Every year, right around Siggraph, MAXON announces a new release to CINEMA 4D, their popular and versatile 3D modeling, animation and rendering application. This year is no exception as the company took the wraps off CINEMA 4D Release 19 (R19).
A new release of CINEMA 4D is big news amongst 3D artists and animators as the software continues to rise in popularity. C4D is a staple in the motion graphics and broadcast design industrues and, thanks to important features such as camera tracking, motion tracking, projection mapping as well as wide support by third party renderers such as Arnold, Octane and RedShift, the software continues to make strides in visual effects and feature film production.
This year, the MAXON booth at Siggraph was abuzz with activity as C4D users from far and wide came to present their techniques to large groups of conference attendees. The MAXON booth was one of the hottest spots at the show.
R19 contains numerous enhancements, as well as gives you a glimpse into foundations for new technologies that will be incorporated into CINEMA 4D in the future. Some of the most important new features include powerful enhancements to viewport performance, a new and versatile Sound Effector and useful new capabilities to Voronoi Fracturing. In addition, a new Spherical Camera has been added to R19 for those looking to render VR/360 sequences, something that is critical for those seeking to make VR Content.
C4D R19 also sees the integration of AMD’s ProRender technology, an unbiased path tracer which enables CINEMA 4D users access to real GPU rendering in addition to the Standard and Physical CPU Renderers already built in.
R19 includes a number of re-engineered foundational technologies which MAXON plans to continue developing and bring to maturity in future versions including core software modernization efforts, a new modeling core, better and more sophisticated GPU rendering and OpenGL capabilities in BodyPaint 3D, MAXON’s professional paint and texturing toolset.
Let’s have a closer look.
Improvements to the Viewport
In CINEMA 4D R19, major enhancements to the viewport, in other words to real-time preview rendering, have been made. The viewport now includes support for screen-space reflections and OpenGL depth of field. This is in addition to the screen space ambient occlusion that was added in R18.
The viewport enhancements in R19 result in an image that is much closer to the final render. In fact, you can even use it to render out preview animations to send to clients for feedback before final renders are invoked (and do so using R19’s new native MP4 support).
Enhancements to MoGraph
MoGraph is, of course, CINEMA 4D’s cloner based toolset that motion graphics artists turn to every day to easily create sophisticated motion and broadcast designs and animations. In Version 19, there is an all new Sound Effector which allows you to create sophisticated audio-reactive animations based on the frequencies contained in a audio file of, lets say, a piece of music with a wide dynamic range.
Voronoi Fracturing, or the ability to realistically break up and fracture objects into lots of pieces has also gained important new features. Now you can add natural-looking displacement to the interior of fractured pieces so they’re not so smooth on the inside. The result is a much more realistic appearance.
There are also new options to glue multiple fracture pieces together when fracturing models to create more believable looking breaks. Previously, objects would typically break into lots of little pieces, often uniformly. However that’s not always how things break in the real world. With the enhancements to Voronoi Fracturing in R19, more complex pieces can be created during a fracture, with a mix of large and small shapes.
New VR Features
VR continues to gain attention and popularity among content creators, and C4D includes some nice new VR features including a new Spherical Camera. With it, you can render stereoscopic 360 degree virtual reality videos and dome projections.
The Spherical Camera also allows artists to specify a latitude and longitude range and render in equirectangular, cubic string, cubic cross or 3×2 cubic format. The new camera can also do pole smoothing to minimize distortion when doing stereo rendering.
New and Improved Polygon Tools
Sometimes, especially when working with high resolution 3D scans, you may wish to reduce the polygons in a model. In R19, there is a new Polygon Reduction generator that lets you more effectively reduce the polygons of an object. Because it is a generator, you can reduce entire hierarchies, even if the objects are not connected. In addition, the reduction is pre-processed so you can modify the reduction strength or the desired vertex count extremely quickly without having to wait around for long calculation times.
The new Polygon Reduction also preserves vertex maps, selection tags and UV coordinates. That means that textures will correctly maintain the way they are applied to objects and vertex maps will function as they did before the reduction.
CINEMA 4D R19 also includes a new Level of Detail object, a useful tool that lets you maximize viewport render speed. It works on the simple principle that objects further away from the camera can be switched out with lower polygon representations of them. As the camera gets closer to them, they are automatically replaced by high polygon objects. That should help speed up your workflow.
AMD’s Radeon ProRender is now seamlessly integrated into R19. An unbiased path tracer based on OpenCL, ProRender allows artists to render images with this cross-platform GPU renderer. While not entirely finished, MAXON decided to include ProRender into this release in order to provide a useful glimpse into the abilities of ProRender and the future of native GPU rendering in CINEMA 4D. Future releases will provide deeper integration of ProRender into the program.
MAXON has rewritten C4D’s software core in order to increase speed and memory efiiciency for image, video and audio formats. In R19, there is native support for MP4 video without Quicktime, a format that is no longer supported for Windows. Now you can render out native MP4 clips as well as import them to use as textures or footage for motion tracking. OpenEXR and DDS export has also been improved.
BodyPaint 3D, CINEMA 4D’s fully-featured integrated real-time surface texture painting and detailing solution now uses an OpenGL painting engine which provides real time display of reflections, alpha, bump, normal and even displacement maps. There have also been improvements to UV editing.
For a full list of new features in CINEMA 4D R19, click here.
Overall, CINEMA 4D R19 is a solid upgrade to this popular 3D application with lots of new features that will help you work more efficiently while enhancing your creativity. R19 is scheduled to ship in September, 2017.