After we had a bit of fun speculating on when the next release of Cinema 4D will hit, we are now considerably closer to the truth. While I was away for a job interview in Berlin, Maxon jumped the gun and released some preliminary info.
As always, it’s a somewhat mixed bag and final judgement needs to be reserved for when we can actually use it, but once more I’m decidedly undecided. It still seems the program is moving forward at snail pace and many features feel like they sat in a meeting and decided “Let’s just copy that from program X!”.
The most obvious of these copycat features is of course the poly pen. I really can’t help but smirk at how they barely disguised it as being a riff on many retopology tools in other programs. Not that it’s a bad thing with sculpting tools in place and all that, but it’s still more of a mee-too than a genuine innovation.
The second thing is the 3D tracker. That’s gonna pee on the parade for many other tools of this kind, but it’s not unwelcome and a consequent extension of what they introduced last year with the static camera matcher. This could also open up better venues for working in After Effects on such projects. You know, things like genuine calibration and matching scene scale. 3D tracking makes so much more sense in a 3D program…
The rendering department also received some love. It seems they learned from the TeamRender debacle and pimped it considerably. The reflectivity mapping is indeed something I wished for doing my machinery stuff, but how much it will improve rendering quality will remain to be seen. In my little world it would only make real sense if they also have optimized reflections considerably. Blurry reflection can make scenes terribly slow. The hidden good news is raytracing support for Sketch & Toon and Hair, which is pretty significant and should eliminate the need for convolutedd workarounds and compositing tricks.
So all in all it’s not that bad, just not particularly exciting, either. There’s simply no killer feature that would win me over if I were using another program and ultimately that’s what Cinema needs one of those days… If you get my meaning: The program is like a Volkswagen – solid and reliable, but in your dreams you still yearn for that Porsche.
Berlin is pretty crazy, BTW. Hadn’t been there in ages, but it’s amazing how the city has changed. And to me at least it has much more charme than Hamburg…