Cactus Dan tools...what now?


That is very interesting, it sounds precisely like the setup I would like to use in the future (mocap under Cinema with a simple suit). I have not yet made any tests, so I wouldn’t be able to judge the quality of C4D’s tools… but it sounds like there is an awful lot of other tools involved. I may need to have a look at the retargeting issues and program my way around it if possible. From the very setout, I see logical problems that would make mocap difficult (like interactions with a static environment). Need to watch some documentation on this.

I wonder if Cactus Dan’s tools had a more functional mocap suite built in… but with the situation as it is, it may be a long time before it becomes functional and available again anyway, so a bespoke and trimmed solution could be unavoidable.


Originally Posted by EricM:“C4D’s NLE is pretty good, but the BIGGEST letdown for mocap in C4D, is retargeting. It is totally useless as it is.
So if your mocap isn’t matching perfectly to your rig
(= very often), then you’re screwed.
Then comes the lack of FK/IK standard rig to
adjust the mocap in IK once imported
(you can do it with an FK layer, but it can be a bit tedious).”

This!! ^
I use iclone Pro which has built in retargeting templates
for MAX biped, Maya Human IK & Daz Genesis, in its 3DXchange app.
I then use Iclone’s real time avatars to easily & quickly create my character
motion and retarget it to the Daz genesis proxy rig in 3DXchange and export to BVH.
In Daz Studio I add facial animation &lipsynch, even dynamic clothing
and export to C4D Via .obj/MDD for lighting & rendering.


What is nice as that I can send new/different MDD data to the same mesh
in C4D without having to export another .obj file as long as the point count
is not changed in Daz.
I have characters, from my current movie project, in C4D that were exported
over a year ago still getting new MDD data for each new acted scene from DAZ.


Well, to Dan’s credit, his plugins came out long before C4D had anything like them. It started with basic limb IK which didn’t work well at all in C4D at the time and evolved into tools which I consider better than most of what I have to use in 3DS. Not only do the CD tools work well, but they’re sooooo forgiving and adjustable compared to the rest. Literally half of the features in 3DS don’t actually work for me. You mention the spline IK-- I remember how he figured out the methods to make it able to really twist and rotate without flipping out. 3DS Max’s spline is so bad I never use it even if really needed it. He was pretty excited about his spline solution and we had some long discussions about it while riding horses in the hills. I have some rigs where, due to reasons in Max, I can’t remove the spline stuff so I’ve permanently disabled it just to keep my sanity. In the end I suspect most of Dan’s sales were because people had given up on the built-in stuff for one reason or another.

As for the FBX exporter, you’re totally right. There’s no documentation and it took a long time and a lot of experimenting to make that work. It was his best seller and probably each sale had a frustrated story behind it. He was always working to improve that thing as people would find bugs, so it has had a lot of real-world testing.

You know, Dan was an inspiration. I knew him from the 90s and saw him learn 3D software from start to finish. He was entirely self taught. I have sitting here a pile of the math books, animation books, and programming books he used to go from a print-shop employee to a well regarded developer. I always saw that as proof that anyone could, with hard work and focus, get where they wanted to be. I know I need to learn much of the stuff in those books but its daunting and he’s not around anymore to answer questions :frowning:


^That makes me feel a little bit better knowing that Dan fought with it too.
But it also pisses me off. Because there’s absolutely no reason for MAXON to keep their file exporter plugin code a secret. They used the same public FBX SDK that any other person uses. There’s nothing they did that was a trade secret. And having it would have helped me out (and maybe Dan too) a great deal.
During the learning process I also found a bug with the MAXON .fbx importer. And since the code is not provided. I can’t fix it myself.
It’s understandable for most things to be kept a company secret. But some things like file exporters using public SDK’s should be open source.

Money and politics once again getting in the way of common sense. It’s makes my blood boil!:argh:



It is slightly ironic that a software that calls itself “CINEMA 4D” - implying that you can make works of CINEMA with it, which of course involves virtual 3D characters - is mostly used for motion graphics and product/archviz these days.

I think it was a seriously bad decision by Maxon to aim at product/archviz over CG animation and VFX proper.

They had the artist-friendly user interface, the fast workflow and the stable, reliable Win/Mac cross platform code to create a really powerful virtual cinema creation tool.

They chose to become a CADviz and Broadcast graphics tool instead.

That market, in my opinion, is where C4D will stay stuck for at least the next 5 - 6 years.

By that time, the CG filmmaking crown will likely belong to Houdini in the high budget segment, and Blender in the Indy segment.


Hi Scott,

yes Arndt’s plugin is aiming to close the gap EricM and I are mentioning. He understood the problem and the general need for a tool like this.


Buisness wise it was the best decision they ever made. That market is 20-50 times bigger and it exploded their user base. I think the success of C4D is tightly connected to the introduction of the Mograph module. But a thread like this shows there is a lot of work to do for them.


From outside it seems was a wise decision by Maxon. I would love when i’ll be old to read detailed histories of DCC applications.


Originally Posted by zeden:Buisness wise it was the best decision they ever made. That market is 20-50 times bigger and it exploded their user base. I think the success of C4D is tightly connected to the introduction of the Mograph module. But a thread like this shows there is a lot of work to do for them.

The reality, as I see it ,is this:
As long as Maxon can presumably remain a profitable
software publisher in the CAD/viz /Broadcast graphics market.
Why commit development resources to Character tools
when serious Character driven Filmmakers are using other solutions??

The same with VFX to a certain extent.

Sure I could transition to Houdini at some future time.

Right now I am running ancient version of C4D (studio R11.5)
I have MODO, and Realflow,Iclone Pro+3Dxchange
& Natural Motion Endorphin(Full license with Data export.)
Lightwave 2015 and or Blender for Smoke FX.

So as a single operator& digital filmaker, interested in Sci fi based
Character driven stories still running R11.5 , what have I missed this past decade??.

More render engine options??( prorender ,Cycles4D etc)

The world of CG has become over run with
All manner of physically based render options
accessable to most people now.

Cloth simulation on ambulating characters??
Still truly possible in Cinema4D R19

The optional $50 USD optitex plugin
for Daz is a better option for me.

At this point in history I see no reason for Maxon to try to compete
with others in those areas if they are still
selling licenses to motion Graphics Artists.


Because as shown in this thread advanced CA tools are needed by C4D users. Plain simple.


Can’t agree. They can’t stand still, they will be dead. Blender will come with “all nodes” by 2018-2020. They will sooner or later have to get something like X-Particles, something like People in Motion plugin or more advanced, hardops style modeling and fix the interaction.
Anyone knows if the core fixing they are doing is just making it multihreaded or something more deep?
I was happy to see that despite being one of later Redshift developments they could get a fast IPR in C4D (around 15m20 to 16min )
while Maya version still does not have it.


Has anyone tried this:

I’d be curious to hear people’s thoughts on it if they have. I’ve been playing with the demo version and have had fun working in it. I first heard about it on a thread at the Foundry’s forum. Granted, I’m very new to learning character animation. I didn’t get very far into trying Cinema’s character tools before feeling like I was hitting roadblocks, but that is most likely just me and my lack of experience. I’ve been working with Cinema for several years, but I just recently started diving into the character tools.

Akeytsu imports and exports FBX files. They have a test animation available in the app. I imported it into Cinema, and the animation seemed to work great. At the moment, it might not be the best option for complex rigs (I’m not the best person to evaluate that), but I’ve found it to be very intuitive and development is ongoing, so I would expect it continue to improve. It has already been in development for over two years. Also, they offer a perpetual license, not subscription. Big plus in my book. It also can directly export into Unity and Unreal.


I’ve had my eye on them for a while. Perhaps by the time I’m good enough to need it, they will have their finished their Mac version (and linux version for the power users).


Someone mentioned that they talked to the developers, and they are working on a Mac version. There may be news by the end of the year. At least, that is how I remember it. The Foundry’s forum is currently down for maintenance, so I can’t quote it exactly.


Cactus Dan’s plugins look to be active again. There are screenshots of them working in R20 in Insydium’s R20 announcement post:


I don’t know that they are active, but Insydium mentions that their upcoming bridge tool might work with other 3rd party plugins aside from XParticles and Cycles. Unless there have been some other developments I’d guess that these are the old Cactus Dan’s tools running via Insydium’s Bridge in R20.