The correct answer to the question if there is a full free version of Cinema 4D would be “Yes, but …” or “No, but …” depending on your point of view.
Cinema 4D is a commercial software for 3D modeling. It is considered by many as an industry standard on the same level as software like Maya or 3ds Max. Additionally, its ease of use makes it an intuitive software to get beginners right on the job, with a strong set of tutorials and a large community to back them up.
Moreover, Cinema 4D’s wide array of features makes it a versatile tool. It is used across a wide range of industries: special effects, computer-animated feature movies, graphic design, architecture, and others. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that the full version of Cinema 4D is not free.
Luckily (here’s the but), there is are fully functional Cinema 4D free trial versions for you to test before you buy it. Moreover, Maxon offers a full version of Cinema 4D for free to students. Just in case the price tag is out of your budget, check out the best free Cinema 4D alternatives.
First of all, any interested user can get a 42-days Cinema 4D free trial version from Maxon’s website.
Maxon offers free Cinema 4D licenses to students. This enables you to get a quick and easy start in 3D graphics to learn the same tools professionals use in their daily work.
The complete version of Cinema 4D is called “Studio” and it is marketed for use by VFX specialists in need a full-blown state-of-the-art 3D modeling suite.
Therefore, the price of $3,695 comes as no surprise. But this doesn’t mean you have to spend this much dough to acquire a license of Cinema 4D. Be aware that short-term licenses for Cinema 4D Studio are available. They can be purchased for 3 or 6 months, costing $600 and $1,100 respectively. However, if you do decide to upgrade to the perpetual license, 75% of the short-term license fees will be discounted from the final price.
Apart from the Studio version, Maxon has also identified tools and workflows within the program that are useful for specific fields. All these subsets of Cinema 4D offer the general workflow and modeling tools from the Studio product.
For a detailed overview of the different versions, read the comparison chart.
Geared at architects and designers, Cinema 4D Visualize provides advanced shaders for sketch and toon art, sub-polygon displacement and even a terrain mask shader. It also includes a CAD importer and architectural objects. In terms of camera settings, it brings lens distortion and spherical camera support to the table. Equipped with Visualize, you have everything you need to produce stunning images and animations of your designs.
Cinema 4D Visualize costs $2,295.
As the name suggests, this subset of Cinema 4D is intended for designing dynamic broadcast graphics. It offers the entire toolset of MoGraph features from the full version of Cinema 4D – including the enhanced Voronoi fracturing tool.
Cinema 4D Broadcast costs $1,695.
Graphic designers work with a broad palette of tools. It is the gateway to professional 3D graphics. If you are looking to add 3D modeling to yours, Cinema 4D Prime is definitely worth a closer look!
Cinema 4D Prime costs $995.
Already got a license that needs upgrades? Get the latest version of Cinema 4D R2, the next release for free and the Cineversity for $1695.
For absolute beginners, students and those migrating software, it might come handy to know that a bunch lot of information and tutorial are available for free. Cinema 4D seeks to get you hands-on with your creativity, offering a Cinema 4D Introductory Tutorial. This comprises 20 videos with lengths between five to 20 minutes.
For deeper tutoring check the Online Learning Cineversity, listing some online training resources. Get the full set of online training videos for $295 for regular users or the training videos and plugins at $95 for students. For a 1on1 live hands-on training, get involved for $60/hour.
If you are looking for ease of use, Cinema 4D may be the right program for you, as it is famously intuitive to pick up. Powered by OpenGL, real-time viewport of this 3D modeling software baffles with depth of field and screen space reflections making it easier to control these effects efficiently. Because this view looks so damn good, Cinema 4D lets you export preview renders so you can submit them to clients for approval. To increase the overall rendering speed, Cinema 4D features a LOD tool that simplifies objects based on their distance to the camera and other factors.
The newest releases of this 3D modeling software improve the weight painting workflow significantly by adding it possible to mirror the work from one side of a character to the other. In addition, it has become easier to integrate live footage seamlessly with 3D animated objects. A feature called Scene Reconstruction creates colored point clouds and geometry based on tracked features enabling you to marry both components precisely.
Cinema 4D includes a visualization library consisting of a large selection of textures, presets and architectural objects you can use to dress your scenes.
There are multiple ways to tackle animation in this 3D animation software. It comes with a large array of intuitive tools for character animation. For instance, record your mouse movement as position data. You can choose between forward and inverse kinematics. You can also set up cyclical movements, such as walking, with a parametric tool. Last but not least, add a muscle system to create naturally flowing movements.
In addition, it offers a large toolset of MoGraph features that allow you to create animations of dynamics and particle forces. These can come in handy when creating motion graphics for graphics or abstract art.
It is comparatively easy to create photorealistic effects with Cinema 4D thanks to the built-in comprehensive simulation tools. Among these are tools to simulate aerodynamic forces and cloth. Tools that generate feather objects, hair shading, and other complex objects make this 3D modeling software a go-to solution for industry professionals.
If the price tag beginning only a few bucks shy of one grand is out of your range, there are a number of free solutions that offer comparable features. Most notable among them are Blender, Sculptris, and SketchUp.
To learn more about free 3D modeling software, check out our article, 30 Best Free CAD Software Tools 2019 (2D/3D CAD Programs)
However, if these programs simply don’t cut it for you, consider these free or commercial alternatives to Cinema 4D: Best 3D Design/3D Modeling Software 2019 (15 of 30 are Free)
Blender is a professional open-source and free 3D modeling software for creating animated films, visual effects, art, interactive applications, video games – and 3D printed models. Blender’s dizzying array of features includes 3D modeling, UV unwrapping, texturing, raster graphics editing, rigging, and skinning, fluid and smoke simulation, particle simulation, soft body simulation, sculpting, animating, match moving, camera tracking, rendering, video editing, and compositing. In addition, this free 3D modeling software features an integrated game engine.
In terms of modeling, it is noteworthy that 3D design software Blender includes sculpting capabilities similar to Mudbox or ZBrush. This free 3D modeling software provides a number of tools and modifiers that ease the creation of meshes intended for 3D printing – including a solution to repair meshes.
Blender is not suited for beginners, but if you are not turned off by a steep learning curve and search for one of the best free 3D modeling software that is a jack of all trades, you have found it.
Clara.io is an impressive browser-based free 3D modeling software. It includes all the common modeling tools for polygon modeling, like extrusion, beveling, slicing, cutting, and looping. In terms of texture maps, you get UV mapping. Pretty much everything you need for basic 3D modeling purposes.
But Clara.io goes beyond the functionality you would expect from a browser 3D modeling software. For instance, the rendering does not need to shy away from many desktop programs. It includes V-Ray, that allows you to light your meshes using an HDR image and many other nifty tricks. In case you want to create computer animated movies, Clara.io is even the right tool for that. As it supports basic keyframe animation.
One of the many useful features of this free 3D modeling software is collaboratively working on projects. Similarly to Google Docs, you can add other Clara.io users to the scene that can then modify the file. Every change made is automatically synched between the accounts, this means other users get to see the scene transforming before their eyes instantaneously. This allows for a truly collaborative experience.
SketchUp is used for visualization and planning in a variety of industries spanning architecture, interior design, urban planning, engineering, and construction.
What strikes the first time user of SketchUp at once is the neat and tidy interface. There are not many buttons that can boggle beginners trying to understand the free 3D modeling software. It is easy to grasp the basic principles behind this free 3D modeling software, making it possible to create simple 3D printable models from scratch within the first few hours of learning. This is thanks to some intuitive tools that allow navigating and sculpting accurately in 3D view.
However, the biggest asset SketchUp has is probably the large community contributing plugins (both free and commercial) that extend the base program’s feature-set. Hence, this 3D modeling program can be used in almost any kind of application between concept design, special effects and even BIM (building information modeling).
License: The text of "2019 Cinema 4D Free Download – Is There a Free Full Version?" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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