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CINEMA 4D R16
MAXON's latest release of their 3D software was announced at this year's SIGGRAPH, and made available shortly thereafter. Like other professional grade software, the previous version was more than capable to handle high end tasks, but R16 adds features and new workflow implementations that allow artists to work more efficiently and give them the opportunity to explore new creations.
I've been a CINEMA4D user for a long time, but didn't get R16 until a few days ago. There are plenty of 'first look' and tutorials already available online, but I'm offering other 3D animators some reasons they'll want to upgrade, switch, or take another look at C4D, especially R16.
There are so many different pieces of software that you can choose from to make your 3D animation, how does the new (or veteran) user decide' Sometimes there is a tendency to look at FeatureCrush - that terrible event when software companies try to jam new (even unnecessary) features into a release.
MAXON listens. This release surely has new features, but they are introduced to help the artists who use the software in a variety of industry. The new release shifts focus to polishing the toolset artists have come to love. One exception to that is the new Motion Tracker, which extends animation and camera possibility to users.
Artists have always found a way to realize their designs with even the most primitive tools and workarounds. Balancing artistic pursuit and profession is a challenge. Many of the new features in R16 help to give artists - especially beginners - more intuitive and fluid access to the software and its processes.
There are numerous changes that could fall into a specific 'workflow' category, but, depending on what type of 3D you create, I think you're going to find that many updates and additions to categories not associated with 'workflow' also help your process.
Although it has been several years since MAXON R11.5 introduced the ability to support the Adobe After Effects .aec format, recently C4D Lite began shipping with Adobe's Creative Cloud, bringing a new set of users to CINEMA4D. Many of the new features recognize the way that compositors and motion graphics designers work in other software, and support artists by giving R16 some similar tools and prompts.
Of course, new users will have the most confusion about which 3D software they want to jump into. Any 3D software is going to be a commitment. If you don't think it is, you're not going to get the most out of it. However, many new users are coming to 3D modeling and animation through applications like After Effects and Nuke (or even FCP7/Motion/Shake?) . These compositing tools continue to enjoy support by CINEMA4D.
Simplified methods of key framing and more obvious type control will help to make the transition to 3D software a little more gentle in R16.
As I stated before, MAXON's track record of listening to their user base, and continuing to create tools that evolve with artists' needs is obvious in this latest release. R16 is full of features that build on experience of current users' feedback. With MAXON's MSA program, you can upgrade annually earlier and for less money than you would have if you waited. Some artists choose to leapfrog releases, upgrading only odd, even, or integer releases. R16 is a full of some serious tool upgrades and new features that you won't want to miss. If you didn't upgrade to R15 and are still happy with your workflow in R14, R16 is going to bring you both creative and professional possibilities that can't be missed.
The new Motion Tracking feature is a great new tool for VFX artists and motion graphics artists alike, but even if you aren't using it right away, current users will find changes to materials, modeling, and rendering that they'll appreciate.
Once you learn a piece of 3D software, it's hard to switch into another piece of software. The language of good 3D design and animation doesn't change, but the interface and toolset does change when you switch between software packages. However, switching between something your comfortable with and CINEMA4D is even easier now. So making the transition between what you're using now and R16 doesn't have to be an On/Off operation.
R16 now supports FBX's SDK for 2015.1, exports SDS subdivided meshes, texture support, and also supports Alembic's SDK 1.5 and the Alembic Ogawa file format and an option for exporting vertex maps as vertex color information
Any software is simply a tool for creating your design.
As an artist, you're going to find a way to make your vision real.
Whether it's modeling, animation, a 3D sculpture, or print, you're looking for a better tool to help you create that narrative. In CINEMA4D R16, MAXON makes sure that you have the right tools, better tools, and even new tools to help you get there. It's not just about adding features to fulfill a list on a box, it's about becoming an ally to help you achieve your art.
Ko Maruyama is a freelance animator in Los Angeles. In addition to working on film and broadcast animations, Ko teaches at Pasadena's Art Center College of Design - focusing on motion design. When working, writing or testing software allows, you can find him lending a hand in the After Effects board and lurking among the Cinema4D, Visual Effects and Photoshop posts within the DMNForums.
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