Cinema 4D tutorials: 47 projects to up your 3D skills

Boost your 3D skillset with these enjoyable Cinema 4D tutorials, including: creating easy depth of field effects, mastering the physics engine, and fixing those messy lathe NURBS...

Since its release, Cinema 4D has become the foremost 3D modelling, animation and rendering application. Developed by Maxon, Cinema 4D is capable of procedural and polygonal/subd modelling, animating, lighting, texturing, rendering, and common features found in 3D modelling applications.

These Cinema 4D tutorials will help you to master the basics, and put you well on your way to becoming an expert.

Nail the basics

Introduction to Cinema 4D

The brilliant team at Greyscalegorilla have made over 200 hundred tutorials in the last four years, some of which are intro videos that go over the basics of Cinema 4D. But they've never made a comprehensive series of Cinema 4D tutorials that really gave a broad introduction to the software. Until now.

Introduction to modelling in Cinema 4D 

In this video tutorial from Digital Tutors, you will learn the tools and techniques that will allow you to begin modelling in Cinema 4D. A subscription is required to watch the full training, but register for a free demo account to access the first five Cinema 4D tutorials for free.  

Cinema 4D tutorials
Cinema 4D tutorials: Get to know the materials of Cinema 4D

Get to grips with the symmetry object

In this Prosential tip, guest host Michael Szabo from Big Mike Design demonstrates the Cinema 4D Symmetry Object. A quick and helpful insight into one of the software's most important tools, this was a must-include on our list of Cinema 4D tutorials.

Capture and set up camera calibration

One of the best Cinema 4D tutorials we've seen for a while .In part one, you'll discover how to capture, prep and calibrate an image using the new Camera Calibration Tool in C4D R14. Then you'll learn how to model a simple scene that will use the camera calibration as a texture.

Texturing objects and lights in Cinema 4D

In this tutorial, discover the process of texturing objects in Cinema 4D and experiment with textures to light the scene.

Camera morph in Cinema 4D

Creative Bloq contributor Rob Redman delivers this short tutorial on Cinema 4D R14 which you can now buy from Maxon. Here is an introduction to the Camera Morph tag, a quick to use and intuitive system for animating cameras with the minimum of effort.

Materials 101: Working with materials in Cinema 4D

This is a Cinema 4D tutorial which introduces you to how materials work in the software. You'll discover what layers are, and what the different parameters are; how to use them and what they do. It will also explain the difference between transparency and alpha, and other little details of the material system.

Cineware and Cinema 4D Lite quickstart

This 40-minute Cinema 4D tutorial dives into how to use new 3D animation tools and workflow - Cinema 4D Lite and Cineware - included in the newest Creative Cloud version of After Effects.

Going further

Export your scene from Cinema 4D to After Effects

3D artist Nick Campbell explains how to export your scene data out of Cinema 4D and into After Effects for further work. 

UV and texture in Cinema 4D

Cinema 4D tutorials: Explore the BodyPaint tool

The BodyPaint tool offers a fast way to get a good-quality render. In this Cinema 4D tutorial, illustrator Matt Roussel explains how. 

How to make your 3D objects dance

This Cinema 4D tutorial explains how to bring a shape (or object) to life and make it 'dance' to music. Learn how to create an animation involving complex expressions and dynamics.

Create brilliant motion graphics in Cinema 4D

The world of motion graphics is continually evolving, with techniques constantly progressing as work becomes more advanced and complex. Here, 3D animation meets graphic design as Tim Clapham shows you how to animate and composite a pro-quality logo sequence.

Cinema 4D tutorials
Cinema 4D tutorials: Create brilliant motion graphics with Tim Clapham

How to create realistic depth of field effects

This is one of those Cinema 4D tutorials that does exactly what it says on the tin. See how easy it is to play around with depth of field effects in Cinema 4D. Use particle emitters and physics tags to get the results you want and then selectively sharpen your work in Photoshop.

How to give your logo work a 3D edge

2D just doesn't cut it any more. It's time to bolster your Photoshop skills by bringing Cinema 4D into play. Nervous? Don't be. Barton Damer will show you the way.

Use stills to create a dynamic 3D landscape

With a 3D package and some decent 2D landscape photographs, you can create a full-motion fly-through sequence. Michaeljohn Day reveals how.

Build cages without plotting each spline individually

3D artist Rob Redman reveals how to use Cinema 4D’s Edge to Spline command and take the pain out of cage-building.

Create a 3D logo from a 2D illustration

This Digital Tutors tutorial will walk you through how to create a 3D logo from a 2D drawing in Cinema 4D. A subscription is required for the full training but lessons 1-3 can be accessed for free with a demo account. 

Create custom wooly text

Cinema 4D tutorials
Create custom wooly text using hair and sweep nurbs

In this video tutorial, Matt Pearson goes through the process of creating wooly text, by using hand drawn splines, adding a sweep nurbs and using the scale graph shape to look like the text is bulging slightly. Hair is then used to create the small fuzzy strands that give it that final touch.

Add depth of field to a composite

In this tutorial, Nick from Greyscalegorilla explains how to set up a depth pass for rendering depth of field for 3D objects using Cinema 4D, Frischluft Lens Care and After Effects.

An introduction to Xpresso

Cinema 4D’s Xpresso scripting system can be an incredibly tool if utilised correctly. Here, rigging artist Aleksey Voznesenski takes you through the basics of the system.

Create explosive 3D typographic effects

Cinema 4D tutorials
Cinema 4D tutorials: Discover tools to create awesome 3D typographic effects

In this easy-to-follow tutorial, learn how to extrude text, use displacement maps and Cinema 4D's explosion deformer to create exposive typographic effects.

Tracking a 3D object

In this video, Chris Martin shows yu how to track a 3D object onto a live action shot, using Syntheyes and Cinema 4D.

Create a confetti cannon using particles

This simple tutorial from Matt Pearson shows how to create a confetti cannon using Cinema 4d's particles system.

Movie madness

Build your own TRON light cycle in Cinema 4D

Cinema 4D tutorials
Cinema 4D tutorials: Who wouldn't want to build their own TRON light cycle?!

Here, Cinema 4D teaches you how to combine 3D and VFX elements to make a complete sequence. In this tutorial you will create a scene that looks like TRON Legacy. You will learn how to make a realistic TRON light cycle, and create an awesome scene.

Ghost Rider 2 Titles using Cinema 4d and After Effects

Learn how to draw and animate your own title with this fantastic style. In Cinema 4D R13 you'll make and animate the letters of the logo with an interesting letter bevel style and then animate the fantastic chain of Ghost Rider. In After Effects you'll continue with the styling of the incandescent reveal with the incredible heat haze effect.

Create a cartoon worm character

Take a look at this tutorial, for an insight into creating a cartoon character complete with a colourful background. You'll be using techniques in Cinema 4D, so you may want to have a little experience before approaching this one.

Get sporty

Make a baseball intro with Cinema 4D

In this tutorial, you will recreate a baseball animation. You'll start by texturing the baseball and setting the animation with CS Tools’ Move Null. Then, you'll model and animate the dirt using the landscape object and a particle emitter.

Your serve: Ping Pong Paddle render in Cinema 4D

Cinema 4D tutorials
Cinema 4D tutorials: You'll learn how to setup, light and render a ping pong scene

In this hour long tutorial, you will learn how to set up, light and render a ping pong scene. First, you'll alter the models to try to make them more realistic by adding geometry and altering the textures. Then, you'll light and compose the scene using an HDR Image from my HDRI Studio Pack, Global Illumination, a specular light, and the physical renderer.

Create a checkerboard shaker

In this quick tutorial, you'll discover everything you need to know about how to create a checkerboard shaker in Cinema 4D. From shading and colouring to using a cylindrical projection map, there's plenty of tips and tricks here to keep you going!


How to make an animated freezing ice effect

Cinema 4D tutorials
Stay frosty with the guys at Greyscalegorilla

In this tutorial, the Greyscalegorilla team show you how to make an animated frosty/frozen ice text effect in Cinema 4D using Hair, Sweep Nurbs, Motext, and Texture Kit Pro.

How to animate your fonts in Cinema 4D

Cinema 4D tutorials
Cinema 4D tutorials: Computer Arts show you how to animate your fonts

Plucked from the Cinema 4D tutorials over on Computer Arts magazine, learn how to animate 3D text with ease, use the MoGraph Cloner effector, add Dynamics to objects and render your animations.

Grow an object over time in Cinema 4D

In this video, Rob Redman shows you how to animate the growth of a plant or other object along a defined path.

How to add a 3D object to a photo backplate

Rob Redman returns to show you how to integrate your own 3D model into a pre-photographed environment.

Animate a tree

In this tutorial, 3D artist Robert Leger explains how to created this cool tree and how to attach hooks for the chains to that tree.

Animating titles using effectors

In this tutorial, discover how to easily and efficiently animate titles in Cinema 4D.

Make an animated mograph portrait

In this tutorial from the Greyscalegorilla team, you'll create several layers of motion using displacement and mograph. After creating a bunch of concentric splines with Mograph, you'll then can project an image or video through the displacement channel to recreate it to look like a line drawing. A really fun simple technique with endless possibilites.


How to fix messy lathe NURBS in Cinema 4D

Cinema 4D tutorials
Cinema 4D tutorials: Creative Bloq contributor Rob Redman delivers another great tutorial

More Cinema 4D tutorials. This time, 3D World magazine regular Rob Redman explains how to take control of your splines.

The 3 rules of cinematography for animators

The difference between a professionally composed and edited film and an unwatchable mess comes down to having paid attention to a three simple rules...

How to manage scenes with XRefs in Cinema 4D

In this video, learn how to efficiently manage your asset library plus a great way of integrating objects into other scenes.

Improve your workflow with shortcuts

How to create an animation using dynamics

Cinema 4D tutorials
Cinema 4D tutorials: Use dynamics to create an awesome animation

Ben Miners uses the Tracer object and other dynamics tools in Cinema 4D to assemble a complex animation from simple parts.

How to create custom keyboard shortcuts

As far as our Cinema 4D tutorials go, this one is incredibly useful on a day-to-day basis. See how you can streamline your workflow by choosing exactly the key commands/shortcuts that you want.

How to target a camera to an animated curve

In this video, Anders Kjellberg shows how to use Cinema 4D's XPresso scripting system to enable a camera to follow a moving point.

Control where grass grows with one tag

Want a neatly manicured virtual lawn without the effort? Here’s 3D artist Rob Redman with his green fingers, ready to help.

Master the Cinema 4D physics engine

How to create a Sci-Fi random light sequence

Cinema 4d tutorials
Cinema 4D tutorials: Anders Kjellberg shows you how to go sci-fi in Cinema 4D

Experienced 3D modeller Anders Kjellberg shows you how to create a sci-fi control panel with the help of the Random material in Cinema 4D.

How to use the physics engine in Cinema 4D

Anders Kjellberg introduces you to the physics engine in Cinema 4D R12 as he creates a 'cause-and-effect' animated sequence.

How to model your own vinyl toy

The vinyl toy is now a truly iconic form of design, but it can be difficult and expensive to create a one-off original. Chris Weston shows you how to make a life-like design using Cinema 4D.

Shattering an object in Cinema 4D

Discover how to explode an object in Cinema 4D by first cutting it up your into pieces with a Plugin called Destruction. Then, using Mograph 2 MoDynamics, make the pieces fall on the ground.

That's your lot (for now). Thanks for reading. Check back regularly for more Cinema 4D tutorials.


Kerrie Hughes is associate editor at Creative Bloq. Her employment at Future Publishing began in January 2010 as staff writer for 3D World magazine. Since then, she's written regularly for other publications, including ImagineFX and Computer Arts magazines.