11 best Cinema 4D tutorials

Amazing Maxon Cinema 4D techniques and tutorials to help you learn new tools, texturing, lighting, typography and more for 3D animation, modelling and rendering.

Maxon Cinema 4D is the most popular professional-level 3D software. It has powerful and precise modelling tools, a flexible texturing system, intuitive animation and the abilty to render in systems from photorealistic to cartoon.

Cinema 4D is easier to learn than other 3D tools if you're used to other creative applications from Photoshop to After Effects – and in After Effects CC, Adobe has even built-in a pipeline between AE and C4D that makes it easy to create 3D elements in Cinema 4D as part of a motion graphics or VFX project.

So whether you're new to Cinema 4D or an old hand, looking to produce static artworks, highly-crafted 3D type or dynamic animations, check out these 11 brilliant tutorials from leading CG artists and animators.

Best Cinema 4D tutorials: Create bright, shiny textures in Cinema 4D

In this Cinema 4D tutorial, Italian artist Emilio La Mura details how to texture and render objects with a brilliant shine.

You will use boole and spline wraps for modelling, create shiny reflective textures, learn how to place the three-point lights making up the scene, and the create a perfect render

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Best Cinema 4D tutorials: Create 3D type formed of plasticine

In this tutorial for Cinema 4D, Jenue explains how he created the letter B from his gorgeous plasticine alphabet series.

He begins by explaining how you can transform what starts as a simple idea – here, Jenue was inspired by primary and secondary colours, as well as organic materials and shapes – into a unique, eye-catching finish via a simple-to-follow modelling, sculpting, texturing and lighting processes. 

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Create realistic gold 3D type

Taking typography off the page and hand-crafting letterforms using non-digital scupltural materials and textures is very popular currently.

Here Polish graphic designer and illustrator Peter Tarka looks at how to model, light, compose, texture and arrange 3D type that looks like it’s made of gold.

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In this tutorial you will learn how to craft 3D type using a bunch of tricks Cinema 4D has to offer from South African designer and animator Jean-Pierre Le Roux.

In Cinema 4D, you’ll learn how to use the Mograph module’s Cloner to speed up modelling processes. You’ll also learn how best to use the Sweep NURBs modifier, which is my right hand man in most of my work.

Jean-Pierre explains how to create a studio stage for our type to live in, from where you’ll move onto adding lights to the scene to achieve beautiful renders.

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Give a 3D Scene a bubblegum shine

In this tutorial, Murilo Maciel reveals the process he used to create this contemporary and playful piece for the KidShannon division of the representation agency Shannon. It features a composition of 3D objects, with a feel somewhere between the plastic used for kids toys and the shiny slickness of bubblegum.

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Cinema 4D for beginners

Cinema 4D is the natural 3D suite for designers and illustrators, who are used to Adobe’s Creative Suite/Cloud tools. Indeed, its interface has much in common with Adobe’s UI. Here Swedish 3D artist Jean Pichot takes you through creating your first 3D scene in a way that’s tailored towards the Cinema 4D newcomer who is already familiar with Photoshop or Illustrator.

Jean provides step-by-step instructions on how to use Cinema 4D’s interface, but still leaves you lots of scope to play with the look and settings of the graphic elements – so you’ll learn through experimenting and create an end product that’s your own.

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Use 3D to create colourful abstract art

This tutorial explains how you can easily transform a simple 3D abstract render into a big and colourful illustration. Using simple techniques in Cinema 4D, along with some handy Photoshop tricks, German digital artist Nicolas Monin-Baroille will guide you through the creation of his work, Project X.

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Create liquid 3D type

The use of CG in type-driven illustration is growing in popularity. With easy transitions between 3D suites such as Cinema 4D and Adobe’s Creative Suite, the possibilities are endless. Cinema 4D also supports high-end plug-ins such as RealFlow, which enhances your depictions of liquids. In this tutorial, we’ll look at how to generate 3D type, apply realistic materials and lighting, and polish it in Photoshop.

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