Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015 Posted by Jim Thacker

Maxon ships Cinema 4D R17

Originally posted on 5 August 2015. Scroll down for details of the commercial release.

Maxon has announced Cinema 4D R17, the latest update to its 3D modelling, rendering and animation software. The new release will be previewed at Siggraph 2015 next week, and is due to ship in September.

New features include an interesting new ‘Take System’ for generating variants of scenes, plus improvements to the existing modelling, sculpting and motion tracking tools, and integration with Houdini Engine.

The Take System: versioning plus render layers in one
Top of the feature list for Cinema 4D R17 is the Take System, shown in the video above: a hard-to-classify toolset that combines the functionality of both traditional render layer and versioning systems.

Users can create different Takes for a scene – which can represent anything from materials or lighting changes to alternate animations – each with its own unique render settings, and save them in a single scene file.

All of the Takes can the be rendered simultaneously, with Cinema 4D automatically handling file naming. The system works with the render queue and Team Render network rendering.

Maxon says that the system is designed to minimise disk space and file-management issues during look dev.

Updates to motion tracking
The motion tracking toolset introduced in Cinema 4D R16 has been extended with a new Graph View for troubleshooting shots, including a range of filters for semi-automatically removing bad tracks.

There is also a new system for correcting lens distortion by manually tracing curves in video frames that represent straight lines in reality and auto-solving. The resulting lens profile can be saved as a preset.

New sculpting and spline modelling tools
The sculpting tools introduced in Cinema 4D R14 continue to be updated, with a range of workflow improvements and updates to individual tools, shown in the video above.

Highlights include a new Sculpt to Pose option for creating morph targets from sculpt layers, and an Edge Detect option that prevents sculpt strokes distorting the edges of hard-surface models.

In addition, the Spline Tools have been “completely reworked”, including a number of ways to fine-tune spline shapes, or re-work existing splines, plus the option to use Boolean operators to combine splines.

The changes are easier to see in action than describe, so check out Maxon’s demo video for more detail.

Other features
Other new features include a more customisable Material Override (above), aimed at generating clay renders; plus new Variation and Formula shaders, the latter for generating patterns using mathematical expressions.

The animation toolset also gets a few updates, including a new Euler Filter option for fixing rotation errors in mocap data and new tangent modes for adjusting animation curves.

And if you’re doing interior modelling work, there is now a built-in procedural Bookshelf Generator.

Pipeline integration
The Cinema 4D plugin for Houdini Engine announced earlier this year also gets an official release. The plugin enables artists to import assets created into Houdini into C4D and manipulate them like native objects.

R17 also imports SKP files directly, avoiding the need to export SketchUp models in intermediate formats.

Updated 6 August: Reactions to R17 among the Cinema 4D user community have been mixed. Beta tester Nigel ‘3DKiwi’ Doyle has an interesting analysis of the new features over on the C4D Cafe forum.

Updated 2 September: Cinema 4D R17 is now shipping for Windows 7+ and Mac OS X 10.8.5+. Pricing ranges from $995 for the base Prime edition to $3,695 for the Studio edition. See a comparison table.

Read more about the new features in Cinema 4D R17 on Maxon’s website

Watch videos of the new features on Maxon’s YouTube channel