29 Pro Tips For Cinema 4D
Experts reveal their Cinema 4D R19 techniques and creating incredible models, motion graphics, animations and more
Master C4D with Maxon and other pro artists, and learn top tips for the latest version: Cinema 4D R19
Cinema 4D is known for its stability and fast workflow, and the good news is that the newest release certainly won’t let you down in those departments. In addition to the solid performance we’ve come to expect, there’s a raft of exciting new features that will push the boundaries of what has been achievable with this software so far.
Over the following pages, Edna Kruger from MAXON takes you through the best of new features in Cinema 4D R19, and is joined by other artists who offer up their tips and tricks for using core elements of the software.
Covered in detail is Voronoi Fracture – enabling you to create interesting organic structures, glue fragments together, create splinters and shards, add detail to cracks and much more. Edna’s tips and walkthrough will whet your appetite for exploring what’s new with this incredibly powerful tool.
Other exciting improvements include the upgrades to Viewport, which now performs render-quality results in real-time; Levels of Detail (LOD), which gets you faster framerates by using low-res versions of objects when the camera is far away; and the new Spherical Camera, which will render 360-degree VR videos.
Whether you’re new to Cinema 4D or a seasoned pro, our artists will have something interesting to teach you about the newest release as well as the core features.
RENDER WITH THE OCTANE PLUGIN
Try rendering scenes using the Octane plugin. Having a GPU renderer enables very fast iterations so you aren’t slowed down by making small adjustments and waiting to see the change. Using Cinema 4D’s lighting and cameras, it’s nicely integrated into the software and makes it easy to learn how to create high-quality images.
OPTIMISE YOUR SCENE
When working in your scene and rendering, you can save a lot of time by frequently cleaning your scene, naming objects, deleting unused objects, caching anything that can be cached. When rendering, default settings usually aren’t optimised for your scene, so adjust and remove unnecessary features to drastically reduce render times.
Cinema 4D has some of the best selection tools in any software. By using the U hotkey, you have all your quick selection options. The ability to easily select a loop of faces or quickly select an island has made modelling way more efficient.
Cinema 4D’s nondestructive workflow is perfectly suited to modelling. Its Boolean feature has the ability to stay live for as long as you need. Being able to make adjustments while the Boolean is enabled takes out all the guesswork.
The Cloner feature in Cinema 4D is a very powerful command. Instead of you having to place every instance of an object, the Cloner will do it for you. Adding effectors like Random, Step or even creating your own rules using Coffee or Python can enable you to populate an entire city.
Rodrigo Saavedra GEOMETRY FROM HAIR
The Hair feature can be used in some very powerful ways. Besides using it to create actual hair for your character, you can also convert the hair to splines and create geometry by using the Sweep feature, or use the Mograph Cloner to instance geometry onto the spline.
USE TEXTURES FOR ANIMATIONS
Sometimes you see a bit of flicker in your animations produced by the shaders. Generally it is best to use shaders to generate images without movement, and textures for animations. Try to use textures in PNG format, so that your render has a good resolution.
PARTICLES FROM HAIR
You can use the hair material with a render tag on the object to generate particles; this trick will enable you to have more particles and a faster render. This can be applied to particle generators like thinkingparticles.
For perfect shadows, first use a light that has activated the shadow type, then use shadow maps in the light object/shadow tab. With resolutions beyond 1000 x 1000, this will reduce the flicker when you have animations or very large images in your render.
CONTINUOUS EDGE FLOW
Edge flow is very important in modelling. One helpful tip is to use your Directional tool and double-click on an edge to select a continuous flow of edges. A continuous edge will move through a four-edge vertex to the opposite side. An edge will terminate at a pole with three edges or a pole with five or more edges.
SLIDE TOOL CLONING
The Slide tool is very useful for speeding up your workflow. The Slide tool can bevel, extrude and extrude inner in one tool. You can use Ctrl/cmd and the Slide tool on multiple edges to clone edges. This is very useful for beveling details around border edges.
BOX INSTEAD OF SPLINE
It’s very tempting to use splines and an extrude object to create geometry. When you are first starting out modelling, you might have
a background using the Adobe Pen tool. However, it is very difficult to deform or add in more complex features. Some good advice is to learn how to build geometry from a cube. You can build anything with a cube that you can with a spline, but with the benefit of using deformers.
When sculpting in fine details around tight areas such as fingers or toes, use the Polygon selection. This lets you hide some areas so that you can view other areas that would be otherwise difficult to see.
MASK FOR SKETCHING
Another tip for sculpting is to use masking for sketching. Go to Tools in your sculpting layout. Then choose ‘Extract object from mask’. You can quickly sketch out ideas that would normally take you much longer in modelling or traditional sculpting methods.
CINEMA 4D R19 TIPS
MASTER R19’S NEW FEATURES
REALISTIC VIEWPORT RENDERING
Long test renders are almost a thing of the past now with viewport upgrades. Turn on two new enhanced Opengl options to see some immediate results: Depth of Field and Screenspace Local Reflections. You can turn on these options, as well as the new Supersampling, by going to the Render Settings for the Hardware Opengl renderer.
PBR WITH AMD PRORENDER
You can now take AMD Prorender out for a test spin with physically based rendering (PBR)! Do this by setting your project’s renderer to Prorender in the Render Settings and then simply click the Prorender button in any viewport to start a preview. You can then tweak materials and lighting and see a constantly improving preview of your final render. Create a new PBR Material (Cmd/ Ctrl+shift+n) and set up its Reflectance channel, then add a PBR Light to easily set up diffuse lighting and reflections.
360 DEGREES OF FREEDOM
Virtual reality can now be a true reality. Use the new Spherical Camera controls in any camera’s attributes to render 360-degree VR videos and dome projections for Youtube VR, Facebook, Oculus, or Vive. Go ahead and immerse viewers fully into your 3D worlds!
REDUCE THOSE POLYGONS
Reducing polygons just got a lot easier with the new Polygon Reduction generator object. Because the object’s reduction is cached, you can quickly try out different values for its Reduction Strength, or set the number of Triangles, Vertices or Edges. And the object’s UVS, vertex maps and selection sets are preserved, which helps to provide a bit of extra stress reduction.
LEVELS OF DETAIL (LOD)
Whenever you need faster frame rates, detailed objects that are far from the camera can really slow things down. The new LOD object can help. First, use Polygon Reduction to create low-res versions of your object, then select them and choose the LOD object. Now dial in each version at the right camera distance: high detail for close-ups, low detail for long shots.
Why not have a go at re-creating reality using the new Scene Reconstruction feature? All you have to do is take some footage, camera-track it and then create a 3D model of it using the Scene Reconstruction tab in the Motion Tracker. You can use this reference geometry for your modelling, HUD effects, collision geometry or even for a quick-and-dirty shadow-catching object.
MANAGE YOUR CHARACTER’S WEIGHT
With the Weight tool, you can now Ctrl/ right-click a mesh to easily select influences and start painting. Or press Cmd/Ctrl+Shift to access the dropper to quickly sample weights on your mesh. And in the Weight Manager, you can also select all your influences, then click Mirror + To – to cleanly mirror the weights across your character, even when the geometry isn’t perfectly symmetrical.
SOUNDS LIKE FUN!
Make your motion graphics come alive with audio-reactive music visualisations using the improved Sound Effector. Simply choose Sound from the Mograph Effector menu and add it as an effector for any mograph object. Load an audio file and choose which frequencies of the audio will drive the animation. Render it all out as MP4 with sound and you’re in business.
MAKE SOME NOISE
Utilise the new Noise Shape as the Falloff tab of any Mograph effector or deformer to add randomness and more variety to your effects. All of Cinema 4D’s Noise types are at your disposal in order to create the noise field. You can even animate the effector so that it passes through the noise field to help create some cool effects.
IT’S THE SIMPLE THINGS
It’s now possible for you to easily add objects as parents, children or siblings to multiple objects at once with shortcuts. For example, select multiple objects and then add generators as parents for each with Alt/ Option-click, add deformers as children for each with Shift-click, and add more deformers as siblings with Cmd/ctrl-click.
SPLINTERS AND SHARDS WITH VORONOI FRACTURE
You can easily make vertical splinters and shards by adjusting the Scale Cell size. In the Voronoi Fracture object attributes, you can open up the Object tab and then go down to Scale Cells. To create splinters, you can simply increase the Scale Y value. Try using a value of 10 to create wood splinters for something like a fence or door.
GLUE FRAGMENTS TOGETHER
Ever find that you want bigger chunks of fragments? Now you just have to glue them together! In the Voronoi Fracture object attributes, open the new Geometry Glue tab and turn on Enable Geometry Glue. Then select Cluster as the Glue Type and set the Cluster Amount value: as you increase the number, the chunks will get smaller.
CREATE ORGANIC LATTICES
You can create all sorts of groovy organic shapes using the new Thickness and Invert attributes together with Offset Fragments. In the Voronoi Fracture object attributes, open the Object tab and increase the Offset Fragments value to push them apart. Then add some Thickness to make them as chunky as you like. Now select Invert to inverse the geometry, and you can see some really cool lattice-like structures emerge. Add a Subdivision Surface object to enhance that organic quality.
Orange Towers by Calder Moore
Alien Landscape by Calder Moore
White Beach by Calder Moore
Spaceship Lander by Michael Balchaitis
Planet of the Apes by Rodrigo Saavedra