The announcement of CINEMA4D R13 has brought a lot of chatter to the CINEMA4D world, so I thought I would add my bit by talking about the less talked about features. A collection of small workflow improvements and little helpers that usually don’t make too many waves but that are, in my opinion, as important as the big guns.
For now, I will keep it to the Character animation tools, but I will expand later on with general features.
First, joints have a new falloff option, which will probably remind you of the old bones falloff. It uses the same falloff shapes as most deformers and Mograph effectors to apply an influence over a mesh. This is very useful to animate weighting, or simply weight joints to a mesh without actually doing any weight painting.
These falloffs can then be baked into actual weights, if needed.
Joints Icons Color
Joints icons can automatically take on the color set in the Basic tab of each joint. This makes a world of difference when working on a rig, since we usually deal with a long list of similar objects that all have the same icon. It is now very easy to visually identify which side of the rig which joint belongs to, based on its color. These icons are also reflected in the Weight tool and the Weight manager, making it also easy to identify weighting, since there can be a correlation between the color of the weights you see applied to the mesh, and the color of the joints weighted.
There’s a neat little addition to the Naming tool, in the form of the “$N” expression. Simply select a group of object, then add “$N” as a suffix, for example, and all objects will automatically be numbered in the order they appear in the hierarchy. It can also detect objects that are not within the same hierarchy and rename them based on selection only.
Pose Morph Folders
A little feature that makes a big difference as a workflow enhancer: folders created in the Edit mode now translate to foldable bars in Animate mode. This is extremely useful especially when dealing with long lists of morphs, or simply to arrange morphs based on either their type (position, rotation, UVs, Points, and so on…) or object area (fingers morphs separated by digits, for example).
Set Bind Pose
The Set Bind Pose can now be set and deform the geometry in its current state, by holding the Shift modifier when using the command. This is very useful either as a modeling tool, or simply to set a new mesh rest pose along with a new joint rest pose.
Some of you might be familiar with Zbrush joint deformations as a modeling tool, this is similar. Just pose the mesh the way you need it using joints, then set a new bind pose while holding the Shift key, and both joint and mesh will take this new rest pose. Removing the joints or deactivating the Skin object will show the mesh in its new rest pose.
The Spline IK has a new Relative mode, which will maintain the proportions of a its chain of joints when squashed or stretched.
This might seem small, but this is the most useful stretching mode of the Spline IK, because now the joints axes will always match your carefully aligned mesh edge loops, when stretched.
A new filter has been added to both the Weight tool and Weight manager. Very useful to isolate only certain joints (such as the left side of the body, for example). Once again, a nice workflow enhancement when working on complex rigs that contain a lot of joints.
Joints lists in the Weight tool and Weight manager can now be rearranged based on specific orders. Flat will display the joints list in the order which they were added to the Weight tag. Name will rearrange joints based on their alphabetical order. Hierarchy will rearrange joints based on their current hierarchy order (the Object manager hierarchy, that is). Another neat feature to keep organized when working with joints.
The Weight manager has a new option to round out weight values to specific increments. You can select any weight in the weights table, then round their values to either 1, 5 or 10 increments. This is a great feature to quickly clean the weight table and work with less confusing weight values.