"Cinema 4D Advanced Production Techniques" Video Training: A Review

We were all in awe of the teaser that was released before the Cinema 4D Advanced Production Techniques seminar that took place in Copenhagen in February 2014.  Who wouldn't want to be in a room full of Cinema 4D experts such as Yadar, Douwe, and Simon Holmedal?  It's the perfect fly on the wall scenario.  Luckily, for those of us who could not attend the seminar, it is available on Vimeo On Demand.

Released several months ago, I was eager to download, watch, and review the series. Rather than rush out a review, I viewed them and let it digest a bit.  I have viewed the series several times already and each time I watch it, it feels like I'm watching it for the first time.  There is a lot to take in while watching Cinema 4D Advanced Production Techniques. You will find yourself jumping back on the video to see how something was demonstrated. Consider this course the equivalent of a fxphd 400 level course. 

Hosted by Pingo van der Brinkloev and presented by a handful of Cinema 4D experts in a classroom style setting, the training is different than anything you will find on Lynda or Digital Tutors.  It's actually quite refreshing to watch training in its almost free-form manner.  However, because of this, the training is more for intermediate and advanced users of Cinema 4D.  You will find yourself at times wanting to raise your hand and ask a question as if you were in college.  Beginners will benefit from holding off on this training until they work their way through the basics of Cinema 4D.

Xpresso and MoGraph

By far the most exciting videos are the ones presented by Yader (DERYA ÖZTÜRK).  He provides a wealth of abstract modeling tips, demonstrates how changing settings such as Ray Depth has an effect on renders, and shares links to some useful plugins he uses in his daily workflow.  Most of what he shows is procedural so you are open to changes up to render time.

Cinema 4D Xpresso Setup

Cinema 4D Xpresso Setup

The seminar dives deep into Xpresso and little hacks to make pressure cooker deadlines possible with tips by Simon Holmedal and Simon Fiedler.  Watching Simon Holmedal wire up Xpresso nodes like they are nobody's business can leave even an experienced user asking, "WTF, how did he do that!" But that is the beauty of video training, you can just rewind and watch it again and again.

Seasoned Cinema 4D users who use Xpresso alot know the same nodes come up time and time again as they did in this training series. The most advanced Xpresso setups have multiples of each node. 

Common Xpresso Nodes are:

  • Condition
  • Range Mapper
  • Data
  • Compare
  • Iteration
  • Vector2Matrix

Reading up a little on these Xpresso nodes before watching the classes will help you follow along. Consider watching Robert Leger's Xpresso Lessons for a primer.

Beyond Xpresso

The training also goes into topics not usually covered extensively in free tutorials online, like Vray rendering and Python scripting.  

Douwe passionately talks about using Python in several videos.  Most of this went way over my head because I have zero coding experience but it did make me curious enough to look into Python.org

Raphael Rau details his use of Vray for Cinema 4D, but even non-users of Vray will benefit from his explanation of color theory and how to go about making realistic materials.  Hint: Not going full white or full black in the color channels is just the beginning.  Raphael's attention to detail is evident even in his presentation slides that clearly explain theories of color and light.

Those interested in third-party plugin development may enjoy Paul Everett's discussion about his plugin development, but I almost feel this could be a freebie video since it's more of a sales pitch to why you should be using his time-saving tools such as DEM Earth. 

Verdict

If you are interested in furthering your Cinema 4D skills then Cinema 4D Advanced Production Techniques should be in your tutorial folder on your computer or tablet. 

Presenters

Raphael Rau 

Yader

Douwe

Simon Holmedal

Paul Everett

Pingo van der Brinkloev 

Simon Fiedler