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View Full Version : C4d 9.5 Basic package: limitations?


DizzyJ
04-22-2006, 02:37 AM
My client is thinking of adding 3D capability to their video suite. While I'd like to push for Maya, since I'm more familiar with it than any other package, pushing a $2k solution may mean never seeing any 3D work there (where I'm a long-term contractor). If Maya Complete is out, the most likely alternative is C4D.

We won't be doing any character work, so I don't need advanced rigging tools, mo-cap, or similar tools. Therefore, my main concern is with the rendering quality of basic C4D engine. I've used the demo, so I know basic shading is easy, but I don't know how flexible it is compared to Mental Ray and Maya's shade nodes. I'd also like to know what other things I might run into that might surprise me coming from a (limited) Maya background.

Thanks

Per-Anders
04-22-2006, 03:38 AM
Well character animation is it's main weakness, but if you're not doing any of that then chances are that's not something you gotta worry too much about. However the timeline itself is very weak compared to Mayas.

The base package also doesn't include much in th way of UV editing, there's standard projections and some very basic stuff, even free plugins out there, but for anything good you need either bodypaint or to use a dedicated solution (or another app). Also it doesn't have a modeling history like maya, instead it depends on either procedural modeling or destructive editing (or a combination thereof). It also doesn't have any true NURBs surfaces, though many people seem to enjoy working with it and rhino, so i guess that's not such a big issue.

Rendering wise while the engine is very capable, fast and easy to use, I've really not had many situations where i've found that I can't do something using it's shader system, though for more complex mixing of multiple illumination models etc it can be tougher than using a dedicated texture tree system such as mayas hypergraph. It does lack some things that you'd expect to be there too, such as an IOR channel (all it has there is a single ior value, but you can't map it to a texture), and specular width channel (similar again).

I'm not sure what's included in the basic package anymore, however the inbuilt DOF and motion blur effects are very weak, so the best bet is to do that side in post. Without AR you wont have to worry about GI as that's not available without AR.

Now whilst those are the downsides it's upsides are that it's very fast simple and easy to use. lighting in C4d is imo far easier and more fun than in maya, you can buy infinite render nodes (either via the net module or later on if you upgrade to the studio bundle). It's compositing toolset is great and it's bridges to compositing and editing applications are imo second to none, it's multipass support is great and simple to use, outputting photoshop and after effects files all nicely layered up and ready to use, it's the ideal app for going together with video and editing. The modules system allows you to add in capabilities as and when you want/can afford to. Cinema itself is incredibly easy to use, and very flexible interface wise, you can make it look and behave like whatever you want, and make it work the way that best suits you. It's modeling toolset for polygon modeling far outstrips maya's, tbh it's one of the best in that regards. It's very stable. It's a fun, easy, dependable, fast app to use.

DizzyJ
04-22-2006, 03:51 AM
Thanks! That was a wonderfully thoughtful answer. It sounds like out of the box, C4D can probably do what we'll need it to do. I'd still prefer to get Maya, but I'm not sure I can make an honest arguement that it would be in my client's best interest, other than I would be productive in it immediately (and if we do get a non-Maya 3D app, I'll be spending time on their bill learning it).

Can it render out Z-depth, so I can do DoF in After Effects?

Per-Anders
04-22-2006, 03:54 AM
Of course.

AdamT
04-22-2006, 05:37 AM
Sure, Cinema has a very deep multipass capability. You can render depth passes, object passes, material passes (for each channel), environment pass, AO pass, passes for each light in your scene, a post-effect pass, etc. Cinema will also output these passes automatically, and properly layered, to most compositing apps if you so choose. New in 9.6--vector motion pass to assist with 2d moblur.

mdillender
04-22-2006, 03:01 PM
Some people really want GI but I don't believe the base has it.

metagrey
04-22-2006, 06:20 PM
I'm not sure what's included in the basic package anymore, however the inbuilt DOF and motion blur effects are very weak, so the best bet is to do that side in post.

There's DOF in the basic package? I've never been able to get it working. I must be doing something wrong then.

3DKiwi
04-22-2006, 07:40 PM
The core package doesn't have DOF. However you can still set up the camera with DOF. You then do a multi pass render with a Z depth channel. Take the image into Photoshop and use the Lens filter combined with the Z depth channel to create reasonable DOF (You'll need to blur the depth channel). The alternative is the very good Z-blur plugin. Also to confirm the core package doesn't have GI.

3DKiwi

MJV
04-22-2006, 08:41 PM
My client is thinking of adding 3D capability to their video suite. While I'd like to push for Maya, since I'm more familiar with it than any other package, pushing a $2k solution may mean never seeing any 3D work there (where I'm a long-term contractor). If Maya Complete is out, the most likely alternative is C4D.

We won't be doing any character work, so I don't need advanced rigging tools, mo-cap, or similar tools. Therefore, my main concern is with the rendering quality of basic C4D engine. I've used the demo, so I know basic shading is easy, but I don't know how flexible it is compared to Mental Ray and Maya's shade nodes. I'd also like to know what other things I might run into that might surprise me coming from a (limited) Maya background.

Thanks

Odd that nobody has mentioned that the new Mograph module would make an excellent addition too since this is for an editing suite.

GruvDOne
04-22-2006, 08:46 PM
Odd that nobody has mentioned that the new Mograph module would make an excellent addition too since this is for an editing suite.


Well, likely only because price is a concern... It was eluded to in an earlier post that part of the benefit of Cinema's architecture lay in the ability to add new modules as demand and budget allow.

Or, maybe we just didn't want to encourage more competition ;) lol

sketchbook
04-22-2006, 09:19 PM
for what it's worth i still have a copy of studio 9 that i am trying to sell for windows. you could buy that and upgrade it to 9.5 with licence transfer all for under 2k. :)

metagrey
04-23-2006, 04:50 AM
The core package doesn't have DOF. However you can still set up the camera with DOF. You then do a multi pass render with a Z depth channel. Take the image into Photoshop and use the Lens filter combined with the Z depth channel to create reasonable DOF (You'll need to blur the depth channel). The alternative is the very good Z-blur plugin. Also to confirm the core package doesn't have GI.

3DKiwi


thanks for clearing that up...i thought i was going insane trying to render with DOF in core...i'm not sure that the manual is clear enough in this regard.

DizzyJ
04-23-2006, 05:48 PM
for what it's worth i still have a copy of studio 9 that i am trying to sell for windows. you could buy that and upgrade it to 9.5 with licence transfer all for under 2k. :)

We're a Mac shop--the editing sweet will be FCP and AE-focused, so all of our 3D solutions will have to be Mac. Not that I mind :p

*****

Actually, my one concern at this point is that the price for our usage could sneak up to nearly the price of Maya Complete, at which point Maya is a better package (due to my knowledge--I'm not making any claims that Maya is better). I inquired with Maxon (very quick response--which promises great customer service) about an upgrade path and they offered a nice discount off list. But throw in XL + MoGraph and the cost is more than Maya Complete. Modular pricing seems to be a two-edged sword, in that you can get in the door more cheaply, but if you don't get a package, you end up paying more in the end (a bit like buying on credit).

From what I've read here and on Maxon's website, it seems like if we started with C4D basic and expanded, we'd be looking for BodyPaint and Dynamics, although Mograph does look sweet.

MJV
04-23-2006, 06:40 PM
Don't bother with Dynamics. It's very much past its prime. Mograph would be much more useful to you. Trust me.

Per-Anders
04-23-2006, 08:23 PM
You can convert from PC to mac, contact maxon about this, as I recall the cost was under $100 to have the license changed from PC to Mac or Mac to PC.

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