REVIEW: MAXON CINEMA 4D R.10.5
PRODUCT: Maxon’s Cinema 4D R.10.5
PRICING: Cinema 4D, $895; Cinema 4D XL Bundle, $2,195; Cinema 4D Studio Bundle, $3,495
- New HUD commands
- Cross platform
There’s something about German software that instantly makes me feel at
home — “cozy” if you will. Maxon’s Cinema 4D is no different. Kick the
shoes off, walk around in boxers, teasing the neighbor’s dog. That kind
of cozy. With their recent whopper of an upgrade, Release10.5 (which
could have easily been a full, new Version 11 release), Cinema 4D has a
ton of improvements that I will attempt to highlight in my meager
columned space below.
Maxon seems to be picking up a bigger piece of the 3D pie these days,
I’m not sure if there’s just more work to go around, or folks are
migrating over? One clear advantage I see is the cross-platform nature
of C4D, because when you only have one specific group of customers, or
constituents…eh-hem, Hillary, then you will undoubtedly have a smaller
turnout, or user base. Thankfully, Maxon serves the likes of both John
“I’m a PC” Hodgman and Justin “I’m a Mac” Long.
Because none of us works in a vacuum, C4D includes support for a host
of industry-standard file formats. Images and movies in PSD, TIF,
Targa, JPG, QuickTime, AVI and other popular formats can be imported as
textures or modeling templates, or used for final output. Support for
vector formats extends to Illustrator import and Flash and EPS export.
Assets can be exchanged with other 3D apps in DXF, 3DS, OBJ and other
formats, and entire scenes can be imported using NewTek LightWave 3D
and FBX formats.
I’ve actually found that C4D makes a perfect partner with the Adobe
Suite of apps. In fact, I don’t think anyone integrates better than
Maxon. C4D even allows you to render out in layers that are accessible
by AE — for total creative control. For motion design studios who flirt
with both 2D and 3D, this is the only way to go. The Adobe-Maxon combo
has proven to be such a success, they’re actually “on tour” together
this spring, hitting cities from Vancouver to New York.
Cinema 4D R.10.5 adds cool new features and numerous improvements to
help your workflow, from its conception to the screen, between
co-workers and team members, and even among different apps. The core
app has new import and export capabilities, as well as modeling and
lighting tools, and extensive upgrades to the animation system.
The all-new timeline that debuted in Release 10 has been further
enhanced in Release 10.5 to offer even better control over animation
and help tame your cluster of keyframes. It’s easy to create basic
animation in Cinema 4D, and the upgrade makes it easier than ever to
fine-tune timing and create motion magic.
Relative Keys in R.10.5 allow you to easily adjust the length of a
motion sequence without changing the basic timing. Simply set
intermediate keys to relative mode and their time value will
automatically be adjusted as you tweak the timing of surrounding
keyframes. This makes it simple to speed up an animation sequence
without affecting the overall timing. This is similar to a great
feature I use all the time in After Effects to quickly re-time segments.
In addition to the major changes, many smaller changes have been made
to the timeline to help improve your workflow. Among these are improved
display of keyframe data, expandable mini F-Curves within the keyframe
view, the option to link the timeline selection with the Object
Manager, and the ability to copy data between different timeline views.
GET YOUR HUD ON
Cinema 4D’s Heads Up Display has proven to be an outstanding workflow
aid since its introduction with R.9. This powerful tool has been
greatly enhanced in R.10.5 to make working on complex projects easier
than ever before. Among the many HUD improvements, you can now drag and
drop parameters directly from the Attribute Manager into the HUD.
Objects can be dropped directly into the HUD as well to make selections
easier. Object HUD elements can automatically activate the move, scale
or rotate tools, or even execute any Cinema 4D command or script. HUD
parameters are now stored with their associated objects as well so you
can merge multiple scenes without losing track of your controls.The
display of each HUD element can be individually customized with custom
icons and unique colors for each element. HUD groups and sliders can
also be set to automatically fold and expand on mouse over. This lets
you keep elements out of the way until you need them.
R.10.5 introduces a revolutionary way of lighting your 3D scenes. With
the new lighting tool you don’t arrange lights within the scene.
Instead, you arrange the lighting itself. Just click on an object
surface to create lighting that will affect that area. Activate various
modes to control the overall surface lighting, diffuse or specular
placement, or to move lights in a trackball or pivot fashion. Easily
create complete lighting set-ups with keyboard modifiers to generate
new lights and adjust existing lights. Quite a time saver.
The above is only a sampling of the some 90-plus substantial
improvements. Go ahead and download a demo version and see for
yourself. Or stop by their booth at NAB this year. You will see a range
of motion graphics solutions that showcase the significant workflow
enhancements C4D brings to creative pros. Industry folks from top
broadcast and design facilities, including Rob Garrott, a seasoned
broadcast designer and instructor at Art Center College of Design, will
be on hand to provide real-world examples citing C4D’s intuitive
interface, speed and stability.
Tor Johansen is an independent producer based in Los Angeles. He can be reached at: