Book Review - CINEMA 4D: The Artist's Project Sourcebook

December 11, 2011 12:31 pm

Tags: 3D, Adobe, After Effects, Book Review, CINEMA 4D, Focal Press, MAXON

file_475870.jpgAn Effective, Tutorial-Based Book for Learning the Essentials of CINEMA 4D

The Artist's Project Sourcebook
, Third Edition

By Kent McQuilkin, Anne Powers

So, perhaps you've just taken the jump into the world of 3D with CINEMA 4D, or, perhaps you are crossing over to it from another 3D package. Of course, you want to get up to speed quickly with the tools that lay before you and create something fantastic. While I've heard it said many times that CINEMA 4D is one of the easiest 3D programs to learn, and I myself can attest to the excellent help system it includes, it certainly is great to have a companion book to dive right into learning all that C4D is capable of. And that is why the excellent CINEMA 4D: The Artist's Project Sourcebook is a great book to have on hand.

Written for C4D Release 12, the book is in tutorial format with the aim of learning all areas of C4D quickly, and with confidence. There are plenty of full-color images throughout to guide you along, and the print itself is actually quite large, which is nice for a book like this, making it easier to follow along with it open on your desktop as you work through it. And, you are immediately creating scenes from the get-go...seeing instant results.

Here is the chapter list from CINEMA 4D: The Artist's Project Sourcebook, so you can see at a glance what is covered and how the book is organized:

  • Chapter 1: The Power of Primitives
  • Chapter 2: Under the Hood
  • Chapter 3: NURBS Modeling Tools
  • Chapter 4: Deformers and Other Modeling Helpers
  • Chapter 5: Materials in Depth
  • Chapter 6: Better Under Lights
  • Chapter 7: Animation Basics
  • Chapter 8: Head Shots
  • Chapter 9: Rigging a Character
  • Chapter 10: Cameras in Control
  • Chapter 11: The Art of Rendering
  • Chapter 12: A Jolt of Xpresso
  • Chapter 13: BodyPaint: the Artist's Connection
  • Chapter 14: Tips on Type
  • Chapter 15: More Out of MoGraph
  • Chapter 16: After Effects Integration
  • Chapter17: Dynamics and Special Effects
  • Chapter 18: StereoScopic Content Creation in C4D
  • Chapter19: CINEMA 4D and Friends

The book explains well all the modeling methods, and I loved the materials chapter, which is wonderful and also very detailed. And, as the author himself is an experienced instructor, the concepts are taught progressively.

I also really liked how the book covers integrating C4D with Adobe's After Effects (within the book and on the included DVD). The book also covers C4D in play with other programs, like Vue xStream (Realflow and ZBrush are covered on the DVD). Stereoscopic 3D is also touched on, including how to make a 3D camera rig with Xpresso (a pair of 3D glasses are included with the book, which is a nice touch).

Another thing that I found cool was a couple of inserted sections showing CINEMA 4D in production. These are basically interviews with folks working in the industry, as well as examples of their real-world work. The only thing I didn't like about these inserts was the font color used for the interview questions (a bit hard to read blue on black). But, I want to make it clear that this is only a minor gripe, as the interview answers are great and give a nice peek into real-world C4D work.

The companion DVD that I mentioned, not only gives you the resources and project files to follow along with, but adds a lot kidding. On the DVD, you will find over 150 pages of additional tutorials that go into more advanced skills, as well as a couple of hours worth of video instruction. There is an excellent C4D Basics chapter, more on Mograph and more on integration with After Effects, as well as integration with RealFlow and ZBrush. There is even a great PDF chapter on an architectural rendering project included on the DVD.

The book is very well written and the content is well paced, so you are up and running quickly, as intended. Between the book and the DVD, there is tons to learn from, but you never feel overwhelmed. As I stated previously, the help system within CINEMA 4D is excellent itself, but this book makes it easier to get into the heart of C4D quickly, without getting into the technical stuff. That you can do later. If you are new to CINEMA 4D and you really want to get into learning and mastering the concepts of it, then this is the book you should look for first. I highly recommend it.

This book lists at $54.95 (USD), but you can find it cheaper through Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

My sincere thanks to Focal Press for providing a review copy of CINEMA 4D: The Artist's Project Sourcebook, Third Edition. The quality and selection of books at Focal Press is outstanding and I encourage anyone to check out their website for more info on this and other titles.

About the Author

Kent McQuilkin is an award-winning animation producer, college instructor, 3D design trainer and consultant for broadcast studios. Kent has been a user of CINEMA 4D for over a decade and has used it to produce films, television spots, product labels, product previsualizations as well as theme park and family attraction visualizations. Be sure to visit his website:

Be sure to also check out other book reviews right here on Renderosity:

Nick C. Sorbin is a digital artist, sculptor, writer, and Managing Editor for Renderosity's CG Industry News.
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