3D artists of all levels and industries always debate about the best 3D software to bring their brilliant concepts to life. Two of the most discussed ones are Blender and Cinema 4D, which is why we decided to take a very close look at these two.
In this article, we will look at the pros and cons of Blender and Cinema 4D, as well as analyze specific aspects to help you choose the best approach for your projects and the things you want to do, such as animation, modeling, rendering capabilities, and which one is the best 3D software to learn.
Behind every frame from Star Wars or any superhero movie these days, artists of any kind are working hard every day to create 3D modeling, photorealistic rendering, and 3D animation projects, and they are undoubtedly using Blender and Cinema 4D.
Blender is an open-source 3D creation suite that offers a wide range of tools for modeling, sculpting, rigging, animating, rendering, compositing, and more. It's known for its robust feature set and active community. Blender is an independent public benefit organization and works as free/open-source software to create CG content with free technical and creative production.
Cinema 4D is a commercial 3D modeling, animation, and rendering software developed by Maxon. It's renowned for its ease of use and integration with other software and plugins. Cinema 4D is widely recognized as one of the easiest and most accessible 3D packages to learn and use.
Maxon is a German company founded by three students who were working at Amiga and Atari as publishers. Cinema 4D is a flexible and stable tool set that makes 3D workflows more accessible and efficient for design, motion graphics, VFX, AR/MR/VR, and game development.
Pros and Cons of Blender
Inside the 3D software market, beginners and expert 3D artists have to be able to identify their needs and their skills according to the projects that they will work on. Below, we show you a brief approach to Blender and Cinema 4D and their most important characteristics to be aware of:
|Cost||Free||Paid (from 60 USD per month to 1,400 USD annually)|
|Versatility||Extensive feature set||Excellent for motion graphics|
|UI learning difficulty||Difficult for beginners||Known for its user-friendly interface|
|Rendering options||Cycles renderer for realism||Redshift GPU-accelerated, biased renderer|
|Modeling||Strong sculpting capabilities||Preferred for motion graphics supported by MoGraph modules|
|Animation||Comprehensive animation tools||Procedural animations with MoGraph|
|Community||Active and supportive community||Strong user base|
Pros of Blender
To begin with, Blender is an open-source program that is freely available to anyone who is interested in learning about 3D modeling. You can create 2D animation in Blender, which is fantastic; you are able to use Grease Pencil to create stunning projects inside Blender with their animation software system. Blender works well with toon shaders, and it allows you to sketch into a 3D environment to apply flat shading to 2D artwork, cut out animation, and use it as a 3D storyline shortcut using 2D draw modeling on Blender.
Blender also offers video editing, making it stand out from other 3D software. Modeling and texturing are easier to do in Blender, creating buildings or homes can be done in a very intrusive way because it has popular plug-ins to help you simplify things by the Blender Foundation community, and texturing is a node-based system to create unimaginable things.
Eevee by Blender is a real-time rendering engine that uses a process called rasterization. Rasterization estimates the way light interacts with objects, providing things like global illumination and brilliant and beautiful ray-traced lighting to compose interior design according to lighting and composition.
Cons of Blender
Blender is very difficult for beginners to master because its UI is not very intuitive. Blender nowadays isn't able to compete in rendering capabilities as a result of the Redshift render engine by Cinema 4D, and Blender is not as powerful in smoothness capabilities in motion graphics.
Unfortunately, Blender lacks a specialization, performing well in modeling and texturing but falling behind in all 3D artist demands on motion graphics. An active and dependable community is the hero that compensates for this lack of performance.
Pros of Cinema 4D
Cinema 4D is, without a doubt, the easiest to learn and master for beginners. It was made by professionals in the industry. When it is related to X particles, Cinema 4D rules are dominant. It has a wonderful particle simulation that is extremely smooth and unified, such as clouds, fire, water, smoke, and powders. The render cycles using Redshift as a third-party render engine are on a whole new level.
Object manager layers, designed with a simplified and user-friendly interface, are easy to use, and the tagging system is well-organized, allowing you to create your own collection and mark whatever you want, for example, lights, ships, and so on. For example, if you have a building or video game that includes all the elements that are required for 3D modeling, you will be able to put them in a dedicated layer and apply a tag system inside Cinema 4D to organize and categorize them.
Are you considering combining motion graphics and visual effects? Cinema 4D is exactly the type of program you need. The editing tools in Cinema 4D are quite detailed, and creating motion graphics is easier since the Cinema 4D interface is very intuitive for newcomers as well as long-time users of any similar software for films or television.
Cons of Cinema 4D
The first point is unmistakable: Cinema 4D is not free. You will have to pay a monthly or yearly subscription fee to access Cinema 4D. For example, if you are a seasonal 3D artist and need to work on an animation project, you will need to spend money on Cinema 4D and, if necessary, third-party plugins.
Go further with Blender and Cinema 4D
To get an even deeper understanding of the differences between the two 3D software, we are sharing the following two videos, that point out five reasons for each software, why it is better than the other.
Comparison of Blender and Cinema 4D: Modeling
Blender offers an extensive range of tools for producing complex renderings and sculptures in 3D. Its sculpting tools are particularly highly esteemed. While capable of 3D modeling, Cinema 4D excels at motion graphics and parametric modeling. It's a common choice among designers who work on animations and abstract designs.
Comparison of Blender and Cinema 4D: Animation
Both software options have the ability to create animation, but they are capable of doing so in two different ways. Grease Pencil integrates well with Blender's 2D animation tools, allowing for elaborate character animations and simulations. It's often used in character-driven projects.
Cinema 4D shines at motion graphics and procedural animations due to its specially designed MoGraph package. It's the favorite choice and a clear winner for motion graphics artists working on advertisements, films, and 3D animation.
Comparison of Blender and Cinema 4D: Rendering Capabilities
Both Blender and Cinema 4D offer powerful rendering engines, but they have their nuances. Blender's Cycles renderer is known for its realism and physically accurate lighting. Cinema 4D's native renderer provides impressive results with small effort. It's excellent for motion graphics and quick previews. The Redshift renderer is a clear winner for rendering top-tier visuals but may require longer rendering times. Here, a render farm comes in handy to reduce the longer render times.
Verdict: Which 3D Software is Better?
The choice between Blender and Cinema 4D hinges on your specific requirements. Check on your skills, needs and budget before you choose between the two:
- Choose Blender if you're a beginner in 3D but keep in mind, that the software is not all that intuitive, you are budget-conscious, value an open-source community, and need a versatile tool.
- Choose Cinema 4D if you want an intuitive tool to learn 3D, and prioritize user-friendliness, seamless integration, and motion graphics but remember that you're going to have to pay for it.
Scenario-based Suggestion: Which One to Choose?
- For Game Development: Blender's modeling and sculpting tools are advantageous.
- For Motion Graphics: Cinema 4D's MoGraph module shines.
- For Beginners: Blender's cost and community support make it ideal.
- For Professional Studios: Cinema 4D's stability and integration are valuable.
Tutorials to develop your skills
We know you are hungry to learn, so we are going to give you a couple of tutorials, that you can check to improve your skills:
- Official Blender Tutorials:
Dive into the fundamentals and advanced features of Blender with the official tutorials. These carefully crafted lessons cover everything from basic modeling to intricate animation techniques.
- Best YouTube Channels to Learn Blender:
Explore a handpicked selection of YouTube channels that offer insightful and engaging tutorials for Blender. Learn from experienced creators and discover the latest tips and tricks in the Blender community.
- Official Cinema 4D Tutorials:
Unleash the power of Cinema 4D with the official tutorials provided by the creators themselves. From motion graphics to 3D modeling, these tutorials guide you through the intricacies of this powerful software.
- Diverse Cinema 4D Tutorials:
Delve into a variety of Cinema 4D tutorials that cater to different skill levels and interests. Whether you're a beginner or an advanced user, this list offers tutorials that span the breadth of Cinema 4D's capabilities.
Remember that the choices you make should be based on your project requirements in addition to your own preferences. Mastering either software takes practice, which means picking the one that best fits your creative aspirations.
If you are a student or a beginner in 3D and want to learn a lot without spending anything, you should use Blender because it's open source, free to use, and excellent for 2D drawing, modeling, and texturing. Cinema 4D is for you if you don't care about costs, want to produce 3D motion graphics, and ultimately create outstanding animated projects.