Why use C4D in a MAX / Maya world?


Hey peeps.
So let me preface by saying I’m on team C4D. Have been using the software since 2005 and absolutely love it.

However, there’s no denying the hegemony that 3dsMax and Maya have over the industry. I teach C4D to college and university level students and all too often I hear '‘Yeah… I was looking at what the best 3D packages are, and I see all the pro’s use MAX or Maya, so that’s what I’m gunna get’.

It’s a shame that C4D seems to get left in the dust / so easily disregarded. So my question is… Why?

Do MAX / Maya have some dealbraking aces in their deck in terms of software capability that just blows C4D out the water? Otherwise I just have this theory that MAX / Maya’s popularity is more based off a consumeristic sense of ‘Ok, I want to get into CGI, so I’m just gunna look at what most people seem to be using and go for that’.

Interested in hearing your thoughts…


[Edit - nevermind… I can see how this will go… :wink:


Maxon / AKA Cinema4d have stolen a huge chunk of the cake. Its defo not the niche product that it used to be. Maxon USA have done an amazing job of selling Cinema4d, to just about every company you can think of. It may have fallen behind in terms of tech, but its user base is now gigantic, with huge names popping up on the radar, every day. From Disney, to The Mill. You name it, they are pretty much all using C4D,for something, somewhere in their workflow. The misconception is that any given institute, uses one specific tool. they use WETFTC to get the job done. Yes C4d lacks a few killer features, but fortunately, none of that seems to matter very much. it is still selling as if there was no tomorrow.



Because softwares are evolving all the time. No one can say what will be industry standard, ten years from now. And your students need to know the difference between working in a studio and being a freelancer, and choose their tools and knowledge accordingly. Maya is studio-friendly, while C4D isnt, and on the other hand C4D is freelancer-friendly.

Also, an artist brain is wired in weird ways, so artists can be more comfortable with the drag-drop nature of C4D, and also an artist needs to find two things in a software: 1) what does the job faster? 2) what works for you?

For example: You can do mograph with pretty much every software available… but you can say C4D does the job faster. If you can work with C4D, is unbeatable for Broadcast production.

My theory, most people think Maya is the industry standard because Pixar used it, and on the other hand, most people use 3d Studio / 3ds Max because it was the most pirated software in 3d history, it could run in a relatively cheap Windows PC and was one of the first affordable packages (back in a time when 3D software was very expensive and you can only use it with a Silicon Graphics / Raptor).

By the way, The Mill used Softimage, who is a fine example of the evolving nature of the industry. Softimage was the industry standard (Jurassic Park, The Matrix, Phantom Menace *Also Metal Gear Solid Saga). And look where Softimage is now.


The funny thing about Pixar using Maya is that they don’t use it for animating but for modeling, while other studios prefer to model in 3ds Max rather than use Maya.


When I read or hear about amazing feats of driving skill, I hear about ferraris, lambos, Bond’s Aston Martin, or a Williams F1 car; because they make for good headlines and stories. Its more difficult to make a sexy story about a ford fiesta that did 200,000 miles of school runs and shopping trips.

C4D doesnt often get used as the headline app in a movie or game, but is has very health sales figures and significant market penetration in the UK. If you go to most studios doing gfx for tv, adverts, music videos, product visuals and design, architectural visuals, POS, experiential work, medical visuals, corporate videos etc, you will find plenty of c4d work.


I’m using Maya for 15 years as a generalist in a one-man-company. 15 Years of struggling, finding workarounds, trying to get used to such an unintuitive and buggy software. (i.E.: to do a mathcalc in a numeric field you have write =+5 in it. Why not +5?).
Now, a friend of mine moved from Max to Cinema and said that Cinema “simply works”. No loosing time why things are not working as expected.
So, I read forums, watched tutorials and presentations, and all blew my socks of. So many nice and helpful people, zillions of good tutorials and all in all I always be astonieshed how fast you can do things in Cinema compared to Maya.
Then I got the demo and played a bit around with it. The possibilities to configure the interface are a dream. The logic behind all ist impressive. BUT: The renderer is nice but not as good as I would like it (working with VRay). I wonder why Chaosgroup dont’t work by themselves for a plugin.

Anyway; I would like to ask if some of you had a similar experience (coming from maya and get the transition to Cinema done). Any insights or suggestions are welcome.


…I wanna hear more about that Fiesta… If it can get to 200,000 miles, then my Focus might too!


I just got hired to do some mograph in a VFX shop on a TV commercial. When I walked in, the Maya guy told me he spent 3 days scripting and creating a rig to create a propagating animation, something like the Inheritance Effector animation trigger gag. Working on a laptop for 2 hours over the weekend, I recreated his 3 days of work. I showed him the results, and ran through the flexibility of the effectors, and he was impressed that tweaks would be so easy. Export via Alembic, and they’ll render out of Maya. And most of my 2 hours of work involved doing the math on the Cloner Grid array and waiting for my little laptop to churn my cloned objects.

That example is a bit of anecdote masquerading as data, because VFX places aren’t the C4D market. But Cinema appears to solve a problem.

When I used to follow forums, this question was always predicated on the poster’s particular geography and industry. Stepping into my geography and industry, if you’re in the US, and you’re in Los Angeles or New York doing motion graphics, you couldn’t imagine asking the value of Cinema in a Max/Maya world. It’s built-in, it’s not going anywhere, designers use it, so it becomes what motion graphics animators use…by the thousands. It’s now deeper than I ever imagined it would be, and the standards of new user expertise are now the main challenge for veterans–we’re not so much worried about whether we’re using the best software package, just trying to keep up with the young C4D geniuses flooding into the market.


Its all about what you want to specialise in to be honest. Sure the renderer aint Vray or Octane etc but you can still use them. I have enough to think about getting my head around C4d - I wouldnt want anything more complex thanks.



Well, that question is as pointless as asking, “Why use Mac in a PC world?” It only serves to start a heated discussion.

Cactus Dan


I agree it’s pointless, but really what concerns me most about what the OP asked is this :

[Edited at request of OP… I’m leaving the most relevant part though below and I stand by this opinion…

My opinion is that if you use a program for yourself then go ahead and use whatever you are comfortable with, but if you are a teacher you owe it to your students not to shortchange them.
Academic software licenses are easy to come by (particularly for AD apps) so really there’s no excuse that I can think of not to have at least a basic working knowledge of all of the main packages used in the industry so that you can give your students a balanced view of the programs they are likely to run into out there when they start looking for work.



It should be noted that this goes both ways.

Often schools that teach Max / Maya are slow to invest in C4D because of the perceived market.

But you are correct, the package doesn’t really matter, it is the theory behind it.
It should not be up to a teacher or a school to chose a package, they should be teaching the fundamentals and then the students can try the various packages.
With all the information on the web, you can learn a package with relative ease. It would be ideal for a school to provide access to all software, and let students choose which they want to use to complete any given project.

That said, there is truth (and bias) to every post so far. :slight_smile:


Woah, hey now :wink:

I don’t agree that it’s pointless. Quite the opposite, I think it’s a very worthwhile question / discussion to be having.

I believe it can be incredibly insightful and enlightening for everyone, especially newbie’s and those just starting out in the industry… To see professional 3D Artists viewpoints on the pro’s / con’s of the C4D software and its current standing in the industry in relation to its competitors. So that we all might come out of the discussion more well informed :slight_smile:

I and many others hold the CGTalk forums and its users in high regard. More than capable of well mannered constructive debate, politeness and proactive behaviour (seriously, in my experience, this is the most well behaved forum on the web! ;p )

Horganovski, maybe I was too casual / flippant in my wording and left myself open to misinterpretation. But I assure you, what you are saying about me is not the case. I could explain why, but that would be going Off Topic. Sufficeth to say, you have got the wrong end of the stick :wink:

I’d appreciate it if you remove your ‘’ So essentially the OP is saying…’’ segment…

Assuming, makes and ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me’ as they say :wink:


Prove me wrong then… tell me 5 differences between either Max and C4D or Maya and C4D.
No cheating now and googling them… this is a test :wink:

Joking aside, if you need to ask a question like this it does suggest that you don’t know the answer, and the fact that you asked it on a C4D forum means that it’s very likely you are only looking for one side of the debate. Did you ask the same question on the Max/Maya forums? I visit the Maya on here on CG Talk as frequently as the C4D one (I work with both C4D and Maya professionally so I try to keep up to date with both) and I didn’t see you post there.

Really what I posted on the 2nd post above is still what I strongly believe is the case here, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias

I didn’t just assume this, I read your post and made an educated guess based on the information available. :wink:
If you truly wanted to learn what the shortcomings of C4D are compared to Max/Maya a search here and on other forums would have thrown up a ton of information, this subject has been beaten to death here many times.



Haha, well I don’t know about 5, but I can take a stab at 1 thing which encompasses the ‘button pushing’ side of every all-purpose 3D application… They’re generally about 90% the same, just the buttons are in different places :slight_smile:

That do ya? :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m afraid my reasons for only posting on this forum are far less psychologically rooted… I generally avoid posting the same thread in multiple locations, as moderators tend to get funny about that sort of thing. Maybe I’ve just been on anal forums, but it’s my general perception that it’s somewhat taboo.

Believe it or not, I’m quite capable of doing without the sweet nectar of confirmation bias in favour of legitimate discussion and debate (as I assume most people here are). I can even… (drumroll) happily accept criticism of C4D without throwing any toys out the pram!


I thank you for amending your previous post. I welcome debate, just so long as it is above the belt :slight_smile:

I happen to agree with your stance on education. Though I’d say a 50/50 stance between theory and ‘button pushing’ is best. After all, you can have Disney’s 12 basic principles of animation memorised to a ‘T’. But that won’t make you feel any less lost when you open Maya for the first time and stare in horror at the sleuth of scary buttons that meet your gaze :wink:

I’m certainly not one to force any kind of software bias on students. In fact, one of my best students now has a career using MAX… The traitor :stuck_out_tongue:


Hey it’s a free world (for the most part) so what kind of forums you choose to frequent are entirely up to you. :wink:

I’m pretty sure there is a rule here in general though that ‘app comparison’ threads are not permitted, for sure I’ve seen them closed down in other areas here, but they tend to slip by in the C4D section as far as I can see.

Coming back to my point about bias, I really believe that each program tends to occupy a different area/discipline so the information you get in a software-specific forum will always be skewed in a particular direction.

For example someone posted on page one here that they found it easier to build a mograph-type of setup in C4D than their colleague in Maya, I have no doubt that’s true. On the other hand my main area is character animation and I could share anecdotes about how on my last C4D animation job (a TV commercial) I struggled with really slow response, buggy XRefs and spent a lot of my day waiting for preview renders to calculate as I couldn’t really get a true sense of the timing at all with two character rigs loaded and the scene running at 5-7 FPS.
Conversely on my last Maya animation job I had 4 characters loaded at all times and the scene was running at 30-40 FPS. For me that’s a huge difference in productivity as I had much less need to make playblasts/preview renders to check timing. Plus the fact that Mayas referencing system is a lot more robust made that job much easier than the C4D one, I spent less time waiting for things to load and re-pointing references to missing files and more time just animating.

So to the students who might look at say some behind-the-scenes videos of studios like Disney and Bluesky and see them animating in Maya (they both do, whereas Pixar and Dreamworks use their own proprietary software) and then wonder ‘why don’t we use Maya in college?’ I would say they have a fair point. On the other hand if they want to work in advertising/motion graphics then for sure they should learn C4D.

So when you use language like ‘I’m on team C4D’ or someone is a ‘traitor’ to use Max, even if you use these terms in jest, it suggests a bias and unwillingness to take each program on it’s merits and to see which area of production it’s best suited for. And that is unfair to students who may be interested in those areas IMO.




Well, what I meant was what Brian posted and then erased, that it’s more important to teach the 3D principles rather than concentrate on any one particular software. For that you simply need the user manuals to show you where all the functions are located in the GUI. If there was an international standard 3D application GUI, then you wouldn’t even need that.

Like the Mac vs. PC debate, they both use menus, windows, icons, etc. If you know those basic principles, then you can easily jump back and forth between them.

But, this forum has been known for it’s heated app vs. app debates that deteriorate into arguments evolving into ugly personal attacks, which the moderators eventually close. So, that was the motivation behind my comment.

Hopefully, this thread won’t go down that road.

Cactus Dan


Ah that’s a pitty. I’m not a forum regular and was not aware of this. I’m hopeful this won’t go the same way!
Though if it does… I suggest a gentlemanly glove slap across the face, and settle the matter on the field of honour (I have a couple of flint-lock pistols I can lend out :stuck_out_tongue: ).

Otherwise, I think one of the main reasons I wanted to hear peoples thoughts on this subject was…
A good few years ago, I was contacted by a Hollywood CGI company for a freelance gig. I was stacking baked beans on a supermarket shelf for a living at the time, and was blown away with amazement at this turn of events :wink:

A little ways into dialogue with the contact… He said to me ‘hmmm… Cinema 4D… I hear that most places are never using that in favour of Maya these days’. At the time this conversation occured (over the phone) I was INCREDIBLY nervous. I just sorta fumbled and replied with ‘Oh… Really?’.

The job never came to pass. Later I figured ‘ahh man… That was my chance to champion the pro’s of the C4D software! And I fumbled the ball >.<’, like maybe this dude was testing me. For what was required, C4D was totally capable of delivering the brief… Now if I were to take an ‘educated guess’, they might well have gone down the ‘stick with what you know’ route and got a Maya guy/gal in for the job.

So I guess that’s the crux of my question… I’m not an aficionado of Max / Maya, but I have a bit of proffesional / hobby experience with Max under my belt. Not much, but enough to have a perception that both softwares appear to be capable of the same end results, yet one seems to have a much larger slice of the ‘3D industry pie’ than the other. So it’s been fascinating to hear peoples views on just why that is :slight_smile:

I personally believe there’s a LOT of people out there… Newbies, professionals, hobbyists and studio fat cats alike, who might well be pleasently suprised at just how capable C4D is :slight_smile:


I dont think is a bad question. I asked this myself when I was using Maya and found Cinema through a friend. I tested it, and despite I was more proficient with Maya, I kept coming back to Cinema. Even now, sometimes I try to “leave” Cinema because I dont like modeling with C4D. Lucky for me, Zbrush added Zmodeler and Im very proficient with it. So I ended up using both. :slight_smile: