3D Artist

Cinema 4D R17 review

News & Features
Nicolas Delille

Maxon has added a variety of new features to the latest release of Cinema 4D, but does R17 represent a substantial update? Find out in our Cinema 4D R17 review

Cinema 4D R17 review

Essential info

Price From £660 / $995 for a Studio upgrade
Website maxon.net
OS Windows 7 64-bit, Windows 8 and 8.1 64-bit / Mac OS X 10.8.5
CPU Intel Pentium 4 and Athlon 6 and up for Windows / Intel Core 2 Solo for Mac
GPU OpenGL 3.2-capable cards recommended

Maxon’s latest milestone release of Cinema 4D promises to be “faster”, “easier” and “more realistic”.

Workflows are now paramount to Cinema 4D R17, with new and killer features like the Take System at the forefront of Maxon’s push.

We’ll be testing out all the latest features in the new iteration with our own project.

We start by using a standard head mesh from the C4D library with a plane. This will be useful as a background and as support for the area just behind the ears of the character.

To build the scene, we create a camera and choose an angle that we like.

The Pen tool now has four configurations: Pen, Sketch, Spline Smooth and Arc Tool. Each of these can do some amazing things; we used the Sketch tool, which enables us to draw shapes freely. The Magnetism menu is then enabled with a polygon shape activated. Now we can draw and the spline emitted will stick onto the polygons shown in the viewport. Just imagine the possibilities available with this feature!

In the parameters of the new Sketch tool, you can decide if you want to draw new splines every time you finish a line or if you want to keep every line in the same spline layer. It’s very handy for if you decide to do several layers. We then use the Sweep tool with a small thickness for each spline, which will now produce ribbons.

Cinema 4D R17 review

Maxon added two new effectors for when you finish working with your splines.

You can, like in Adobe Illustrator, inflate them, move them, curve them, split them and do more to make it look how you want.

Before that, we were always drawing splines in Illustrator because the Bezier tool there was better. Now we can use the Bezier tool in Cinema 4D that, to us, seems even better than the Illustrator version.

Now we look at Materials, where there is a brand-new colour picker called Color Chooser that makes it very easy to get the colour that you want. Testing out the new Variation Shader (in the Effect menu) gives you many colours that you can tweak. We tried to put it directly onto the main layer, which contains all of our sweeps, but it didn’t work.

It worked when we put it on each layer though (you can put it on a cloner too – it will do the job).

We then tried some tests renders, and decided finally to stay with a simple white material.

After that, we were finally able to try the new Take System – a huge feature in R17. No more dozens of files needed for production! Well done Maxon!

On the right of the Panel menu, you can switch to Take where you can record and create new Take layers. For each Take you create, there will be an individual recording of all the changes that you may make with textures, lights, parameters and objects.

You can record a chair with a concrete floor on your first Take with GI on, on another Take get a couch with a wooden floor without GI, switch between the two and then render them with one click, all in the same file. Production will love this few feature!

Cinema 4D R17 review

This new release has really brought about some new tools that will increase creativity and aid workflow. The Spline tools are finally here and ready to rock, and all of the big (and small) changes in R17 will make your life easier.

In addition to the new integrations with Houdini Engine and SketchUp files, Cinema 4D is now a really powerful sculpting and modelling tool that brings you everything that you will need to create what you want.

On the other hand, we’re still waiting for a brand-new BodyPaint and UV system (which have both been Cinema 4D’s best features in the past few years), a water simulator and a way to export ZBrush FiberMesh and use them with Hair. That would be heaven. Maybe this will be something to look out for in the R18 release!


Cinema 4D R17 is worth buying for the Take System and the Pen tool alone

Features – 4.5/5
Performance – 5/5
Design – 5/5
Value for money – 4.5/5

Overall – 4.5/5

  • Joseph Rodgers

    You can export fibermesh to use with hair for stills, you export the hairs as curves then connect all the objects in C4D (you just need to invert the growth and it won’t work if there are too many hairs), you have been able to since R13. It does really need fixed for animation though, it surely isn’t that hard to re anchor the points to the mesh surface after import.

  • Daniel Ripley

    Iv not been able to import curves exported from Zbrush into C4D, it automaticly converts them into polygons when imported into C4D. Maybe im missing a process?