In the world of animation and 3D Modeling, Blender and Cinema 4D are the two of the most popular choices, and rightly so. Their features remain unmatched, helping animators create some of the best photorealistic renders, simulations, and 3D animations. To understand which software fits your requirements, let’s compare some of their core features and the advantages and disadvantages of both software.
What is Blender?
A free and open-source 3D Modeling program, Blender3D can run on all the major systems, including Linux, Microsoft, and macOS. It uses an OpenGL interface that offers a remarkable experience on compatible computers and platforms.
The accessibility aspect of Blender is perhaps its most distinguishing feature. Though it is most suited for hobbyists and freelancers, it is also a preferred choice for professionals.
When it comes to tools, Blender offers DAE and FBX formats, prevalent amongst the game developers. The 3D modeling software uses Python 3 as the default scripting language for creating customized plugins.
- It is Free for All: Blender is open-source software, and it is entirely free. It’s a high-performance tool that lets you create stunning 3D models with high octane texturing, rendering, editing, and sculpting.
- Open Source: Blender’s core is developed by an internal team, making it accessible for any user to edit and upgrade its functionality using Python coding.
- Helps The Entire Pipeline: With Blender3D, you can create almost anything you like without ever relying on paid programs. You can develop any project through a pipeline to make beautiful images, movies, game assets, printable models, and more.
- Multiple Rendering Options: Blender allows for real-time rendering of final scenes as well as editing models. Furthermore, it enables a physically-based tracing option that uses light rays to interpret an image’s look for accurate precision. Recent updates have improved this drastically - the quality of the renders has seen a significant upgrade overall and render times have been cut by a factor of 8.
- Constant Updates: Blender is constantly updated for improvements to ensure it maintains the modern standards set by the industry and does not get outdated.
- Virtual Reality Support: Blender’s latest updates have added several tools for virtual reality models and environments.
- 2D-3D Hybrid Models and Animation: Blender’s Grease Pencil has been a popular tool for creating hybrid 2D and 3D animations.
- Up-to-Date Hardware Support: Blender supports the latest models of GPU available in the market, including the newer AMD models.
- Crowd-Sourced Support: Blender is known for having a great community of developers and users that are always keen on sharing knowledge and workarounds. A lot of free crowd-sourced plugins and assets are also available to the public on Blender’s website.
- Difficult For Beginners: Despite the recent updates to improve the UI, it is still relatively difficult to use, given its complexity.
- Lack Of Specialization: While Blender does an exceptional job at almost every aspect of animation and modeling, it does not specialize in sculpting, and better alternatives are available.
What is Cinema 4D?
Cinema 4D is stacked with features more suitable for users specializing in 3D modeling programs. It is the preferred software option for both experienced animators and those who are just starting.
Cinema 4D allows you to create complex content spontaneously due to its user-friendly interface, making it an excellent option for beginners.
- Easy To Learn: New users and beginners will find it easier to use compared to Blender as there are familiar tools and features.
- Clean User-Interface: Cinema 4D offers customizable palettes and configurable view panels, allowing the screen space to be dedicated to the artwork.
- Superior Texturing Tools: Cinema 4D provides wide-ranging texturing tools, including shaders, non-based materials, and 3D printing, along with several lighting features.
- Content Browser: Cinema 4D is stacked with an expansive library of preset objects and plenty of materials and scenes.
- Redship CPU: Recent updates have added support for Redshift renderings, both for CPU and GPU.
- Simulation Functionality: Cinema 4D can handle cloth, rope, soft body, and collision simulations accurately.
- Symmetry: Global symmetry is now available on Cinema 4D and can be toggled on or off.
- ZBrush Integration: The latest versions of Cinema 4D can more seamlessly handle ZBrush.
- Integrated Asset Browser: One of Cinema 4D’s newest features is a more robust asset browser built into the program itself. The improvements also include a more convenient and organized way to manage both local assets and those in the online database.
- OpenColorIO: The newest updates now feature native OpenColorIO implementation, the color management solution designed specifically for motion picture production. Users can now work on visual effects and computer animation much more easily.
- It is Expensive: Cinema 4D is a paid software with a monthly subscription fee of $167 or an annual subscription plan of $110 per month.
- Does Not Make True Booleans: Unlike most other 3D software, Cinema 4D does not make true booleans.
- Workflow Problems: Other software such as Blender has better modeling features compared to Cinema 4D. Additionally, there are issues with BodyPainting and UV editing.
- Operating System: Windows 10 64-bit version 1809 or higher; macOS 10.14.6 or higher, macOS 10.15.7 is recommended for increased stability; Linux CentOS 7 64-bit or Ubuntu 18.04 LTS
- RAM: 8 GB minimum and 16 GB recommended for Windows; 4 GB minimum and 8 GB recommended for macOS
- Graphics Card: Minimum for PC - NVIDIA Maxwell GeForce 900 series or higher; AMD GCN 4 series or higher, Radeon RX 400 or higher; Intel Kaby Layke with support for DirectX 12 feature level 11.0. Minimum for macOS - GPUFamily1 v3 and Apple-supported GPU or e-GPU models.
- CPU: Intel 64-bit, AMD 64-bit with SSE3 support for PC; Intel-based Apple Mac or Apple M1-powered Mac
- Online Connectivity: Required
- Display: Recommended minimum resolution of 1920x1080
- Internet Connection: Required
- Operating System: Windows 8.1, 10, and 11; MacOS 10.13 Intel or newer and 11.0 Apple Silicon; Linux
- RAM: 8 GB minimum, 32 GB recommended
- Graphics Card: 2 GB minimum that supports OpenGL 4.3, 8 GB recommended.
- CPU: 64-bit quad-core CPU with SSE2 support.
- Display: Recommended minimum resolution of 2560×1440.
- Internet Connection: Not required.
Both Cinema 4D and Blender have similar functionalities and end uses, each with unique strengths and weaknesses. Blender is free and open-source, offering a neutral gateway to the world of 3D creativity. Cinema 4D, on the other hand, is mainly used by professionals, and it is industry standard for visual effects and designing.
If you are starting in the space of animation and 3D creativity, Blender is an excellent choice. For a more professional setting, Cinema 4D is worth investing in. Besides, it offers a 14-day trial version that can help you get familiar with the software before making the final purchasing decision.
Moreover, if your system does not meet the minimum requirements mentioned above, you can use Vagon as it is an excellent alternative, offering similar features without high system requirements.