Together with a redesigned branding, Maxon brings us the latest implementation of its renowned 3D software. Cinema 4D S24, like all “S” releases, is a subscription-only update and it comes with a long list of new features and improvements. I will make a summary of the most relevant ones.
For starters, let us talk about placing objects in the scene. Now is much easier to do and if I dare to say so, even amusing.
First off, the Place tool. With it, any object dropped on a scene will automatically align its normals to a surface, when moving, rotating, scaling, or changing its up direction. Also, a simple collision detection to avoid objects from overlapping will be applied.
When more than one object or hierarchy is selected, they will work as a single object with a combined bounding box. Additionally, it is possible to clone objects by pressing Ctrl + drag.
The second placement tool is the Scatter Pen tool. It works like any scatter tool, where selected objects can be placed using brush strokes while keeping the bottom of the bounding box on a surface. Additionally, it is possible to edit the placement or remove any individual objects after scattering. Of course, randomization of scale, rotation, and object ID is included.
But the most exciting feature is the Dynamic Place tool. With it, the selected objects will be temporarily included in a real-time simulation and start colliding with other static objects in the scene, and each other. The objects can be moved, rotated, and scaled which will spread them further apart from each other. This is an amazing tool that will probably save a lot of time when simulating falling objects or just finding the best arrangement of several objects on a surface.
With this release, Maxon introduces an enhanced asset browser that replaces the old content browser. All tools are available there together with a huge variety of 3D assets which can be downloaded individually from the Maxon server. Some assets come even rigged and ready to be edited or animated. Nevertheless, any database can be hidden, and new ones added.
Furthermore, finding assets has gotten easier due to text-based search operators, divided into attributes like size, creation date, dependencies, etc.
Additionally, specific filters are now placed at the top of the browser as tabs and allow the user to quickly display only the desired assets, between Objects, Materials, Media, Nodes, Scene Manager Operators, or Scenes.
Another welcomed feature is that all assets come bound to keywords or tags sharing a common property like color or material. The user can also assign or add keywords to any assets or mark specific ones as favorites.
With this update comes the possibility to edit and save new versions of existing assets and have them ready to be used in the library. Very useful if you need to have several versions and quickly change between them.
The updated asset browser works very well with the new placement tools. All assets can be drag-and-dropped and will be automatically downloaded when placed, speeding up the workflow considerably.
A new very important feature update is the Scene Manager / Scene Nodes which is still at its early stages but it already shows the potential of the successor of the classical object manager. Due to a system based on higher hierarchy and modifier stacks now it feels a bit easier and familiar to work with. Similar to the modifier stack of 3ds Max, for example, you can keep adding modifiers from bottom top and create fully parametric objects and materials without having to open the node graph.
There are quite a few quality of life improvements and specifically for character animators a better keyframing and retargeting workflows.
The keyframe enhancements consist of a better curve evaluation mode that uses Bezier interpolation, helping to create curves with fewer keyframes. For character animators, there is an improved Tween tool and the possibility to create Tween frames between the previous and next key, a huge advantage when editing animations.
The Pose Library was also upgraded. They added support for tag parameters. And made possible for Libraries and poses to be copied and moved across different databases. Furthermore, drag and drop interaction was improved and it is now possible to switch between database and library without leaving the thumbnail view.
Timeline modes also received improvements. Now all possible track options are collected within one filter menu. The user can now revert to the default timeline behavior, switch to the most often used modes, and save presets.
Animation tracks now have a track looping option that automatically generates loops with fewer keyframes. And when the curves are edited the tool adjusts the loop accordingly to achieve a seamless result.
They also introduced a car rig template which makes rigging vehicles an effortless task. The rigged car can follow a spline and will auto steer, vibrate, or have spring suspension. As expected, it will also automatically roll and collide the wheels with the ground.
Magic Bullet Looks
Magic Bullet Looks is now on its 5th version and it includes, among other features, a LUT browser and a color remap tool enabling to change colors on finished renders.
The viewport was also upgraded. On windows, the viewport now uses DirectX rather than OpenGL for future-proofing.
New viewport tools were developed like the Shadow Hinting tool that adds a shadow to help with object positioning.
They also added useful option to auto-switch view to only the geometry when doing playback/scrubbing on an animation.
Now we can import USD files containing materials. Furthermore, node-based PBR materials will be generated based on the included materials definition and textures.
They also updated the support for Substance, Sketchup, and GoZ formats.
You can have a look at the entire features list here.
Overall, this new release comes to fill a few gaps in previous installments. The replacement of the old content browser came to make everything look cleaner, organized and more intuitive to work with. The new Scene Manager will make the user experience easier for those who find working with a node system a bit overwhelming. Also, the Dynamic Place tool is a very useful feature that makes placing and arranging objects much easier and enjoyable.