Friday , May 24 2024

Software Review: CINEMA 4D R19 Studio From Maxon

CINEMA 4D R19 is the latest release of the 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 film and television in Doctor Strange, Ghost in The Shell , The Martian, and Game of Thrones. It also has its use in many other fields such as graphic design, science, engineering, and architectural visualization.


CINEMA 4D R19 can integrate with a wide variety of other commercial products including Adobe Photoshop, Adobe After Effects, Final Cut Pro, and more. CINEMA 4D can be used for modeling and comes with a complete set of spline primitives and spline drawing tools, which means that you do not need to switch to an external tool. In this version, many improvements been added to make 3D modeling much easier. With these improvements, you will have better performance and usability

While there are a lot of new features in this release 19 of CINEMA 4D, let me delve into some of the ones that really make this a good release for me. Here I will break them out by area.

What’s New in CINEMA 4D

New in MoGraph

• In R18, the one of the biggest features was Voronoi Fracture. In R19, it has been enhanced quite a bit and so there are a lot of new items to be addressed! First, when you set up your fracture, you will see there are a lot more options. You now have the options sort, detailing, geometry glue and a lot more. If, for example, you create a sphere, on the object tab if you set up the offset fragments and then use one of the new features called invert, it does this wild looking reversal to edges of the sphere. If you then click on the hull only option, it converts it into this wire frame to a hollow looking soccer ball object. You can then use the new thickness to modify the size of the frame. This is something that I am not sure you would have been able to create prior to these additions, at least not this easily.

Vorornoq Fracture
Vorornoq Fracture

Also within Voronoi Fracture, you can now make slices or slivers by using the scale cells to change the look of your fracture set up. This means that you can create a wider range of results in your animations. In the sorting tab there are new options that give you more control on how the fracture is affected by various effects. On the detailing tab, when enabled, does just that, it gives you a lot of detail to your fracture and therefor much more control on your deformations. Here you can also turn off your smooth surface and that lets the pieces becomes more noisy and deformed. In fact, there are a lot of noise features that come with this version of Voronoi Fracture to let you manipulate your object.

The connector tab provides the ability to have more control on the collisions and how well the connections work with in the object using Voronoi Fracture. You can control both the force and the torque which in turn controls the look of the actual fracture. Also in the connectors tab, you can add falloff. This mean that you can direct the breakage to one area to be greater than another and then through animation, direct the falloff along a path.

The Geometry Glue tab when enabled and the glue type is falloff is very similar to the falloff previously described. Here though, you can designate areas to be ‘glued’ together. This way you can have large chunks that remain as a whole while the rest of the object breaks away. Other glue types include Point Distance which merges chunks with in a specific distance that you designate to cluster together, and Cluster which designates a specific number of pieces to break the object apart in.

• Sound Effector is a feature that lets you animate with music. It has been enhanced and is now much more powerful and robust. What Sound Effector does is to allow you to assign a sound track to a sound effector and using a cloner, animate objects within your scene. You have control over the strength of your effector, the amplitude and distribution as well as the sampling rate. You can control the coloring of the objects using effector probe color gradient in conjunction with the color parameters.

Through the use of controlling frequencies, you can control specific areas of your animation. Then, using multiple sound effectors, you can control different objects within your animation. Another advantage if multiple Sound Effectors is that they can reference the same sound file. This gives you a lot of opportunities to create animation based on a sound track and have objects coordinate to your sounds. Even different objects that focus on separate parts within a sound track.

Polygon Reduction
Polygon Reduction

New in Modeling

• Polygon Reduction tool, which has existed in previous versions of Cinema 4D, has been upgraded significantly. It has also moved. It is now found under the modeling scene helper objects. Where this is useful is when you have an object that has a large amount of structure and your computer is struggling to render. You just create a Polygon Reduction tool and set it as a child to the object you want to reduce. After it processes, you then have control on how much you want to reduce the based on the original mesh. You also have control on the triangle and vertex counts. You can add multiple objects into a single reduction tool although this eliminates the ability to reduce the triangle and vertex counts. It is non-modal which means that you can change the reduction settings without changing the underlining model.

• Object Insertion lets you create multiple hierarchies quickly and easily. Say for example, you have 20 objects that you want extruded. Simply select them and select extrude while holding the Alt/Option keys and they will all be extruded. Each one will be separately extruded and each individual one will match the orientation of the original object. Along with adding as a parent you can also add, using the shift key, a child effect that is also tied to each individual object. This also works with deformers.

• Modeling Core is in the process of being enhanced to create new groundwork for the modeling tools. Now there is better native support for edges, N-gons and other surface attributes. More enhancements will be coming in future releases.

• Vertex Color Enhancements provides the ability to keep vertex-colored points visible even when the object is not selected. This is useful for keeping them as a guide for placing other objects. Also useful is storing surface attributes as unclamped Vertex Color values when exchanging data with other applications.

New in Animation

• Pose Space Deformation (PSD) morphs provide more flexibility with your pose animations. These allow you to sculpt corrective shapes in a current pose. Using the pose morph, you get much more definition in the characters skin. This also helps to eliminate the pinching that can occur where there are overlapping of the joints. It makes the simulation of muscle action within the body more natural in representing joint movement. To do this, you pose your character where you want to have that shape. You select the pose morph tag and instead of using relative mode, you can use correctional PSD and it will make the animation adjustments. The morph tag has a PSD section that enables auto-weighting for PSD poses. There are three options: Auto orient, Auto Position, and Auto Transition blend. This gives you flexibility depending on which axis you are working with.

• Painting weights have been improved in Cinema 4D R19. In prior versions, to bind many meshes to a specific joint, you would have to bind each one separately. Now, by selecting multiple meshes, and the specific joint you want to target, you can bind them together at once. Once bound, each mesh will be given a skin deformer as well as a weight tag filled with only the joints you have selected and not any meshes. Once you bound your character, you can then start painting your weights. The weight tool has also received some updates. There is no longer a joint list. You can select your influences just by right clicking on your mesh. You can also access the dropper from the weight tool by pressing control/command shift. There are also several improvements in the weight manager as well such as how your joints are filtered as well as what weight tags are displayed in your joints list. New algorithms of mirroring weights will make it much easier to translate the work done on one side to another. This even works on meshes that are not topologically symmetrical such as a pair of pants.

• Scene Reconstruction and Tracking Improvements provides the ability to create 3D geometry from source footage. First you must track your footage to get your 3D tracking points. Here, it creates a point cloud in 3D. Once you have it set up, you go to your reconstruction tab and select the preset level you want and select run scene reconstruction. This will give you a scene point cloud object (a polygon object that has no polygons, only points) that you can use that to integrate 3D objects into tracked footage.

• Other animation updates include Noise falloff type with Perlin, Ridged Multifractal, and all of Cinema 4D’s outstanding Noise types, binding multiple objects to joints with a single click, and using un-deformed objects as collision shapes for faster dynamics.


New in Rendering

• Radeon ProRender gives you the ability to create the most physically accurate final renders possible through AMD’s Radeon ProRender technology and it doesn’t matter if you are using AMD chips in your latest Mac, or Nvidia and AMD graphics cards with Windows. Yes, this is a first release, but it’s capabilities are very mature. This has really created a new foundation for the future of rendering with Cinema 4D for both CPU and GPU rendering. When you attach ProRender to a view, you can get instant feedback as you rearrange objects. You can render the whole image, or use bucket rendering to control memory when rendering at higher resolution. You can use Cinema 4D’s materials, lights, and cameras as well as eliminate hot-pixels to path-tracers. Keep in mind that this is just the beginning to what is to come in future releases.

• Spherical VR Camera is now native to Cinema 4D R19. This means that you can easily render 360-degree images in full stereo for use in virtual reality. This is done through the spherical controls that have been added to the camera object. What it does is to take the 360-degree view around the camera and maps it on to a plane. The problem with this kind of mapping is that it introduces some distortion around the poles. Cinema 4D addresses this by using cubic mapping and has several cube mapping formats for handling this. These include string mapping; in a horizontal line. Cross mapping which is used by Mettle Skybox Studio as well as the 3×2 mapping, which is used by Facebook for their 360-degree videos. You have a lot more control in your rendering via options as well as how you handle the stereo effects for your render.

New in Workflow


• Viewport Improvements now adds support for Screen-Space reflections very easy and in the options under OpenGL, just by checking the reflections options, realistic reflections are automatically created. OpenGL Depth-of-Field is just as easy through your camera options. Just change your f-stop to change your depth of field. You can set a focus object and by changing your settings, let some objects be in focus and others blur out as they would with a real camera. You can also change the reflection image just by going into your texture and changing the environment override.

• Level of Detail (LOD) Object helps to keep frame rates high by only showing polygon objects when they are close to the camera. This technology will help to almost double your viewport speeds in certain situations. This works when you have many high polygon assets visible in the frame. When you activate the LOD, the objects in the back of the frame are not as detailed as those closer to the camera. As you pan through the frame, the level of detail increases as you move closer to the objects.

• New Media Core now natively supports more image, video, and audio formats and it is more efficient and faster than ever before. This new media engine was developed as part of Maxon’s overall strategy to revamp and modernize the core of Cinema 4D. Along with all this development comes the native support for MP4 video. This eliminates the dependence on QuickTime. It also means very fast playback times for MP4’s directly in the interface with no need to save your videos as re-sequenced images. This also means that you can export quickly and easily to MP4’s as well.

New in BodyPaint 3D

• UV Editing Improvements uses OpenGL, so you can see great previews when painting color, reflectance’s, alpha, bump or normals, and even displacement. UV Island selection is easier by using the alt/option key with the selection tools to select whole islands all at once. The coordinates manager has been enhanced to use handle UV selections and you can use it to modify UV points and Polygons with great precision.


I have always liked CINEMA 4D for its ease of use training, tools, and the user-friendly interface. For most people this is the biggest hang-up about working with 3D. Each release that barrier becomes easier and easier to navigate and with this latest version, the trend continues.

Overall, CINEMA 4D R19 is a must have update just based on the new features contained in this version. It really delivers on both it’s new and enhanced items. The Viewport improvements such as the screen-space reflections are great, and the OpenGl Depth-of-field is phenomenal. These help to deliver better viewport speeds while not compromising quality

The new sound effector, spherical camera, and polygon reduction are all welcome additions. The updated media core, the AMD Radeon ProRender, and the new modeling capabilities really give you almost final render quality on the fly. Now, when you add that there are many foundational improvements that will only make CINEMA 4D better for the future, you have a solid upgrade and worth the price of admission.

About T. Michael Testi

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

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