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SIG: Maxon Announces Next-Gen Cinema 4D Release 21

Maxon introduces next big release as part of ‘3D for the Whole World’ initiative as well as subscription pricing options.


Germany’s Maxon, a member of the Nemetschek Group, has released its next new release to its flagship 3D software package, Cinema 4D R21 at SIGGRAPH last week. Version 21 offers users the next generation of professional 3D modeling, animation, and rendering software.

Cinema 4D R21 — The Big Picture

As we already noted in our SIGGRAPH show reports, Maxon has introduced new flexible subscription licensing. You can lease Cinema 4D monthly, month-by-month, or annually on a monthly plan. You can still buy perpetual licenses however.

The new Cinema 4D R21 was intro’d at SIG’19. It ships 3 Sep 2019. (image: Andres Hildebrandt, Maxon Computer GmbH / Architosh. All rights reserved.).

“With R21, we have overhauled virtually every aspect of how our customers choose, download, purchase, license and manage Cinema 4D,” says McGavran. “The availability of a unified version of Cinema 4D will allow us to focus on developing one amazing 3D solution. Very attractive subscription pricing options ensure users around the world can easily access the most up-to-date 3D technology.”

McGavran is noting that the multiple type versions of Cinema 4D are no more. Previously there were separate versions for separate industry workflows. CEO David McGavran, who came to Maxon from Adobe’s executive suite in Europe, explains that “3D for the Real World” is not just Maxon’s slogan but the central way they approach the market and the development of its products. Cinema 4D is famous in the industry for its high-end functionality wrapped in a tool that is noted for being the easiest to learn and use, says the company.

An Architectural visualization workflow in Cinema 4D R21. (image: Andres Hildebrandt, Maxon Computer GmbH / Architosh. All rights reserved.).

The company had a great SIGGRAPH 2019 introducing this next versions and chapter in it company’s next phase of plans.

Feature Highlights in R21

One of the bigger new features is the integration support for Intel Open Image Denoise, a high-performance library, easy-to-use denoising filter solution to improve visual quality and reduce rendering times. The technology is part of Intel® oneAPI Rendering Toolkit, a set of libraries designed to help developers create high-performance, high-fidelity, extensible, and cost effective visual applications.

Other key features include (in brief):

  • One Version of Cinema 4D — R21 marks the intro of a single version of Cinema 4D that includes the complete set of features. A new global online store enables customers to subscribe and immediately active licenses.
  • Caps and Bevels — the new modeling technology lets users extrude 3D logos and animate text effects—the bread and butter of 3D motion graphics—quickly and more easily.  These tools are also integrated into all spline-based objects, including lathe, loft, sweep, etc. Read more here.
  • Field Forces — a new dynamics object in R21 allows users to optimize their motion graphics workflow in the MoGraph toolset, offering flexibility and power to control dynamic forces in modeling and animation effects for optimized performance.
  • Mixamo Control Rig — the new character animation tool gives R21 users the ability to adjust Mixamo animations imported into Cinema 4D.
  • Material Nodes — numerous additional nodes and UI improvements to accelerate workflow  include the new Node Space that defines which material nodes are available to the chosen renderer. Additionally, an API is now available for third-party developers to integrate render engines with the new material node system.

Other workflow and core improvements include interface speed enhancements for quicker modeling operations, particularly related to fast-paced productions that require heavy keyframe scene creation.

A sample image of Cinema 4D R21 with the Intel Open Image Denoise technology integration. (image: Andres Hildebrandt, Maxon Computer GmbH / Architosh. All rights reserved.)

Cinema 4D R21 leverages the latest processor optimizations from Intel and AMD. Cinema 4D R21 users can also directly import files to the Unreal Engine and Unity game engines to build stunning cinematic games, simulations and visualizations.

Maxon continues to transition to a more modern UI (user-interface) in Cinema 4D. R21 features improved color, updated menus and defaults. Support for HiDPI on Windows and Mac, provide optimized, anti-aliased display on high-end laptops and monitors, and more. You can read about the complete features set here.

Pricing and Availability / Upgrade Path

Cinema 4D R21 becomes available on 3 September 2019 for both macOS and Windows. A perpetual license is EUR 3,567  billed once. The monthly subscription is EUR 104.54 while a version with Redshift renderer is EUR 129.02. When billed annually the cost falls to EUR 61.49 and EUR 86.09, respectively. You can buy here. 

Recommended system requirements can be found here.

Architosh Analysis and Commentary

The approach Maxon is taking with its subscription plus perpetual option is consistent with what we have heard about how the Nemetschek Group of companies intends to slowly roll-out software subscription options. We are delighted to see that the company offers a monthly subscription, enabling users to access the software for individual stints and projects. For those who want the benefits of “paying as you go” the annual plan provides a better monthly cost than the monthly plan. 

In prior discussions with senior Nemetschek Group executives, the company wants to lower the barrier to entry for many of its software products across various brands. This enables extended optionality to test products in various workflows when migrating away from other solutions or in additive scenarios to complement other solutions. 

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