Should Maxon Provide A Free Version Of C4D ?


I mean…so many other 3D apps have this option…a free functional version one can use with save and opening functionality.

p.s,… I’m asking this in advance of someone else on here… :smiley:


I think Prime and Bodypaint (which should be merged, they are almost the same) should be free for commercial use.
Almost every other 3D app has a free student and/or commercial version available.
If not free, at least ridiculous cheap (say U$99)

And all the other versions should be merged (Broadcast, Visualize and Studio) and it should cost between U$1500 to U$1999.
There is no reason for C4D Studio to be so expensive when you have to buy tons of plugins to get the same features of Maya.

Also, I think you should be able to skip one or two versions and still be able to upgrade with a discount.


I think so. Or if not free…maybe $99. I believe it’s important to expand the user base. And though I’m militantly against subscription-only*, I think some rent or rent-to-own model would be helpful for some.

Make the door to entry big as possible…and the path upwards not too steep.

*If c4d became subscription only I would immediately switch to Blender


The student edition of C4D is free.


There is a Lite version for free with AE isn’t it ?

There is also a renting option.

And at last I totally agree that the lineup should be steamlined : Prime merged with Bodypaint, Broadcast and visualize together too.


“Also, I think you should be able to skip one or two versions and still be able to upgrade with a discount.”



Highly restricted, compared to how Adobe use to provide their Adobe Production Premium Suite… which allowed you to use the software indefinitely and wasn’t locked to a single PC. I picked up CS2 in 2006 whilst I was a student for around £260…(Still usable even today with After Effects 7 inc) C4D has always had a student version, even back then… but of course, with being a user of the commercial version of C4D, it didn’t seem logical and wasn’t free.

In the past there were free versions, 5.2 SE came on a coverdisk of Amiga Format, and there was C4D 6 CE which was around £100. This did have some restrictions but I can’t remember specifically what…possibly resolution related.

The topic question really relates to a universal version, student or not.


Free would be wonderful of course.
However, since that’s not realistic. What I’d like to see is a free version of an older version.
I think R13 (or higher if possible) is a good one to give away for free. Mainly because the SDK in R13 makes it possible to write plugins for every version from R13-R19 when using VS2013.



Maxon has no sense of proportion when it comes to pricing. They don’t seem to understand that there is a 2018 market price for the actual 3D CG features and CGI creation firepower you provide in your software.

I agree for example that C4D Studio should be about 1,995 USD or 2,199 USD - considering how many fricking plugins and external renderers need to be bought to get Maya-like power with C4D.

A free non-commercial/personal learning version would also be nice of course - both would grow the C4D user base by maybe X 2 or X 3 or even more.

Neither one is ever going to happen - Cinema4D is owned by a CAD company (Nemetschek) that wants C4D to be a 2 X overpriced motion graphics, archviz, CADviz and productviz tool.

Nemetschek are counting on the fact that C4D is simply far easier to use and train people for than the competition for casual, everyday 3D production tasks.

I mean come on - when was the last time C4D got a really high-end 3D CGI functionality that made you say “Woooowww! That must have taken some serious R&D to get working!”

What can change this? If Newtek manage to get a modern, completely overhauled UI design into LightWave 2019 and keep the price at < 1.5K or so, then C4D has a big competitor.

Unlike C4D, LightWave has see tremendous use in TV and Film VFX production in the past.

LW with a completely new, modern UI would definitely steer a lot of people away from C4D, especially if the pricing stays low.


Didn’t know that. Nor that there was a subscription/rental option. So…I guess I think Maxon has it covered. I sure can’t blame them for limiting the free version.


And yet people flock to it. Why would they lower the price on a software which grows it’s market significantly year after year?

Are we digging up Titanic and Babylon 5’s cold dead husk of a corpse?

Problem here is you’re ignoring the momentum. For years on end, C4D struggled against how entrenched max was. It took so long before it got to a point where studios were asking specifically for c4d users rather than just reluctantly accepting them with their weird niche hobby app. This is where LW finds itself, more or less nobody is asking for LW users. They will get jobs where the 3D app doesn’t matter but that’s it. Now im not foolish enough to think it can never happen, but:

Lightwave’s current userbase is mostly LW fans who held on through the plummeting rollercoaster days. If they change the UI to appeal to new users, they’ll alienate the last of the people that held on. Coupled with their main journey into making a fresh new release crashing and burning as they back-pedalled their plans, I don’t see this ever happening. Modeller and animator with a bridge is going to be around til the dying of the sun.

LW imploded partly because they refused to modernise, has anything changed? They’re never going to draw anyone in with the clunky old 2 app approach.


I guess it mostly depends what you see the free version as being for. To serve as a demo? as a learning edition? As a new income model where they make money in other ways?

If you’re a student then you already have a free version for learning with, though it isn’t as freely accessible as the Autodesk apps where anyone is free to grab them. To act as a demo, well really there is the official demo and I think it does the job of showing what the app can do. Then there’s the adobe AE version which, sure its cut down to hell, but its there and its free; you can model decently, texture, light and render, so its not bad but personally Id rather use blender than the free AE Lite edition.


To the original question I would answer …No
There is no logical business reason for Maxon to offer a free non student version when they clearly have a dedicated group of Archvis /product vis /mograph /engineering users who gladly pay the MSA ,and would likely pay for an Autodesk style subscription model (with minimal griping )if Maxon implemented one.

As far as a free verion “growing the user base”

Yes… in raw numbers as people will download it and add it to their Digital hoard along with Blender ,Daz Studio Unity etc.
However IMHO most of them will probably never buy into the MSA.

Character animators and VFX artist have left long ago
and certainly wont be lured back by some free vanilla C4D that is still missing all of the things that sent us fleeing over to Maya,Max ,MOBU ,Houdini, Iclone Pro,Ikinema ,Daz etc, in the first place.

So honestly what does Maxon have to gain with a free full version?.. very little as I see it.


Lets take a trip back in time …


The big problem I see with giving away older versions is that you are essentially competing with yourself in the marketplace.
And if you( wisely IMHO) refuse to provide tech support
You are only going to alienate any potential new MSA payers, who will have to go sperlunking through internet forums seeking answers from the existing MSA payers who may not even have their older versions installed any longer.


When I think of expanding the user base I’m thinking of primarily motion graphics artists new to 3d. I think the AE integrated version helps, but a half-functional stand-alone would help further growth there. I’m thinking of a version with 30% less features than Prime and perhaps a limited render size/resolution.


MAXON wouldn’t provide any official support.
Having to search through the old forum posts is one reason why MAXON would not be competing with themselves by giving away such an old version.

It’s basically this concept:
We’re giving you a full free version to do with what you want.
It does not have a lot of the newer stuff that many users want. But it is still useful enough to use and learn from. And new enough to make plugins with.
If you want the really cool stuff that was added in the past few years then you’ll need to buy it.

To me this is not competing with yourself. Because the version being given away is old enough, and missing enough new features, that it won’t make people NOT want to buy the newest version.
If people got R13 for free and never end up buying the newer version. Then they were never going to be a customer anyway. So IMHO MAXON never loses a dime by doing this.
This isn’t a new concept either. Some companies have done this in the past. I can’t remember for certain. But think Metacreations did this with Poser and RayDream.
MAXON did actually give away a free version of C4D on a CD that came with a magazine back when dinosaurs roamed the earth. I think it was R6XL or something like that.
I think it was the full version. But that was a very long time ago and I can’t remember.



I disagree what could you learn if does not have the new stuff? see what fields changed in R20 or VDB’s

What i would like is a free full version but forbidden for any commercial work - maybe rendering restricted to some res -, that way you could learn/update your skills without the demo timer that keeps ticking even if you are not using it because you just have a work in another software.

Or maybe along what Houdini does with a very cheap price. But it has to have all bell and whistle for a person to be familiar with it.
Also a renting version but that does not precludes ownership, if an user wishes.

As commercial product how C4D versions are separated does no make sense specially concerning modeling. Have to buy studio to have sculpt for 3D printing !? it just pushes everyone to Blender.

And Blender is being employed for a Netflix show now, albeit with tools developed by Tangent studios



I posted the link in my previous post to what you might be thinking of…however I know for a fact that 6 XL was not for free, that was £200. The CE 6 version came in two varieties. A limited free version and a paid version… I can’t recall by memory if this was more limited than the standard £200 I had paid for mine back in 2002. Compatibility with plugins might have been one.


^Well… So much for that.
I guess MAXON has never done a true freebie version then.
If they didn’t do it back then when C4D was fairly unknown. There’s probably zero chance of them doing it now.