Forum Moderators: cartesiusCinema 4D F.A.Q. (last updated 2007-07-13 18:44:56)
Q: What are these FAQs about?
A: These FAQs are about Cinema 4D XL by Maxon and although there are several incarnations of Cinema 4D being used today we will mainly aim these FAQs towards Cinema 4D XL 8.2 and 8.5. There are several reasons for this but space is probably the major one � it would take up too much space to cover the same questions for XL 6, XL 7 and XL 8. If you are using an earlier package and can't find the solution here (many solutions are applicable even in earlier versions), feel free to post your question in the forum and we will all try to help you out!
We also have a page called Tips & Tricks that might answer your question, so don't forget to check that one as well!
Q: What is Cinema 4D?A:Cinema 4D is an advanced application for 3D modeling and animation. It's is based around a core application with various modules to expand its functionality. For more information visit http://www.maxon.net.
Q: Which one is better, Cinema 4D or�?A: This question is difficult to answer. One of Cinema 4D's main advantage is its fast hybrid rendering engine, producing sharp results for both still images and animations. Cinema 4D generates very precise renders and flicker free animations, this not the case of many 3D rendering engines. Cinema 4D has also a very user friendly interface that is quite easy to grasp. Another advantage of Cinema 4D is its stability: visit all the Cinema 4D forums, it will be quite difficult to find bug/crash reports (even on first releases). In today's software industry, this is something that deserves to be praised!
Q: Is Cinema 4D easy to learn/use?A: From our experience at Renderosity, Cinema 4D seems to be the easiest full-featured 3D application available. Some members here could make stunning renders just after a few month of use. But don't be fooled, 3D modelling is still one of the most difficult graphic discipline. Without months of practice, you'll probably never reach satisfactory results. If you plan to use Cinema 4D only for its rendering engine, then you'll be ready to work in just a few days.
Q: What are the hardware recommendations for Cinema 4D?A: Cinema 4D runs similarly on the PC and MAC platform. Use the platform you're familiar with. Note that rendering is directly dependent of clock speed. A 2 GHz processor renders 2x faster than a 1 GHz. So get the fastest processor you can. As Cinema 4D uses a very fast hybrid ray-tracing engine, rendering animations on a single workstation is possible. However for very complex and long animations involving advanced features, a small rendering farm will be necessary.
Q: Can I get Cinema 4D cheaper?A: Keep an eye on http://www.maxon.net, special offers pop-up once in a while. 3D Magazines also offer free version (usually an older and/or limited version of Cinema 4D) with special deals to upgrade to the latest one. You could also hunt for a second hand version (beware of illegal copies, though). If you are a student you might be eligible for a student license which is very affordable. You will usually get the core module plus some other modules, no printed manuals and you are not allowed to use the application for commercial purposes, it�s for educational use only. Check with your local Maxon distributor what your options are for a student license.
Q: Which softwares work nicely with Cinema 4D?A: Cinema 4D supports a wide range of image/movie formats. You can use it with most 2D/Video/Composting softwares (Adobe Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, Gimp, Final Cut, Vegas, Media Studio, Adobe Premiere, Adobe After Effects, Combustion, Commotion, etc�). Adobe's Photoshop, After Effects and Illustrator are the favorite ones, as Cinema 4D can render multi-layers PSD files, After Effects project files, and recognize the AI vector format (up to Illustrator 8).
Q: I'm confused by Cinema 4D's editor views, display mode and cameras. How can I find a way to make navigation easier?A: The first thing you should do is to create a "display" icon palette, with:
Q: There is flickering on my animation. Why?A: Flickering is caused by too contrasted textures and/or aliasing. If one pixels change from dark to very bright from one frame to the other, or if one objects has jagged edges, flickering will appear. There's an easy way to fix this:
Q: My materials are not sharp enough. Why?A: Cinema 4D uses by standard a very soft texture sampling: MIP. For still images try "none", "square" or "alias 1-2". It will produce sharper images. For animations always use MIP or SAT, otherwise the textures will flicker.
Q: My radiosity renders are grainy and blotchy. How can I get rid of this?A: Radiosity is sometimes "weird science"! Don't think that increasing the amount of stochastic samples and the Min/Max Resolution will automatically generate better results. It's not the case. Each scene requires different radiosity settings (rendering, material, compositing tag). We can only recommend you to make tests. Michael Vance wrote an excellent tutorial about radiosity. Read it here : http://www.mvpny.com/RadTutMV/RadiosityTut1MV.html
Q: How do I apply textures only on a part of my object?A: To apply a texture to only a part of your object, like one side of a cube, you have to use selections. Selections are used to freeze polygons, edges or points so you can later reselect them. They are very useful when modeling and texturing your object. To put colour on one side of a cube only, start by selecting the polygons where you want the texture to go. Put a tag on this selection by going to Selection > Set Selection. A red triangle will appear in the Objects Manager and this is the icon for a polygon Selection Tag. Make sure that this tag is selected and then rename it to something useful. In Cinema 4D 8.x you do this in the Attributes Manager, in version 7.x by double-clicking on the triangle. Now drag your material on to the object and you�ll notice that it covers the whole object. To restrict the texture to the selection you just created, click on the texture tag (XL 7 � double-click on it) and in the field "Selection" on the Tag-tab in the Attributes Manager type the name of your selection tag. That�s it!
Q: How can I make objects appear or disappear?A: Assign a display tag to the object and animate the visibility parameter (in %).
Q: How do I render my objects against a clean white background but retain the shadows cast by them?A: Set up your scene as you want it and make sure that those lights that are supposed to cast shadows have shadows enabled. Then give your Floor object a white material and a Compositing tag (Objects Manager: File > New Tag). The Compositing tag is what will do the trick. Just check "Compositing Background" and make sure that "Receive Shadows" is checked as well. This will render your scene with a completely white floor that still receives shadows from your objects. If you don't want any shadows simply uncheck "Receive Shadows" � this will still shade your objects but the floor will not receive any shadows.
Q: How do I put some text on my object without it covering the underlying texture, or How do I use the alpha channel?A: Let's say you need the word "STAMP" written on an object. You also want the letters to look like they've been stamped on and not like a pasted label so you need to use the Alpha channel to isolate the letters. There are several ways to do this depending on how the text should look. For this example we'll assume that you need the text to be a basic red so all you have to do is create the actual alpha map. Do this in a 2D application like Photoshop, Graphic Converter or Paint Shop Pro. Make it size wise large as you see fit (depending on how much detail you need for your render). Write your text with white colour against a black background, then save it as TIFF, JPEG or PSD. Now create a new material in Cinema. Give the Colour channel the desired colour, in this case red, and then activate the Alpha channel. Load the image you just created and you have your isolated textures. Cinema will interpret the black in the image as transparent, white as opaque and the colour range between these two will be semi-transparent. Think of it as blocking out or masking certain parts of the texture.
Q: How to make renders ready for print?A: Other than the RGB-CMYK color conversion, there is nothing special to know about printed media. Use 300 dpi for image that will be published in magazine or on A4 page, switch to 150 dpi (or even 100 dpi) for big posters. Note that the anti-aliasing doesn't have to be as precise as for screen/monitor images. A dot of ink is never as sharp as a pixel. At 300 DPI, 2x2 pixels area are blended together. If the paper (or the printer) is not of a high quality, then the blurred area can go up to 4x4 pixels. Therefore, using high anti-aliasing settings would be a loss of time. The tiny little errors on your render won't be noticeable on the printed media. A more important problem should concern you: color banding.
Q: Any recommendation for rendering animations?A: Before rendering your animation, be sure to know exactly for which medium it will be used, this will give you indications about the resolution, frame per seconds and aspect ratio. You should also know which compositing/editing software will be used and what exactly you plan to do. Do you need the alpha channel? or the depth channel? A multipass render? Which format does your compositing/editing application recognize? Once everything is clear you're ready to render. Always chose a lossless format for your renderings: Tiff or TGA images sequence, "QuickTime Movie Big" or "AVI Movie Big". The generated file will be quite big ( Approx. 2 Gigabytes for 1 minute of animation in NTSC or PAL format). An easy way to reduce it for back-ups is to zip the whole movie (or the folder with all the separate frames). This while usually cut the file size in half.
Q: How can I reduce rendering time?A: Until we'll have high quality real time 3D rendering engine, rendering time will always be too long. So, understand how to use Cinema 4D's rendering engine efficiently - especially if you are rendering animations. Long rendering time are tolerable for still image, but for animations sparing a few minutes can make a huge difference (3 minutes on 1000 frames = 50 hours).
Q: How can I put my Cinema4D animation on DVD or VCD? Any software I should get?A: Take a trip to http://www.dvdhelp.com. The ultimate resource to make DVDs. On this website you'll find information, tutorials, links to editors, encoders, converters and authorwares (free or commercial).
Q: In BodyPaint 3D, how do I export a UV template of my mesh to be used in Photoshop?A: In BodyPaint 3D start by selecting all polygons that you want outlined by using the Live Selection Tool. Then switch to the Brush Tool and change the brush size in the Active Tool Manager to 1 pixel (leave all other fields at their default values). Then click on Colors and change the color to either black or white (this is not absolutely vital since you can always change the color of the grid in Photoshop). Now switch back to polygon mode (Use UV Polygon Edit Tool). All your polygons should still be selected so go to the top menu and click on Layer > Outline Polygons, and your selection should be outlined with a 1 pixel sized brush stroke in either black and white. I suggest doing the outlining on a new layer so you can hide it in Photoshop if needed. Finally, select File > Save Texture as� and I recommend you to save it as a *.PSD since this will keep all layers you�ve created so far. Now you can open it with Photoshop and you should have a nice outlined grid of your mesh!
Q: How can I import a Poser model in Cinema 4D?
A: Use the Obj exchange format or an import plugin (go to the plugin database to find them). Currently there is no easy way to import animated Poser character.
As a general advice we don't recommend to use Poser models in Cinema 4D. These "polygons" models are very difficult to texturize, to bone and animate. It's more convenient to use low polygon characters smoothed out by a HyperNURBS cage. HyperNURBS object are less prone to ugly mesh distortion, work better with Soft IK and are rendered faster. If you really need ready-made characters, search for low polygon models ("subdivision surface" Lw2 objects work nicely in Cinema 4D).
Q: How do I write bold/italic/underlined text in the forum? How do I link to an image?
A: Read this thread: How to use physical style tags when posting in the forum.
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