"C4D Scene Speed" Article: increase your viewport speed


Hi, sorry I’m kind of a lurker but I think this could help a lot of people. (Though the users of this forum do seem more technically aware than some others!)

If you think C4D’s viewport is slow, then please read this first and try and help yourself out. Over the last few years, in between cursing and sending feature requests to Maxon I’ve forced myself to learn to embrace, understand and workaround what at first seems like a lot of toys that you can’t play with at the same time. After realising most users don’t even use layers, I decided to spend a few days putting this together as a resource - so hopefully some won’t have to go through the same issues as I did!

I’m no programmer so this is 10+ pages of practical layman’s information, calculation explanations, proxy setup, layers, new xpresso nodes, new scripts. There’s a lot of stuff!


Please let me know what you think, please don’t hesitate to send me any corrections or extra info and I’ll add it!

Cheers, Matt

ps. sorry if this should go in a sub-forum. It’s not a tutorial, and its not really a resource, just a lot of info that I would love to be common knowledge


Very nicely authored and interesting article!

I’m fully with you on the Xrefs and my reasons are the same - the nervous feeling that something out of my control will corrupt everything. Scale popping all over the place and not returning to it’s original size etc. One day, maybe, I’ll go back!



I have only just begun really, but wanted to chime in to say thanks and a very excellent job!

I’ve been really trying to integrate the Layers more and more in my workflow, and now I’ve noticed I depend on them more than I ever did to mitigate the tedious navigation or cumbersome, unorganized hassles as I work.

So, this comes as most welcome. Already, you’ve shed plenty of light on the relation between the kinds of objects in your scene and the Layer Manager.

Required reading for C4D professionals, IMHO. Seems littered throughout with tips and clever/suggested methods to get the most out of Layers.

If you’re not or barely using Layers, any user should read this, and bookmark it!

Thanks again, mattfrodsham!


Hi Matt, thanks for sharing, very instructive even for the veteran users out there (picked up one or two tips as well, we all have different workflows).

One issue: the direct link to Collapsing, Merging and Baking in the home page will link to the Generators page.



Thanks for the heads up! Appreciated, and thanks for the kind words. I hope it continues to prove useful, the feedback so far has been really nice :slight_smile:


Some very sound advice there. I was getting ready to make a viewport speed video but to be brutally honest, youve pretty much covered everything I had on my list so Ill probably just redirect people here if they ask me in future


Thank you Matt! Great collection of Tips. You are right, this should be all common sense. Great stuff.

I think you should give Xrefs in R15 another try. There are several Issues fixed. And Loading Textures with Xrefs is about 2-3 Times faster in R15. I just made a Test.


And the most important thing:

Use Nitroman’s Magic Solo Plugin :wink:


Yes! I had that on a list to add yesterday and forgot it again. I love how that works by temporarily assigning everything to a layer that’s killed, then put back safely. I don’t know if its more important than knowing how your scene is constructed though :wink: but certainly a fantastic tool. Nitro is the Man!

Holger, I certainly will - I give them a chance with every new release with optimism! ha

Thanks again for the comments


Yes, you’re right of course with all the other optimisations.

The Solo plugin has just become so central to my every day c4d workflow it would be strange to work without it any more. It should really be a c4d out of the box default function.

Great work with the article, Matt!


I added the Magic Solo suggestion now, I created an extra page at the end so hopefully I can add more to that. If you have any other plugin (or script) suggestions that help with viewport speed (as opposed to general workflow speed… we could go on forever about those!) then let me know.

Cheers! Matt


Another helpful workflow I started to use recently is to use the “Selection Object” and throw heavy things in it like Hypernurbs, Cloners, Instances, SplineNurbs etc. which slow down scene handling.

You can now select a massive amount of objects at once with a double click on the selection object icon in OM and enable/disable them.
Good thing is you can be very precise in what to disable and what not and even deeply nested objects can be switched on and off without clicking through hierarchies every time.

But I have to admit I do not use layers until now.I reconsider it…



Fantastic article. I can tell you we used Xrefs extensively in a 9 minute project that reused several elements that were utilized by Mograph and XParticles across about 10 scenes. Made sense in the beginning and we made a master folder for Xrefs on Drop Box as we were in various parts of the world. Worked fairly well except for 2 main issues that we could never figure out. Sometimes the Xrefs would lose their texture info altogether. There were no image maps, the textures were entirely noise shaders. Opening the Xref, texture was fine, go back to the scene, no texture. Then saving “Project with Assets” to send to Net Render would save each Xref master to your project folder on the same level as the scene file. Net Render couldn’t understand which file was the real scene file. You have to manually go into the project folder, create a folder named “xref” and drop them all in there. Then Net Render Could process the scene correctly. Bizarre. We just abandoned xrefs half way through and wound up flattening them to geometry in the scenes. Like you said, brilliant idea, unusable in practice.


Been there too, bitten on the ass by XRefs on a couple of projects (always character rigs in my case) and abandoned them. It’s frustrating as in other situations (ie with a different program) I use references all the time and from a rigging/animation pipeline point of view they are so incredibly useful and avoid a lot of tedious re-working of scenes (copying a bunch of animations to an updated rig is no fun). I feel that in Cinema they can be made to work if all the bugs are eventually ironed out but that takes brave users who keep trying to use them in production and then report the bugs they run into.

I’m curious, does anyone have a success story with XRefs (particularly with character rigs) that might inspire others to give them another go?

I’ll salute the OP here too, nice article, I’m always surprised how many of my clients don’t seem to be aware of the layer system in Cinema for example.



Yes. I’ve got Magic solo hotkeyed & use it quite a bit.

Another great viewport plugin is FS_Preview_Accelerator:


It’s a tag that’s placed on your cloners to disable & hide them while working in the viewport. Once you click render the cloners are automatically re-enabled and unhidden. Other settings allow you to keep the cloners hidden only when you are moving around your viewport; once your viewport becomes stationary, the cloners become visible.


That’s already in the mograph section, great plugin


Huh. I must have skipped the whole mograph section for some reason.


Yes, used them for 2 small - medium animatics (about 6 artists, mixed PC mac) where all characters & much of the sets were xref-ed in for all shots.

1st was in R12, there were limitations & minor bugs but no major problems & overall made the production possible (client was revising character’s appearance even as we had begun animating)

2nd was under R14, no limitations or problems. We were even able to re-pick which character the x-ref referenced & preserve animation (they were based off the same rig) - ie ‘should be Mike on the left & Brian on the right’ - we could just change the x-ref target to swap the characters.

At times it could be slow to open the scenes but our network has never been the fastest so it may be to blame.

The only thing we NEVER did was nest x-refs - might be possible but that way lies madness…

Also, we put all our textures in a ‘master’ textures folder & had that path in our cinema 4d prefs.

Finally, we used NET render & just did ‘save with assets’ to the jobs folder, had no real problems.

Form anecdotally seeing threads, seems like problems are most likely to occur when a point update has been made to Cinema 4D in between making the x-ref & using it. But that’s just ‘never update mid-project’ as usual.


I use them for The Ottoman. They haven’t been perfect, but there’s some reasons for that typically(We had jumped from R13 to R14, so old Xrefs in R14 caused some issues).

Whenever I have come unto an issue, oddly enough the animation always seems to be preserved no matter how mangled a mesh is.

If you’re using a Character Object(ie any time you have more than 1 character imo), you can just double click on the character object to select all the controllers, then copy and paste to a new XRef.

I’ve also written an animation transfer to transfer the animation from XRef A to XRef B. So it hasn’t been perfect, but I’m not ready to place the blame on Xrefs yet for the problems. There’s other issues like which options are enabled on an Xref when you update, what you are updating etc. etc.

But, I’ve not found an XRef I couldn’t properly transfer the animation to.


I usually believe this as well, but someone on our project came up with a pretty nifty way to keep a Visual selector setup for a character object that is getting updated often.

He made a scene that references the rig(which has a character object and meshes etc. etc.), then in this scene he builds the Visual Selector. Then animators XRef this scene file that is XReffing the rig. Allows you to update/rebuild character rigs but not lose the connections to the VS which has been quite handing for the animators who prefer a GUI picker to viewport controls.