Maxon unveils Cinema 4D R13

The following article is excerpted from Digital Arts.

Maxon has launched Cinema 4D Release 13, the next generation of its 3D motion graphics, visual effects, and animation software. The upgrade is due in September, and features new character tools, integrated stereographic capabilities, streamlined multi-artist collaboration and physical rendering.

As before, Maxon offers four versions of Cinema 4D: Prime, Visualize, Broadcast and Studio. Not all of the new features appear in every release.

Maxon says that creating photorealistic images is easier than ever with the new physical render engine. Based on real camera properties, this additional render engine accurately calculates 3D motion blur, depth of field, and lens distortion based on the focal length, aperture and shutter speed of the camera. Users can efficiently create translucent materials such as milk, skin, and wax with a new subsurface scattering shader included with both the new Physical Render and Cinema 4D’s standard render engines. Users can also now achieve higher quality anti-aliasing using the Mitchell and Gauss algorithms.

The new Shared Image Sampler is designed to save lots of render time by combining sampling for multiple effects such as motion blur, depth of field, area shadows, ambient occlusion, and blurry reflections. Sample options allow users to specify a fixed number of samples, apply an adaptive number of samples based on the geometry and shading complexity, or progressively render each frame within a given number of passes or amount of time.

Stereoscopic capabilities include stereoscopic camera conversion, which lets users convert any camera to a Parallel, On Axis, Off-Axis or Radial Stereoscopic camera. Stereo images can be previewed directly in the 3D editor using Anaglyph, Interlaced, Shutter, or Side-by-Side methods.

Stereo rendering options allow artists to render the merged stereoscopic image or separate images for each individual camera to create a true 3D experience. Users can also review animated stereo renders, adjust parallax, and export renderings as merged or individual stereoscopic files.

The new suite of character animation features are designed to simplify the process of building a rig, eliminating technical hurdles and allowing artists to quickly animate characters of all types. The new Character object includes an auto rigger, which simplifies the process of building a rig and applying it to a character. The CMotion System allows users to create their own or apply preset parametric walk cycles based on cyclic motion. Users can make characters walk along a spline and over terrain, or even manually place footsteps.

The new muscle system allows users to create custom-shaped muscles and anchor them to multiple joints within a rig. It includes a deformer for skin stretching and sliding, while the collision deformer deforms surfaces based on collisions enabling characters to intuitively interact with the environment around them.

Cinema 4D R13 also features many minor improvements, including cursor-based navigation that automatically sets the point of interest for rotation and dolly movements based on where the user clicks to begin navigation. This also ensures the speed of camera navigation is smooth and consistent, regardless of the distance to the point of interest, making it easy to pivot around any portion of a model or scene.

A sticky keys feature allows users to activate a tool only while its shortcut is pressed and immediately return to the previous tool. Attributes utilizing spline data can now be edited much more precisely with additional spline types and the ability to view splines in a larger, separate window. A location indicator provides artists with a new indicator that hints at the location of selected objects outside the current view. Surface manipulation offers flexible options with a new Infinite Axis mode that lets users start manipulation from any point and easily snap surfaces to other objects in the scene. The rotation axis can now optionally display gimbal rotation, making it easy to visualize situations in which gimbal lock will occur, and can also transform multiple objects in a selection individually rather than as a group.

Improved collaborative tools include fully embedded XRef (External Reference) commands in R13, so referenced objects can be textured, animated, and included in expressions or simulations within the master file; there's also improved C.O.F.F.E.E. and Python scripting language integration. Multi-pass files can now be stored in multiple channels within a single OpenEXR file. The popular FBX and COLLADA file formats have been updated facilitating easier asset exchange and interoperability.

Integration with After Effects has been bolstered with the introduction of stage object support, timeline marker exports, and support for 29.97fps.

Cinema 4D R13 runs on Mac OS X 10.5 or later including Lion; it also works with Windows XP, Vista, or Windows 7.

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