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Cinema 4D R20: Highlighting the New Features

An outline of all the new features in Cinema 4D R20.

If you’re not yet a Cinema 4D user, you may have noticed a considerable buzz in recent weeks among your 3D-minded friends. This hype is almost certainly due to the release of Cinema4D R20, bringing with it some of the most exciting new features the 3D software has seen in years.

On top of dozens of improvements to existing tools and workflows, R20 introduces brand new ways of modeling and animating that were simply not possible before in Cinema 4D.

Cinema 4D R20 Volume Builder

While OpenVDB, the open-sourced technology on which the Volume Builder tools are based, has been around for some time, it has never before been so well integrated into Cinema4D’s existing workflows.

OpenVDB, in a nutshell, is a different way of representing 3D data. As opposed to the vertices and polygons that make up traditional 3D objects, VDBs fill the volumes of objects with tiny cubes known as Voxels. Using this pixel-like representation allows for some very exciting possibilities when it comes to building complex 3D shapes that would have been too time consuming before.

Of course, the new Volume Builder tools interact seamlessly with Cinema4D’s powerful mograph tools, splines, and particles. This will be the year of the shiny-blob Instagram everydays.

Behold the new "blobby gooey" a e s t h e t i c

Cinema 4D R20 Fields

Speaking of Mograph, R20 introduces the largest overhaul to this popular toolset since its very introduction. Fields expand the power of falloffs, which were a way of defining the region of influence for a particular effector or deformer. These were what made animating hundreds of clones such a breeze in Cinema 4D.

Fields separate these falloffs into their own animatable objects with aims to unify this functionality to make it work not only with clones, but with points, vertex maps, shaders, and of course, volumes. Such a big change to a core aspect of the program has seasoned industry pros experimenting with Cinema 4D like it’s a brand new program.

These are not your grandpa's falloffs

Cinema 4D R20 Node-Based Shaders

Maxon is a little late to the node-based shaders game, but boy did they show up with style. Cinema 4D is now packaged with dozens of useful nodes to compliment its brand new interface, allowing for the creation of complex procedural shaders that give some of the most advanced third-party renderers a serious run for their money.

Once you get a good grasp of building shaders, you can start packaging them into easy-to-use minimal interfaces to pass on to team members in a production environment . If you’re not quite ready to make the leap into node land, no worries, you can still use the a plain old Material with the various channels you know and love.

chinese_coins_shader.jpg
Users are already leveraging the procedural power of nodes to create amazing shaders

The annual release cycle brings so many new features it’d be impossible to cover them in one post so we’ll just briefly shout-out some of the smaller, but no less exciting, new stuff in Cinema4D R20

Multi-Instance: This new option for cloners is set to shatter the limit of clones users can create for their mograph-y effects. By having the option to represent clones as dots in your viewport, you can keep that FPS high while you animate, and rest easy knowing your clones will be there when you go to render.

multi_instance_r20_cinema4d.PNG
Clone more friends into your scene with ease

Improved CAD importer: Explaining the difficulties of working with the CAD files clients often supply of their products is now a thing of the past. Cinema4D now features a dialogue when importing common CAD formats that allow you to ingest those file types into a poly-friendly object with better preservation of materials.  

Alembic baking: A very small but useful quality-of-life improvement is the ability to quickly bake alembic sequences in Cinema4D. This popular format opens in loads of 3D applications and brings with it polygons, splines, particles, and vertex weights making it a great option for a production pipeline.

Ready to Start Learning?

Now is one of the best times to get serious about introducing Cinema4D into your Motion Design portfolio. Learning a new program is never easy but it can be fun with Cinema 4D Basecamp. Learn the basics of Cinema 4D in only a matter of weeks from legendary 3D artist EJ Hassenfratz.

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