Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
Maxon Cinema 4D R11
Maxon’s mid-range 3-D suite.
- Faster operation; 64-bit support on Mac OS X, Projection Man, rendering enhancements, non-linear animation; ghosting, Doodle tool, custom brush and Collada support, BodyPaint 3D included with core application
- Some bugs, no Linux support, more expensive than nearest competitor
Maxon claims R11 renders about twice as fast as version R10.5, and it does seem like a rapid application all round. While its competitor LightWave 3D is slightly less expensive, the core application, bundled as it is with BodyPaint3D, is still well-priced and specified for single 3D artists. Studios, however, will probably find the best value in buying one of the bundles.
The latest version of Maxon’s mid-range 3-D suite adds tools that will appeal to its users across design, VFX and animation markets. The software is based around a core application, which can be expanded by a series of add-on modules including Advanced Render 3, Dynamics, Hair, MOCCA 3.1, MoGraph, Net Render, Sketch & Toon, and Thinking Particles. You can also buy the money-saving XL and Studio Bundles, which include some, or all, of the modules.
Cinema 4D can be found in many VFX studios serving the TV industry, so that market will welcome the tighter integration of Projection Man, the high-end matte-painting toolset in Cinema 4D R11. Although this has been available since version 9.5 as part of a bundle aimed at film studios, it’s now part of the core application. This useful tool is a camera-mapping application used to paint materials onto 3D foreground objects while allowing matte painters to use 2D image stalwarts like Photoshop as central to their workflow. It involves setting up cameras for your scene and exporting the resulting views via one click to Photoshop for painting.
The image, complete with alpha channel, is opened in Photoshop, while a new projection camera is created simultaneously in Cinema 4D and named after the texture file. To test this, we used an existing image and the Clone tool to paint on a new layer in Photoshop. We then returned to Cinema 4D, selected a new camera view (from another angle), repeated the process and assembled this multi-layered texture map from a single image.
A couple of the dialog boxes didn’t respond as we expected (nothing major – we had to right-click instead of double-click, for example), but otherwise this proved to be a quick and straightforward tool that allows Photoshop artists to use their skills without worrying about UV editing.
It’s important to note that this is distinct from the projection-painting mode already offered as part of the bundled BodyPaint 3D component. That uses a ‘virtual glass plate’ planar projection technique to paint on, then transfers textures onto the model.
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