Why I love Cinema 4d + Zbrush

Now that might just be a software box to most BUT after spending the past 18 months using it pretty much everyday for 10+ hours a day...after spending the previous 3 years on it making my last film...it means a little more to me... It has allowed me as an artist/filmmaker person FIRST and technical person SECOND to completely realize all my creative visions easily and quickly...

When geeks get to talking about 3d apps they tend to talk about what the packages are missing...which is a concern IF YOUR NOT THE RESOURCEFUL...the way I look at it... You often trade complexity/flexibility for ease of use/speed... When it comes to 3d apps Houdini has to be the most flexible... I've been playing with the learning edition and yes it is powerful and complex BUT I wouldn't try to do my one man 3d animation show with it... the workflow is way too complex and slow... yes procedural stuff is great BUT when making a film with like a STORY and CHARACTERS and tons of more important things going on you don't really care about yer procedural workflow... You just want to set up shots, animate and render... and have it look good out da box... Crazy procedural tools like Houdini are great for specific fx shots but you would be insane to try to make a whole film like I do in it 0_0

It seems to me most other apps are meant to be used in big productions as they are... to me C4d is the best 3d app for the ONE MAN SHOW for NON GEEKS...for artists... I mean if you had to take an artist weirdo and have them make an animated short film which 3d app would you give them? Houdini?HELL NAW thats like TD heaven... Maya?! Yeh an artist is going to feel comfortable with that interface 0_o (Even though they ripped off C4d's UI with they newest release) Max? ... You would give them C4d I bet ^ ^

YEH BUT WHAT ABOUT "INDUSTRY STANDARDS" If your going to WORK FOR YOURSELF than industry standards don't matter... So I say use whatever you are most comfortable in... if you want to be a drone then yeh get one of those "industry standard" apps... but I suspect there are not many drones reading this blog ^ ^ There's plenty of other places for drone talk...

I've now completed over 1300 shots using C4d every day for 10+ hours a day over the past 10 months or so.... and it is ROCK SOLID... in all that time I could count the number of times its crashed on one hand... Its so stable its SCARY 0_0 and when it did crash it automatically recovered the scene I was working on perfectly... And the built in renderer is SO FAST... there's only 5 shots in my render queue right now... So it renders as fast as I work... and I'm rendering 1920x802 32bit exr sequences with pretty high AA and they look win ^ ^

It's so fast and easy to use the way I utilize it..its literally waiting on me! Its like HELLO M DOT WHAT DO YOU WANT TO MAKE TODAY! So yeh I know it might seem weird for me to write this software love letter BUT without the software I use you would have to look at my crappy drawings ^ ^ AND I don't want to have to subject ANYONE to that except for comedic reasons... When I showed my brother the wats animatic with my crappy drawings and ghetto sound fx he was laughing out loud...he was all "You should just put that out as the movie haha"

So its like if you don't have mad art skills or real musical instrument skills... the software is your translator so that you can explain your intent... your feelings... your expression to the world... So your translator is very important... I've worked with a lot of human language translators when speaking in different countries and the best ones don't ask too many questions or get hung up on the details they just take what you say and translate it quickly as you intended it... and for my creative ideas that's what Cinema 4d does for me... So if feels like speaks the same language as a human artist as much as a piece of software can... it just MAKES SENSE!

Now as far as straight 3d creativity goes and being a direct link between the artist and teh model...ZBRUSH is it! You can give ANYONE a zbrush sphere and a stylus and they will be able to sculpt something ^ ^ I created pretty much all the organic models for my new film in Zbrush... I had never even used it before after using it everyday for a month or so I was able to create ANYTHING I could imagine...what else can you ask for? Tools that are a direct link between your creativity and the audience's eyes are teh ultimate if you ask me... Now I haven't used Zbrush since I started animation and I really miss it! Since then two new versions have come out pushing the possibilities even FURTHER! and people still complain about the interface 0_o I mean you have a brush and an object..you sculpt it... whats the big deal?!

As you'll see with my new film... I NEEDED ZBRUSH I wasn't skilled technically enough to poly model anything I could imagine but Zbrush erased that barrier for me so now your going to see some crazy shit ^ ^ We should all have 3d sketchbooks.... do a sculpt everyday if you can...  So yeh with my new film its going to look like someone else made everything cause its totally different from what I was doing before...

The blocky 8-bit style I was doing before worked for what I was doing... the style gave me an excuse to have such rough basic models... but I didn't want to stay in Str8nime land forever as I have lots of ideas that don't relate to video games... Its kinda frustrating cause that old style is all I have out there right now... BUT that will change soon thanks to Zbrush and Cinema 4d ^ ^

I showed a musician friend some stills from the film...he has no interest in 3d graphics or anything like that... when I showed him he said "Oh my gawd this is amazing this makes everything you have done before look like shit!" This is only speaking of the technical skill involved of course as you can't judge the mood, emotion and story from some stills and that IS THE IMPORTANT STUFF...BUT technically I did the best I could do at the time and the Str8nime style certainly did act as a crutch for my limited technical abilities... So now I don't need any crutches ^ ^ and now my "best" is apparently A LOT better than what I did before...

So I thank my software translators and they many creators ^ ^


  1. those last couple lines u wrote R gettin' me super excited for HSM, speakin' of which when can we be looking for a trailer? or is that a part of yer master plan?

    after having zbrush for a little while i gotta agree with ya on the awesomeness of it

  2. you know m dot i completely 100% agree with you on the C4D thing
    It really is a great translator for your creativity
    A while ago my graphics driver became unstable and i had to update it (i didn't want to cause it faucked over c4d) and the whole time i couldn't use c4d i pretty much fell apart.... even if i'm not great with it The renderer for it is really great i'm surprised i've done what i did with it and rendered it so fast

    I don't really like Zbrush all that much from when i used it a while ago i probably will if i actually in depth used it
    but i do like Sculptris it was pretty tight.... pixilogic owns it now too which i dunno what they gun do with it lol

    Still excited for HSM yer the best M Dot

  3. Hey mdot, I have some very specific technical questions about C4D:

    1) Can it do 'toon rendering' as in a flat cel- shaded look to a material...

    2) Can you make a copy of an object, "push" the vertices out a little bit, and flip the surface normals to generate a 'cartoon edge' effect around an object (again this refers to question 1, this is how I do my toon rendering...)

    3) Can you assign a noise modifier to objects, and sync the noise animation to the frame rate, and then render a multi-pass camera effect to duplicate the 'sketch technique' (as such: http://archondefender.blogspot.com/2009/10/painting-with-polygons.html )

  4. @Nodelete

    yeh d00d it has a dedicated "sketch and toon" rendering module just for that... I da know never tried that technique but you prolly can.. and if you scroll down on this thread this c4d ninja d00d is doing just that http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?t=898946

    You should check out the demo... if you used it we could help each other out with productions ^ ^

  5. Sadly I was not able to play much with zbrush when I got the trial..
    Summer trips got in the way and all that -__-
    From what I did get to do I like it!
    Sculptris has been awesome but it's main problem I have is that it seems to slow down a lot easier then zbrush did..Now that Pixologic owns sculpris, I hope to see them improve that or use it to make zbrush better!

    and I've played with google sketchup, blender, and Cinema 4d and so far C4d is the best I've found!

    It runs awesome and the render times have being pretty decent and that's just on this one laptop so I can only imagine how awesome it would go with a render farm.

    Still don't quite have a grasp on the animation tools yet but I'm still learning ^__^

    I have no clue how Fcurves work X_x

  6. I was fortunate to attend the Maxon C4D luncheon at Siggraph a week or so ago and I'm going to send their CEO Paul Babb a link to your comments. I think he'd be delighted with them esp since they come from wisdom learned in the trenches of making your own film. And I couldn't agree with you more about Zbrush. It's an amazing program.


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