Maxon Releases Cinema 4D R20

The latest R20 version of Maxon’s Cinema 4D modeling and animation software brings out a new node-based editor and powerful CAD import features.

Just in time for SIGGRAPH 2018, Maxon announced they will be shipping the R20 release of their Cinema 4D design and animation software in September for both Mac OS and Windows. In an exclusive, one-on-one interview, Paul Babb, president and CEO Maxon the Americas, reviewed some of the ugrade's new features for VFX and 3D motion graphics artists including node-based materials, volume modeling, robust CAD import and a dramatic evolution of the MoGraph toolset.

“Perhaps the most exciting advance in this R20 release is the Fields for MoGraph (Motion Graphics) component,” he began. “MoGraph, as you know, is the parametric duplication and animation of objects throughout Cinema 4D. the new capabilities we’ve given this procedural animation toolset gives you an entirely new way to define the strength of effects by combining falloffs, from simple shapes, to objects and formulas.”

In R20, artists can layer Fields (areas of influence) with standard mixing modes and remap their effects, or group multiple Fields together and use them to control effectors, deformers and weights.

“The great thing about this is that this tool is so powerful it can be used throughout Cinema 4D to influence objects and modeling,” Babb said, “so this will probably be the feature that the majority of artists will find most important in R20.”

There is also a new CAD (Computer-Aided Design) import feature supporting drag-and-drop popular CAD formats, including STEP, Solidworks, JT, Catia V5 and IGES, directly into Cinema 4D.

“We’ve found over the years that our customers are getting models from car designers or industrial companies and they had to jump through a lot of hoops to use them in promotional materials,” Babb said. “With this new CAD import feature, those designs can be used without a lot of cleanup or conversion which makes the job of graphic artists, especially those making video commercials, a lot easier.”

Of course, creating 3D models is what we most often associate with Cinema 4D, and R20 enables the building of complex models by combining or removing basic shapes in Boolean-type operations with its OpenVDB–based Volume Builder and Mesher.

“This can include online resources that users can either purchase or get for free,” Babb told me, “and for artists working in the trenches this can save a lot of time. It’s kind of like using metaballs (organic, n-dimensional objects) but a lot more powerful. You add and subtract objects like Boolean polygons, and move them around in space as if they were metaballs.”

Then, building on a feature that came out a couple of releases ago, R20 has ProRender Enhancements that extends the GPU-rendering functionality with capabilities including sub-surface scattering, motion blur and multi-passes.

The last new feature Babb wanted to highlight for us has to do with R20’s node-based editor.

“The fact that we’ve given our customers access to a nodal interface is something our higher end customers have been asking for,” he said, “and it represents some significant changes coming long-term to this application.”

Among them are the more than 150 nodes users can chose from to perform different function to build complex shading effects. Users new to node-based workflow can still rely on Cinema 4D’s previous Material Editor, which automatically creates the corresponding node material in the background. The upgrade will ship in September 2018.

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