Upgrade to CINEMA 4D R18 and save up to 25%

Upgrade to CINEMA 4D R18 and save up to 25%

If you’ve been putting off upgrading your Maxon CINEMA 4D R15 to the latest version, CINEMA 4D R18, we’ve got a couple of offers on that should help ease the transition. Until 31st March, you can upgrade and save up to 25% on Maxon’s 3D software.

Any CINEMA 4D R15 owners taking out a Maxon Service Agreement (MSA) is eligible for a massive 25% off the normal upgrade price when going for CINEMA 4D R18. But even if you don’t opt for an MSA, you can still get 15% off.

The MSA is an annual licensing agreement for CINEMA 4D users that makes the whole purchasing process much easier, especially for companies working with fixed budgets – no more surprises when planning next year’s expenses. All upgrades are automatically sent to MSA customers immediately upon release. In addition to the most up-to-date software version, MSA participants also receive an annual subscription to Maxon’s Cineversity portal for tutorials, templates and plug-ins.

What’s new in CINEMA 4D R18

Not already been convinced to upgrade to CINEMA 4D R18 from R15? Here are just a handful of reasons which may sway you:

Voronoi fracture object – a native feature in the MoGraph toolset in Cinema 4D that works seamlessly with Dynamics. Allows users to tear down walls and create artistic procedural geometry using spline or polygon objects to define the fractured shape.

Interactive knife tools – enable users to draw lines across a model and tweak the cut with an interactive preview, then lock in new edges or split based on the cut; knife tools are available as separate commands for easy access to the desired mode via shortcut or Commander.

Object motion tracking – expanded tools for integrating your Cinema 4D creations into real-world footage, by replacing objects with your 3D designs.

Shaders and surface effects – advanced rendering tools for creating iridescent surfaces such as bubbles and oil slicks, for capturing shadows for more efficient compositing, parallax mapping for enhanced bump effects, and creating masks for worn edges using inverse ambient occlusion.

Substance engine integration – download compiled Allegorithmic Substances and utilise them to surface your Cinema 4D objects. This fully-integrated implementation offers outstanding workflow and flexibility, plus options to cache Substances on disk for better performance.

Want to know more about Maxon CINEMA 4D? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

 

Adobe at NAB 2016: Rounding up the latest video app updates

Adobe at NAB 2016: Rounding up the latest video app updates

Missed NAB 2016? If so, you may have missed Adobe’s announcement about upcoming updates to their core Creative Cloud for teams (CCT) video apps. So we’ve picked out the highlights below. And remember, existing CCT users will get the updates for free as soon as they are released…

The next Adobe Creative Cloud release will be available in early Summer and will bring with it, Adobe say, faster than ever media ingest and editing workflows in Premiere Pro CC and Media Encoder CC. There will be new VR Video capabilities in Premiere Pro, including field of view mode for spherical stitched media, and a new Essential Sound panel in Audition CC which they’re hoping will revolutionise the way you mix and edit audio projects. After Effects will also become more responsive, and there will be the usual performance and stability enhancements across all the Adobe video and audio applications.

While the announcement will be most relevant to users working with the core video apps, such as video editors and VFX artists, it’s handy to know that as an existing Creative Cloud user, you’ll have access to all these updates for free as part of your subscription.

The all-new Adobe video app features

Here are the features Adobe have picked as highlights of the upcoming summer release:

Editing immediately during ingest allows Premiere Pro CC users to get straight to work while importing their video and audio files in the background, and switch between native and proxy formats freely when using multiple devices. With initial support for Apple Metal and H.264 hardware decoding (Windows Intel Iris only).

Powerful proxy workflows in Premiere Pro CC and Adobe Media Encoder CC help editors work with heavy 8K, HDR and HFR media even on lightweight machines like laptops. Editors can work natively with high-resolution formats up to 8K – such as RED Weapon – or with a new workflow that creates lightweight proxies at ingest.

Enhanced Lumetri Color tools within Premiere Pro CC adds HSL Secondaries. This will help expand editors’ toolkit, making colour correction and adjustment easier for all filmmakers.

Performance improvements, like the new video and audio preview architecture in After Effects CC, deliver superior playback of cached frames for a smooth experience. You see overall efficiency improvements when interacting with the application while GPU-accelerated effects deliver faster rendering results.

Cinema 4D Exporter Improvements allow you to transition a project from After Effects CC to Maxon Cinema 4D with new export options. Animated 3D text and shape layers can now be saved directly into the Cinema 4D file format. Add depth and customisations to your text and shapes in Cinema 4D and changes are automatically updated in After Effects for a roundtrip 3D motion graphics workflow.

Easier and more efficient Character Animator includes a simplified puppet creation process that enables users to easily tag puppet layers and record multiple takes of a character’s movement. Users can animate puppets to respond to motion and trigger animation accordingly.

The new Essential Sound panel in Audition CC enables novices to mix audio content with professional results in a single panel. Modeled after the Lumetri Color panel in Premiere Pro, the Essential Sound panel provides simple controls to unify volume levels, repair sound, improve clarity, and help your video projects sound like they were mixed by an audio engineer.

Also new in Audition, Direct Export with Adobe Media Encoder enables you to export video projects with finished audio directly with Adobe Media Encoder, saving the trip back to Premiere Pro. All formats and presets are available, including formats which support re-wrap to minimise re-encoding video. Get full control over audio channel streams for multichannel audio formats, such as MXF, ensuring compatibility with your workflows and standards.

Quickly find Adobe Stock assets with new filtered search in Creative Cloud Libraries. Licensed assets in your library are now badged for easy identification, videos are displayed with duration and format information, and saved videos are linked to video previews on the Adobe Stock site. Adobe Stock will have enhanced connections with CC apps and new workflows to enable Adobe Bridge and Lightroom users to contribute to the Adobe Stock marketplace directly from within the application.

Want to know more about Adobe Creative Cloud for teams? Pop your details in the form below, give us a call on 03332 409 251 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Tutorial: How to insert 3D objects in After Effects

Tutorial: How to insert 3D objects in After Effects

If you’re looking to add photorealistic 3D content to existing footage, this tutorial from Adobe will show you how. Using After Effects’ Live 3D Pipeline and the included Maxon Cinema 4D Lite, you’ll be able to add 3D objects directly into your existing compositions relatively easily.

For more on Adobe Creative Cloud, check out 0ur Adobe Creative Cloud Hub or give us a buzz on 03332 409 251 or email Adobe@Jigsaw24.com

Video: Using Maxon CINEMA 4D with Unity 3D

Video: Using Maxon CINEMA 4D with Unity 3D

If you saw the latest version of Unity at SIGGRAPH and are now wondering how to fit into your current games development or 3D modelling pipeline, Maxon have at lease part of the answer. They’ve put together this video demonstrating the workflow between their flagship kit, CINEMA 4D Prime, and Unity 3D. 

Want to know more about what you can do with CINEMA 4D R15? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow us on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

After Effects CC users can save 40% on Maxon CINEMA 4D!

After Effects CC users can save 40% on Maxon CINEMA 4D!

When After Effects CC came out, one of our favourite new features was the inclusion of CINEMA 4D Lite, a stripped down version of Maxon’s CINEMA 4D 3D software that allowed you to create more complex motion graphics.

If using the Lite version has whetted your appetite for 3D work, you’ll be pleased to hear that anyone with a copy of CINEMA 4D Lite can now get 40% off the cost of an upgrade to CINEMA 4D Broadcast or CINEMA 4D Studio if you buy before August 30th and add in an MSA agreement. Huzzah!

Studio or Broadcast? 

Maxon have split CINEMA 4D into five different versions, each designed for a different type of graphics work. If you’re looking to add 3D elements to broadcast graphics, Broadcast is for you – it uses a lot of the same tools as traditional 2D graphics packages, but adds 3D tools and additional rendering options. The Studio version is a bit more involved, bringing in character tools, a physics engine, hair and more, so you can create character rigs and animations easily.

Take a look at CINEMA 4D Studio and CINEMA 4D Broadcast on our site.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

A video guide to rendering CINEMA 4D scenes with Qube!

A video guide to rendering CINEMA 4D scenes with Qube!

Want to speed up your rendering in Maxon CINEMA 4D? Here at Jigsaw we like to share our tips and tricks and, as we know 3D modelling and animation professionals like to learn visually, we put together this video guiding you through the process of setting up CINEMA 4D with a third-party render manager.

The latest R13 release of CINEMA 4D has been a big hit with major FX companies and individual designers alike – although the former might be keen to increase their rendering capabilities beyond what the built in NetRender offers. We used Qube! as an example but the process is effectively the same if you wanted to use another such as Royal Render or Deadline. Watch the video at the top or visit our YouTube channel for more tips, tutorials and product reviews.

For more information on CINEMA 4D and external rendering software, call us on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. You can also visit www.Jigsaw24.com to see our full 3D modelling and animation range, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or Like’ our Facebook page.

Speeding up rendering at the University of Glamorgan

Speeding up rendering at the University of Glamorgan

The University of Glamorgan were looking for a solution to improve render times on their animation courses. We helped them set up a render farm that would allow quick, collaborative rendering and reduce their workstation downtime. We also provided them with all the animation and rendering software they would need to give their students experience using industry-standard applications.

Eliminating downtime

Before coming to us, the university were using localised computers (i.e. not networked to each other) when rendering animation students’ projects. Each render had to be done on these individual workstations and so, while one machine was busy rendering, it was out of action, and any further design work would have to wait until the process was complete. On top of that, Glamorgan were also using external hard drives for backup, as there was no central server to store files on. This made collaboration difficult and working from home virtually impossible.

Glamorgan needed a solution that could render jobs from an entire class at once, and free up workstations so that students could make the most of their time on campus. They were also looking for a truly collaborative environment that would let their students work together on joint projects, sharing files across a network.

Finding a render management solution

Peter Hodges, head of animation at Glamorgan, gave Jigsaw24 a call and arranged a consultation with our 3D specialist, Ben Kitching, and together they looked at options for the university. They decided that Qube! (a render farm management system) would be the best solution for cutting downtime and allowing collaborative working. Qube! is able to handle thousands of student projects at one time, and its multi-threaded Supervisor tool would make management of the system easy. It would also provide support for a wealth of modelling and animation software and came with a number of application pipelines, including Autodesk 3ds Max and Maya.

The university had also invested in a set of render nodes (computer clusters that form the render farm). These were sent to Jigsaw24 HQ for a system preflight, which involved our engineers making a carbon copy of the disk that could be deployed across all of the other render nodes. We then went onsite to check the farm was running as it should by submitting a number of test jobs.

Software and training

Ben suggested an exhaustive arsenal of exceptional modelling and animation software to complement Glamorgan’s new outfit. These included professional 3D tools such as Autodesk 3ds Max and Maya, Maxon’s CINEMA 4D and LightWave, and plug-in rendering tools like V-Ray and iray. Softimage, Boujou, ZBrush, SketchUp Pro, Brazil and Renderman were also included, so students could add greater detail and effects to characters and scenes. We even supplied Adobe Production Premium, Apple Final Cut Studio and Logic Studio for integrating animation into broadcast workflows.

As part of the installation, we went to the university to configure all the software and, while there were a few initial teething problems in arranging licences for the university, Ben soon ironed them out. He then provided training for the staff at a time that was convenient for them, as well as adding onsite and remote support to the package so we would always be on hand to solve any problems with the system.

Efficient, collaborative rendering

The whole solution has allowed for greater collaboration between VFX and animation students. With the help of Qube!, their new render farm can now be managed more easily and run more efficiently – the Integrated Charting feature lets staff create reports on frame times and CPU usage right on the GUI. Qube! has allowed Glamorgan to push through jobs faster, and to save all their work on a single, central server without being tied down to rendering times.

The students’ experience of working on the new farm will set them in good stead for getting a job once they graduate. The Autodesk software we provided is something everyone starting out in animation will benefit from experience using. And a few of the more specific apps, such as Brazil, will really make the students’ CVs stand out to potential employers, as they will have a wider knowledge of different animation techniques.

Commercial potential

Glamorgan have even thought about the commercial advantages of their render farm, and aim to get the system turning a profit to put back into the university. Their new setup is powerful enough for outside companies to hire for rendering, even while being used by students. As a Citrix Silver Partner, Jigsaw24 have been looking at virtualisation technology options at Glamorgan to give companies secure, collaborative access to the render farm, while also allowing their students to work from home and have access to their applications, shared storage and render farm.

For more information speeding up render times, get in touch with us on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com

Tips for teachers: Demystifying 3D software

Tips for teachers: Demystifying 3D software

When it comes to CAD and 3D modelling there seem to be a never-ending supply of different applications out there, each trying to make teachers’ and students’ lives that much easier. While they all have their benefits, Elliott Smith (friendly 3D consultant) decided to put together a simple guide to help you choose between them.

First thing’s first, if you’re going to give students one piece of advice this September, I recommend telling them to visit Autodesk’s student portal. That’s because Autodesk (arguably the market leader in 3D right now) have decided to offer their software to students for free.

The process is simple: students just need to enter their student email address (one ending in .ac.uk) or have a faculty member sign them up, and can then download their choice of software. As well as a way to access the applications, it’s also a great place to post work, learn new tricks and make contact with peers. Of course, there are other helpful resources that you can direct students to, such as 3D forums, which all provide industry professionals with advice on aspects of a 3D workflow.

Once they have the free software, students will need to know how to get started. A good place to learn the basic interface is the Services and Support section of the Autodesk website. This lets you select an application and then navigate through video tutorials, relevant documents, receive updates and much more.

Ultimately, the type of software students will need is going to be prescribed by the course they are studying, with many of those applications falling into one of five categories (Engineering, Product Design, Built Environment, Multimedia (inc. Animation) and Games Design). But to give students a better idea of what software is out there and what each one can be used for, here’s a brief summary of the major contenders.

 

Application Summary Platform
Autodesk MayaMultimedia

Games Design

Maya is one of the easier pieces of software to understand and learn, and provides comprehensive tools for animation, modelling, visual effects, simulation and rendering. It is a great all-rounder that can be used for just about anything. A lot of film visual effects are done in Maya. WindowsLinux

Mac OS X

Autodesk 3ds MaxEngineering

Product Design

Multimedia

Games Design

3ds Max is perhaps the most difficult application to master. It has been around in different guises for years and has many features that make it incredibly versatile and powerful but also very complicated. Because of this versatility, it is used in a diverse range of industries, from games design to architectural visualisation. Windows
Autodesk 3ds Max DesignBuilt Environment There are two versions of 3ds Max: Max and Max Design. Max Design is used primarily for architectural modelling and designing, and has additional features that do not come with the other version. These include daylight analysis and BIM (Building Information Modelling), which allow architects to model a building and then analyse how it will function under certain circumstances. Windows
Maxon CINEMA 4DMultimedia

Games Design

Product Design

Built Environment

Engineering

CINEMA 4D has engineering, architecture and broadcast editions that are tailored to each specific need. Where it really excels is in animation. Using the built-in MoGraph toolset (made for creating motion graphics) is easy and delivers amazing results very quickly. The BodyPaint module also sets it apart from other applications as it gives you the ability to paint a texture directly onto a model. Without the need to arrange textures over specific co-ordinates, texturing your models becomes fast and more intuitive. CINEMA 4D is used heavily in both film and TV for these reasons and is a great option for most 3D needs. WindowsMac OS X
Mental RayRendering Plug-in Mental Ray is a rendering plug-in that comes free with most Autodesk 3D applications. The plug-in is used to design and apply materials to your models, add lights to a scene and much more. Mental Ray is not used to make models, only to give them the material that you want, such as a wood texture for the floor and paint finish to a wall. It’s a fairly complicated plug-in to learn but does yield fantastic results when you get a bit of experience. Windows
V-RayRendering Plug-in V-Ray is a separate render plug-in for 3ds Max, Maya, CINEMA 4D and a few other leading 3d applications. Like Mental Ray, it is used to apply materials and lights to a scene. In many industries, V-Ray is the standard choice of renderer as it is considered the best at generating photorealistic renders. V-Ray is packed with features that make it more than just a renderer and is highly respected within the industry. Depends on application it is being used on.
Autodesk MudboxGames Design

Multimedia

 

Mudbox is a digital sculpting and texture painting application that is used primarily in the game, film, television and design industries. Think of a lump of clay that you gradually sculpt into the final model: Mudbox works in a similar way but, instead of using a scalpel, you use a graphics tablet or mouse. It is very intuitive and is great for creating odd shapes or characters. Windows users have the option of a 32-bit or 64-bit version where as OS X users need to be working in 64-bit. WindowsMac OS X
Pixologic ZbrushGames Design

Multimedia

Zbrush is much like Mudbox and is used to create digital sculptures of unique characters for the games or broadcast industries. Zbrush has many powerful features and has a very elegant and intuitive interface that allows greater freedom and control. WindowsMac OS X
E-on VueMultimedia

Games Design

Built Environment

E-on Vue is one of the lesser known applications on the list but is actually great at generating organic scenes such as mountains, terrains, skies, trees, grass and anything else you might find in nature. It is very simple to learn and was used extensively in Avatar to populate their scenes with organic matter. WindowsMac OS X
Google SketchUpBuilt Environment

Product Design

SketchUp is great because it is free. There is a pro version thats adds more features for professional use but, for students, the standard version is a great place to start. SketchUp is probably the easiest of the 3D programs to learn. Architects love it because they can sketch out ideas for buildings very quickly and accurately. WindowsMac OS X
Nemetschek VectorworksBuilt Environment Vectorworks is a CAD (Computer Aided Design) application that is used by architects to design and analyse their buildings, but is considered to be one of the programs that is easiest to learn. One advantage over other CAD/BIM applications that Vectorworks has is that it is very customisable. If you are trying to re-design or renovate an old building, you can adapt Vectorworks to suit the specific requirement of the building and your workflow. WindowsMac OS X
Autodesk AutoCADEngineering

Built Environment

AutoCAD is probably the oldest application on the list and has been the benchmark for accuracy and precision. It is primarily used by engineers and architects for this very reason. Historically, it has been 2D but is increasingly integrating 3D elements into its features. Windows
Autodesk RevitBuilt Environment Revit is another application made for CAD and BIM. Revit helps architects and designers to capture and analyse early concepts and can then be used to design all aspects of the design process, right through to construction and handover. It is suited more to new builds rather than renovations and retrofitting. Windows-only. Windows
Informatix PiranesiRendering plug-in Piranesi is a rendering plug-in that architects use to produce initial concepts. It doesn’t try to be a photo-realistic renderer but instead excels at producing traditional sketch-like renders that both the building and architect trades still love. Windows and OS X. WindowsMac OS X

It is worth mentioning that most, if not all the non-Autodesk applications, have free trials available from their respective websites and generally provide plenty of support to get started.

If you want to find out more, give the team a call on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. To receive the latest 3D news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or Like’ our Facebook page.

How to tweak 3D graphics faster with After Effects and CINEMA 4D

How to tweak 3D graphics faster with After Effects and CINEMA 4D

Let’s say you have a teaser for a TV show in which clips from the next episode play on animated 3D screens. Each week, you have to replace the clips with ones from the next show to air. Traditionally, this would take hours of tweaking and multiple, lengthy renders – not much good if you’re working to tight deadlines.



However, the link between CINEMA 4D and After Effects lets you do the same thing in minutes. Here’s our guide to speeding up your 3D editing with After Effects.

Step 1

In your C4D project, open the Render Settings dialogue box. Go to the Multipass tab and select the passes you want to export, then go to the Save tab, select ‘Save as multipass image’ and set the target application to After Effects – this will ensure the passes are stored as individual layers in an After Effects-friendly compositing file.

Step 2

C4D exporting to after effects

Still in C4D, use the internal and external compositing tags to isolate any objects within the image you will want to work on later (to save them as object solids rather than positions, select ‘solid’ in the Tag Properties menu). Then go to the Buffer menu at the bottom of the screen and enable a buffer for each object. Each buffer will appear as a separate layer in After Effects, making it easier to manipulate your image.

Step 3

C4D scene imported and ambient occlusion layer

Once you’ve saved and rendered the project in C4D, open it up in After Effects. Each pass is stored as a separate layer, with the blending modes already set. C4D layers all normal passes for you automatically, but the odd special pass (in this case, ambient occlusion) has to be added manually. You can do this simply by dragging and dropping the file from the C4D Special Passes folder into your timeline.  Set the blending mode and then you’re good to go – just tweak the layers as you would in any flat After Effects project, and they’re applied to your entire 3D sequence in seconds.

Another advantage of the C4D/After Effects partnership is that all of your cameras and lights are imported too, so you can move footage between the two programs without losing any of the lighting effects or camera moves that you set up in C4D, no matter how much you edit the image.

Step 4

ae replacing video imported solids

Using the object solids you imported from C4D, you can isolate the elements you want to work with – in our case the footage on the screens. The good thing about being able to export object positions and solids is that the footage you place on the screens will be “glued” in place and behave as if it was part of the original C4D project. When the laptop moves, your footage will move with it. It also makes replacing content really simple – just select the solid you want to replace, then drag and drop the new content into its place.

Step 4 (and a half)

ae replacing video original video

If the new image isn’t the right size, you can edit it by going to the Edit menu, changing the measurement value to pixels and then entering the values for the original image. The new one will be resized to match.

Step 5

ae object mask for video monitor

Another useful thing about exporting object settings is that you can use them to create object masks which will automatically cut footage for you – in this example, one is used to make sure the footage on the monitor looks like it’s behind the laptop, giving the impression of a single, seamless piece of 3D work.


Once the new footage is in place, you can tweak it the way you would any After Effects project, meaning you can tell immediately if something doesn’t look quite right. Once you’ve got the animation looking its best, simply re-open the project in C4D and enjoy your seamless, renderless 3D animation!

ae adjusting specular highlights multipass layer

Although this tutorial focuses on After Effects, similar workflows are implemented in Cinema 4D for Motion, Shake, Combustion and Digital Fusion.

To find out more, call our 3D team on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. To receive the latest 3D news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or Like’ our Facebook page.

 

Maxon Cinema 4D plugin for After Effects

Maxon Cinema 4D plugin for After Effects

Maxon have recently made available the CS5 compatible plugin for Cinema 4D and After Effects.

The plugin features 64-bit native compatibility for Windows and Mac OS X to allow users of Cinema 4D to take full advantage of available hardware operating system performance for improved rendering and workflow efficiency directly inside the After Effects application.

Plugins available here

Email us for more information at sales@Jigsaw24.com or call our 3D team on 03332 409 306. To receive the latest 3D news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or Like’ our Facebook page. Visit our website Jigsaw24.com.