Maxon unveils Project: Neutron | CG Channel
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Maxon introduced Project: Neutron, a new node-based architecture for Cinema 4D that gives users the ability to do everything from procedural modeling to motion graphics through a visual programming workflow.

The functions that some users have already referred to as "Houdini 4D" will be introduced in the next public version as a technical preview and then gradually developed in later updates.

Maxon announced the announcement along with a sneak peek at other new features of Cinema 4D R22 as part of his live streams for the 3D and Motion Design Show in the usually Siggraph 2020 week.

Create everything from models to motion graphics by connecting nodes together
Project: Neutron is described by Maxon CEO David McGavran as "Future of Cinema 4D" and is an ongoing project to implement a node-based core architecture for the software.

It is part of a series of updates to the Cinema 4D core that also led to the node-based material system introduced in Cinema 4D R20.

Project: Neutron uses the same visual programming paradigm – complex systems by wiring nodes – and extends it to a much wider range of tasks.

The livestream showed a number of potential use cases, including creating a motion graphics effect made up of a series of animated spheres and scattering a forest of procedural trees across a landscape.

It can even be used for procedural modeling: a demo showed how it is used to create the scales on a 3D fish.

In a tweet, motion designer and Cinema 4D trainer EJ Hassenfratz described the system as "Houdini4D?", Based on the similar node-based workfoows that are available in SideFX's procedural 3D software.

"Lightning fast" – but completely optional
McGavran described the neutron engine as "incredibly fast" and commented that Maxon was testing it with scenes that contained several million objects.

Project: Neutron, however, activates "node-based workflows, does not enforce them" with an implementation similar to the Cinema 4D Object Manager, in which nodes are created invisibly in the background of a scene.

"If you're not interested in digging in knots, you don't have to," said Paul Babb, Maxon's global leader of the community. "You will have the same playful creative workflow (as before).

Project: Neutron will be available for preview in the next version of Cinema 4D, although it is not clear how much you can do with it: Maxon says that the first version does not offer an “end-to-to” end workflow ”.

The toolset will be expanded in later versions.

Also due in Cinema 4D R22: Python 3 and USD support
Other changes planned for the next version of Cinema 4D – probably Cinema 4D R22 if Maxon adheres to its current naming conventions – include support for Python 3.

The move makes Maxon one of the key developers upgrading to Python 3.7, the version specified by the current VFX reference platform after Python 2.x officially came to an end earlier this year.

According to a blog post by Rick Barrett, Senior Product Manager at Maxon, the change only requires "optimizations" to existing scripts and plugins.

"If developers predominantly used Cinema 4D's API, the changes should be minor and most of the changes can be made backward compatible," he wrote.

Maxon also announced that the next version of Cinema 4D could import and export data in USD format, including geometry, materials, cameras, and lights.

In addition to standard USDC binary files, Cinema 4D supports readable USDA files and the compressed USDZ format developed for augmented reality applications.

McGavran also announced that Maxon has a working prototype of Cinema 4D on the upcoming Apple Silicon Macs, but didn't say when Apple Silicon support would be available in a public release.

Release dates and system requirements
Maxon will announce further details on the next release of Cinema 4D at IBC 2020 in September.

From the current stable builds, the Cinema 4D S22 is only available to subscribers for Windows 10 and macOS 10.13.6+. The permanently licensed Cinema 4D R21 runs on Windows 10 and MacOS 10.12.6+.

New perpetual licenses cost $ 3,495. Subscriptions start at $ 94.99 / month for Cinema 4D alone or at $ 116.99 / month with the Redshift renderer.

More information about Cinema 4D can be found on the Maxon website
(No information about Project: Neutron at the time of writing)

Tags: Apple Silicon, Kino 4D, CInema 4D R21, Kino 4D R22, Kino 4D S22, core architecture, Houdini, instantiation, Maxon, motion graphics, neutron engine, node-based, price, procedural modeling, project neutron, Python 3, release date, Scattering, Siggraph 2020, Simulation, System Requirements, The 3D and Motion Design Show, USD, USDA, USDC, USDZ

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