CINEMA 4D is a 3D modeling, animation and rendering application developed by MAXON Computer GmbH in Germany. It is capable of procedural and polygonal/subd modeling, animating, lighting, texturing, rendering, and common features found in 3D modelling applications.
Four variants are currently available from MAXON: a core CINEMA 4D ‘Prime’ application, a ‘Broadcast’ version with additional motion-graphics features, ‘Visualize’ which adds functions for architectural design and ‘Studio’, which includes all modules.
2014 saw the release of a 5th variant, “Lite”, which comes packaged with Adobe After Effects Creative Cloud 2014, and acts as an introductory version, with many features withheld. This is part of a new partnership between the two companies, where a new, MAXON produced plug-in called CINEWARE, allows any variant to create a seamless workflow with After Effects. The “Lite” variant is dependent on After Effects CC, needing the latter application running to launch, and is only sold as a package component included with AE CC 2014 through Adobe.
Initially, CINEMA 4D was developed for Amiga computers in the early 1990s, and the first three versions of the program were available exclusively for that platform. With v4, however, MAXON began to develop the program for Windows and Macintosh computers as well, citing the wish to reach a wider audience and the growing instability of the Amiga market following Commodore’s bankruptcy.
Up until Release 11.5, Cinema 4D had a modular approach to the application, with the ability to expand upon the core application with various modules. This ended with Release 12, though the functionality of these modules remains in the various flavors of Cinema 4D (Prime, Broadcast, Visualize, Studio) The old modules were:
Advanced Render (global illumination/HDRI, caustics, ambient occlusion and sky simulation)
BodyPaint 3D (direct painting on UVW meshes; now included in the core. In essence Cinema 4D Core/Prime and the BodyPaint 3D products are identical. The only difference between the two is the splash screen that is shown at startup and the default user interface.)
Dynamics (for simulating soft body and rigid body dynamics)
Hair (simulates hair, fur, grass, etc.)
MOCCA (character animation and cloth simulation)
MoGraph (Motion Graphics procedural modelling and animation toolset)
NET Render (to render animations over a TCP/IP network in render farms)
PyroCluster (simulation of smoke and fire effects)
With CINEMA 4D R10, the module PyroCluster became integrated in the Advanced Render module
Sketch & Toon (tools for cel shading, cartoons and technical drawings)
Thinking Particles (enhanced particle system based on nodes)
Xpresso (is not and never has been a module, it is a core functionality)
As of Release 13, Cinema 4D comes in 4 components:
Prime (the core application)
Broadcast (adds MoGraph2)
Visualize (adds Virtual Walkthrough, Advanced Render, Sky, Sketch and Toon, data exchange, camera matching)
Studio (the complete package)
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