New Pyro Feature in Cinema 4D

There is a new design explosive and flaming feature called Pyro in the 3D animation and modelling package Cinema 4D for both Mac and Windows.

I have been using Cinema for years – version 3 as I recall was where I started and it is now at version 25! I was blown away when it was only 3 and was stunned at what it could do – now the sky is literally the limit. If you want to have a look at some of the work done that relates to video and moving making, see the showcase below.

Anyway, if you are interested i the Pyro feature, Maxon has creative webinars on Mondays in December, as the Maxon Training Team shows you how to design explosive and flaming scenes using the brand-new Pyro feature in Cinema 4D.

In the first week it looks at the subject of Combustible techniques:

“When fire meets the fuel, the inferno grows. Ignite your creative sparks with Master trainers Lionel Vicidomini and Dustin Valkema as they take you through Pyro to help you set your designs afire with combustible techniques in Cinema 4D which are then simulated on the GPU or CPU”

Click here to register or find out more. And if you can’t make the time, all sessions are available for streaming after the event.

A crashed computer is more than just resurrecting documents, spreadsheets photos etc. Here’s a plan to help.

It will happen to everyone at some stage. It might not be tomorrow or next week or even next year, but happen it will, and when it does, you need to be a goof little Boy Scout.

Be Prepared.

What is this disastrous possibility you ask? Simple dear reader, a hard drive failure.

The thing is, whilst your data (documents, photos, spreadsheets etc) ARE of course valuable, when it comes to rebuilding a system due to a malfunction, then the time-consuming part is not resurrecting that data.

I bring this up, as just recently I have been through this ‘trauma’ with a trusty 6-year-old Dell biting the dust. This machine has rarely been turned off in that entire time and so has had a hard life, and probably lasted maybe a couple of years longer than I expected. (My previous Dell lasted 4 years. I have used Dell XPS machines for nearly 15 years now I believe and been very happy with them as a whole).

Let me explain exactly what my setup is, and that will give you a feel for what, if unprepared, an almighty task would lie ahead.

The “box” contains a single 4TB drive split into a pair of 2TB partitions with all of the OS stuff (Windows 10 Premium) on the first partition (Drive C) and applications on the second (Drive D). For data, I have a Seagate 8TB USB 3 drive connected.

There is 32GB RAM and 8 USB slots for peripherals, one of which goes to a powered 16 port USB hub.

Why so many USB’s? This is a partial clue as to why reconstituting a system can be so painful!

I have a lot of peripherals I use daily. An awful lot. Here is a list:

If any of the above are not directly plugged in (the mouse for example) then they have a corresponding USB dongle that needs a port.

There are a few other things I dabble with on occasion that also require ports such as Arduino and Rapsberry Pi electronics, and of course there are needs to get data off drones, cameras, phones and so on.

A number of these need device drivers and so of course when rebuilding a system, you need easy access to these.  I back these up in a separate folder, each with a sub-folder for the exact device and meaningfully named to aid in later identification.

Speaking of backups, I use a pair of Seagate Barracudas in a RAID array and powered by a Synology NAS system. I was put onto this by Adam Turner (of Vertical Hold – an excellent techie podcast – fame) and it was quite easy to setup and maintain on my network.

But it doesn’t there of course.

Back in the “old days”, we had floppy disks as masters to our precious programs – later to become CDs and then DVDs. Today everything is mostly downloaded as compressed files (ZIP, MSI and so on) and so to save re-downloading all of these (with exception), I save the masters of these to again separate folders, also meaningfully named.

The major exceptions are those applications that have a Control Panel type system such as Adobe Creative Cloud, Microsoft Office and Maxon where there is no EXE or ZIP file as such, and these systems automatically update, so all you need to do is re-install the master controller and log in.

But then you also have all the plugins and so on you have for these programs, and if you have a Loupedeck CT (if not why not!) the downloaded profiles this uses, which when you boil it down comes down to hundreds, if not thousands of macros and icon images in each profile.

I use profiles from SideshowFX by the way which are both well thought out and dare I say it, beautifully crafted.

So, now knowing all this, even with a fairly regimented storage system of the stuff I need to get a dead machine to rise from the ashes in the form of a brand new Dell XPS becomes a 2 day job, at least to get everything back to the way you want it.

My suggestion therefore is that if you have not planned a resuscitation routine, you do so with some alacrity! Even with the best plans in place, and assuming nothing goes wrong, it’s a bastard of a job, so best make it as easy as possible.

Footnote: What IS interesting is that before it died on the old system, out of the 2TB I had as the OS “boot drive”, I was down to less than 15GB free. The 2nd partition, the D drive, has around 40GB free out of the 2TB. With the new system setup, and almost identical in configuration, my C drive has over 600GB free and the D drive 900GB.

It goes to show how much “rubbish” is picked up as you go along doesn’t it, despite how many times you run disk cleaners, defraggers and so on.



Red Giant Trapcode Tutorial

I’ve been using Red Giant tools for years. Plugins like Trapcode, MagicBullet and Plural Eyes are staples that every serious filmmaker should have in my opinion. Even if you just get Red Giant Universe, you’ll open up a whole new world of creativity.

So, I thought it might be a good idea to regularly feature a Red Giant tutorial to show just what is possible with their tools. Admittedly, having Adobe After Effects is a necessity most of the time, but I am working on the basis that if you ARE a serious filmmaker, you already have this as a part of the Creative Cloud subscription. After Effects is, after all, treated as a definite must have.

If you don’t, and still want to follow these tutorials, you can get a trial version of After Effects at or as a part of the Creative Cloud system get the whole suit for AUD$79.99 per month or just After Effects for $29.99 per month.

For the first tutorial, I have chosen one forTrapcode Particular. Get a trial version from Maxon One here.

Tutorial: Cheap Tricks. Bring Inanimate Objects to Life

This Cheap Tricks episode focuses on bringing inanimate objects to life, and leaning on the tools to help you work fast.

Learn Hashi’s step-by-step technique for animating statues, replacing background elements and improvising your way through a visual effects shot captured on the fly. And find out what happens when he asks for some help from some friends along the way (most of them real)

Tools Used: Cinema 4D, After Effects

  • Simple Rope/Cloth Dynamics
  • Joints
  • Asset Library
  • Content Aware Fil

You can get a trial version of Cinema4D from and a trial of After Effects from


Demystifying Post-ProductionWonderful World Of Particles

Monday July 4th

Join the Maxon Training Team every Monday in July as we explore a wide variety of tools for creating particles in post-production, featuring Cinema 4D, Redshift, X-Particles, After Effects, Particular, Houdini, and Unreal Engine.

We’ll cover a brief history of particles, explore workflows for different situations, show unconventional creative treatments, and help you transfer your particle knowledge across multiple tools.

For the first week, Master Trainer and particle expert Lionel Vicidomini kicks off the series by looking at the variety of methods you can use natively in Cinema 4D to create and manipulate particles, including standard particles, forcefield, particles on a spline, and clever ways to use the MoGraph tools. You’ll see that Cinema 4D is a very capable tool for creating amazing scenes of dancing particles!

Register Here

Missed a session? Don’t worry, watch all the recordings here.

Free Maxon Training

Join The Maxon team every Monday in May, as the Maxon Training Team expand your Redshift knowledge by introducing you to new features and workflows, helping you create beautiful images, and render them faster!

But we need your help for this. In a fun and interactive series, our trainers are going to be sabotaged by you, the community! Each week, you will have the power to challenge the instructor by removing their ability to use a common tool in a normal workflow, forcing them to find creative workarounds to finalize their piece of work.

The idea behind this training series is to see how different artists work under pressure, and help you expand the tools you use in Redshift.

Join in the poll at the start of each week, and see Redshift experts Elly Wade, Dustin Valkema and Lionel Vicidomini share their creative process in real time. Watch them explore workarounds and find alternate innovative solutions, navigating the creative challenges set by you!


Missed a session? Don’t worry, watch all the recordings here.

Cinema 4D Quick Tip

I searched high and low where to set the proect dimensions as millimetres (it defaults to centimetres). You can set overall dimensions easily enough under Preferences, but changing the project to millimetres forever eluded me.

Finally I gave in and contacted the most excellent Maxon support people. Here is there answer…

To use own startup project settings or viewport settings you should create your own template.
This is a c4d file used to open a new file with specific settings already.
You just have to open a new file setup all your settings for a default new scene and save the file as “new.c4d” or “template.c4d” into your Cinema 4D userfolder.
All information about this topic you can find in our documentation:

Hope this helps someone!

Flight testing; DJI Air2S drone. Mastershots and Quickshots.

I’ve had the DJI Air2S for a few months now and been very careful about learning its nuances and foibles. I do NOT want a repetition of my Hervey Bay incident with a GoPro Karma, that due to a misleading battery warning system is now at the bottom of Hervey Bay in QLD along with its GoPro 6 and footage of a whale shoot while out with the famed fly fisher and guide, John Haenke.

Consequently, even though I am here in Australind in WA, just north of Bunbury 200km south of Perth where we are almost surrounded by water, forays over the briny have been minimal, and the local dog park has been the go-to place to learn how to fly this wonder of electronics.

So far and so good. No crashes, clipping of trees or other nasties to date. In the process, I have now gained the “feel” of the flying and my only gripe (still) is that with your average smartphone or tablet acting as the viewfinder, the Australian sun just blasts everything into oblivion and you simply have to rely on physically watching the Air2S itself to see where you are and what direction you are heading.

It also makes it difficult to change settings in the DJI Fly app, especially camera settings, but in reality, you can hardly blame DJI for this. I hope to have this fixed sooner rather than later with my design for a sun shade-cum-controller-holder well on the way in Cinema 4D. My major dilemma here is that the Adventurer 3 3D printer I have won’t do the physical size prints I need to do it in one piece, so I am working out how best to fix that via modularising the model before printing.

This will be added to the Lifthor Baldur controller mount I purchased (and I HIGHLY recommend this for the Air2S.

I do have a sunshade for my Samsung A71 phone, but that is out on loan at the moment with my younger brother who is evaluating my DJI Mini 2 with a view to purchase.

But back to the Air2S proper.

In my learning process so far, I now have the hang of the basic controls and the Mastershots Quickshots functions. If you are not aware, Quickshots are pre-programmed actions in the Air2S such as Dronie (the Air2S flies backwards whilst ascending and keeping the camera fixed on the pre-selected subject), Circle (the drone continues to circle a pre-selected object and Rocket (the drone lifts off vertically with the camera pointing straight down). There are another 3 Quickshots – Asteroid, Helix and Boomerang.

Another Mastershot variation is that of Hyperlapse. An example here is Circle whereby the drone flies around a circle with a selected object at the centre and takes photos to create a timelapse video. The interval, duration and speed can all be set by the pilot as well as the direction.

Other Hyperlapse options include Waypoints, Free and Course Lock.

The easiest option and the one I played with yesterday is called Focus Track and its accuracy blew me away.

In simple terms, you take off and let the Air2S hover at around 2 metres. There are 3 possibilities available, Spotlight, Active Track and POI.

In my case I simply drew a square around my image on the screen of my Samsung A71 in the DJI Fly app and instantly the Air2S recognised I was “the subject”.

From that moment onwards, no matter where I went, as long as it could follow it did. Up the street, around the cul-de-sac, back down the street, left into my driveway, walk around in a circle, dodge a tree and then back up the street again and the Air2S faithfully re-oriented itself via direction and height to make sure I was always at the centre of the video being recorded.

It eerily reminded me of the robot in Arthur C Clarke’s “City and The Stars” that followed at the Master’s shoulder no matter what!

Even at different heights, that 4K camera kept its eye on me, and the capability from a technical point of view is very impressive as you can see from the video. Notice in particular the drone’s avoidance of the tree branches as it keeps a safe distance and instantly re-orients itself.

So, this has been a major learning step – and a fun one to boot. My next attempt all being equal, as part of my Fitting Out A Boat For Video Shooting, is to get the Air2S to follow boat at slow speed, and then use the different Mastershot modes to get various types of footage. And of course trust that all goes according to plan, no batteries fail and after the flight, I can safely get the Air2S back on board without incident.

Along with the footage!

My trust is boosted by the fact that in over 2 years of playing with DJI drones (and other products from them such as the OSMO phone gimbal, RONIN dSLR gimbals, not to mention the RoboMaster EP Core robot, I have never had a failure).

And this is not a blatant advertising plug I promise. Simple fact.

Red Giant, Maxon Are Getting Married

In the “We Didn’t See That Coming But It Makes Sense” department, motion tool / plugin developer Red Giant and 3D software developer Maxon have announced they are getting married!

Or rather, the two companies have “reached a definitive agreement” to “merge under the media and entertainment division of Nemetschek Group. The merger agreement looks to “better serve the post-production and content creation industries,”

That’s how the press release describes it anyway.

In the release, the big wigs from each company had this to say:

This merger is a major milestone, not only for Maxon and Red Giant but also for the design industry as a whole,” said David McGavran, CEO of Maxon. “Our combined technology and knowhow have the potential to progressively reshape the content creation landscape for years to come.”

And Red Giant’s CEO, Chad Bechert seemed to agree:

The combination of our companies is an exceptional fit of people, culture and technology,” said Bechert. “We look forward to working together under a shared vision of how to design powerful and approachable software to serve creative artists around the world.

Apparently, all will be completed in January of 2020 after all the guff of regulatory approval is over and done with. It shouldn’t affect Aussie users too much as both companies are represented here by Sydney based Adimex.

By the way, here at Australian Videocamera our 3D guru Denby Smith has put together a 2 part (so far) in-depth tutorial into using Cinema 4D. If you’d like a copy (which in effect is the last 2 editions of the PDF e-version of the magazine), simply email me at

You can get a trial, fuly working version of Cinema 4D for Mac and Windows from Maxon.

Introduction: Cinema 4D 3D modelling, CGI, animation software

by Denby Smith

Denby Smith is an experienced modeller, animator and film maker. Over the following months, he will be bringing a comprehensive tutorial on using Cinema 4D from German company Maxon in easy-to-follow lessons that explore all facets of the software, building to a completed model at the end.

Here is the introduction

You can get a trial version of Cinema 4D for MAc and PC at

The realm of Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI), 3D modelling, animation and rendering is traditionally one beyond reach for most videographers, let alone production budgets! Am I right?

Still, the potential benefits of implementing 3D design elements in video production are so great, that videographers and small production teams can come under pressure to generate custom 3D content within a restrictive budget, both fiscal and temporal. Given the complexity of the process, it is time consuming and often unaffordable. However, that doesn’t mean that creating your own 3D content is unachievable, especially these days.

Enter CINEMA 4D, a powerful 3D modelling and animation software package from German company MAXON. Originally developed for Commodore’s, sadly missed, Amiga platform under the name FastRay and released in 1990, CINEMA 4D began releasing on PC and Mac in 1996 with 1997 seeing the last release for the struggling Amiga.

Nearly 30 years on and MAXON has firmly established its place in the high-end 3D modelling and animation industry alongside Lightwave, 3Dstudio MAX and Blender, releasing the latest build last year, CINEMA 4D R-20.  The good news is that CINEMA 4D is intuitive and easy to pick up, once you have a grasp on the basics.

C4D offers modelling standards like Parametric, NURB, Spline, Polygonal and Sub-d modelling tools, but also has a unique array of impressive procedural tools for rapidly generating extremely complicated models and animations at reduced labor and processing cost.

BodyPaint 3D is included, which allows painting directly onto UVW meshes and R-20 sees the addition of a node-based material editor.

A powerful physics engine is incorporated allowing complex, dynamic simulations and interactions. C4D is capable of generating photo realistic images utilizing Real World, Physically Based Lighting, Global Illumination, Camera and Environmental effects. As such the package includes Pro-Render, C4D’s onboard GPU renderer, however C4D is supported by most standalone and plugin renderers on the market such as Arnold, Octane or V-Ray. Basically, everything you need to produce stunning 3D content.

Over this series, I will attempt to distil what I have learned over the years, with the aim of getting you familiar with working with 3D environments and generating you own content. I will cover fundamentals of key steps in the process of generating high quality, animated 3D content and demonstrate techniques with the hope that you will go on and experiment further, customizing and adding a personal touch to your scene as it develops. The scene will take on a Sci-Fi / Space theme on the basis that it allows us a bit of creative license with what we create and how it might look.

It must be noted that for a smooth and enjoyable 3D experience, a higher-power system and GPU are recommended. I am running an MSI Z-97 motherboard with 32Gb RAM and a liquid cooled Intel i7-4970 CPU. My Graphics card is an MSI Nvidia 980ti 6Gb, a little long in the tooth no doubt, but up to the task.