29 Pro Tips For Cinema 4D

Ex­perts re­veal their Cinema 4D R19 tech­niques and creat­ing in­cred­i­ble mod­els, mo­tion graph­ics, an­i­ma­tions and more

3D Artist - - CONTENTS -

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.

Calder Moore


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.


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.


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.


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.

Michael Balchaitis


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.


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.


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.


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.

Edna Kruger




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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 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.


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.


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.


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

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