Cinema 4D R14 – feature overview

Cinema 4D R14 |Coming soon

 

It’s that time of year and I can now share what I’ve been up to recently. I’ve had some time playing with R14 and am happy to say it is by far my favourite release in some time. Focus this time is all about modelling and speeding up workflow. Some nice additions to the document modes help here, as do a suite of new tools.

Over the coming weeks I will be going into a lot of depth and showing how these tools work in real life situations but for now here is my selection of handpicked favourites.

 

What’s new?

 

So many new features have been added to C4D that I wont be able to cover them all here but here is an overview of what I think are the main ones.

 

  1. Sculpting.

This is a big addition and one that brings many more capabilities to users, reducing the amount of app switching needed for a project.

It works in a similar fashion to sculpting in other apps. You start off with a basic polygonal mesh and then subdivide that mesh until you have a level of polygon density that allows you to add the detail required.

You then use a set of brushes to manipulate the geomtetry by pushing, pulling, or smoothing the mesh.

Here’s a look at a more obvious result than a cube being smoothed. Expect more soon from this dude, as some of the character tools have had a good tweaking too.

This all happens in a very organic way and C4D has implemented the tools really nicely. The sculpting happens inside a tag, so you can easily add or remove it. It also lets you easily hop between levels of subdivision and work at those levels, for either broad overall shaping or fine detailing.

You can bake the resulting details into maps, which means you can add details, bake them out and re-apply them in the texture, via displacement maps. A much more efficient way of using them at render time.

The tools aren’t limited to what I have suggested. There are many others, including wax for building up digital clay. There are symmetry modes on all 3 axis which let you work on one area of a model and mirror your sculpts. Great for faces!

2. Motion Camera

 

This will be a big tool for motionographers, as it really helps get realistic feeling camera moves nailed in the minimum time and with little effort. You can concentrate purely on the scene.

If you have ever used the CStools cameras then you will be instantly at home with this tag. You can get great results in no time, using splines as guides, focus lock on a target object, add drift and jog, to replicate the steadycam or handheld look or smooth things off with rails, to get really nice helicam and follow shots.

 

The tools are simple but you can delve into detail, even defining the height of the digital camera man (which you get to see as a stick figure if you choose)

3. General interface overhaul.

 

The main GUI has had some work done, to make life easier and working quicker. The first and most obvious change is the object highlighting. When you are selecting an object it now highlights, with a sublt white overlay. If you select it you will get an orange line around the silhouette. At first this feels a bit over the top but it soon becomes very useful and when I go back to previous versions I miss it.

I found that it worked best when I went into the viewport options and reduced the thickness of the line a little. This will depend on the monitor and resolution you work at, so try it out and adjust over a few days, as it does take some getting used to but is well worth it.

Check out the focus target video below to see this in action.

 

Next up are construction planes. You can now adjust the construction plane, roating it to fit your needs. I imagine most people will probably overlook this feature but it can be very useful. Other apps have made a big deal about construction/work planes for a while and I’m glad to see them here.

In basic terms they let you rotate the floor plane or XZ plane of your scene, so that when you build a model you can build it at an angle but the tools will all work relative to the project. This is useful for modellers building an object on the slanted surface of another.

You also get the option to change which workplane you use. You can use the standard axis mode we are all used to or you can choose from a couple of others. There is a neat planar mode, which gives you a grid on each axis. Great if you like to work with snapping on and like modelling in perspective view. If you want to snap to a plane which is always facing the camera you can do that too, with the camera mode.

 

  1. Viewport transitionsThis feels like a a little fun indulgance at first but is in reality a very cool little feature. What it does it to smoothly move the view from one camera to the next when you change which you are looking through. If you have various cameras in a scene it can sometimes be easy to lose your place and this new feature really helps to get a sense of where everything is. So much so that I had to record this little video of it.

 

  1. Focus Picker

 

This is another small tool with a big impact. Rather than going into a top or side view and adjusting the focal distance by clicking and dragging the orange points (with the camera selected) there is now a better way.

You can do this from your camera view which is a nice touch. All you do is select the camera, in the object manager and in the attributes choose the arrow/pick icon and you will find your viewport cursor is now a crosshair. All you have to do is play sniper and click on the object you want to set as your target focus. Done!

 

Here is a little video of it in action.

 

6. Shaders

There are updates to some shaders to make them more effective or efficient, including the mograph multi share, the brick shader and the wood shader.

Then there are some new shaders.

First up is the normalizer. This is a fantastic little shader and takes another shader or a bitmap and makes a normal map out of it. Normal maps are far more realistic than bump maps, so this ability should be taken advantage of at every opportunity.

Next up is the Weathering shader, which is a great tool for adding grunge to your materials. I wont go into detail here, as I see this being a particularly useful addition, so will do a detailed video on it soon.

 

Alembic. I’m not saying much here now but this is a buggy and deserves a post all on it’s own. Look out soon!

That is all for this post, which covers the big changes but there are many many cool new features to follow and I will be posting videos showing them over the next few weeks.

By the time it’s available to the public you should have a good understanding of how it all works and what to expect.

 

Rob

 

3 Comments

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  1. Awesome!
    Waiting for the full R14 review :)

  2. ralf

    Hey Robert are you FEELING any changes on the speed of the viewport or renderings?

  3. We will get a full review out soon I am sure.

    As for the viewport I find it very responsive. Viewport rendering is something I do now and then but I tend to pick a specific area, rather than the whole viewport. Saying that it is fast and it is easy to adjust for speed vs accuracy.

    Cheers

    Rob

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