At SIGGRAPH 2016, MAXON announced the release of Cinema 4D R18 with a variety of improvements and enhancements to the software. The main new features include:

  • Object Motion Tracking
  • Interactive Knife Tools
  • Voronoi Fracture Object
  • Push Apart Effector
  • Shaders and Surface Effects
  • Substance Engine Integration

The software also introduces support for OpenSubdiv, as well as a shadow catcher object for easily creating mattes from rendered shadows.

The software is scheduled to be released in September. We take a quick look at the main new features.


Object Motion Tracking


R18 debuts new object motion tracking, with a paradigm which will be familiar to those who have already done object tracking in the past. The process begins by using the motion tracker to define user tracks on the object you wish to track. A minimum of eight features is required in order to generate a track. An alternative would be to use three features and geometry which roughly matches the geometry you are tracking and Cinema 4D will use a geometry-assisted tracking algorithm.

Once the tracks are defined, the user creates a Object Tracker, adds the user defined tracks, and then runs a 3D solver for the object. After the solver runs, the user can set the scale and constrain tags to the appropriate nulls and then apply the desired 3D object (such as the helmet in the image above) to the Object Tracker.


Interactive Knife Tools

LoopCut_thumb_wInsertThe knife tools have been split into three separate tools for line, loop, and plane cutting, allowing users quicker access to the tools. This enables users to tweak the cut with an interactive preview, then lock in new edges or split based on the cut. The line cut tool allows users to draw shapes and not simply lines.

The interactive loop cut tool has new UI for adjusting the position of the loop with respect to the surrounding edges. Additional loops can be added by control-clicking or hitting a [+] button and then repositioned using the UI. The loops can also be evenly distributed with a single button click

The plane cut mode allows the artist to draw a line to define an arbitrary plane and cut along the plane. The plane can be set based upon local coordinates, world coordinates, or the camera.

All of the knife tools have options to not only perform a cut, but also to split the object with the cut or remove one or the other side of the cut.

Voronoi Fracture Object

The new fracture tool is a native feature in the MoGraph toolset, which allows users to define fracture shapes using spline or polygon objects. It is a procedural object that is applied to a 3D object in the scene and the pieces are shown in varying colors in the display port. There are controls for offsetting the fragments (effectively creating gaps between them), as well as adjusting the fracture pattern in what is called the sources tab.

By default, a single point generator is added that creates a "standard" overall voronoid distribution.  However, additional point generators may be added to further refine the fracture, such as increasing the number of fractures created. It's easy to create a situation where an object breaks into large pieces overall, but has a constrained area where there are smaller fractures generated, such as where an object hit another object.


In addition to the standard fracturing-type effects, the tool is suitable for creating more mograph centric effects as well. For instance, the Voroni Fracture can be added to an object and instead of using a random point generator as the source, a spline could be used in order to create a series of parallel slices. The distribution and number of cuts can be easily changed due to the procedural nature of the effect. Even mograph objects such as the Matrix object may be used as a source.


Push Apart Effector

The new Push Apart Effector helps artists solve the traditional problem of dealing with overlapping clones when you don't want overlap. The effector is applied to the clones and is "more or less an invisible barrier of protection around each clone," according to MAXON's Rick Barrett.

Push Apart effector showing cloning of blue objects with no overlap
Push Apart effector showing cloning of blue objects with no overlap

Consider a series of spheres with a radius of 10cm cloned on another object. Applying the Push Apart Effector with a radius of 11cm would ensure that all the clones are moved apart with a gap of 1cm between them. Providing a higher radius would place the clones even further apart.

There are options to move the clones along a given axis, hide clones that would overlap, or scale the clones down in size so they don't overlap (as shown in the image to the right).

Like most Mograph effectors, it can also be applied as a deformation to an object and will push the points of the object apart based upon the radius entered.

There are also some enhancements as to how the mograph cloner itself works. There is a new "per step" option which allows users to set the spacing of the grid array per step so that you can increase the counts and all of the existing spacing is maintained.

There is also a new honeycomb array mode for the cloner, which offsets the objects in a honeycomb pattern. The pattern of distribution may be a square, a circle, or even a spline as shown, below. There are also options to control how effectors are weighted, as well as the caching. There is also a new effector called the "ReEffector", which can basically erase any effects that have been already applied. This can be applied to all transforms or to only a selection such as removing effects only on x and y position. There is also a falloff setting to further control how the removal of effects is applied.

Clone with distribution of objects weighted on a spline.
Clone with distribution of objects on a spline.

Shaders and Surface Effects

There are new shaders for creating iridescent surfaces such as bubbles and oil slicks, for capturing shadows for more efficient compositing, parallax mapping for enhanced bump effects, and creating masks for worn edges using inverse ambient occlusion.

A render using the new thin film shader

The new thin film shader allows one to simulate the spectral effects seen in soap bubbles or oily surfaces. Another new option related to shaders is a new parallax option which is an additional feature on top of bump-mapping to provide the illusion of more depth. It effectively uses the same algorithms as game engine parallax occlusion.  There are also options for new inverse ambient occlusion and a new shadow catcher shader.


Substance Engine Integration

The new release allows users to download compiled Allegorithmic Substances and utilize them to surface your Cinema 4D objects. This fully-integrated implementation offers outstanding workflow and flexibility, plus options to cache Substances on disk for better performance.


You can check out all the new features in more detail at MAXON's new web site covering the release.


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