If you're interested in learning 3D animation software, there are a bunch to choose from. They cost from free to thousands of pounds. But here, we're going to focus on why we and thousands of our customers think Cinema 4D is the best 3D animation software for you.
What is Cinema 4D?
Put simply, Cinema 4D is general purpose 3D animation software that creates still images 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. The end results are images or movies that are the same in format as those you'd create from photography or film.
You may be wondering what the '4D' refers to in 'Cinema 4D.' That's an easy one: time is often thought of as 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 UK & Eire customers make with it in just one specialty which Cinema 4D shines at: Motion Graphics.
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:
Cinema 4D Is Intuitive
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 software. 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, to get better results. If you can make quick changes, it is easier to tweak things.
Stable As A Healthy Elephant
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. There are several reasons for this:
- MAXON's original programmers 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 Cinema 4D's code is 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 been tested by our beta team in commercial environments before general release.
Powerful, Massive and Versatile Toolset
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.
Various Configurations For Various Needs And Budgets
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 simplistic 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.
If you'd like more info on licence types check out our ultimate guide to Cinema 4D versions & licence types.
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 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 favourite free playlists:
- Getting Started With Cinema 4D
- Using After Effects With Cinema 4D Lite
- Unity & Game Development With Cinema 4D
- Virtual Reality With Cinema 4D
Here When You Need Us
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 or arrange a visit to our office in Ampthill, Bedfordshire.
Try Cinema 4D 3D Software For Yourself
Easy to use, powerful, stable and fast. We think Cinema 4D is the best 3D software for 3D motion graphics work. If you'd like to try out Cinema 4D and have a go with all the powerful features on offer, then be sure to grab yourself a free trial. The trial gives you access to virtually all of Cinema 4D's features and you can also opt to activate it for 42 days of save functionality. Simply fill out the form on the link below to get started!