When you launch Cinema 4D is there a particular tool you always go straight to because you know it gets the job done? It depends on the type of project, right? Cinema 4D has tools for motion graphics, character animation, visual effects, and architecture.
A 3D sculptor is going to use different tools than a motion graphics artist. Somebody who does product renders will never touch the character tools. A technical director is going to use Xpresso more than an artist who uses Cinema 4D to build and previz sets. "Despite being designed for advanced 3D, the extra tools found in CINEMA 4D Studio are still designed to be user-friendly and intuitive", as posted at Maxon.net.
This poses the question; what are the most used tools in Cinema 4D?
Lorcan O'Shanahan, a freelance designer who has worked on projects such as Enders Game and Continuum, relies on XPresso in his workflow. He is currently developing a car rig using XPresso. You can check out his Cineversity demo HERE.
XPresso is Cinema 4D's node based expression system. It links different objects together through materials and objects parameters. Many Cinema 4D artists use it to make projects more procedural.
Cinema 4D has a versatile toolset that supports multiple industries and subsets in each. You will probably never get the same answer in a room full of Cinema 4D users. If you are a Generalist, then you will probably be using a wide array of Cinema 4D's tools everyday, unlike someone who gets lost in the Sculpting toolset all day to create their next creature.
Cinema 4D’s ease of use has allowed other professionals in the TV/Film industry to pick up and use it in their work. I actually make most of my living as a broadcast editor and picked up Cinema 4D years ago to add some 3D text to make shots more dynamic. To this day I use MoText or the Extrude generator a lot. Clients love seeing their logo in 3D.
Sure there are ways to create 3D text in After Effects and NLE's with plugins, but the simple tools, easy lighting, and fast rendering of Cinema 4D always seems to give the best results in my opinion. This comes in handy if you work in a fast paced environment like TV News or Reality Television. Look at the demo reels of some of the top motion graphics design firms and you will see a graphics reel for some TV show.
The more I asked Cinema 4D users about what tools they use most, the more I was surprised by the not so obvious tools. Of course you would think the most common answer might be the MoGraph module; and of course Cinema 4D guru Tim Clapham responded as such. The Mograph Module is probably the number one tool that has driven users to Cinema 4D in the past five years. It's ease of use and short learning curve make it the perfect entry point for any wannabe Cinema 4D user.
EJ Hassenfratz, Cinema 4D Developer and Lynda.com Instructor, praises the Mograph Module for the very same reasons. "One of the best tools is the Mograph Module in Cinema 4D, if you consider it a “tool”. It has evolutionized the way I work in 3D and I keep finding myself wishing for something that works as intuitively and easily as it inside of After Effects. But the best tool overall is just your creativity and willingness to keep learning", EJ said.
EJ, like many other Cinema 4D users, have learned how to code and create tools in Cinema 4D to meet the demands of their jobs. Anything that slows down the creative process is just not acceptable when usually technology is waiting on you to press a button.
You might expect an artist like Ryan Summers, of the studio Imaginary Forces, would respond with something cool like particle systems or dynamics, but his response was more about being organized than the cool factor. If you are working on big projects, with teams, and a short production timeline you better be organized.
When you actually sit down and think about it, you probably use a tool or function in Cinema 4D more than you think you actually do. Think about how many times you click “D” on the keyboard for the Extrude tool or, M~S to call up the Bevel Tool. One of my most popular articles on this website is, Top 10 Cinema 4D Shortcuts For Beginners. There is no doubt you probably use those all day long. As with anything in life, the more you use the tool the easier your job gets, leaving you more time for iteration and design.
Each version of Cinema 4D gets better and better. It's more than a motion graphics toolset. It can be used in your Visual Effects workflow just as well. New editions to Cinema 4D such as the Reflectance Channel and the Motion Tracker make photorealistic VFX more possible than ever. And 3rd Party plugins such as Turbulance FD and X-Particles allows artists to achieve a very high level of VFX without going to another program.
If you want to learn more about Projection Man, watch my Cinema 4D White House tutorial below. Full post can be found HERE.
Whoa, wait one minute. What about the one aspect of Cinema 4D that would make all this C4D coolness meaningless? The powerful Cinema 4D render engine. Easy to use. Countless options to fiddle with. Makes pixels beautiful.
Art Director Peter Quinn of the studio Blink pointed out, "It really doesn't matter if your animation is drop dead gorgeous if its not ready on time." Optimizing a scene for renders is of paramount importance for his team.
"With the advent of the physical renderer, it’s a whole new, exciting kettle of fish. The depth of field and motion blur is far superior to the standard renderer, but with hefty render times, so you’ve got to tread carefully. As motion graphic folk, we’re bracing ourselves for 4k. Even on my 2013 MacPro beast, it’s going to be hard to start outputting content at that size", Peter said.
When I asked all the artists what their favorite tool was in Cinema 4D, I knew it was almost impossible to answer. Whether you are a Generalist or Specialist, there is not one tool you are probably going to use more often. You will probably end up focusing on different toolsets within the program for a specific project, but since Cinema 4D is an easy program to learn, you are never more than a hour away from figuring out a tool you have never used before.
"The number one Cinema 4D tool is the Cinema 4D community." - Anonymous
Follow me on Twitter at @mographcandy
Copyright 2014, Dan Conrad, www.MographCandy.com. Please do not republish without written consent. This article would not have been possible without the help of all the artists who participated.
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