The 8 best features in Cinema 4D R17

The 3D tool hits version R17 today. Read on to find out what new features it includes.

Version R17 is finally here

We're huge admirers of 3D animation, graphics, VFX, visualization, and rendering software Cinema 4D – particularly its recent integration with After Effects. So we're hugely excited to see the latest milestone release today of Cinema 4D, R17.

The new version promises new, expanded and completely reworked features to help 3D artists to more easily and efficiently manage and create their content.

Central to Cinema 4D R17 is the new 'Take System', which provides flexible scene handling to manage render layers and animation variations.

Other highlights are new Lens Distortion tools for improved motion tracking, and reworked Spline Tools for a more efficient workflow for manipulating points, lines, tangents, arcs and more.

Here's our pick of the top 10 features in Cinema 4D R17...

01. Take System

Improved workflow is front and centre of Cinema 4D Release 17

The new Take System delivers new functionality above and beyond a Render Layer System to provide flexible scene management allowing you to create numerous independent takes of a scene. You can also change almost any parameter for intuitive variations. Plus everything is saved in a single scene file, eliminating file management hassles and wasted disk space. Not to mention the ability to maintain complete versioning and variation control.

02. Lens Distortion Support

Lens Distortion Support enables you to easily generate a distortion profile for any image – for example, for curved and plunging lines when integrating 3D elements into videos or photos. You can also remove distortion for tracking and scene creation, reapply distortion at render time, and save lens settings for future use if you wish.

03. Graph View for Motion Tracker

Cinema 4D R17 comes with a new Graph View that highlights problem track points in a simple-to-use graph and lets you easily remove them from the calculation.

04. New Spline Tools

Release 17 comes with a complete splines toolkit - no need to switch to an external tool.

The completely reworked Spline Tools in Cinema 4D R17 provide artists with a more intuitive way of manipulating points, lines, tangents and arcs. Users can leverage Boolean operators such as 'Intersect', 'Subtract', 'Union', 'And' and 'Or'.

05. Animation workflow enhancements

Workflow enhancements in Cinema 4D R17 enable you to control F-Curves with weighted tangents, with the option of automatically removing overshoot; eliminate Gimbal lock with Euler filtering; define animation regions using range markers; and master animation workflow with new Timeline preferences.

06. Sculpting improvements

Use Sculpt to PoseMorph to speed up character animation

Dozens of new features in R17 have been introduced to help you sculpt more easily. The Sculpt to Pose Morph feature automatically creates morph targets for each sculpt layer, which lets you quickly transition from character design to character animation. The new Edge Detection feature is designed to let you easily sculpt hard-surface models.

07. Houdini Engine Integration

The integration of Side Effect Software’s Houdini Engine means you can now load Houdini Digital Assets (HDA) such as parametric objects and simulations into Cinema 4D, and manipulate them like standard Cinema 4D generators. The Houdini Engine processes the HDA in the background with low overheads and returns it to Cinema 4D.

08. SketchUp Integration

Tighter integration in R17 with SketchUp means you can now quickly populate scenes using free, ready-to-use objects that have been created and made available by the SketchUp user community.

Maxon will preview the new features in Cinema 4D R17 at SIGGRAPH 2015 in Los Angeles next week. The company will also feature presentations from 3D artists, including feature and indie filmmakers, visual effects artists and motion graphic designers, and will live stream presentations daily. Check for details.

Full details of Cinema 4D R17 can be found on the Maxon website.

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Tom May is a freelance writer and editor specialising in design and technology. He was previously associate editor at Creative Bloq and deputy editor at net magazine, the world’s best-selling magazine for web designers. Over two decades in journalism he’s worked for a wide range of mainstream titles including The Sun, Radio Times, NME, Heat, Company and Bella. Follow him on Twitter @tom_may.