MAXON's Cineware Raises A Few Questions

Adobe Systems Inc. and MAXON Computer announce their new Live 3D Pipeline.

Adobe and MAXON announced the result of their recent business partnership before this year's NAB.  The Live 3D Pipeline was jointly announced. It looks poised to completely change how 3D content is created.

The core components are the new CINEWARE plugin for After Effects and the Cinema 4D Lite application. Both will ship with the new version of After Effects.

CINEWARE enables an artist to import native C4D files into After Effects, extract compositing passes and layers from the file and render the results with the native C4D renderer directly in After Effects. CINEWARE also supports true 3D navigation of C4D files in After Effects. The plugin pushes and pulls camera, light, null, and other data between the two software packages. It creates seamless live interaction. 

Cinema 4D Lite is a new version of C4D that will ship with every copy of After Effects. The inclusion of Cinema 4D Lite opens up the potential of 3D content creation to everyone with a copy of After Effects. If you already own another version of C4D it will be fully supported by the CINEWARE plugin.  

MAXON has created a series of tutorials demonstrating all the new features. There is a quick tour on their landing page. An FAQ about the new features is posted on Toolfarm. Motionworks has a quick feature tour video. Take some time to learn about the new features and workflow.

I'm excited about the new workflow's support for the extraction of compositing passes. Being able to create mattes for objects without any intermediate rendering is going to be a big headache preventer. The ability to extract passes like Reflection, Shadow, Ambient Occlusion, Normal, UVW, and Depth without having to render is going to be fantastic. These new developments leave 2 major questions.


I work on my mobile workstation every day. It is maxed out at 16GB of RAM. This is barely enough to allow After Effects to run effectively.

I'm imagining significantly lower performance once C4D's render engine is running at the same time.

When the Cinema 4D's render engine is backgrounded, how will it share a computer's RAM and CPU with After Effects? 


C4D's Normal and UVW maps are notorious for their non existant anti-aliasing. There have been 2 approaches to dealing with this problem.

The first is to simply render your Normal & UVW maps at 4x resolution and scale them down.

The second is to render at regular resolution but pre-comp and slightly Box Blur the maps in After Effects.

Will the maps that CINEWARE extracts be correctly anti-aliased or will we still be working with chunky images?

RGB, Normals, and UVW comparison. Click to view full screen.

This new technology promises to completely revolutionize the way 3D content is incorporated into video. I can't wait for the new version of Adobe's software to come out so I can start using it.

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