Maxon's Cinema 4-D is arguably the most underrated computer 3-D animation application available. It is hardly known outside its own user base and yet offers a broad and deep feature set and tremendous flexibility. Maxon Cinema 4-D 7
is perfect for the beginning user as well as the intermediate and somewhat advanced user. It introduces many important basic concepts and techniques and goes deeply into the more advanced features as well.
The author wastes no time in getting past the interface introduction and into a working example. The best way to learn is by doing, and sculpting a fairly complex model is exactly what gets done before the first 50 pages are over. Subsequent chapters cover organic and mechanical modelling, radiosity and caustics, Hypernurbs and an invaluable tips and tricks section.
By far, the chapter on expressions is worth the cost of the book. Expressions and the COFFEE language used in Cinema is one of its most powerful features, and the 50 pages of examples and description in this chapter shed light on this powerful tool. Need to make a hose attached to two different objects (one at each end)? The example is here, as are things like properly deforming a spring (its length changes, but the diameter of the wire itself doesn't) and automating the movement of the nested sleeves of a piston.
The only complaint is the lack of colour pictures throughout the book. While heavily illustrated, the chapters on radiosity and materials sorely lack the necessary accompanying examples. They are on the CD, along with the project and data files, but that isn't quite the same as having them on the page next to the words.
For anyone who's used or is planning to use Cinema 4-D, this book is as important as the manuals that come with the application. --Mike Caputo
From the Back Cover
Maxon Cinema 4D is a flexible and powerful modeling, animation, and rendering tool. It's used to create a wide variety of images, including special effects, broadcast titles, character animations, and more.
Maxon Cinema 4D 7.0 provides a thorough introduction to the software, while the companion CD contains a demo version of Cinema 4D, as well as sample scenes and animations from the book. Readers will learn how to use Cinema 4D to create special effects, character animations, and 3D modeling. Project examples in each chapter illustrate key features of the software. The last chapter in the book dissects and fully deconstructs a full-featured animation.