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Is C4D the best for Character Animation?

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Hello,

Currently I'm making an animated music video with 3D characters. I chose to use C4D. I'm coming from the motion graphics world and have grown very comfortable with it. I also have a lot of experience with character animation in Maya though, so I'm not sure I made the right choice.

 

Here are the strengths I see in Cinema 4D for my needs:

  • Character Object for rapid rigging
  • Better Octane implementation
  • Arguably more stable (though I'm getting a lot of plug-in related crashes)
  • C-Motion for walk cycles
  • The Interaction Tag enables an intuitive way to interact with rigs
  • The Pose Morph tag is incredibly powerful and easier than working with Blend Shapes in Maya (in my opinion)
  • I prefer the Weight Manager to Maya's Paint Skin Weights

 

I'm missing these things about Maya:

  • GPU-accelerated Viewport (bound rigs seem sooo much faster in Maya)
  • More community animation tools (aTools, poseLibrary, bhGhost)
  • Industry standard for finding other animators if need be
  • Better UV editing
  • More online education

 

I wanted to ask you all what keeps you animating with C4D? I think maybe I don't have the production experience/wisdom yet to understand if I made the right choice. Thanks.

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Hi.

 

You may well have more experience than many here regarding character animation in Maya so you would honestly have the best comparison between the two.

 

Iv been tempted to look at C motion but have been so busy in learning character rigging  and expresso this year , NLA system last year which help me get though a character commercial animation in May 2018.  Pose morph which thankfully is now fix for its PSR corrective morphs is indeed very powerful, and even more so when rigging with 3 rigs to create IK blending, saves so much time.  I have see the weighting in Maya and its does look very nice, but to Maxons credit they did a super job in the r19 update for weighting.

 

GPU viewport, this is where things do get harder in C4D which is why Maya is much better for larger productions, however the LOD helps in C4D introduced in r19.  For storing poses I use NitroPose plugin, this is also good for mirror switching, but C4D should have this nativly without doubt. I also use Delta Mush plugin  that Maya has.   Maya plays well with all industry pipelines, and others whom work in this field and thats one very good reason to stay with Maya if you have access to it.  I guess if your working solo, and get the same job done faster, or enjoy the process more in one app over the other then go with that. 

 

Uv editing, yup, I stick to Unfold3D.  Education wise plenty for Maya in CA hardly any for C4D and if you own Cinevercity then you will at least get Bret Bays videos which are a must, and the best out there.  Being that he built the Character Tool rigs, he knows rigging inside out and has experience in Maya.  My first rigging experience was in XSI, then in Max, I then done more rigging within MODO, then finally moved to C4D.  So far C4D has the best balance for me where I can take things as far as technical my skills allow me, yet there is always more to discover and learn.

 

Im not a out n out animator, but have done some, and got through some commercial projects, so nothing stops me from animating in C4D.  I think most of C4D user base are motion graphic artists, and only touch  character based stuff the odd time here and there.

 

Dan

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sounds like you already know the pros and cons...

i think it all comes down to what you want to do, for instance if you are going to have scenes with dozens of characters all interacting with each other it will get tough in c4d. if the video contains a lot of mograph elements and stuff then that's another thing to consider, maybe c4d would be the better choice then.

 

i'd say if you feel more comfortable in c4d, just go with c4d. there's not much maya can do that c4d can't do in character animation and rigging, it's just much harder to find tutorials, scripts and plugins related to character animation in c4d since it's not it's core area. but if you really need help with the project it will be much tougher to find.

 

regarding your questions what keeps me animating with c4d? i just feel comfortable with the application and i also don't just do character animation. for the work i do i feel that it's the best choice overall, and although i do a lot of character animation, as a hobby and also commercially every now and then i didn't really feel the need yet to switch to maya. no doubt it would be the better choice if i would just do CA exclusively or if i was looking to get employed, but i don't. i'm a freelancer, i do graphics design, motion graphics and character animation for a living, and since c4d character animation people are rare it would be somewhat foolish to switch to maya, at least from an economical standpoint, i feel like this is a pretty good niche nowadays.

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I have made a lot of rigging in C4D. (I also made character animation in C4D and Maya) I will't plan to learn Maya rigging for the time being. I will learn python in the next step, and I will make some automated Assembly plugins and scripts (if all goes well, I will share)

https://vimeo.com/kangddan

It's really difficult to make rigging with C4D. People around you will advise you to learn Maya, you need to be prepared!
 

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8 minutes ago, kangddan said:

I have made a lot of rigging in C4D. (I also made character animation in C4D and Maya) I will't plan to learn Maya rigging for the time being. I will learn python in the next step, and I will make some automated Assembly plugins and scripts (if all goes well, I will share)

https://vimeo.com/kangddan

It's really difficult to make rigging with C4D. People around you will advise you to learn Maya, you need to be prepared!
 

Amazing rigging, and animation thanks for showing your work, we could do with more people like you and everfresh here as the rigging, character community is so small, and id like to see more around here to share their knowledge on this subject.  

 

Dan

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Thank you all for your replies.

 

@Rectro Thank you for the tips. I need to check out Unfold3D. I used to use UVLayout, which was good, but the installation process was surprisingly brutal. Best wishes for your character rigging  and Xpresso studies! 

 

@kangddan, that is beautiful and inspiring work.

 

@everfresh, you made some good points: particularly with regards to the C4D animator niche. When a motion graphics client needs a character animated and their studio has only C4D licenses, this does seem like a great opportunity.

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I do a ton of character animation these days in C4D and see of use is my main reason because I am a one man operation. Maya seems to have to bulk of the work for professionals, however. The community here is one good reason to use C4D for anything, it's pretty amazing how helpful and encouraging this forum is. I have been learning blender for budget reasons mostly and it has a ton of features but the interface is still pretty daunting compared to Cinema and it's a pretty niche software, that that might be hanging as they are about to release a new version with radical interface changes. 

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There's pros and cons to both packages. Ones better in some areas, another better in other areas. I work in both, and I like both for different reasons. 

 

For me it boils down to a couple of things: I think animating in Cinema is better and easier. But slower than in Maya. Maya has better playback speed for sure. 

 

I like Cinema more. It's capable, just a little slower. Animation is animation, it's pretty agnostic. Films have been made without tools like you mentioned. It's keys and poses at the end of the day. 

 

For what it's worth, I did Animation Mentor back in 2009-2010, and me and Kai re-rigged all the characters(Kai did most of the hard work) and completed the 18 month program using only Cinema 4D. So it's definitely capable. 

 

Just use whatever you're most comfortable and most efficient with. 

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On 9/21/2018 at 8:32 PM, Rectro said:

  I have see the weighting in Maya and its does look very nice, but to Maxons credit they did a super job in the r19 update for weighting.

You sure about that :-)

 

I have a devil of a game with the mirror weights. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't...

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Since you are from Maya you might want to go back and forth between Maya and C4D.  For this using the late great Cactus Dan's tools would be the best choice.
Cactus Dan's Tools

C4D's character animation tools can do things.  It can be hard to do things with them as playback of an animation of length gets going really slow.  As of now in R20 there is a bug that will make the animation slower based on how many joints are in the scene even if the joints have no animation.  The big problem is this lag gets longer the more frames of animation there are.  Your only way to then render out a long animation on a farm is to export the whole thing to alembic before rendering, which is a pain.  C4D updates themselves have been lagging like crazy the past few years so any chance of an update to character animation or anything really is probably not going to happen.  I'd just about call C4D dead software with how slow the updates are coming.  If I didn't know it so well I'd not be using it now.  For someone new I'd advice against learning it.  Go with Houdini and Blender.  With those two pieces of software you can do amazing things for way less than the MSA of C4D.  The only reason I hear a lot of people use C4D now a days is Xparticles and Mograph.

 

Houdini's character animation tools seem to be good from some of the videos I've seen.  In Houdini it's also possible to have a complex cloth simulation with a character without having to use Marvelous Designer.  Xparticles cloth would be good to use with a character if it was possible to get it to calculate after a deformation, but it's impossible.

 

 

 

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