My 3D Journey

I’ve been doing 3D computer animation in one form or another since 1996, and have used most 3D programs out there. I started out on 3D Studio 4. This is not 3D Studio Max, but this was back in the DOS days. Ahh DOS. What a simpler time. Anyway, those who know me know that I like to jump around from thing to thing whether it is majors in college: Communication Design, BCIS, Communication Design, Photography, BCIS, General Business, and Management or in 3D applications. Yes, I did change my major that many times. I graduated with 167 hours in 4 years. Go Figure. I like to try the latest and greatest, if I can, whenever a new application comes out, but there is really only one 3D application that I keep coming back to when I need to work.

Cinema 4D Logo

Yes, I use Cinema 4D for my 3D modeling and animation needs. I have tried to move on to other applications, but I just can’t seem to leave this one behind. Like I said, I started doing this in 1996 when I build a house in AutoCAD, exported it to 3D Studio, textured it, and animated a walkthrough. I wanted to study special effects in college, but could not afford to go out of state. I played with 3D Studio Max when it came out, but could not afford it, so my 3D days were limited in college. After graduating and getting a job, I decided to revisit 3D.

I looked around for something somewhat powerful and affordable and came across Plasma by Discreet. Since Discreet also made 3D Studio Max, I gave it a shot and really liked it, but I was not totally satisfied with the experience so I decided to find something better. It just so happens that I saw this relatively inexpensive program called Cinema 4D 7 made by a company named Maxon. They are a German company, but there was this deal where if I ordered version 7, they would send me a free upgrade to version 8. Well, that was just too good of a deal to pass up, so I ordered it. The problem was, Cinema 4D wasn’t really used much over here at that time so tutorials and information was hard to find. Even when version 8 came out, I had such a hard time finding my way, I got discouraged and started looking for another program.

The next stop was Lightwave. Oh Lightwave. Well, I did some looking and really liked the amount of commercial work that was produced with it. I don’t exactly remember what really stood out, but I remember seeing Jimmy Neutron on the example page, and I believe there was a Star Trek reference or two. Well, that was it. Andy was going to learn Lightwave. And I did. I went out and purchased a copy along with the $100 printed manual that came in a 3 ring binder. I was set. Man was Lightwave hard. There are 2 parts, Modeler and Layout. I couldn’t render in modeler to see what I was doing. The interface was ugly. But, I was determined to learn it because it was used on Star Trek. So, I decided to enroll in my local community college.

I ended up taking a total of 3 courses in Lightwave and really improved myself. I finally got over the hurdles of the interface and began making some nice artwork.

Ipod XM and Tape

While I was coming along quite nicely in Lightwave, I still had this copy of Cinema 4D (C4D) that kept gnawing away at me. I decided to look to see if there were any new resources out there before throwing away the program and totally committing to Lightwave.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that there were some new resources for C4D that I did not even know about. The first place I found is really one of the premiere sites for C4D tutorials and discussion. The C4D Cafe, run by 3D Kiwi, is an excellent site for all things Cinema 4D. I spent a lot of time learning from all the fine people on the forums and watching Kiwi’s tutorials. I also found my way to the 3D Attack website. This website is run by a group of people that produce a monthly magazine on Cinema 4D. Well, I started buying those and have every issue. But, perhaps the thing that really got me going in Cinema 4D was a book by Anne Powers, Cinema 4D: The Artist’s Power Sourcebook. This book is now in its second edition, and it, along with the two sites mentioned above really got me started in Cinema 4D.

So it has been a few years now that I have been pretty content with C4D, but the world cannot leave me alone. While I am committed to C4D, I have brought on another program or two to help me out. More on that later…