Learn Cinema 4D after blender?


Hi guys. I’m a 3D artist and I usually do architectural rendering, but I like to do creative work in freelance, and tackle just about anything. Like many 3D artists, I started with Maya (never again), and after 2 years of Maya, I wanted to try out other softwares and moved onto blender. I’ve been using blender for about a year and a half and I absolutely love it. C4D, from what I see online, has a really nice community producing great looking renders, and that definitely gets me wondering what C4D is like at high level. I wonder if there is any worth for me to learn it at this point?

What attracts me to C4D, from what I’ve seen is:

  • Faster rendering than Cycles (blenders internal render engine)
  • More access to other render Engines
  • More parameters to control lights (compared to blender)
  • Established as a common tool for studios
  • Better physics (especially soft-body dynamics)
  • Mature software with masterclass’s

So there are some nice gains to be had I think, however I have my concerns:

  • I love blender and do not feel constrained by it in anyway.
  • C4D often requires many expensive plugins to get get more functionality in some areas
  • Trial versions of C4D seem to expire pretty fast, and there is no “apprentice version” like Houdini has.
  • I’ve heard some C4D users say they don’t like the “direction” C4D is taking.
  • I’ve head the way C4D deals with some things are not easily translated into other engines, aka. that some parts of the workflow are only meaningful within C4D.
  • Learning C4D after blender might be a BIT samey-samey.

“Direction” is a very important factor me in 3D software. I don’t support autodesk very much these days because I don’t like where the company is going and what they are doing with their products, mainly Maya and 3ds max. I like blender, having started learning it on the cusp of 2.8, and a lot of wonderful things coming in the future. Blender intends to go fully nodal, not entirely different from houdini. It already has ground work in it that you can use right now called “animation nodes”, which give blender great mograph capability. At first, I was skeptical they could achieve a fully procedural workflow, but the more I learn about blender and, most importantly, the people who work for it, I’m certain they can, if not slowly. This combined with many other wonderful plans for blender makes me support it, and really enjoy my stay in the blender community.

So what can be said about C4D’s future? I don’t know, I’m not a user, that’s why I’ve come here, and I hope to have a frank discussion over what it is that people love about C4D so I can learn more about it. Talk about about what makes C4D great and compare it over blender if you know anything about it. The more info the better!

Also as a side note, I have tried Houdini and have a decent grasp on it. It’s much the whole package but I think for my line of work, as I don’t really aim at very large studios, it might be a bit overkill for me.

I wonder if there is any worth for me to learn C4D at this point?


To be honest, if youre in a good place with blender and enjoying it, stick with it. The only reason I would say you should switch is for jobs. You’ll find virtually nobody asking for blender artist. If youre working in isolation then thats fine, but if you need to slot into someone else’s production then you will need something else.

As for plugins, obviously it depends on what you do and need, many c4d users get by with no plugins at all. Render engines are always a popular one and xparticles is likely the most significant choice for motion graphics people.


Yep also Cinema 4D is expensive if you want all options for example Sculpting only exists in Studio -which in my opinion is a very big Maxon mistake - but the answer can only be done by you and what you do want to do. if you want a very comfortable application with strongest mograph, many render options and more employment chances then go for Cinema .

For me the R20 was very good release and i think they seem to be in a better direction now. R21 will appear in late August/begin of September so there will be one more data point.


To correct slightly Bullit2´s info, Sculpting is also in Bodypaint version. Basically it´s a Prime version with Sculpting addition and costs only 100 euro more than Prime…


Thanks, did not remembered, i usually don’t see that version being sold.


That’s good to know, I might wait until then, and look at the previous updates, then the R21 update. Might be able to make some good judgement based off that.


As long as you don’t have a special need for C4D (due to special functionality and customer requirements) you may want to watch the (free) C4D videos from FMX, IBC, NAB, and Siggraph. There are dozens of hours of these videos, they are free, and they show many advanced techniques and tricks that often tell more about the program’s capabilities than single-topic tutorials.

Also, they come from practicians who work with real projects.

Who knows, you may still find the killer feature you have always needed but didn’t know you wanted.


Thanks, I’ll definitely have a look
At those!


The new version of C4D is usally announced at Siggraph during the summer (this year it’s july 28th) for a release in September, so you’ll see pretty soon what’s in store.

Quite a lot has happened lately for Maxon (Redshift takover, new management…) and C4D itself is in a state of transition: there has been a slow core rewrite under the hood for a number of years, which has held back the implementation of new features and drove a few people away (to Modo, Houdini, etc).

Now that it seems mostly done, each new iteration starts bringing interesting functionalities again (volumes, fields, more multithreading, new nodes etc…)

But as a consequence, it’s also in a strange position where it’s having to make legacy features and new ones live together in parallel, which to be honest can be quite confusing at times (namely the multiple render engines and material systems at hand: legacy/relfectance/PBR, Uber/full nodal…), and is detrimental to the legendary ease of use of the package.

Hopefully, things will be consolidated in the upcoming versions.

At last in some domains, native C4D tools are no match for specialist solutions like Substance painter, X-particles etc… But the C4D plugin scene is very active and because it has now a sizeable userbase, many vendors port their solutions to the platform.


I don’t think that you need to learn Cinema 4D if you are a Blender specialist. I found some useful tips reading eduzaurus review at www.paidpaper.net so maybe you will find it useful too. Blender is a great and powerful tool so think twice before spending time on learning another program.


At the risk of this sounding like a paid advertisement - I don’t work for a large studio, and I transitioned from C4D to Houdini about a year back, after being an ardent fan of C4D for over 10 years, and don’t see myself going back to C4D any time soon.

The first few months of learning were (very) rough, but in terms of ability and speed, Houdini runs circles around C4D in pretty much every department (except, of course, accessibility). What prompted me to try Houdini was trying to design a ceiling feature, and it was a painful, slow process in C4D. The calculations took ages, and required it breaking the procedural chain in several parts. Any design changes required the tedious process of revisiting the whole chain to semi-manually rebuild it. Flattening out the geometry was also resulting in massive, bloated scene files, that were slow to save.

I was able to replicate the same setup in Houdini with significantly more complexity and control, and keep the entire thing procedural, allowing for instant iterations to the design, and the scene file was under 2 MB.

In terms of direction, SideFX is absolutely crushing it right now. Fully-functional Apprentice version to get your feet wet with. The Indie version is available for peanuts, and its feature set is nearly on par with the FX version. Every update they’ve put for the last few releases have been absolutely massive.

They put out daily builds that aggressively target bugs. There is an official channel to submit bugs and feature requests, and a support rep will contact you about pretty much each one. There’s the SideFX Labs initiative, which is pumping out useful tools at a rapid clip, in between releases.

They have several masterclasses put out by senior devs themselves that provide detailed, workflow-oriented information. The Houdini Discord “Think Procedural” channel is a fantastic place to get quick help as there are several seasoned users on there, and even some SideFX devs.

If you’re doing only rendering, maybe C4D’s accessibility might be a better fit, but if you’re also designing, I definitely recommend trying Houdini.


What is a “ceiling feature” ?


I suggest you look at Octane for Blender.


Certainly true in motion graphics, architectural visualization. But in gaming there is more demand for Blender artists than for c4d artists, as Blender is breaking into a lot of game studios. Virtually nobody in gaming uses c4d.


That’s not true. There is a reason why Unity imports C4D files natively.


And We imagine that there is a reason that Ubisoft moved to Blender for their game asset development after the changes in 2.8 +

Everyone has their own pipeline priorities/preferences in the gaming space
But skilled content artist have ,and will, continue to create great game content
no matter their software ,thus crooning about who is using what, to make game assets
for whatever engine ,is rather pointless IMHO.

Epic gave Reallusion one of their million+ Dollar megagrants after Reallusion
created a free live link to unreal for thier realtime Iclone avatars.

However I doubt you will ever see a AAA game title released using Iclone Avatars,
and I say this as an Iclone user developing a personal animated web series
to be rendered in EEVEE using Iclone and Blender
as Blenders action editor can store and re-use/ retarget unlimited
body& face motion data between Iclone Avatars imported via Standard FBX.

I Model all of my clothing & environmental content in Blender and only use the underlying Iclon CHaracter Creator 3 rigs for realtime animation and export.

On the matter of content creation and animated production.

Look dev and Lighting TD work is where alot of time is lost or gained
so it is critical to have realtime viewport performance that will provide,at the very least, a 95 percent accurate representation of the final render
and no need to buy an octane license to work this way in Blender.

On the matter of C4Ds “better physics”

I must ask if Maxon has unified the **i
NATIVE Cloth and soft body/particle systems in
the latest versions C4D.

When last I used C4D, the weight map system that I used to control the effect of soft body dynamics could not be use to attunate the cloth dynamics, making simulating cloth on a moving character, mission impossible in C4D

Surely this has been addressed …yes?


If you think serious game companies are hiring c4d artists…good luck to you.


C4D also import to Unreal Engine with Datasmith, but I seriously doubt they use Datasmith to import game assets, because you need to export them as FBX to use Substance Painter or Zbrush for High res to low res details, or transfer it to Marvelous-

Both workflows are way more used than just importing the scene into Unreal. Plus, you cant use a Datasmith asset and make a Blueprint out of it without converting it, so while its very useful to render in real time motion graphics render or do an archviz render, is not as useful for Games as FBX is.


If you think serious game companies are hiring c4d artists…good luck to you.

If you still think the software is the culprit then good luck to you.

Serious companies hires artists, not software. And serious artists are usually software agnostic within some bounds. They may have its favourite tool, but they usually use what the pipeline requires. That’s at least the case with the people that i know. A polygon is a polygon.

Software licenses is what companies usually already have. And they usually don’t buy this software because of propaganda and ideological reasons. But productivity and pipeline reasons. Sometimes also historical reasons. And of course because of the costs. And the price of the software is just one variable here.

Either way, like it or not, Cine is also used for game assets. I know quite a few Cine users from back in the times when i made games with Unity. That’s why i know that you are wrong here, sorry.

Proof of possible pipeline… And that the video exists is already proof that Cine gets used for creating game assets: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oE54WwgpAxY

EDIT, just to add one more, Cine to ZBrush can of course be done with the GoZ Plugin. And from there you have other paths open.


You can use any software for game assets, doesn’t mean you should.

You can even use Zbrush, and export directly as FBX into Unreal regardless of geometry cleanup. If you are doing an indie game, of course C4D will do the job, there are a Unity to C4D workflow with a pretty cool example on cineversity, but I find hard to believe people have been using C4D as their main game asset DCC tool for AAA games, because it wasnt until R22 we got *proper UV tools, and it wasnt until R23 we got multi object editing UV tools.

As talented as C4D users are, there are many people who are as proficient as C4D and use 3dsmax or Maya, wich are better suited for games.