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Newb: is C4D right for me? Need a reality check.

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Steven Reid
Newb: is C4D right for me? Need a reality check.
on Jul 11, 2011 at 2:38:29 pm

Greetings. New user on Cow. Long time editor on Sony Vegas. Computer savvy.

Now I'm looking to create and animate 3D titles, models, movie intro sequences, etc. I'm not an industry pro, this isn't my day job, but I am patient and I have more than tapioca between my ears that does respond to training.

I'm new to the 3D world, and I'm currently playing with Boris Red and Blue trial versions. I do see modest training materials, but Blue's last revision was several years ago.

What I do see is overwhelming recommendations for combined use of C4D and After Effects. User support for both seems to eclipse that for most other products. C4D seems to be recommended for its ease of use and manageable learning curve, compared to other professional 3D apps. I'm new to AE, too, but training materials and online resources for both seem voluminous. So, I'm taking hard look at learning both.

So, I need a reality check before I write a check, so to speak:
Am I nuts for taking on C4D and AE, even with (purchased) training, or is this really doable?

Also, am I correct to understand that one MUST use something like AE to carry on wiht a C4d render, i.e., rendered C4d animations are not dropped straight into an NLE?


For instance, sitting down for a few hours per night, working through examples, etc.? With Vegas, I just jumped right in. It looks like C4D and AE are quite different beasts.

Thanks for guidance.

-Steve


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Adam Trachtenberg
Re: Newb: is C4D right for me? Need a reality check.
on Jul 11, 2011 at 4:12:59 pm

Cinema, like most of the higher end 3D programs, is very deep, but I think you'll find you can get useful results in a relatively short period of time, particularly if you get a version with the MoGraph module (highly recommended for your purposes). If you search in the Cow tutorials, a gentleman who goes by the name Milenium (I think that's how he spells it) did a very good series of intro videos for MoGraph, with some AE mixed in.

You don't have to have AE to get results out of Cinema. You can render stills and movies directly and import them into Vegas. But if you have AE, too, there's a very good connection between it and C4D that allows you to export render passes, lights, cameras, and some animation to AE (but not the other way around). If you register at cineversity.com there is a good series of video tutorials in free content demonstrating the C4D>AE connection. Here's a link to the first part: http://www.cineversity.com/tutorials/lesson.asp?tid=1183


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Steven Reid
Re: Newb: is C4D right for me? Need a reality check.
on Jul 11, 2011 at 4:50:03 pm

Wow, many thanks for a quick and encouraging response, Adam. I'll check out the cineversity tut you recommended.

Follow-on Q to your remark about AE: Can Cinema be used to composite, or is that really the province of something like AE? Example: I create a 3D animation in Cinema. Now I want to add clouds (or whatever moving image from a video clip) to layer into the 3D scene. I've seen this done after export to AE. Can this be achieved in a Cinema project, too, or would I have to mask and composite within AE? This may sound nit-picky, I know, but I'm just wondering up front about a potential cash outlay for the tools I need.

Cheers,
Steve


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Adam Trachtenberg
Re: Newb: is C4D right for me? Need a reality check.
on Jul 11, 2011 at 6:46:34 pm

It's technically possible to do some compositing in Cinema, but it's not designed for that purpose. So I guess I would say no, it's not a real substitute for a compositing application.


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Owen Wexler
Re: Newb: is C4D right for me? Need a reality check.
on Jul 13, 2011 at 5:00:48 am

Here's a couple perspectives on Cinema from another relatively new user:

- 3D animation is a very different animal from 2D and 2.5D animation. Expect a high learning curve, especially if this is your first foray into 3D. Expect to get frustrated --- a lot. Don't give up.

- 3D takes FOREVER to render. This is a fact of life in 3D, especially if you turn up the anti-aliasing and global illumination, etc. Imagine the longest AE render you've ever had... that's the time spent on the PRE-PASS for a 3D render, before the actual rendering even starts. This will increase the time on your projects, and, if you are anything like me, you will tweak a 3D project even more meticulously than you ever did on any 2D or 2.5D project, because the renders are so long that once you commit to a render, going back is that much more costly and painful (and I have already, once, hopefully not again).

- Despite all this, 3D is a powerful tool for creating robust motion graphics and a good skillset to have, so hopefully I didn't discourage you with those last two points. It's good to know what you are getting into though.

- Get renders out of your 3D app as soon as possible and do as much as you can in AE or another compositing program. Any 2D or 2.5D compositing, color corrections, film grain, motion blur, etc. is better done in a compositing program - faster, easier, less render intensive, and if changes need to be made it would be a lot less painful. Your example with the clouds should absolutely be done in AE --- it would be faster to render, easier to work with and more flexible should changes need to be made.

- I highly recommend Lynda.com's Cinema 4D R11.5 training (a DVD of it can be found on Amazon), very helpful in learning the basics of Cinema. The Cinema 4D Artists' Project Sourcebook is also a great read. Also check out Greyscalegorilla.com - it is a fantastic resource for Cinema 4D much like Video Copilot is for AE.

- I'm rendering a C4D project as I type this.

Cinematographer - Editor - Motion Graphics Artist - Colorist

http://www.owenbwexler.com


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Steven Reid
Re: Newb: is C4D right for me? Need a reality check.
on Jul 13, 2011 at 12:15:17 pm

Owen, I really appreciate your frank and detailed assessment of your experience and some realistic expectations. Honestly, my only real concern was the learning curve. I'm approaching this as a long term process, much as I did (and still do) with my background in video editing.

Believe it or not, for me one of several'selling points' of Cinema, and AE for that matter, is the enormous amount of training available. Yes, I located materials on Lynda.com. (Is your recommendation of the 11.5 materials because you own that version of Cinema? A training series for 12 also exists.)

Thanks again for the comments.

-Steve


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Shawn Miller
Re: Newb: is C4D right for me? Need a reality check.
on Jul 13, 2011 at 3:38:11 pm

Hey Steve,

Sorry for jumping in on your question to Owen, I didn't know if you've seen the C4D and AE integration tutorials on Lynda.com, but they're both very good. Also worth noting is that the author of those tutorials (Rob Garrott) often co-hosts a live chat on Cineversity Live every Wed @ 11:00am PST. (http://www.cineversity.com/live/). It's a good opportunity to get some of your C4D questions answered in a live format.

http://www.lynda.com/CINEMA-4D-11-tutorials/cinema-4d-designing-a-promo/605...

http://www.lynda.com/CINEMA-4D-12-tutorials/CINEMA-4D-Rendering-Motion-Grap...

And in case you haven't seen them, videocopilot.net also has a few 3D/AE integration tutorials (http://www.videocopilot.net/tutorials/3d/)... though, I think only one of them is C4D centric. If you're new to AE, VCP is really one of the best resources for beginners. Between the Cow, VCP and Lynda, you can really get a good grip on AE and C4D in a fairly short time... I wish they had all been around when I first started learning motion graphics and VFX. :-)

Thanks,

Shawn



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Owen Wexler
Re: Newb: is C4D right for me? Need a reality check.
on Jul 13, 2011 at 11:51:01 pm

No problem, glad to help.

I have 12 as well but the 11.5 training was all I could find a few months ago and I figured it would apply just as well to 12 for the basics.

I'll give some of these other links mentioned here a look also as I am still pretty new to C4D myself.

Cinematographer - Editor - Motion Graphics Artist - Colorist

http://www.owenbwexler.com


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Tim Shetz
Re: Newb: is C4D right for me? Need a reality check.
on Jul 13, 2011 at 4:20:16 pm

You can also check out my site:

C4DTraining.com

There are tutorials starting from the very beginning to get you familiar with the interface as well as the tools.

Depending on where you are located, there are also classes offered. Sometimes attending a class can be helpful because you can ask questions as you are learning and get an immediate response.

Tim

__________

Tim Shetz
c4dtraining.com


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Steven Reid
Re: Newb: is C4D right for me? Need a reality check.
on Jul 16, 2011 at 2:08:56 am

Folks, I'm truly grateful for the warm welcome here and outreach with sources of training (I was away for a few days and couldn't thank you sooner). Once I get up and running, I'll probably be back with substantive questions. :)

Cheers,
Steve


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Tim Shetz
Re: Newb: is C4D right for me? Need a reality check.
on Jul 16, 2011 at 2:44:28 am

You are certainly welcome. Have fun!!!

__________

Tim Shetz
c4dtraining.com


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