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Software Review: CINEMA 4D R13 Studio From MAXON

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CINEMA 4D R13 is the latest release of the commercial cross platform, high-end 3D motion graphics, visual effects, painting, and rendering software application from MAXON. It is extremely popular among professional 3D animators and motion graphics artists. It has been used for films such as 2012, Iron Man 2, District 9, and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. It has also been used in the MTV Music Awards as well as in many other areas such as architectural modeling, graphic design, science, and engineering.

Cinema 4D Release 13

CINEMA 4D R13 can integrate with a wide variety of products including Adobe Photoshop, Adobe After Effects, Final Cut Pro, and more. CINEMA 4D renders passes in any desired format (image sequences, AVIs or QuickTime movies) and creates a compositing project file that automatically brings all sequences together in the correct format. Depending on the compositing application used, additional data such as 3D cameras, 3D lights or reference objects will be exported as well.

So what is new CINEMA 4D R13?

• Physical render engine – gives you much more realism as you can now use real camera settings like shutter speed and aperture to view the project through the lens with 3D depth of field, motion blur, and more. You also have other advanced effects such as blurry reflections, area shadows and ambient occlusion along with accurate depth of field and motion blur. This capability gives you so much more photo-realism, more accurate 3D motion blur, as well as the ability to imitate a still or a movie camera with the kind of control that you would have in the real world.

Cinema 4D Release 13

• Stereoscopy – now gives you the ability to create stereo 3D visuals using the complete stereoscopic workflow in CINEMA 4D Release 13. With this capability you can either convert existing projects or create new stereo scenes using a few simple camera settings, and preview the stereo effect within the Viewport. You can render the merged image or individual channels and preview the stereo effect within CINEMA 4D’s Picture Viewer. You can also preview stereo effects in real-time by enabling the Stereoscopic mode for any view. Stereo previews can be displayed in Anaglyph, Side-by-Side, Interlaced or Active Shutter mode for compatibility with a variety of 3D monitors, projectors and glasses.

• New character objects – give you the ability to build a rig for any character based on preset templates made for bipeds, quadrupeds, fish and more. Automatic mirroring allows you to build and adjust the rig symmetrically. Once you’ve adjusted the rig to your character, simply drag the mesh into the Character object to automatically weight and bind the mesh to the rig. After completing this simple process, you’ll have easy access to controllers in the Character object, and your character is ready to come to life.

Cinema 4D Release 13

• CMotion – gives your characters the ability to move with much more realistic movement and abilities than ever before. With just a few clicks you can apply a preset walk to your character object rig. You can apply a spline curve to virtually any parameter to define the motion. Characters can walk the line or follow the path of a Spline object automatically, staying aligned to the direction of travel and even interacting with the underlying surface. Custom step objects provide even further control so that every footstep is a step in the right direction.

• Muscle object – is a new item that, when used in conjunction with the MSkin Deformer, can be used to achieve very natural deformations of your mesh. Especially the newly added dynamics functionality adds more realism to the movement of muscles. You will have full control over the shape of the muscle in all of its states.

• New animation features – include better handling of timeline markers that will allow you to organize your animation more efficiently. You easily detect and correct Gimbal lock with the new Gimballing Rotation axis mode and user-defined rotation order. You can precisely edit Function curves with new options for manipulating keyframe tangents as well as visualize the movement of selected objects more easily using colored animation paths.

• Optimized modeling workflow – now contains a number of new features and improvements for modeling. These include easier clone and extrude abilities, the ability to simply double-click on any single edge to select a loop of connected edges, the HyperNURBS object features a new, faster subdivision surface algorithm that offers better weighting, the axis modification now works as a toggle and allows you to quickly snap the object axis in Object and Model mode, converting polygon groups to objects,

Cinema 4D Release 13

• Subsurface Scattering – gives you the ability to render skin, stone and other organic surfaces with accuracy and artistry using the all new Subsurface Scattering Shader. The index of refraction, Fresnel properties and GI calculation of the scene all work together to create realistic shading. What this means is that you can efficiently create translucent materials such as milk, skin and wax within both the new Physical Render and standard render engines.

• Terrain Mask shader – will allow you to simulate snow-capped mountains and aged surfaces with the new Terrain Mask shader, which generates a mask based on the altitude or slope of the object. Use this mask on its own by modifying the gradient colors, or apply it as part of a Layer shader or Alpha channel in conjunction with other textures.

• Interface improvements – include a user interface that has received a comprehensive makeover, ranging from tabs that can be arranged vertically, commands that can be executed with preset parameters, and project files with preview images to font selection with matching previews and the ability to assign names to Viewports.

Cinema 4D Release 13

• Enhanced Picture Viewer – gives you the ability to quickly view the image at actual size by double-clicking anywhere over the image area. If the image is already actual size, double-clicking will resize the image to fit within the Picture Viewer window. After an image has been rendered using stereoscopic properties, a wide range of functions and options will be available in the Picture Viewer for saving the stereoscopic image. Also, you can now take advantage of both the Picture Viewer’s animation playback and image comparison features at the same time to compare two separate animations.

• Import/Export Features – has improved interaction with After Effects, Autodesk FBX, COLLADA 1.5, as well as Maya and BodyPaint 3D.

Some of the other things that I liked include the navigation that allows you to zoom in and out from points in the viewport, the improved text tool that allows you to directly get to the fonts and see them as they change, and the new Physical render with the way that it progressively renders over time. What is also cool about this is that you can specify how long to render for. If say you need to have a render done in an hour you can you can set it up to complete in that time frame.

Personally, I found CINEMA 4D R13 very easy to use and straight forward in its layout. It can take a little bit to get the hang of modeling items and making more complex shapes – especially if you are new to 3D, but with the help MAXON’s Cineversity training subscription and a little bit of time, you can get on your way pretty quickly.

You can download a demo, or purchase the CINEMA 4D R13 Studio product for $3695.00 USD. There are also other levels of CINEMA 4D R13 available as well starting off at $995.00 USD. These include Prime, Broadcast, and Visualize. To see what each version contains you can check out their feature comparison sheet.

If you are wanting to get into the creation of professional 3D graphics with a system that will give you everything you need to create advanced graphics for film, animation, games, or just about anything else that you might want to create for, then I highly recommend this product.

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.
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