Cinema 4D is a great choice for architectural visualisation. Whether you need to create everything from scratch or you just want to make your building content from other apps stand out from the crowd, Cinema 4D can help.
Put simply, Cinema 4D is a general purpose tool for creating 3D pictures or animations. Let's clear one thing up straight away: we're not talking about the type of 3D where you put red and blue glasses on and the images 'pop out' at you. Rather, 3D software basically refers to the process where you create your models in a 3D environment. It's like having your own film studio but you create the models from scratch or buy them from model banks. 3D software is usually used to create any imagery that is too expensive or difficult to create by other methods.
You may be wondering what the '4D' refers to in 'Cinema 4D.' That's an easy one: time is the fourth dimension. You can animate almost any parameter over time in Cinema 4D, so strictly speaking, you can work in four dimensions in Cinema 4D.
To give you a quick overview of what Cinema 4D does and why it's popular, check out this movie we made:
Not a bad taster, huh? OK, so now that you've seen a bit about what Cinema 4D is, we want you check out one short reel showing you what Cinema 4D can do when it comes to architectural visualisation:
Cinema 4D is also used to create all kinds of work in various areas such as product visualisation, architecture, illustration, games and much more. The reason why it's so widely used is because of several key points that matter for professional 3D design:
The one word we hear time and again from users of the software and those trying out the free trial is 'intuitive.' Cinema 4D was originally released as FastRay in 1991 on the Amiga. It was designed to be easy to use and to work with you, rather than against you.
The early days of Cinema 4D gave a fairly simple 3D application, but one that was much easier to use than most other 3D applications. It was swiftly championed by users for its ease of use, and as it became popular, MAXON enlarged the development team and started adding powerful features whilst always looking to keep ease of use as a priority. Some 25 years later, this philosophy still remains.
Intuitive software also means that you spend less time figuring out how something works and more time producing work. Cinema 4D is much faster to work with than most 3D animation software out there.
Another reason why ease of use matters is that it frees you up to be more creative and to get better results. If you can make quick changes, it is easier to experiment and to tweak things.
That's what one UK magazine review once said about Cinema 4D, and it's still the case today. 3D animation software is complicated to program and Cinema 4D has millions of lines of code and thousands of features. Yet it still remains as one of the most stable applications you can buy. The reason for this is MAXON's original programmers (Christian and Philip Losch) are still key developers of the software and have ensured that every future programmer is trained in the MAXON way that ensures high quality code that is as stable as possible. A lot of the code is also platform independent which makes Cinema 4D less prone to crashes caused by operating system errors. MAXON also has a sophisticated bug checking system that performs thousands of checks on the software to hunt for possible errors. MAXON's excellent beta team also hunts for bugs and errors during the beta phase. Many of the beta team are commercial 3D artists so they will use it the same way many customers will, which helps look for issues that a computer program won't. Also, many features have already been used by our beta team for commercial projects before general release.
Having been constantly updated since its creation 25 years ago, Cinema 4D has matured into seriously powerful and versatile 3D animation software. Whilst of course you can easily create bread and butter work like 3D text and logos, Cinema 4D's powerful toolset means you can model, texture, light and render anything your mind can imagine.
Quite unusually for 3D software, Cinema 4D still comes in various configurations to suit the needs and budgets of customers. You can also upgrade from one to another if you so wish. But if you don't need every feature, you may find one of the simpler packages suits you better. Cinema 4D comes in four configurations:
Cinema 4D Prime - Designed with the core features that make it an ideal choice for those new to 3D who want to toe-dip or produce less demanding 3D work.
Cinema 4D Broadcast - Designed for those who work in TV Broadcast. This pack contains all the features of Prime as well as some specific tools for more advanced rendering and creation of eye-catching motion graphics.
Cinema 4D Visualize - Designed for those who work in product or building visualisation. This configuration provides Cinema 4D's best render tools for highly realistic or stylised renders as well as special content to help populate your scenes with furniture and objects.
Cinema 4D Studio - Contains all the features of the other editions as well as hair, a physics engine, network rendering and advanced character and particle tools.
All of the above are available as perpetual licences, which means you can buy them outright and use them for as long as you need. Cinema 4D Studio is also available as a short term licence where you can buy three or six months of run-time.
There are a variety of useful external tools Cinema 4D can take advantage of:
V-Ray For Cinema 4D - Whilst Cinema 4D is capable of excellent rendering, V-Ray is a very popular render engine for visualisation. You can find out more about it here.
Revit Import & Export For Cinema 4D - If you are a Revit user, then you can now get your Revit files in Cinema 4D with this handy plugin. Find out about it here.
Workflow to All Plan, Archicad & VectorWorks - Maxon (who make Cinema 4D) is part of the Nemetschek group who make all these other great applications. All play well with Cinema 4D thanks to our partnerships with each company. Find out more here.
SketchUp Files - Cinema 4D reads native SketchUp files. Obviously that's great if you're a SketchUp user, but even if you're not, it gives you access to 3D Warehouse's massive free model library. Find out more here.
Trees For Cinema 4D - Whilst Cinema 4D has a number of plants included, you need look no further than Laubwerk for professional 3D plants that work great with Cinema 4D. Find out more here.
Models, Textures And More For Cinema 4D - There are a variety of websites offering content for Cinema 4D. But for great value, check out the massive range from Dosch Design. They offer thousands of models and materials for royalty-free use at great prices. See the range here.
There are loads of great Cinema 4D tutorials to get you up and running. MAXON's US office also runs the fantastic Cineversity website which is packed full of free and paid for tutorials. You can even get full access for free when you maintain your Cinema 4D licence with a MAXON Service Agreement. Here are some of our favourites:
The best series we've seen for figuring out the more advanced aspects of architectural visualisation is by 3D Fluff. This fairly priced tutorial teaches you about some of the key issues that crop up when you start getting quite advanced with your visualisations. This tutorial was created for Cinema 4D R15, but is still very useful to R17 users. Find out more here.
Cinema 4D has been sold in the UK since the late 90s. In October 2001, MAXON opened its UK office, which sells and supports Cinema 4D. If you ever need help, you are welcome to call our friendly staff on 0333 772 0444, email us at email@example.com or arrange a visit to our office in Ampthill, Bedfordshire.
If you're still reading, hopefully you're now interested in learning more. The great news is you can try Cinema 4D for yourself for 42 days with a save feature! Keep the Contact Us box ticked and we'll send you tutorials and help you evaluate.
Alternatively, if you just want to buy straight away, you can buy:
Cinema 4D Short-Term Licences Here - from £385 ex VAT
Cinema 4D Full Licences Here - from £550 ex VAT