controls the way all other AOVs are processed and is found under the AOV render settings tab.

Enable Deep Output

Enables or disables OpenEXR deep output.

For more information on Deep output for Redshift please see this page where all of the deep settings below are covered in much greater detail.

Deep Merge Mode

Select the Deep merge mode:

For the ObjectID Deep Merge mode to be effective, objects need to be assigned different ObjectIDs.

Deep Merge Z Threshold

The "Deep Merge Z Threshold" parameter controls how close the samples will need to be in order for them to be merged together.

This setting only applies to Deep Merge Mode: Z

Enable Clamping (Color and AO channels only)

This enables clamping on AOVs separate from the beauty.

In Redshift's Output tab and in Redshift's AOV tab there are options to clamp the color/AO AOVs. Redshift can perform sub-sample intensity clamping during unified sampling, which limits noise (grain) that can be produced when combining depth of field and motion blur with bright light sources. The AOV clamping offers the same type of sub-sample control for AOVs. Please refer to the AOV tutorial page for more information about how and when these should be used.

Max Value

This sets the maximum sub-sample intensity clamping value for AOVs.

Disable Importance-based Optimizations

Redshift has importance-based optimizations that can result in samples being dropped if they are deemed too dim to impact the final appearance of the beauty render, which is great for performance. AOVs however can suffer from these kind of optimizations, because if you wanted to brighten your reflections AOV channel and samples had been dropped because they were deemed too dim, then you would reveal unexpected noise that would be difficult to clean up by hand.

Disabling Importance-based Optimizations will not add noise to the beauty, but it will impact rendering performance.

By default Redshift uses importance-based optimizations for all AOVs.

Adjust RAW AOVs To Fix Halo Artifacts

This option works by adjusting the Raw AOV results based on the appropriate Filter AOV results in order to ensure the resultant composite will match the beauty. Because of this adjustment, you may see unexpected colors around the high-contrast edge images in the Raw AOVs – while this may look strange, mathematically it ensures the correct beauty results when multiplied with the appropriate albedo Filter AOV. For more information, please see here.

By default this option is enabled to ensure final composites matches beauty.