Razer naga, the shortcut Junkies best friend

 

Hey guys, so i’ve been asked what kind of input device i use for working with Cinema 4D. and well here it is. Its the Razer Naga 2014 edition. I’ve been using this one for just over a year, and had the previous version of this for about 3 years, before the right click stopped holding. So im a pretty big fan of these mice. This one as you can see has sustained some damange on the buttons, but i only noticed it now when i started taking photos 🙂 just some of the paint coming off, i guess because of all my body oils and sweat, from all the hard work i do =)

12 Extra Buttons

Originally the 12 buttons on the side where intended for gamers so they can cast spells, or whatever they do, but i find them just as handy in every day work.

for example i have the tilt of the Scroll wheel set to copy and paste, ) it can tilt right and left as well as scroll and middle click.

Then i have the top row set to Num Enter ( comes in handy in many places, but the Num one is used because in photoshop it lets you drop a transform quicker), left, right arrow keys  for browsing through image galleries

Row after that is mouse button, 4,5 ( the regular back forward commands, rectangular selection in c4d, v key radial menu). 8 key is boung to F9, so i can set keyframes quickly.

Then the row at the bottom, so the Numbers 1,4,7 are mapped to F8 to play timeline in c4d ( with ctrl it does a render region), F6 top open picture viewer with ctrl.

The rest get mapped as i need them Sometimes i find myself pressing the same thing a lot. so i map that button/or command to one of the other buttons. Its pretty organic.

Acceleration

Really important feature, especially if you are working on multiple screens, or just a really big monitor. what it does basically is this: the slower you move your mouse the less it moves. But the faster you move it, the father it goes. So that way, if you need to click something small, you move your mouse slowly and its very accurate, and when you need to access something on the other side of the screen, you don’t need to do the awkward lift and move thing, you just flick it between your fingers.

2015-10-18_17_35_30

My settings for the Razer Naga 2014

My settings for the Razer Naga 2014

 

Hope this was helpful, if you have any questions shoot.

Cheers,
Aleksey

Building your system for VFX ( mostly with Cinema 4D)

With the inevitable abandonment of the professional market by Apple lots of people are switching to windows. And more often than not either building their own workstations or at least picking the components and getting someone to build one for them.

A couple of questions keep coming up in the forums, so i thought i’d write a short article about the main questions.

Desktops

What processor?

Firstly, its Intel. AMD stepped out of the professional arena a while back, and generally deal in low end  to mid range markets. [AMD seem to have re-entered the market with the Ryzen series of CPU’s, so check out the benchmarks and reviews, April 2017] So there are 2 main factors to consider when picking a CPU. You have processors with lots of cores, but lower core clock speed. For example the i7 5820K wich has 6 cores, but runs at 3.4ghz and then you have the i7 6700k which has only 4 cores but runs at 4ghz. Generally it seems to make sense to go for 6x 3.4ghz, rather than 4x 4ghz. But that is only true if what you need the power for is multi-threaded. And unfortunately lots of stuff still isn’t multi threaded and runs on only one core. For example the viewport in cinema4d, Xpresso, character rigs, and most of the realtime stuff you see runs on one single CPU core, so you will get a  more responsive viewport while working with a 6700K, but your renders will go slower ( assuming you are rendering with a CPU based renderer, more on that next).

Regarding Xeons. They only really make sense if you are going the Dual cpu route. But the previous issue with clock speeds is still in play. check the single core benchmarks and compare. The xeons usually score significantly less on those.

Check http://cbscores.com for how CPU’s score in both single and multi core. Also make sure when googling for cpu scored, that you are looking at cinebench R15 results, not R11.5 ones. They don’t match up.

And Just a final note to make this all more confusing. Not all Ghz are created the same. If you check cb scores, you might notice that a 6700k scores more than a 4770k even though it has a lower clock speed. Thats because its a newer generation and its more efficient. So a 5 year old CPU at 3.2 ghz won’t necessarily match a 3.2ghz cpu from this year.

What Video card (GPU)

Nvidia. Not because its faster, but because all these awesome GPU renders that are out run on CUDA, and thats an Nvidia technology. I’ll be writing an article on them later.

You want to go for the GTX series. Quadro cards have no real benefit in Cinema4D or the GPU renderers. ( maya apparently benefits from Quadro cards).

I think rendering is moving mostly towards the GPU. So i’d buy a motherboard with at least 3 pci-x slots. and fill them up as your budget allows. As of the time writing this article. The 980Ti (6gb) is probably the best choice for GPU rendering. The Titan X is great too, since it gives you 12gb of memory. And when rendering with a GPU renderer you want as much ram as possible, because you cant use your system ram. Or in the cases where you can use it, is slows down significantly. But honestly its rare that scenes are that large.

I wrote a more expansive article on what you need to know for GPU rendering here: http://ace5studios.com/gpu

Hard Drives

I’ll admit, im still on good old fashion spinning hard drives. My laptop came with some SSD’s and while its great to boot things up really quickly, while working, all your applications are going to be in your ram, so i don’t notice that much of a difference.

If you do lots of work where you are dealing with lots of files. image sequences, Cache files for simulations. Than definitely get an SSD, or three. Check Toms hardware for the latest and greatest ( google it, its a hardware review site).

RAM

Just get 16GB for now, but make sure your motherboard supports at least 32GB. Careful don’t cheap out and get the slowest ram, that noticably lags your workflow. But also don’t go overboard and buy the fastest, because without overclocking you’re not going to feel the difference. Check what your processor supports without overclocking.

Also i notice some people think more ram will make your system faster. This is true to some extent, but its not like adding more ram will make your existing system faster. Think of ram like waiters at a restaurant. If you don’t have enough of them you REALLY need more, otherwise everything grinds to a halt. But once you have enough, adding more won’t help. They will just sit there with nothing to do. Ram is similar. If you don’t have enough it’s going to slow you down a lot because, you computer will have to swap files in and out of ram from your hard drive. But if you have 16gb, and don’t use the whole capacity adding more wont have any effect.

Overclocking

I personally don’t overclock, but if you want to tinker with stuff its a viable choice, often making up for the shortcomings of multi-core processors. But keep in mind that it may void your warranty. Do a lot of reading about before just pushing at numbers. 🙂

Case and PSU

If you are building your own system yourself, don’t skimp on the case, make sure it has screwless everything, will make the whole build a much more pleasurable activity. Youtube reviews of cases are a good place to start with when picking a case.

The size of the powersupply you will need depends on the components you are using, once again google is your friend here. spend a bit extra and get a name brand one, like a corsair ( and not the cheapest one). It’ll run quieter and probably last longer. Also less chance of it getting hit by a surge and frying the rest of your system. Never happened to me, i used to use cheapest PSU’s i could get and lots of them died, but no permanent damage. But the volume is a noticeable difference.

My build

I chose the higher clock speed, and got myself and 4790k with a gtx 970, the 980ti and the titanX wern’t out back then. I was planning on building another machine to act as a render slave, with a multi core processor, but in the end i just ended up using render farms when i need to render lots of stuff. It just works better for me. Renders come back waaay faster, and i don’t have to maintain another computer.

 

Laptops

Right now, if budget is of no concern, there are 3 factors you are looking at. Battery life, 1 gpu with 8/6gb or an Aorus x7, which has2 GTX 970m’s but with 3gb per card.

For battery life the Razer Blade seems the undeniable winner in all its Forms. Its basically a black Mac book pro, with real hardware inside and a really ugly font on the keyboard.
read more here: http://www.engadget.com/2014/05/06/Razer-Blade-14-review-2014/
800x600-01800x600-10

I personally got the MSI GS60 with a GTX970M with 6gb of memory on it.  It seemed to be a good balance of price/performance for me. I personally dont really care about battery life. If im doing work i’ll find an outlet, for everything else i have tablets and phones.

The thing that bummed me out most, was the lack of a windows key on the left side of the keyboard.

read more here: http://www.engadget.com/2014/04/17/msi-gs60-ghost-review/ ( but keep in mind, internals are always updated, so basically just look at the pictures)
update: now with the the 6th gen i7 in the GS60, it support upto 32gb ram. by using 2x 16gb sticks.

Screenshot 2015-10-16 18_30_39-Engadget _ Technology News, Advice and FeaturesScreenshot 2015-10-16 18_31_52-Engadget _ Technology News, Advice and Features

The aorus x7 is noisy, expensive and looks like a space ship. But it does have a 17″ screen, and i think it’ll be the fastest for GPU rendering. AND it support 32gb of ram. Read more: http://www.aorus.com/Product/Features/X7%20Pro-SYNC

Screenshot 2015-10-16 18_34_18-AORUS

 

[Update]: For australians, you might want to check out: http://metabox.com.au/store/index.asp they seem to have some nice configurations there.

And finally always remember to do your research, google benchmarks, check forums for feedback on products. Do your homework, things change quickly. Even people who work at computer shops often cant keep up. For example, my 4790k when i bought it, turns out in the combination of the motherboard i bought it was automatically overclocking and then throttling due to heat, had to install new firmware on the motherboard, and then use intel extreme tuning utility to force to just go at stock… And all because i bought the newest thing that was out. Could’ve just went for the 4770k which was tried and true, and only a slight bit slower.

Hope this article helped!

Cheers,
Aleksey

9 Modelling tips in Cinema 4D

These are some modelling tips that where being discussed on the mograph chat. I decided there should be a little summary of them.  thanks to Brasco for clarifying some of them.

  1. use the ‘.’ ( the full stop button). click and drag while holding to wheight edges of a SubD surface
    edge wheights
  2. hold ctrl while in slide edge tool to make loop
    edge loops
  3. Weld Tool (M,Q) Hold Ctrl with no points selected to weld. Or use Stitch and sew tool for same effect.
    weld Ctrl
  4. Dissolve – Melt Difference
    dissolve MEtl
  5. ctrl+shift click to select polygon paths
    ctrlshift select
  6. u,l loops selection, u,f fill selection
    loopFill
  7. split command, then hit delete to have 2 separate objects
    split
  8. top of shape with hex object
    hexCap
  9. python script to import  c4d objects from your drive. So you can for example have a c4d file with 4 or 5 of those hex discs, and you can import them all with a button to any scene. and then pick the right one.
    def main():
      fn = 'X:\[Asset library]\Model library\Modeling Toolkit\Base Geometry\Hexahedral_Discs.c4d'
      c4d.documents.MergeDocument(doc, fn, c4d.SCENEFILTER_OBJECTS | c4d.SCENEFILTER_MATERIALS | c4d. SCENEFILTER_DIALOGSALLOWED | c4d.SCENEFILTER_MERGESCENE)
     
      c4d.EventAdd()

Tell me if i missed anything you love to use =)

Cheers,
Aleksey

Switching between projects in Cinema4D

Cinema4D is awesome because you can have multiple projects open at the same time, and copy paste stuff between them, really makes me appreciate it when i switch to another software like houdini, and i can’t do that… have to open instances of the program and what not.

Switching between open projects may be less than intuitive. So i’d like to share 2 methods i use to quickly jump between open projects.

First option which will work by default. Is press and hold the ‘v’ key on your keyboard and drag your mouse down.

v menu switch

 

The second method is to open command manager by pressing shift+F12, type in next project, and bind it to something easy. Like ctrl + ~ or ctrl+tab if you dont use the fullscreen function.  ( if you have a european keyboard its probably ctrl+0)

ctrl tilda

 

key photo

 

So there is your production tip for today 🙂 Enjoy.

 

Cheers,
Aleksey

Cinema 4D in the cloud

Many of you might have Cinema4D on more than one computer. There is a pretty simple way of syncing up all your layouts, shortcuts and plugins between multiple computers. Here i will explain the process with Dropbox.com, but you can do the same thing with copy.com or any other service (Copy link is a referral, so you and my girlfriend both get an extra 5gb of storage) Copy has been discontinued

 

Make a shortcut to cinema4D in your R17 folder.

shortcut

right click on it and click properties.

now in the Target field add:[  g_prefspath=”E:\dropbox\c4d prefs”]

 

without the square brackets. So mine looks like this:

  • “E:\soft\CINEMA 4D R17\CINEMA 4D.exe” g_prefspath=”E:\dropbox\Dropbox\c4d stuff\c4d prefs\prefs”

Don’t forget the space before the “g_prefspath”.

properties

Now when you open Cinema4D from that shortcut, thats where its going to get all your layouts and shortcuts and plugins from.

If you want to get your old prefs and put them there you can do that easily. By opening cinema4D from the cinema 4d.exe file. pressing ctrl+e, and clicking the “open preference folder” button in the bottom left of the window. From there you can also check where your current open instance of C4D is getting its preferences.

prefs

Now you can pin that shortcut to the start menu or copy it onto your desktop. Wherever you want 🙂

If you want an extra 5gb on top of the free 15gb you get at copy.com, click here: https://copy.com/?r=fTEbri
and help my girlfriend get an extra 5Gb too =)
Copy has unfortunately been discontinued 🙁

Note: in R15 it was different, so my target path looked like this: “E:\soft\CINEMA 4D R15a\CINEMA 4D 64 Bit.exe” -homedir “E:\soft\CINEMA 4D R15a\myprefs”

cheers,
Aleksey

 

Adjusting point size in Cinema4D

You can change the point size in cinema4D by pressing Shift+V and going to “view” and changing the point handle size

 

point size

 

You can also change the point color by pressing ctrl+E and then going to editor colors and changing active and inactive point colors.

pointColor

 

Cheers,
Aleksey

True symmetry Cinema4D – make your life easier in 1 easy step

 

Great plugin that everyone should use.

get it here: http://www.c4dcafe.com/ipb/files/file/778-true-symmetry-13/

Hope you enjoy!