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C4D Spotlight: Learning Python to Expand Cinema 4D

C4D Spotlight: Learning Python to Expand Cinema 4D

Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Learning Python will be difficult and I don’t have time. Well, learning just a bit, enough to be dangerous, can expand what you do in Cinema 4D and automate repetitive tasks to speed up your workflow. I promise that I will not get technical in this post. This is an overview of what Python is, why you might want to learn Python, and where you can learn Python for free. And, of course, a bunch of tutorials and free Python scripts!

What is Python?

Python is an easy to learn, powerful, high-level programming language that useful for creating tools, plug-ins or scripting for 3D applications, games, After Effects, and more. High-level refers to the fact that it's made to be easy for humans to read and write, so that should give you some idea about it. It's also well integrated into Cinema 4D: as a Mograph Effector, as a script, a tag, an Xpresso node, and more. 

Python Effector demo by krotMonster

Download the project file here.

Python is great because it

  • Run on any platform: Mac, Windows, Linux, and Unix.
  • It's open source.
  • Developed to be easy, flexible, and fun too. Seriously!
  • There are libraries and resources online, and lots of free instructional materials.

It's a common language used by Facebook, Dropbox, Google, Instagram, and more. It's also used in software. In broad terms, Python is used in for web development, data analysis, game development, writing scripts, and much more.

In this post, we're focusing on what you can quickly do with Python in Cinema 4D. Python can help you with repetitive tasks; creating geometry, splines and extrusions; use it with plug-ins like TurbulenceFD. There are some tutorials to get you started, with a couple of more complex ones, so that you have an idea of what you can do with Python in Cinema 4D. There are also a lot of scripts you can download and run for yourself. Note: Python is not included in Cinema 4D Lite.

Fun fact: Did you know that Python is the second scripting language for Cinema 4D (C.O.F.F.E.E. is the first).

Python Tutorials and Scripts for Cinema 4D

With most of the scripts and tutorials below, you don't need to know a lot about Python but check out Resources to Learn Python for places you can learn it for free or at a low cost.

This is what the Python Effector Parameters look like. 

Python Effector

Below is the Cinema 4D Script Menu, where you'll access the Python Generator, Script Log, Script Manager and more. Get familiar with this menu.

Cinema 4D Script menu

Maxon Labs – MAXON Labs is a new way to bring Cinema 4D’s latest innovations or useful tools from MAXON’s R&D team directly to you.  This is new this month and there are only a few scripts up there now..

  • Team Render HTTPS – This Python Plugin enables HTTPS Support for the Team Render Webserver.
  • Extrudifier – This script generates random nested extrusions, creating a “greebled” look on any mesh. The generated polygons are constructed entirely by the Python code. User Data Parameters Seed Change the seed value to generate a new variation.
  • All Python Scripts at Maxon Labs

PluginCafe – The official Cinema 4D Python examples (Github)

Creating a Custom Python Effector, Part 01: Intro to the Basics
With the Python Effector, you can take full power over Clones. Cineversity and Andy H Runyon explore some basic python programming to create a mograph effector with the Python effector.

P4D101 – Getting started with Python in Cinema 4D
CG Rebel gives a nice overview and gets you acquiated with Python in Cinema 4D.

Intro to Python 1 – Python Fundamentals

Jack Bransfield from Chicago C4D helps Cinema 4D users wrap their heads around the basics of Python in Cinema 4D.

Intro to Python 2 – Talking to Cinema 4D

Jack from Chicago C4D teaches you how Python and Cinema 4D communicate.

C4D Tutorial: Making Python Scripting As Easy As Possible For Artists

Noah Witchell explains how to easily use Python scripts in Cinema 4D to get going fast. This is not a tutorial on how Python interfaces with Cinema 4D or how to program Python, so it's incredibly useful. He talks about the Script Log in Cinema 4D.

He uses scripts in the video which can be downloaded here.

Creating Geometry With Python In C4D

Manuel from Entagma explains how to create a cool Plexus-inspired wireframe in Cinema 4D with Thinking Particles and Python. This is a more advanced level tutorial but easy to follow and it shows what cool things you can do with Python in Cinema 4D.

Using the NeuronBuild C4D Script

This script was originally developed for medical use and allows users to import swc files to “create accurate spline-based models of neuronal structure in Cinema 4D”. (via Lester Banks)

Get the script here

Quick Tip: Animating Textures in Cinema 4D with Python

Ivan Pais Nieto explains the process of animating mouth shapes with Python.

Simon Holmedal – Workflow Techniques using Python : Xpresso

Simon Holmedal has integrated XPresso/Python into his daily workflow. In this video, he shows some really incredible examples (Nike Mercurial for World Cup and a personal project) where scripting has helped him in his production work. He explains how he uses scripting and MoGraph concurrently.

Cinema 4D Python: Step Offset generator

Mike Udin shows you how to create multiple contours of the splines with additional effects. The tutorial is in Russian but you should be able to follow along visually. Download the script here.

Curious Animal: Python Scripts for Cinema 4D

Curious Animal as several scripts with instructions on their blog. Some may be for older versions of Cinema 4D, but I would imagine that they still work. 

C4D Python Party: Bend Chain

Read the post and download the script here.

Hypoly Lab

More Python Scripts

Fluid Simulation R & D on TurbulenceFD with free Python Script 
David Torno created a python script to help create a Jawset TurbulenceFD depth pass for smoke simulations using MAXON CINEMA 4D.

Freebie: C4D: Free Plug-ins, Animation Trigger and Gradient Sequencer Effectors
Adam Heslop at PixelsInProgress has several free plug-ins and python scripts for Cinema 4D.

Tutorial/Freebie: ShuffleArray Effector for CINEMA 4D
Douwe shares his new simple MoGraph Python Effector script, as well as a tutorial on how to use the script.

VoronoiGenerator for Cinema 4D
Developed by Dominik Ruckli, the VoronoiGenerator is a Python plug-in for Cinema 4D that generates a 2D Voronoi Diagram or a Delaunay Triangulation.

Cinema 4D Center Axis with Python
In this short tutorial at Creative Tuts, center the axis of an object in Cinema 4D with using python.

Useful Python Scripts & Snippets
Creative Tuts has a nice selection such as Merge Polygons, Assigning All Objects in Document Into an Array, more.

Freebie: Smart Stairs for C4D
Smart Stairs is a Python based, parametric stair generator for CINEMA 4D from The Pixel Lab.

Want to learn more? Resources to Learn Python

If you want to take this farther and really learn Python, perhaps to build your own plug-ins and software, here are some resources. You can learn Python from paid training services like Plural Sight or Lynda.com but there are also some free courses from universities that may interest you.

Download Python source code and installers

Cinema 4D Python SDK Documentation – This is useful if you want to build plug-ins for Cinema 4D.

An Introduction to Interactive Programming in Python (Part 1)
Rice University via Coursera

An Introduction to Interactive Programming in Python (Part 2)
Rice University via Coursera

Programming for Everybody (Getting Started with Python)
University of Michigan via Coursera

Learn to Program Using Python
University of Texas Arlington via edX

CS For All: Introduction to Computer Science and Python Programming
Harvey Mudd College via edX

Python for Everybody — Exploring Information
via Independent

Introduction to Computing using Python
Georgia Institute of Technology via edX

Posted by Michele Yamazaki