Future Of Cinema 4D


Hello friends,

I’m not trying to start an argument here, but some colleagues around me keep switching to some “well known” and “widely used” software with “large user base” etc.

I’m a bit conservative when it comes to 3D Software. I’ve spend long years to master what I’m using. Switching from a user friendly tool like C4D to any other “user fiendly” software is so not attractive to me.

I wonder what you guys think about the place of Cinema 4D on the market, and about its future? Would be cool to hear your opinions about this…

Thank you in advance!


Really depends on the area/field of work you are interested to move to in the future…
Hard to give any advice without any detailed info.


Really this is a decision you have to make yourself, all others can do is give you their opinions from their particular point of views.

But…since that seems to be what you are asking for:
My attitude is that I’m animator first and foremost, a user of application x second. Right now I use C4D on some jobs, Maya on others depending on what the client wants. I’ve never used Max or Softimage but if I was offered a dream job tomorrow and they said ‘we need you to lean Max for it’, I’d do it no question. Being employed and doing interesting work is my priority, the rest is less important to me.
I also think it’s good to step outside your comfort zone now and then, CG is always progressing and learning more software keeps you sharp and up to date IMO. If you are worried about being left behind your peers grab the trial version of the app they are using, sign up for Digital Tutors for a month and learn the ropes. Even if you don’t end up using that app professionally you are bound to learn a few new tricks you can adapt to your current app.

It’s not a matter of ‘switching’ IMO, it’s a matter of having more strings to your bow.

my 2c of course :wink:



if you like c4d, and not miss something major, i would stay on it. that simple.

in regard of switching, also many switch to c4d , and c4d grows a bit faster than the rest of the other apps. so no fear from that



I recommend to switch ad’s maya if it will be possible. Currently i disappointed by c4d and i’m preparing to switch maya.


As others have said it depends on what you want to do or who you want to be employed by but…

It doesn’t hurt you to know more than one piece of software and as they develop they’re gaining each others features anyway so there’s a lot of similarity and therefore your knowledge is transferable.

But don’t just know the software have a good understanding of techniques no one is going let an amazing animator walk out the door even if they only know Blender. You can easily learn which Maya buttons to push but you can’t learn that X factor the best animators have.

We’ve recently broadened our software to include Softimage, Houdini and Modo as members of the team had expressed preferences and had been learning other packages for some time before using them in the studio. I have been learning Houdini for years with the Apprentice version before we bought a commercial license. I wouldn’t call myself an expert either, learning new software takes an investment in time.

Cinema does a lot of things well in one package in fact some better than any other package and it is very easy to use but it has a real problem with complexity and taking those effects to the level you can with Houdini and Softimage’s ICE.

Switch because you need to either for better employment prospects or because you’ve hit the limits of C4D in some way not because your mates have.

Who knows what the future holds for C4D with the current Maxon leadership? Could say the same about Softimage and Autodesk. The only thing that would make me look at upgrading C4D again would be Xpresso getting seriously upgraded to be as powerful as ICE but there in zero signs of that in fact Maxon seem indifferent to multi-threading of C4D.

If I had my time again knowing what I know now, I’d jump straight in with Softimage for me the best pound for pound 3D App out there and ideal for single users and small studios. If Autodesk kill it tomorrow you’ve still got ICE to extend it yourself forever.

But starting out now I can only see a long term future for two, perhaps, three Apps, Maya, Max and Blender. The rest are either going to be rendered pointless by Blender or the features will end up in Autodesk Maya/Max. Houdini and Softimage features will be rolled into Maya/Max and there’s nothing that C4D’s Mograph can do that can’t easily be copied and improved upon. I bet there’s some Blender script kiddie cooking up something right now in a basement somewhere.

Learn Maya…or Blender…


Doesn’t Autodesk have very liberal educational versions now?

As for my experience - I do not do CG all the time. When I do need it, it’s usually for motion graphics/illustration style work and I’m usually under an intense deadline and insane budget. C4d has not let me down so far - but I haven’t had the need to stretch into 3d based visual FX or high end character animation.

C4d is the most stable app I have, mac or PC. And it will soon be integrated into After Effects, which I will LOVE.

Blender continues to impress, though. It’s growing so quickly… and the open movie projects that make the tool grow to meet different workflows is a very cool way to develop!

And of course Houdini - free learning version, cheap 1920x1080 limited version (great for animators), the full version is crazy expensive, though!


Cinema is a very strong all rounder if you work on small to medium projects - say 1-15 artists
and if you work on a wide variety of different types of project. This describes my work very well, so I find it suits my needs well.
I would always rather spend my time pushing my artistic skills in a program I know than spend time ‘porting’ my existing skills to another programs.
I’ve yet to feel that the program is the limiting factor in my work, so I don’t see any reason to look elsewhere, except for specialist applications.
But I work full time in a Cinema 4D specific studio (for 3D, anyway), so I’m not faced with the choice between application and job because all 3D comes through Cinema 4D.
In my personal experience (London, small to medium studios) Cinema is still on the up, getting more respect & mention. But every town & industry niche is different.


At the moment C4D future looks interesting… Because of Adobe alliance, DPit effex 2.0 upgrade, and X-particle 2 upgrade. I hope Vray will be also updated soon.

Lightwave is mostly used in TV productions (vfx, animations), C4D in Motion graphics (titles, commercials etc.) Maya for animation, 3DS max for modelling, Houdini for VFX, Softimage for particle effects (ICE)… But it is not always in that way. It really depends from that what have to be done.

For example: Houdini is good tool for visual effects where you need liquid, fire, smoke, fragment, particle, cloth, hair, rigid and softbody dynamics in same scene with interaction.


I fear for LW, Modo and maybe C4D a bit further down the line.

The hive mind of the Blender developers is going to be tough to stay in front of.

Everyone should learn Blender it’ll make things so much easier for when it rules us all.

   Blender is great in some ways and it certainly makes sense to add it to your pipeline as it's not going to cost you anything apart from the time to get your head around it's unusual ways, but one negative thing about that hive mind approach is that it feels kind of fragmented to me. With so many developers working on different bits of it the overall app seems to lack cohesion from my point of view. It's one thing that AD seem to be improving in recent versions of Maya, where now dynamics, cloth and hair are all controlled by the nucleus solver so they can all interact with each other (I guess that's true in Houdini too based on the comments above). I guess it could be argued that this is a weakness in C4D too though as the different dynamic engines (soft bodies, cloth, hair etc) are all completely independent and don't talk to each other. Even though Maxon did away with the modules from a marketing point of view a few versions back, the program still feels very modular to me.
   The other thing about Blender for me is that while it ticks a lot of boxes, like say water simulation, when you try to use those features you can find them lacking. I've spent a decent amount of time trying to get decent looking liquid out of Blender and doing anything that doesn't look like porridge seems to be really difficult, or takes a huge amount of time (I don't think the fluid sim is multi threaded). I guess the same can be said for fluids in Maya, although certainly for smoke etc it's pretty decent IMO and quite fast.

Again it comes back to what do you need to do in the app, each has different strengths. Nothing touches Maya for character animation  IMO, but there are loads of things in it that are an absolute PITA for more general usage. I read two threads on the Maya forum here the other day where my first though was 'that would be a doddle in Cinema' (both were mograph-style tasks which would be really tedious to try and do in out-of-the box Maya and probably a 10 minute job tops in C4D).

Life for us CG types would be nice and simple if there was ‘one app to rule them all’ (sorry Tolkien fans), but it’s never going to happen IMO.



Live would definitely be harder if there would only be one tool. A monopol is never good…


I agree… I hate monopoly of Adobe and their decision to “kill” CS :frowning:
Monopoly is always bad… more competitors are always better,
because they put the “leaders” to invent new ideas to be the top.

If there is no competition, then there would not be any inventions too IMO, also the price would be higher in monopoly.

But standards are good idea, standards make life easier.

Maya is good also for simulations, but mostly in those cases when you need only single simulation system. Sure they have now nHair, nCloth etc… Which interact, and they are doing this because of SideFX Houdini (which are ruling the markets in these kind of interaction simulations), but Maya’s n-system has not that much power and it is not as accurate as Houdini’s simulations… yet. Maya are also not as stable as Houdini is in Large and complex scenes.

You can do everything in these days with one single application by coding plugins with SDK but some times it is more effective and cheaper to buy one software for doing that and other for doing this…

C4D is quite fast in modelling (but there are missing some tools which would only make your work faster than it is), C4D has good motion graphics tools, probably best tools at the moment. Also muscle systems in character animation and this new Cmotion system (it is easy to use and fast). Good simulation tools, but they do not interact (cloth & softbody/rigidbody for example do not interact), C4D is quite slow in complex and large scenes. There is no multithreading in C4D modelling and animation tools, only in Rendering.
Xpresso is quite powerful but it has not also multithreading :(…

There are many good things in C4D, but you can find from every software something good, that’s why people are always requesting feature X from “software X” to their favorite software.


Only Maxon knows the future of Cinema 4D. It’s one of the most secretive companies in this industry. People may argue is it good or not but this is how they work.

     C4D got this motion graphics label at some point and more and more it seems that it becomes excuse for not being as feature rich and powerful (performance-wise) as others. Personally I think that R15 will be the answer to question about future of c4d. Competition grows rapidly and Maxon seems to invest in features which are nice, but not crucial. There are things like GPU rendering, modeling, UV editing, 3d painting, retopology tools, nodal material system, import/export, unified dynamics and some others which can gain some ground for maxon, but without core rewrite (multi-threading) there will be always bottleneck you can't overcome using third party solutions.

Multi-threaded xpresso with object generation (and tools creation capabilities like ICE) can be answer to many of those shortcomings. In R14 we get Performance View in xpresso. This is some kind of inside joke in my opinion because it can only show that xpresso is very slow and there is nothing you can do with it. Don’t get me wrong, I mostly love C4D ways of doing things and it’s most stable 3D software around but with some serious compromises. I hope R15 performance will blow our minds.


Don’t mean to be pessimistic, but I highly doubt that R15 will see big performance improvements. To achieve that they would have had to rewrite the core of the program in the last 12 months. I’m willing to bet they haven’t done that.

To be fair though, I don’t see other programs developing in leaps and bounds either. With the AD apps like Max, Maya and SI, the updates seem very similar to what we see from Maxon, one or two bigger new features for each release and lots of smaller tweaks. The users here hoping for massive speed improvements in C4D are in the same boat as the Maya guys hoping for Mental Ray to finally be properly integrated… after so many years of neither of those things happening why would they suddenly happen this year?

I guess the one app that does seem to be progressing quickly is Modo, probably mainly as it’s so relatively young compared to the others and has been missing a lot of standard stuff. So each new release seems like a bigger one, but I’m willing to bet that will start to slow down now as more of the standard stuff is included. More development time will have to go towards bug fixing and maintenance of existing features and less in the ‘wow’ stuff.



I highly doubt that R15 will bring massive performance boost. On the other hand it’s possible that some side development is going on for much longer than one release cycle. Biggest core change was R12 so three or four years is a lot of development time, but for now I am also pessimistic.


The period from R11-R12 was the high point for C4D development with Mograph, bullet, deformers and linear workflow etc, there was a lot of very useful features added. R13 and R14 have not been great releases IMO which may indicate effort going elsewhere i.e. a serious rewrite.

But I doubt it.

I’d like to ask Maxon why they think their customers are less deserving of complex scene performance than customers of Autodesk? The answer would be something along the lines, “We coded you a solo button and we expect you to use it!”

I don’t agree that C4D is so feature rich users should expect less features in an update, go check out https://vimeo.com/pooby and see if you still feel the same. Night and day.


I’m really interested to see what they do with R15 besides the AE integration that we already know about. Personally I’d like to see a release focused on workflow, performance and the tools many of us complain about on here (modelling, node based materials, large scene speed etc etc). Those aren’t headline features though, they aren’t sexy.

Maxon’s partnership with Adobe and The Foundry merging with Luxology means this is an interesting time. I’m curious to see how Cinema and Modo position themselves, will Cinema move even more towards mograph, will Modo move towards ‘production’?


I am so looking forward to R15 release :slight_smile:


I am to… :slight_smile: