Athanasios “Noseman” Pozantzis shows how to make a distance map for Redshift using a vertex map in C4D.
Arnold Renderer now has a distance shader that lets you do insane things based on proximity and distance with shaders. It uses sample rays to estimate the distance from the shading point to the nearest surface.
Arnold works with C4D, but if you use Redshift, you can still manually make a distance map by using a vertex map and use that within a Redshift material to create all kinds of things.
Here, Athanasios “Noseman” Pozantzis shows how to use a distance-based map to create an object that looks embedded in the sand.
Also, check out this tutorial that shows how to create abstract works using the Distance Shader and the Clip Geo shader in Arnold.