I love Cinema 4d. It’s user-friendly and extremely stable. Maxon deserves tremendous credit for building a truly great 3d application that has become the industry standard for Motion Designers all over the world. The MoGraph Module is still an unrivaled feature set for 3d motion graphics (outside of more complex procedural approaches in something like Houdini). I have very few complaints about Maxon’s Cinema 4d.
And yet, I’m coming to believe that Blender could be a big part of the future for motion designers. We’re building our first courses with a focus on Blender in partnership with motion designer Remington Markham. We really do believe Blender has a place in the future of motion design.
Let’s examine 5 reasons why motion designers should be considering Blender as a 3d tool in their workflow.
1. It’s free!
This is just nuts. While every other high-end 3d software is, understandably, a serious investment, Blender stands alone on price. There is no barrier to entry for those who can’t afford Maya, C4D or 3DS Max.
This has made Blender the most downloaded 3d software in the world. Artists and animators all over the world have been able to experiment and create, for FREE! This is huge for young artists, especially outside of the US and Europe.
At MoGraph Mentor nearly 50% of our student body is outside of the US. In places like Egypt, Brazil or Ukraine, the ability to overcome the cost of software is a big deal! Especially when the currency of a specific country can be devalued, relative to US Dollars, the cost of software can become an impossible obstacle. Blender being FREE is a huge deal for many, many artists.
2. The tech is stunning (EEVEE real-time render engine, Ai-Denoising)
Blender 2.8 has recently dropped and the reviews are positive.
A new real-time render engine called EEVEE is built into the program. This allows you to navigate around your scene with full lights and textures enabled. Also, this does not require a special Nvidia GPU card to run. I am able to run it on my iMac and Macbook pro.
Render times are a big obstacle to create detailed work on a deadline and the new AI-driven denoising processes in Blender are looking like a stunning breakthrough. Essentially you create a noisy render pass, then run an AI-driven denoiser over it to produce the final image. The difference between a fully perfect render, and a denoised render are minimal in visual quality, but the render times are cut dramatically.
Check out this video from Remington on new features in Blender 2.8 to get a full overview.
3. Install base is massive and that has real benefits.
A big user base creates a support structure for those looking to learn and create.
4. Advanced character rigging and creation.
Autodesk Maya is the standard in 3d character work, but Blender is close behind. The most common type of Blender work (that I see at least) is character-driven work. This is because Blender has advanced rigging and animation tools that are powerful and easy to use.
Again, if you can’t commit to Maya (either financially or characters are only a small part of your workflow) then Blender is a strong choice here. Blend shape concepts are present in Blender and make advanced animation much easier to achieve.
5. Grease pencil & 2d drawing directly in Blender.
A feature that artists are finding creative ways to use is the grease pencil and 2d drawing. This includes an entire set of brushes you can use to draw over the top of your 3d scene.
Remington has already shown creative ways to create 2d animations over the top of his 3d work with this feature set.
Since Blender 2.8 is free you should probably download it and explore it a bit. If you begin to like it enough it could replace Cinema 4d for certain types of 3d work. The tech is truly stunning and having a real-time render engine, for FREE, is just crazy. Blender is a truly unique piece of software and one that motion designers may be using more and more in the years to come.