01 February 2009

Version 11 Much improved, but not nearly perfect

This version of C4D is a big improvement of the last, which was a big improvement of the version before that. In many places though, the improvements merely fix things that have been wrong with the software for a long time. Many other, much needed improvements are missing such as better dynamics, water and smoke creation and some interface problems which seem to stick around version after version.

I have months of playing around to get the most of this software, but right out of the box, the render engine and the interface using it are greatly improved. The timeline has some new features that allow you to save, reuse and add to motions created in animations... something C4D has negleted to include until now and really make more complicated animations possible for animators who work alone or in small groups. As usual, Maxon has brought these features in in interesting and very clever ways. The reputation for innovation and ease of use is well deserved with Maxon products.

One remaining thing that still bothers me is the object manager. If you have many selections, for example, it takes a lot of scrolling through little triangle shapes with no way to tell which tag is for what without clicking on it. Being able to to make multiple rows, folders, custom colours, shapes etc would go a long way to making this chore a pleasure. The tiny, and I do mean tiny, little « on/off » visibility buttons are so small the mouse can barely click on the right one. In fact, tiny text and icons in places is a big drawback and has been for too long now.

Lack of good maunals that actually tell you how to set things up is a problem all companies big and small have and while Maxon has improved the online manual, it's still anyone's guess what to do with some of the features since only a technical despcription is provided, leaving many important details like heirarchies and compatibility with other functions a matter of trial and error. On the other hand the C4D community as in the forums « C4D portal » and « C4D cafe » provide an incredible and free wealth of tutorials, advice and ressources no manual could provide. The new auto update feature will alow Maxon to fix things wihtout having send out a million notices and log-jam their servers when bugs are fixed and minor updates are made. This feature should make C4D a lot more responsive to problems and user complaints. They already hav eone of the best tech help teams out there, so this will make them even more above the rest.

Price as with all new updates on virtually any product is way out of line. Prices are skyrocketing out of control in this area and Maxon is no exception, sad to say. This upgrade set me back 935$ CAD when all was said and done. Price hikes like this are unacceptable in this economic downturn unless they are willing to provide enough new clients to make it worth your while. I mean, really, you can buy new computers for less that the cost of an upgrade these days!

Overall, I am looking forward to discovering more about this upgrade, improving my animation work with it and using it on client projects.

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