After Effects for Film Editors – Part 3 – The Cinema 4D Edition
- Take a deep dive into what’s possible in Cinema 4D Lite and R18 Studio
- Learn how to pick the right version of Cinema 4D for your needs
- Get inspired with detailed breakdowns of some epic Motion Design projects
In this edition of the on-going series focusing on After Effects for Film Editors I’m going to take a slightly different tack, and leap into the world of Cinema 4D Lite and the full Studio versions of Maxon’s popular 3D software.
Since every copy of After Effects ships with a Lite version of Cinema 4D it’s already in your hands if you are a Creative Cloud subscriber so you may as well learn how to make the most of it!
Furthermore Cinema 4D Studio R18, the most recent release, has some reallly cool new features in it that are worth knowing about.
Hopefully this post will both inspire and inform you of what the deeper end of the pool might look like when it comes to motion graphics, titles, 3D compositing and more!
But there will also be plenty of great After Effects focused tips and tutorials to enjoy in Part 4 so keep an eye out for that too.
Missed Part 1 and Part 2? Check them out here:
This short video from Adobe, you can get a quick overview of the kind of interoperability you have been After Effects and Cinema 4D Lite and a few simple interactions all of which will help set the stage for everything that’s to follow.
One of the main advantages of Cinema 4D Lite’s integration with After Effects is Cineware 3.0, which brings some key functionality from Cinema 4D directly into After Effects.
As you’ll see in the following tutorials from Sean Frangella, this has some serious advantages, even if you don’t do much in Cinema 4D Lite itself.
With Cineware, Cinema 4D files can be opened natively in Adobe After Effects CC. Add 3D content as layers to your composites and work with individual Cinema 4D elements such as cameras, layers, Null objects and light directly in After Effects CC.
If you’re looking for a complete feature list of what’s actually in the Lite version of Cinema 4D, you’ll just have to thumb your way through this detailed version comparison and keep an eye on the final column.
Cinema 4D Lite Tutorials for Film Editors
Motion Designer and YouTuber Sean Frangella shared this pair of tutorials on how to use the new Cinema 4D Renderer in After Effects CC 2017.
This tutorial takes a similar track to create 3D extruded logos and use the Cinema 4D renderer to make them look slick.
If you want over three hours of real-world training to help you get started in Cinema 4D for the first time, then this three-part tutorial series from Tim Clapham of Luxx, Australia is a perfect place to start.
Tim’s tutorial includes downloadable project files and takes you soup to nuts through a first project, covering topics like:
- Introduction to the C4D user interface and basic workflow concepts
- Using Fracture Object, MoText and Effectors
- Animating the camera with keyframes
- Creating materials for your objects
- Basic lighting with Area lights and shadows
- Using the Compositing tag to control rendering options on individual objects
- Configuring Cinema 4D for multi-pass rendering
- Setting up Colour Management
- Compositing with multipass renders
- Adding depth of field using the depth pass
Tim’s blog also has at least 50 free tutorials on it, so that’s another great resource to check out.
Lastly, this 20 video playlist compiles all of Sean Frangella’s tutorials that work with After Effects and Cinema 4D Lite, which covers a whole host of topics and stretches back a couple of years.
This makes it well worth a rummage if you’re after a quick answer to a specific question.
Picking the right version of Cinema 4D Lite Vs Broadcast Vs Studio Editions
My animator brother Chris (AnimationSeven.com) has a full Studio version of Cinema 4D and so I thought it would be a good opportunity to get him to chat about some of the differences between Lite and the paid for versions.
If the Lite version of Cinema has given you a taste for 3D, or you’d like to expand your skill set to a more CG generalist role, upgrading to a more complete version of the package is the logical next step.
Of course, the first tricky bit when you’re negotiating that next step is figuring out which version of Cinema 4D is right for you, as there are currently four versions to choose from.
Just as a brief note before we move on – all of the Cinema versions are fully CINEWARE compatible. Whichever one you go for, it’ll work through After Effects in exactly the same way that the Lite version does.
On the assumption you’re a video editor, you’re thankfully only having to choose between two of those options – Cinema 4D Broadcast, and Cinema 4D Studio.
That’s leaving aside the issue of Bodypaint 3D, which is a bit like the base version of Cinema 4D (referred to as ‘Prime’) with some 3D texture painting and sculpture stuff thrown into the mix. I’ve never really considered it as a separate option and kind of view it as an extra you get when you pick up the full version of Cinema 4D.
That full version I’m referring to is the Studio version, which is basically every single thing that Maxon puts into Cinema unlocked and at your disposal.
If you’re a video editor and your ambitions don’t extend beyond lower thirds and titles, you’d probably be absolutely fine with the Broadcast version.
You get access to the full Cinema modelling and texturing tools, letting you create better detailed and better textured models, but you also get access to the entire Mograph feature set, which is one of the shining stars of Cinema and the tool you’ll be using most if you’re doing backgrounds, lower thirds or abstract title sequences.
However, you’re going to find it limiting when it comes to any kind of more advanced work, which is where Studio comes in.
Stumping for the full bells and whistles opens up the simulations tools, things like Hair and Cloth simulation, more advanced particle tools, and the advanced character animation tools, which is all very lovely.
Crucially it also opens up all the Dynamics options. If you’re enjoying playing with the Voroni Fracture object and want those pieces to collapse to the ground in a natural way, you’re going to want to look beyond Broadcast.
Speaking of Voroni Fracture – it’s one of the great new features that was recently added in R18, the most recent version (and I predict you’ll be seeing a lot of pieces in future featuring Voroni effects).
Breaking apart a 3D object so you can, say, shatter it into a hundred pieces was always one of those time-consuming jobs in 3D – historically it meant actually constructing a broken version of the object, painstakingly cutting, tweaking and remodelling, which could then be used to give you the right effect.
Voroni gives you a shortcut through all of that, allowing you to break up complex geometry with an intuitive interface and a decent amount of control.
The video above is an example of it in action, including some of those lovely dynamics that come with Studio. This test was put together in, at most, 10 minutes and the majority of that time was spent tweaking the setup to get the exact result I wanted.
One of the other enhancements that came with R18 is the Mograph Weight and Selection tools – the extra control this affords when working with cloner setups is invaluable. (Check out the video above from Sean Frangella for more on this.)
The Mograph tool set has always been one of Cinema’s great strengths that set it apart from other 3D packages, and being able to paint the weights of a particular effect onto a set of clones gives you fine control that was tricky and time-consuming to set up previously. It can also be used to remove errant clones from setups, invaluable when you’re trying to control the distribution of clones across a surface or in a volume.
New effectors such as Push Apart and ReEffector have also improved the Mograph workflow; ReEffector especially, by allowing you to layer your Effector setups, giving you finer control over your clones.
Of course, both the Voroni Fracture and the other Mograph enhancements are all in Broadcast as well as Studio, so you don’t have to go for the full version to be able to start integrate these things into your workflow.
There’s no finer example of what Studio is now capable of than the video that Man VS Machine put together for the release of R18 – it really showcases the level that Cinema has reached in terms of what you can potentially create in the full package.
This making of video goes into more detail on some of the amazing work behind Man VS Machine’s VERSUS short film.
If a 5 minute making of isn’t enough for you, then this 45 minute presentation from Fred Huergo of MvM will take you on a tour of the creative process, challenges and solutions the team came up with to showcase R18.
While we’re talking about Man VS Machine I thought it was also worth including this interesting video featuring Simon Holmedal who is a Motion Designer, Technical Director, and 3D Artist at MvM. Simon talks through the creative and workflow considerations behind several short films for Nike.
This video is from Houdini‘s community site. Houdini is a totally different 3D software package.
New Features in Cinema 4D R18
This short 2 minute video you can get a super quick overview of the new feature highlights in Cinema 4D R18. For an exhaustive list just click here.
This video comes from Maxon’s Cineversity training site, which features hundreds of free tutorials on the freemium tier, or thousands of tutorials if you’re willing to pay the $295 first year membership price. It’s $95 a year thereafter.
It’s worth mentioning though that you can get a discount on the price of the software and free access to Cineversity through Maxon’s Service Agreement.
This is a subscription payment (on top of your initial license payment) that works out cheaper than manually upgrading between versions each year, gives you access to Cineversity and provides the option to install your software on two machines, although you can’t use them at the same time.
Anyway, something worth knowing about if you’re going to be using Cinema 4D over the long haul!
Sean Frangella delivers 12 easy to follow videos on the headlines new features in Cinema 4D R18 and how to make the most of them.
If you want to take a super-deep dive into the new features included in R18 then this 50 minute presentation from Maxon’s booth at IBC 2016 will walk you through each of them in detail.
In this really interesting presentation from Jan Sladecko you can get an inside look at the creative process behind some of his best motion design based commercials. It’s pretty stunning work!