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Top 10 plugins for CINEMA 4D

MAXON's CINEMA 4D gets the top 10 treatment! Take a look at the must-have plugins currently available to take your experience to the next level...

MAXON's CINEMA 4D gets the top 10 treatment! Take a look at the must-have plugins currently available to take your experience to the next level...

CINEMA 4D has been around for donkey's years and it continues to provide industry useful features and tools

CINEMA 4D has been in existence in some form for a quarter of a century now and is truly a heavyweight in the modelling, animating and rendering market. At the time of writing CINEMA 4D has reached R17 and has an extensive tool set. MAXON (the creators) offer multiple versions of their software to give their customers flexibility in the tools that they have access to. This also enables them to offer lighter versions of their software at a more reasonable price point. As with every piece of visualisation software it benefits from plugins and today we're going to explore ten of those.

X-Particle

This plugin provides users with an impressive set of tools for particle visualisation. This is separate to the native CINEMA 4D particle system but has a full feature set to enable you to do anything you want. This makes it possible to create both fluids and gaseous simulations with one solution.

Create impressive simulations with minimal effort.

Vector Pro

This is similar to X-Particle in that this provides an improvement over the built in vector tools. They are even so bold as to claim that results can be achieved to ‘rival those produced in major standalone packages'. The creator, Paul Everett, has been a long time developer of plugins for CINEMA 4D and it's worth checking out all his plugins. This one enables you to easily vectorise images, movies and shaders in real-time amongst other things.

This plugin is built with C++ and is completely compatible for both PC and Mac.

EasyLine

This is a very simple and free plugin but it's useful to know it's there all the same! This is an incredible time saver in that it saves time rebuilding splines in new scenes. This tool allows for animating spline parameters which is particularly useful for those motion graphic visualisations where you want splines to attach to objects and follow along with them.

It's free, what more needs to be said! Thank you Slouchcorp.

RealFlow

RealFlow is primarily an out of the box fluid simulation piece of software. It is standalone and compatible with all major 3D platforms. So why am I mentioning it in an article about plugins! Well, RealFlow have provided a set of connectivity plugins which make going between CINEMA 4D and RealFlow a breeze for both PCs and Macs.

Create a connection between CINEMA 4D and RealFlow with this plugin.

V-Ray Renderer

If you want to use an external renderer then you have a stack of options but a lot of them require you to export out to an external standalone solution. V-Ray enables you to do everything from right inside the CINEMA 4D interface. It goes without saying that VRay is an established and proven renderer that is constantly being developed. It is therefore an excellent renderer to adopt.

VRay can be utilised from right inside CINEMA 4D

Arnold Renderer Exporter

As previously mentioned many of the renderers provide exporters to enable you to move seamlessly from CINEMA 4D out to their rendering engine. Arnold is one of these examples. Arnold provides an effective bridge between the two and gives support for objects, hair, splines and particles to name a few.

If you're not fussed about rendering inside CINEMA 4D then this could be a good solution for you.

MagicSnow

This is a relatively straight forward plugin and rather simplistic but you may find a use for it all the same. It enables you to set up a snow system which will fall on objects. There are more comprehensive particle solutions available to you but this simple solution will be of benefit to some.

Create snow with this fast and simple plugin.

Ivy Grower

This plugin made by Thomas Luft does exactly what it says it does. It enables you to grow ivy! I've included a link to a video tutorial which you'll find helpful during setup. Lawrence also provides a link to the plugin and to Thomas Luft's original plugin. Download it and create beautiful ivy!

Create ivy using this popular plugin.

Enhance:C4D

This minimally priced plugin gives you access to 178 procedural 3D and 2D shaders for CINEMA 4D. But that's not it! You can even animate all of the texture parameters enabling you to create some very special effects. There is also a lite version available for download on the website.

Make your shaders go further with this set of procedural shaders.

Window Generator

There are a load of tasks that visualisers have to go through on a daily basis which can become a bit laborious. One of those tasks is creating windows! This plugin lets you create and place tools in an intuitive and fast fashion. Obviously if you then want to add detail you can do that afterwards.

Speed up your workflow with this handy plugin.

Use your time wisely

However you use CINEMA 4D there are always going to be tools out there that will not only speed up your workflow, but also enable you to visualise more effectively. We've covered only a few but it's well worth keeping your ear to the ground and trawling trusted websites for up-to-date plugins. And if you can't find what you're looking for, maybe there's a market for you to create something unique!

Related links

Head over to MAXON's site
MAXON's shop
MAXON list available plugins on their site
Get help with installing plugins from Digital Sandwich
Check out this list of CINEMA 4D plugins