One thing that artists like about Maxon’s CINEMA 4D is how well the popular 3D app integrates with Adobe’s Creative Suite. The tight knit integration with After Effects, for example, allows them to export many kinds of 3D data between the two programs. The new 3D motion tracker in After Effects CS6 does even more, opening up a whole world of possibilities by allowing you to seamlessly merge live action footage with CGI generated in CINEMA 4D.
Now, artists get another good break: Cineversity, the online stop for all things CINEMA 4D, is offering ArtSmart — a new free CINEMA 4D plug-in which dramatically enhances the app’s ability to import artwork from any Adobe Illustrator or PDF file to CINEMA 4D R13 and greater.
That’s huge for a busy artist who needs to regularly import vector artwork and typography created in Illustrator. While Cinema 4D allowed you to import before, you needed to save your Illustrator file in an older version of Illustrator. Beyond that, C4D would only recognize the vector paths, although they could then be lathed, extruded and textured to create logos or other artwork.
Why is this good news? While CINEMA 4D already includes advanced, full-featured spline tools that allow you to create vector paths (Bezier curves, B splines and cubic splines), some designers may choose to use Illustrator to design their 2D vector graphics. Illustrator, which has been around for a long time, enjoys a huge following worldwide and has a robust feature set. In addition, you might need to work with outside ad agencies, which commonly work with Illustrator.
The plug-in is powerful. Once imported into C4D, the artwork now sits in the new ArtSmart object. With this you can, for example, adjust the Z offset of each Illustrator layer and easily add extrusions and fillets. With the click of a button, the ArtSmart object will also create separate materials for each fill color in the artwork, which are automatically linked to their original shapes. Another nice feature: you can use MoGraph effectors on each layer.
Finally, the ArtSmart plug-in maintains a dynamic link to the original Illustrator file. If you later open the artwork up and modify it in Illustrator, simply reload it in CINEMA 4D and it will update in Illustrator with all of your changes.