The Cinema 4D R13 Cookbook by Michael Szabo

Introducing my first book on 3D graphics, the Cinema 4D R13 Cookbook. I worked very hard on this title to create a rather comprehensive guide to learning how to become a 3D artist using Cinema 4D.

Why should I buy this book?

Excellent question. You could just Google “Free Cinema 4D Tutorials” and have at it instead for no cost at all. Here’s the link.

Free tutorials are great, but if all you end up doing is following along and recreating someone else’s work, you’re not going to impress too many people. My book has tons of short lessons that cover just about everything you’d want to know about Cinema 4D. If you are new to or  inexperienced in Cinema 4D and read my book cover to cover, you’ll have a comprehensive knowledge of the program’s tools by the end of it. Then you can use that knowledge to be creative and design your own work.

And let me put it to you this way: If you learn 3D design and can land just one new freelance assignment that requires Cinema 4D, the book will have paid for itself, likely several times over. With your new skills you can increase your hourly or day rate to cover the expense of my book and you’ll come out on top after day one.

Where can I buy it?

Here’s the link on Amazon.
Here’s the link on my publishers site, where it’s available in print or as an ebook.


What topics does this book cover?

It’s 10 chapters long and I try to hit on the most important features of the program. Here are the chapters subjects in order:

  • Application Fundamentals
  • Modeling Techniques
  • Using Deformers
  • Camera Setups
  • Lighting Setups
  • Materials and Texturing
  • Rendering Strategies
  • MoGraph Samples
  • Xpresso Lessons
  • Dynamics Simulations

What topics does it NOT cover?

I underestimated how much I would write for this book; I just started writing and somehow the book ended up over 500 pages. I feel like it covers most of the best and most frequently used features of Cinema 4D. There is no chapter on character animation, that is not my forte and I would not be qualified to teach you how to do it. And with Cinema 4D R 13’s new character tools, the process is brand new and I have to learn it first myself. I don’t cover the Emitter functions (couldn’t find a good spot for it) or Thinking Particles. I wrote as much as I could and there is no way to cover everything in one book, it’s not an instruction manual.

Why is it called a “cookbook?”

The title is part of a series my publisher does, so it was pretty much predetermined. I wanted to name it The Girl with the Cinema 4D Tattoo to try to boost sales but that didn’t really gain much traction. You will find short lessons called “recipes” in my book, but none of them have anything specifically to do with cooking food. If you demand an actual recipe I can send you my knockoff creation of Chicken Lettuce Wraps like PF Changs has.

How bad are you at typing?

Awful. Despite using a computer constantly for like 15 years, I am terrible at typing. I have to glance down at my keyboard and I always look up to see my freshly-typed failure of a sentence covered in red squiggles. Here’s some words that I must have screwed up every time I tried to type them:

  • Aniamtion
  • Seperate – Strongly considering campaigning for “separate” to be changed over for my conveinence
  • Conveinence
  • Defromers
  • doesn;t – ; and ‘ are so very close to each other

If you find any mistakes in my writing please excuse them, I’m guessing spelling and grammar check was just exhausted after pouring over my writing.


Feel free to email me.

15 Responses to “The Cinema 4D R13 Cookbook by Michael Szabo”

  1. Jim Milburn says:


    I’m just starting to work through your book.

    Where do I find the ‘C4D Content Pack’?

    Thank you.

  2. BIGMIKE says:

    Information on where to download the Content Pack is found on page 4, the download is through the publisher’s website.

  3. abi says:

    hey typos come with in all shape and forms. As a motion designer myself i can remember would on a logo animation with 3 letters in it for like a hole day, until i felt a slap fro the back of by head. It’s IRS not ARS!

    I brought your book yesterday via amazon, so i should get here by November!

  4. BIGMIKE says:

    Haha good stuff. And with all the terms specific to Cinema 4D, half of the words in the book aren’t recognized by the computer anyway, so it pretty much thinks the whole thing is spelled incorrectly.

  5. abi says:

    My book came today! just had a quick read of the contents and a scan through the chapters, looking forward to working my way through it.

    Though i must say the quality of the print is appalling, very dark dotmatrix 80s print comes to mind when i was tilting the page into the light. I expected this type of print from my old school books. Mike how are we supposed to use this your images as a reference when every image looks like a depth pass. Please send me a pdf and i will print it myself.

  6. BIGMIKE says:

    Yes I realize the images didn’t print well, but I don’t print the books, my publisher does. I lobbied for the full color images but they went with some very low quality black and white ones. The full color screenshots are found here:

  7. lionhead says:

    @abi: you will find the color images for the book on the Publisher’s site:

  8. Colton says:

    Just wanted to stop by and say that I’m really loving this book so far. I started learning C4D a few months back, then someone got me this cookbook as a gift recently. I’m still in the process of making my way through it, but it is very helpful and easy to understand. Since I was attempting to teach myself at first, I did miss some things, but this book is really helping me grasp the program and take a step back to understand how each tool really works and can be utilized. So thank you, Michael Szabo, it’s a very good teaching style.

  9. BIGMIKE says:

    Thanks Colton. Glad the book helps, feel free to email me if you have any questions.

  10. Trevor Williams says:

    What other books (besides your own) would you recommend on xpresso? Are you planning any future books or tutorials on xpresso?
    Thanks 🙂

  11. BIGMIKE says:

    Might not be a specific book, might have to check cineversity or maybe digital tutors for some video ones, could be worth it to do those too

  12. ashley says:

    really interested in the book!

    I work in broadcast design and i tend to struggle the most with lighting especially when trying to get a look like this

    I know some of this is in AE but do the lighting techniques you teach in your book explain the principles of how to achieve lighting styles similar to this? Nice shiny reflections and stuff?


  13. BIGMIKE says:

    Hi Ashley. It doesn’t go over reflections/lighting/compositing that specifically enough to get a look like that. It takes awhile to absorb all that information and learn all those techniques, my book is a good starting point for learning the application.

  14. Zac says:

    Quick question,

    I was considering getting the “Cinema 4D: The Artist’s Project Sourcebook” but it was from 2011, which I assume only covers 2011/2012 versions of the software and not the R13 version or would leave things out.

    I stumbled upon this book on Amazon and I am considering getting it. My one BIG question before I get it is I am a total beginner that is trying to get into this as a new hobby with intent to use the hobby as a way to do a few side designs.


  15. BIGMIKE says:

    Yeah that book would be older but mine is now old as well. If you are using Cinema 4D R14, 15, or 16 my book will not cover that material. The book was updated for a second version for R14 by someone else.

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