Cinema 4d 2023


Word from a friend is that perpetual licenses have finally ended, a ballsy move right on the cusp of a great depression, next year inflation is projected to be mid twenties in many Western countries, interest rates rocketing, food, gas and oil in limited supply and prices sky-rocketing causing companies to go onto 3 and 4 day weeks if not close altogether. I hope C4D users don’t rely upon these companies for their work and to pay their, er, subscription…

If Perpetuals really are dead the new naming scheme probably means S and R releases are dead too and C4D will move to live service updates, you pay for a year of support and you get whatever updates become available during your support year.

Anyway the 2023 release features look solid but there just isn’t that much there to write home about and surprisingly no Scene Nodes updates as far as I can see. I know there was only about 5 people using Scene Nodes but weren’t they ‘The Future’ at one point? I see no movement on sorting the object handling bottleneck which is making virtually every single C4D project stick out a mile with a very dated low complexity or low poly aesthetic. It seems crazy to pile features onto a system which is incapable of managing densities of objects modern projects require.

I searched Twitter for user feedback and saw one hero pronounced 2023 a ‘Houdini Killer’. A reminder that every village has its idiot.


My complaint is maxon keeps breaking the plugins ruining my ability to update or have to go back to previous versions to run them.

I’ve been working on my Houdini skills to get away from C4D. The difficulty there is the studios that are C4D centric don’t want Houdini files that they can’t later version or have other artists work on.


@mikefix I saw several people asking Insydium when compatible products would be available which I thought was a bit odd. I can’t understand why plugins are still being broken more or less every release. It’s a huge amount of work for plugin developers to support umpteen versions and then on release day be bombarded by users needing new versions. I guess plugin devs will now have to support R20/21, R25 and the 2023- as a matter of course as the userbase has been fragmented.

For me release day excitement was always tempered by, as you say, broken plugins, then having to chase and get new plugin serials and then recreate all my layouts again. There really should be a better update experience for users like a migration assistant.

My only advice with Houdini is to keep plugging away because it has now captured the Mograph mindshare as many more studios see it as a Mograph tool. Houdini has forever changed the Mograph aesthetic and studios are buying into it which means Houdini skills are going to continue to be highly marketable and you’ll soon find more studios asking for Houdini files over C4D files.

Houdini is on an inexorable rise and to not get on the bandwagon is to limit one’s earning potential.


The 2023 release thread on Core4d is interesting and has moved on to discussing Scene Nodes.

I doubt Maxon has walked away from them but the userbase’s coolness towards them may sway development speed and/or direction. Not one independent artist demoing their skills on Maxon’s trade stand has demoed Scene Nodes, that should tell us something.

C4D has always made 3D easy but unfortunately that also deskills users, I had a shock when I first started learning Houdini just how much I needed to refresh. I see someone making the on Core4d that Scene Nodes should be higher level, well that would defeat the point as you might just as well use high level tools in the object manager. At some stage you have to know vector maths and how 3D works under the hood. C4D users in general don’t.

Geometry Nodes has been a runaway success in Blenderland because many of the users are much more tech savvy, it’s not that Geometry Nodes is better than Scene Nodes it’s just that the userbase is not used to having their hands held like C4D users. Geometry Nodes also follows the exact same syntax as Shader Nodes so every Blender user knows the basics. C4D has multiple disparate node systems. I can’t believe Xpresso is still a thing in 2022!

Scene Nodes came a few years too late for mass appeal, the people who would’ve leapt on the bandwagon and created the hype are now Houdini users. The claim is Scene Nodes is for TDs but I don’t see many TDs in the C4D community even the ‘training establishments’ like GSG have given SN the big swerve.

Blender is going down the ‘Everything Nodes’ path, every feature of Blender will be linked by nodes in the future and the userbase will love it. If Maxon had plans to do a similar thing with C4D then I think the cool reception of Scene Nodes may be giving them pause for thought.

I’m pretty sure 99% of C4D users are more comfortable with the OM and Mograph and would rather see Mograph running on the new high performance scene graph than Scene Nodes?


DEM Earth and Vector pro 3 are immediately available for 2023. (on win, with mac builds to follow)

Note that in their intro vid, they mention that constantly having to rebuild plugins is going to stop(my hopeful interpretation)…more or less. This is good news, and I am pretty sure they would not have said that, if it was not the case, moving forward. Believe me when I tell you it is far more of a PITA for devs, than it is for users, to the point of absurdity, on multiple platforms.

All I can say is that IMO, it is a solid version, not adding too much feature wise, but fixing loads of issues, and moving forward strongly.



So just to be clear, is Redshift now part of C4D without an extra subscription?

It looks like it from the sales blurb about “Redshift CPU now being integrated and also working in hybrid mode with CPU+GPU”, but I’m not sure about it.



@EricM I believe Redshift CPU is integrated but if you want Hybrid and GPU rendering you need to pay for a Redshift sub.

A mate told me that Redshift CPU mode is quite slow and hybrid mode is a waste of time and only useful if you have a powerful CPU with weak GPUs e.g. if you have a Mac Studio for example but any PC with an nVidia RTX GPU would be better off with GPU only mode.

This is all second hand info and not my own experience.



That would have probably made me upgrade. I was on the fence here…

R20/R21 have served me well, especially to send stuff to Unreal now, but it’s certainly getting long in the tooth.

Oh well… it’ll do for bit longer I guess.

Too bad, I quite like the whole “capsules” thing.


The idea is you can now send a file using the RedShift render engine to anyone and they’ll be able to render, slowly if they dont have Redshift but the file are compatible.


Redshift CPU is slower than Arnold on my machine so I’m not wasting my time learning a new rendering system. It feels like the proverbial carrot on a stick. For me and my workflow the rest of C4d 2023 is underwhelming.


Maxon isn’t going to fix these worries, even if the software was everything we wanted it to be. We all have our budgets to work within. While the updates are nice, IMO, once I start adding up the cost of C4d sub + renderer, plus zbrush, etc. Yikes. Getting out of my reach and staying there. Might pick up forger, though. Cheap enough to sub for a few months and play on my iPad.

If you want nodes as a focus, I feel there are better software solutions out there. I just don’t think C4d is in your future. And that’s OK! It’s probably not in mine. 3d now is planted firmly in “hobby” territory for me. My hobby can’t be THAT expensive. My career? Perhaps. But not a hobby.

Yeah, I saw that too. I would have to purposefully misinterpret that to take it as anything but a joke.

Before that, when people were speculating about Maxon updates before the event, he was joking about Magic bullet looks 2, lol:


For sure. I love the OM and the way C4d works. It’s a pleasure to use. Not liking Blender as much so far, but damn, can’t deny how much I love Eevee and Cycles. And for me - I need my 3d software to produce an image in a decent amount of time. C4d doesn’t offer that anymore without Redshift or U-render at additional cost. So the barrier for entry is ~$1000/year for C4d and one renderer. $1300 if I want both an Eevee and Cycles equivalent. Ouch.

Basically, leaving C4d is tough because I fell DEEPLY in love with how the software works and C4d navigation didn’t leave my hands a painful mess after use. Time will tell if Blender can be that, or I just leave 3d behind completely.



After the pandemic which completely destroyed our small but successful studio I began again on my own and was just beginning to see signs that business confidence was returning but here we are again on the cusp of financial Armageddon. I’m fine, I left London and moved to the coast, my studio has panoramic sea views, I’m not going to struggle to afford heating or food and I certainly don’t need to find money for subscriptions. However I do know many people in my business who struggled with living expenses of London in the good times who are going to pay a heavy price in the coming months. I know marketers like to paint the Mograph world as sleeve tattoo trendy and cool but the reality can be far from that for a lot especially for junior artists. The last thing any of us needed was another financial implosion. If it gets really bad I’m prepared to walk away from 3D, I don’t think I’ll have the motivation to start again. Maybe I’ll go fishing.


I’ve long since moved on to Houdini and Blender for nodes but to give Maxon credit Scene Nodes looks just what I wanted 6-7 years ago. Had this arrived then I think many bigger names in the Mograph community would’ve stuck around, guided its development and there would be a very lively Scene Nodes base kicking out tutorials and encouraging their usage. Without that core userbase to drive Scene Nodes adoption it seems like a huge amount of development effort for not a lot of payback. It seems like C4D artists who are using Scene Nodes are rarer than rocking horse shit as Maxon hasn’t found one for their Motion Show yet.

I didn’t read Rolando Barry’s tweets as a joke but as someone getting over excited then having to roll back by saying it was a joke. I’ve seen Houdini Killer cited so many times in relation to competing 3D software by people who really have no idea about Houdini. If he was joking, then great, he got me.

If you need help with Blender you know where to find me. I have a narrow area of interest which is utilising Blender as a render engine for Houdini. The biggest pro tip I can give is to not look at the Outliner in the same way as C4D’s OM. Once you stop wishing it worked more like the OM and realise how much power it has to keep track of your project you’ll learn to love it. I had a eureka moment and never looked back. That’s not to say it can’t be improved, it can.

Watching the latest Redshift demos it now looks ponderous compared to Cycles. Redshift was amazing back in the day but other renderers have caught up and gone past it. I couldn’t be happier with Cycles and Eevee and I’m really looking forward to Eevee-Next which should remove many of the annoyances and issues out of Eevee like not having native point cloud rendering. Nothing has changed my workflow for the better more than Eevee. I do many client test renders in Eevee saving hours of rendering.

U-Render looks awesome now, they really took a huge leap forward with the last release but it’s a tough sell at the price they’re asking. U-Render should be C4D’s native viewport renderer IMHO.


I think you finally put into words what I was feeling. Redshift was super fast back when it came out. And then cycles x happened, and redshift seems slow. Pressing buttons to reinitialize things, disabling material refreshing, cycles isn’t like that. It’s wicked fast, fluid, and interactive. And it’s in the viewport! Not an additional window that I have to juggle. It looks like octane is moving towards the fluid interactivity of cycles, then again, there is a free version of that for blender.

And you’re right, I wish u-render was Cinema 4Ds real time viewport. I don’t know why maxon didn’t pursue a real-time rendering solution even after they acquired redshift. Internally they could have worked on making sure people could get simple to moderate projects done quick, reserving redshift for higher end productions.

I kind of feel like they completely missed their lower and middle and users. I wonder if they feel they will make more off of the high end market.

Then again, I don’t know how you compete in the the “lower end” when blender is coming in so strong. And I don’t mean lower end as an insult, that was my bread and butter when I worked at a marketing agency. Often times we just needed simple enough animations for a client homepage, a technical explainer video etc, not some high-end x particles sim with photorealistic effects.

A lot of of my challenge was rendering when I was just the one multimedia guy on a small team. I just needed something fast. They didn’t care if it looked photo real in 99% of the cases I did my work. C4d was perfect for so much of my work but rendering. Sketch and toon was a good middle ground back in the CPU rendering days. But at this point, why not do that in real time in Eevee?

I’d be interested to hear about your eureka moment on the object manager.


Maxon employed a genius OpenGL developer but couldn’t keep him, I believe he went off to develop a real time nodal 3d compositor for concert backdrops etc. IIRC it’s called Notch.

Redshift RT started out life as an Eevee like system then the developers went silent for ages for it to break cover as a really odd mix of rasterisation and ray tracing that doesn’t appear much faster than its big brother. I literally hear nothing about it these days which probably says a lot. I thought a game engine like Redshift RT would’ve been a great addition to many people’s workflow like Eevee does for us.

When U-Render was still known as Tachyon Render I contacted the developers and asked them to consider a sketch and toon addition to their renderer but they replied, thanked me for my interest but wanted to pursue ‘photoreal’ rendering. Well they finally did add Toon rendering and did an excellent job. U-Render has to find a niche for itself and real time toon rendering could be a winner for them.

The reception of Scene Nodes by the C4D community made me re-evaluate my opinion, I used to think Blender was going to eat C4D’s lunch as far as Mograph was concerned I hold my hand up and say I think I got that very wrong. C4D appeals to relatively non-techy users who want an easy life with high level tools and I don’t think Blender will be that at least not for a long time. Blender will be the software that those gravitate to who want nodes but don’t want to attempt to learn the behemoth Houdini. Maxon and Insydium make money from people who are happy to pay a lot of money to make their lives easy and hide all the nasty complexity. Houdini and Blender are not for these people (in general).

If you let me know what you’re struggling with in the Outliner maybe I can help. The Outliner is more of a viewer of relationships rather than C4D’s OM which is very much an organiser of relationships. There are no priority issues to manage in Blender so position in the outliner has no bearing on how the scene runs unlike C4D.


Darn, I’m that non techy user. I’ll learn some more blender and c4d (r21) and evaluate as I go. With subs there is no pressure to upgrade or FOMO. I’ll try building similar projects in both. I’ll dm you with blender questions so I don’t clutter the thread.

I wonder if if Insydium will ever update cycles 4D to be current.


I started a thread ages ago about Cycles X as I was convinced Insydium would jump on it and upgrade Cycles 4D very quickly. I’m surprised Insydium hasn’t made any announcement about their intentions so far. The longer Cycles 4D goes without being updated the less confident I am that they’re going to do it.

The new Cycles X architecture may be more of a challenge to bridge to, it was obviously designed for how Blender works internally to give the super slick viewport performance which may not be a great fit for a C4D bridge? I’m only guessing but if Insydium can pull it off then Cycles 4D users are in for a real treat and Insydium will have a big hit on their hands.

Let me know if I can help even if it’s pointing you in the direction of some great Blender YT channels which helped me break the ice.


When I bought Cycles4D, it was still a separate product with perpetual license. By now, it’s a “subscription only” (they may not call it that, but that’s what it is) add-on, and it’s treated like the ugly stepchild. I do not have much hope for this renderer (for C4D) any more.

Not that it matters for me, as C4D has now gone subscription only, so I’m stuck on the R23 level for C4D and all plugins, and transitioning to Blender where the same renderer is actively developed.

Regarding scene/geometry nodes, I cannot make a comparison and probably never will (as R23 has only an early version of nodes, so it would not be fair). But I believe that Maxon plays the long game, and we will see much more capable and user-friendly nodes in the future. The support for GPU within the dynamics and geometry seems like a great way to go.

I wish I could dive into Scene Nodes a bit more (it’s unfolding slowly enough to catch up) but you know, subscriptions and me are a non-fit.


@Cairyn I had momentarily forgotten Cycles 4D had been rolled into the Fused subscription package. As it stand Cycles 4D is so dated it’s almost entirely a different renderer to the current Cycles as it doesn’t have many of the optimisations that Cycles had long before Cycles X was even planned. There are big quality and performance updates coming for Cycles planned for the 3.5 release so Cycles keeps moving forward at pace.

The new dynamics Maxon has added look very good but it’s the same old story with C4D these features look great in demos or Instagram ‘satisfying loop’ animations but when you try and work with them in a production scene the bottlenecks and lack of high performance caching will kill you. Any time saved with GPU calculation will be wasted trying to work with a bottlenecked viewport. I’m so glad I left that frustration behind.

It makes sense for Maxon to create a solid foundation for Scene Nodes even if that means they’re lower level than some users would like. Geometry Nodes is in a similar position, it’s very low level but there are plans to ship higher level group nodes that function as deformers and modifiers etc.

There is one huge benefit to Maxon killing Perpetual licenses… No more hiding behind the Enron Law, Sarbanes-Oxley can no longer be an impediment to Maxon engaging with their user base about forthcoming plans. :smile:


Works for Unity. Their Roadmap is there for everyone to see long before it makes release.


I use more Octane than Redshift, but started to use Redshift recently because clients give us stuff to develop that is setup in Redshift.
On my limited experience, CPU mode is about 10x slower than GPU, though I do have a Geforce 3090.
It’s not useless…in a studio situation it means everyone can display and edit the materials & do some light look-dev. You can have a junior artist assemble a Redshift scene etc
But you’ll definitely want the GPU version for any final renders & any serious look dev for speed.