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Cinema 4D first impressions

I’m a Softimage user/fan for about 3 years, have worked with 3ds Max another 3 and learned Maya in between. For 3 Saturdays of last October, the company I work for payed a Cinema 4D R13 course to all art department, so again I took the road of learning another 3d package…

The software is indeed much more friendly than others. People who is not familiarized with CG will get it on much faster. Some cool things I’ve noticed:

  • works on Macs
  • loads damn fast
  • loads more than one scene at a time
  • hardly freezes
  • has probably the best UI for a 3d software [modulated, tabs, docking, friendly icons, extra viewport window...]
  • comes with 100+ of presets and models
  • set to linear workflow by default
  • 3d and UV paint [BodyPaint]
  • viewport with shadows and bumps
  • viewport shows horizon
  • sticky keys [tools work while you hold the key, drops on release]
  • axonometric cameras
  • interactive copies of objects [Cloner]
  • Picture Viewer [keeps older renders, shows layers, applies filters...]
  • export to .PSD or After Effects project with layers
  • Object Manager separates well Objects from their parameters, called “Tags”
  • floor object, which is a useful simple grid that extends to infinity, no parameters needed
  • double clicking on Layers window, Material Manager, etc creates a new layer/material/etc…

But not everything is superb, and there’s actually a few things that really bothered me about Cinema 4d:

  • it just got referenced external models [xRefs], which doesn’t seem ready for a big exchange of files
  • to edit the geometry you have to freeze [collapse] it’s parametrical parameters
  • sphere has unified values for both U and V segments
  • timeline and object panel [probably others also] doesn’t have Focus on Selection [it highlights the names, so you'll have to hand open the hierarchy]
  • to isolate the selection on the viewport seems only possible via soloing a layer
  • RGB sliders cannot move in conjunction
  • anywhere you click with the middle mouse button toggles the maximize viewport and the 4 views

I’m not playing with the software for a lot of time, this is just my first impressions. My opinion so far is that it’s an amazing well done software, with a fresh feeling and made thinking about the user.

If you’re new to 3d, all you want is broadcast/mograph animations or quick and easy setups/workflow you should definitively check it out; if you’re more technical and would like to go deeper into character animation with simulations, tons of keyframes and work on the same scenes with other people at the same time,  Softimage, Maya or 3ds Max would probably give you more tools and options.

Some screenshots:

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