The 16 best Cinema 4D tutorials

Cinema 4D tutorials - 3D model of a latticed ball
(Image credit: The Pixel Lab)

The best Cinema 4D tutorials can help you to create brilliant digital artwork. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned pro, these lessons will advance your skills and give you fresh ideas for your 3D projects. 

Maxon's modelling, animation, and rendering software is used by professionals in film, TV, advertising, architecture and gaming, with notable examples including Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Thor: Ragnarok, and Pacific Rim. It's packed with powerful features, but noneless boasts a designer-friendly interface. For those reasons, Cinema 4D has become a favourite among digital artists wanting to create show-stopping 3D art.

That said, there's still a bit of a learning curve involved, so we've gathered together the best Cinema 4D tutorials to get you started as a beginner. We've also included some more advanced tutorials for those with a bit more experience under their belt. Meanwhile, if you want to broaden your skillset, also see the best Blender tutorials, not to mention our roundups of the best After Effects tutorials and the best ZBrush tutorials.

Cinema 4D tutorials for beginners

01. Cinema 4D Absolute Beginner's Tutorial

This video lesson from Softer Tutorials shows you around Cinema 4D's interface and helps you create and render your first 3D animation. It's aimed at absolute beginners, so you won't need any previous experience to follow this tutorial.

02. Cinema 4D 2023: Beginners Guide (User Interface)

Whether you're new to Cinema 4D or just haven't used it for years and don't recognise the interface, this video is for you. This introductory lesson from Behind the Button goes over the basics of the user interface for Cinema 4D 2023. Further videos in the series cover navigation, move/scale/rotate tools, working with the object manager, and more.

03. Get to grips with the basics of Cinema 4D

Cinema 4D tutorials: Basics

Four top tips to get you started (Image credit: Mike Griggs)

This quick but super-useful tutorial explains the first four things you should get to know when beginning to use the software. From becoming familiar with the UI to using MoGraph, trying out volume modelling, and utilising Team Render, Cinema 4D basics explores four crucial pillars of the software. This tutorial from Mike Griggs was originally published in 3D World magazine.

04. Rig a simple cartoon character

Cartoon figure created for a Cinema 4D tutorial

Use the Sketch and Toon module to create cartoon characters (Image credit: EJ Hassenfratz)

Discover how to rig a simple cartoon character with this easy-to-follow Cinema 4D tutorial from EJ Hassenfratz. Using Cinema 4D's powerful Sketch and Toon module, you can transform your 3D artwork into a cartoon-like illustration with just a few clicks of a button. Here, you'll use it to create cartoon characters. This tutorial originally appeared in 3D World.

05. Create Your First Animation in Cinema 4D

Learn by doing in this short video lesson by Mannu, a graphic designer and 3D artist. This is a basic tutorial for absolute beginners, and you can follow along everything that's happening in the interface.

Cinema 4D tutorials for pros

06. How to create animated 3D text in Cinema 4D

In this video lesson from Greyscalegorilla, you'll learn how to make a 3D text animation of a logo in Cinema 4D. You'll be using only the built-in tools, and you'll be able to use the same technique to animate any kind of 3D type in Cinema 4D.

07. Essential Cinema 4D plugins

3D model of a latticed ball

Discover how to boost your skills and master Cinema 4D (Image credit: The Pixel Lab)

Cinema 4D has a vibrant and well-supported plugin ecosystem, providing all manner of extensions for the app – from filling holes in its toolset to streamlining the workflow. In this article, Steve Jarrett brings together a set of essential plugins for Cinema 4D, and explains what they're good for.

08. Make realistic plants in Cinema 4D

CG model of a plant in a pot

It's a simple but effective process (Image credit: Rob Redman)

Most scenes will benefit from having organic touches like plants and trees. This tutorial on making realistic plants will take you through how to model them using Cinema 4D. It's a simple, effective process that takes advantage of MoGraph tools, with a very low polygon proxy object used as a placeholder. This tutorial originally appeared in 3D World.

09. How to create hair in Cinema 4D

Woman's hair in Cinema 4D

Make complex and vibrant 3D hair (Image credit: Jason Knight)

Give your character an extra dimension with some realistic 3D hair. Hair is a notoriously tricky thing to get right in 3D, but this step-by-step tutorial on creating hair in Cinema 4D will see you modelling it like a pro. This tutorial originally appeared in 3D World.

10. The two most important Cinema 4D shortcuts

Cinema 4D tutorials: shortcuts

Learn how to quickly navigate through some key features

These two Cinema 4D shortcuts will definitely save you time during your design process. Discover how to quickly open a text field and how to find the most useful menus without messing around in menus.

11. How to model concept art in Cinema 4D

Cinema 4D tutorials: How to model concept art in Cinema 4D

Build your dream motor without getting your hands dirty

Here's a use for Cinema 4D that might not have occurred to you. In this tutorial on modelling concept art, Michael Tschernjajew explains how he used Cinema 4D to create concept art for a range of vehicles destined for a PlayStation 4 game. This tutorial originally appeared in 3D World.

12. Triggering Dynamics in Cinema 4D

If you want to create dynamic simulations in Cinema 4D but need to take full art directional control over them, this video lesson from Eyedesyn should sort you right out. It'll introduce you to the basics of dynamics, explain how to use Ghost Dynamics to trigger them, and it'll show you how to record mouse movement to keyframes using Cappuccino.

13. How to sculpt in Cinema 4D

Cinema 4D tutorial: Sculpt

Six steps to sculpting success

Many of the leading 3D applications have their own sculpting workflow, and Cinema 4D is among them. Learn how to use the powerful Sculpt tool in six easy steps with Mike Griggs' expert guide to How to sculpt in Cinema 4D. This tutorial originally appeared in 3D World.

14. Intro to the Cinema 4D Time Effector

Cinema 4D's Time Effector is a powerful tool for automating animation. In this introductory video from Eyedesyn, you'll learn some Time Effector basics, how to combine it with other Effectors to vary your animations, how to use the Random Effector for more interesting and organic animations, and much more besides.

15. Cinema 4D's Character Builder

Rigging might strike fear into the hearts of 3D artists, but get to grips with Cinema 4D's Character Builder and you'll soon start to breathe easier. This guide to both the standard and advanced Biped setup explains all you need to know.

16. How to make your 3D objects dance

Want to know how to make your 3D objects dance? Of course you do! This Cinema 4D tutorial explains how to bring a shape (or object) to life and make it 'dance' to music. Along the way, you'll learn how to create an animation involving complex expressions and dynamics.

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Kerrie Hughes
Freelance writer

Kerrie Hughes is a frequent contributor to Creative Bloq, and was once its editor. One of the original CB crew, Kerrie joined the team back in 2013 after moving from her role as staff writer on 3D World. Since then she's written regularly for other creative publications such as ImagineFX, Computer Arts and Digital Camera World. After a stint working for the police, Kerrie is back reviewing creative tech for creative professionals. 

With contributions from