Saturday , April 13 2024
If you want to get into 3D, now is the time to check out CINEMA 4D.

Software Review: CINEMA 4D R11, Part 3 – Thinking Particles, Dynamics, Net Render, Sketch And Toon

This is the third part of a multi-part review covering MAXTON's new CINEMA 4D Release 11's offerings. Because this product has so many features available for the user that a single review could not do it justice, I will break it down in separate parts. This one will cover the remainder of the modules that are available to enhance product functionality.

As I said in my first installment, CINEMA 4D R11 is the latest release of the commercial, cross platform, high-end 3D graphics application from MAXON. Because of its modularity, the core product gives you everything that you need to create high-end 3D images and animations. But when you need additional features, you can get those as well. In my second article, I covered four of the modules available, so I will now take a look at the final four modules.

Thinking Particles

Thinking Particles will let you create amazing special effects that have that Hollywood look. This module uses CINEMA 4D's XPresso interface to provide complete control over individual particles and particle streams. That means that they can interact with one another and within their environment. They can trigger collision events and spawn new streams.

With Thinking Particles, you can choreograph your particles with a great degree of control. They can spin or take on the motion of any object in your scene. You can even freeze particles for a "Matrix" effect.

You can emit particles from any plane, surface, or volume. You can even emit them in the form of, say, a company logo and then have the wind come along and blow them away. Within Thinking Particles there is also collision detection where you have full control over the bounce, friction, and variation of particles based on a collision. You can even use Thinking Particles to create interesting shattering and explosion effects.


Dynamics are what allow you to simulate real-world dynamic forces such as friction, gravity, wind, springs, and more. They are applied to an existing object, or the points of an object as a modifier.

You have Rigid Body dynamics to simulate solid object interaction. You add properties such as mass or friction to define how Dynamics should affect an object, and when animated, Dynamics will automatically calculate the correct behavior.

You also have Soft Body Dynamics that are used to simulate soft objects such as jelly, cloth, or goo. These soft bodies can be deformed by forces available in Dynamics. Forces from one part of the mesh are distributed over the surface via the net of springs. Splines and forces like wind can also interact with soft bodies. You also have other forces available that can be used to attract or repel objects.

NET Render

NET Render is the module that will let you speed up rendering times. NET Render is primarily geared for today's professional media production industry. With the complexity of projects increasing, and completion time frames shortening, the need for faster renders is necessary. How to accomplish this? Through the use of multiprocessor systems and networks. Using NET Render, you can take advantage of multiple systems across a network to reduce the rendering time and this module handles it all.

Through an HTML interface you can delegate your rendering tasks, and check up on the progress whenever you want to. Using the web interface, you can add jobs, change jobs, and monitor the progress of your clients. Any completed file can be downloaded directly for a more thorough view.

NET Render takes advantage of dynamic load balancing to maximize your rendering time. When a faster computer finishes its assigned frames, it can be automatically assigned new frames from slower machines. If a connection to the server is lost, the computer will continue to render and upload its files as soon as it is reconnected. Localized problems may slow down your render, but it will not stop NET Render.

Sketch and Toon

Sketch and Toon makes it easier than ever to create high quality photorealistic imagery. It has many different styles of 3D rendering that make it useful in just about any field. Architects and engineers can create precise technical illustrations, and artists can create artwork such as charcoal sketches.

Sketch and Toon gives you a wide range of options for creating drawings. Using edges and outlines, it makes it easy to create technical illustrations. Presets allow for quick selection of different lines styles and it allows you to replicate looks and setting across multiple scenes.

Lines can be given variation for a more hand drawn look, and thickness of lines, angles, and opacity can be used to imitate calligraphy or other natural media. Sketch and Toon lines can match the contour of any object from any view. They can be previewed in CINEMA 4D, or exported to Adobe Illustrator in vector format.

Available to you are a series of shaders like the Cel Shader that can be used to make your own manga or anime look. There is a Hatch Shader that will create sketch that looks hand-drawn. There is an Art Shader to let you emulate the look of traditional artists, and a Spot Shader that mimics the look of low resolution print images. And, as always, Sketch and Toon can be combined with any of the other CINEMA 4D features.

As with the first four modules, I found these modules as easy to use as CINEMA 4D itself. Everything is straightforward in its design and layout. With all of the available training and the quick start guide and MAXON's Cineversity training subscription it was real easy to get up to speed.

You can download a demo, or purchase the core or individual modules. There are even bundles available for a better deal. If you want to get into 3D then now is the time to check out CINEMA 4D Release 11. I highly recommend this product.

About T. Michael Testi

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

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