As is readily apparent from some of my past writings and reviews, CINEMA 4D is a very sophisticated, deep and multifaceted 3D animation and design package with such features as high-end subdivision modeling, advanced rendering, dynamics, and animation capabilities.
But that’s only the beginning. Let’s not forget the endless creative possibilities of MoGraph and state of the art character tools. I haven’t even mentioned hair, particles, 3D painting, and UV mapping options. And there’s more. Much more.
With one program offering so many capabilities, an important question becomes: how does one effectively learn, let alone master, all of the facets of an app as deep as CINEMA 4D? True, it does come with reference documentation accessible through the help menu. This is, in fact, done well. But, similar to many other large packages, the standard help menu doesn’t go deep enough in addressing the intricacies of the program or discussing higher level approaches like best practices.
That’s why Maxon created Cineversity. This online repository of video tutorials will take you through all aspects of the program. New users and aspiring gurus can dip into Cineversity’s vast warehouse of knowledge to learn new things, brush up on what they already know or venture into areas that they don’t.
The news here is that Cineversity has recently undergone a major redesign that makes this “University of CINEMA 4D” much more of a treat to dive into.
Users can access tutorials either as free users or as Premium members (which requires a paid subscription). Many of the free video tutorials will help newcomers get started and introduce them to important concepts. However, if you want to go deep, many of those lessons are only available to Premium users.
Another handy feature for Premium users is the ability to make your own playlists, placing the videos in whatever order you like. You might make a playlist about rigging, for example. Watch it whenever you like, and pick up where you last left off since Cineversity keeps track of which videos you’ve already seen and those you haven’t got to in the playlist. Want to brush up on the subject later? Simply resurrect the playlist and watch it again, since it is saved with your account.
However, one of the coolest things about the new playlists is that you can share them with others or even search other people’s playlists. This brings curation into your learning, which is a good way to discover more about a certain subject and find things you may have missed. For those who want a more regular learning experience, Cineversity also pre-curates “official” playlists.
Want to follow along? A number of tutorials offer associated lesson files, and you can download them right from the Cineversity site.
If you’re a teacher at a school that offers CINEMA 4D, you might like to set up a “teacher account.” This can allow you to add some structure to the lessons via custom playlists that students access via coupons made available to you. You could then monitor which tutorials your students watch, and make sure they view all the videos in the assigned playlist.
The Cineversity website also offers Cineversity Live, Maxon’s bi-weekly webcast with tips and other info about Cinema 4D. The updated site also features a Wiki knowledge base where premium members can contribute to and share information relevant to CINEMA 4D users and digital artists in general.
Wikis and curated playlists are just some of the up-to-date approaches to know-how on the site. Paul Babb, president and CEO of Maxon, U.S., expressed enthusiasm about the changes, and noted in a prepared statement that the site’s approach will increase “the artist’s proficiency and productivity.”
While CINEMA 4D’s user interface is very intuitive, any one working professionally in the industry knows that regular learning needs to be part of your schedule if you hope to stay current to today’s dizzying pace of tech changes.
Of course knowing a few more tweaks or a better way of working than the next guy can be a critical asset, giving you a competitive edge.
So what’s it cost? Premium membership starts with a one-time fee of $295; you can renew annually for another $95. Not bad if you compare it to the cost of courses at specialized institutes or universities, and a pretty good deal if you want to grow your career.
Cineversity is located at www.cineversity.com