MAXON Cinema 4D R15 Review

February 9, 2014 7:07 pm

Tags: 3D, C4D, Cinema 4D, Maxon


As MAXON continues to innovate, adding new features and enhancing existing tools, the focus is always on providing exceptional stability and performance, unmatched integration and a straightforward, efficient and flexible interface.

MAXON’s Cinema 4D Release 15

MAXON has recently released a new version of their popular and easy to use 3D modeling, painting, rendering and animation software: Cinema 4D. This version (C4D Release 15), is an important update to an already powerful 3D application that is widely used in television, films and by many independent 3D artists.

The large amount of improvements and new additions to Cinema 4D R15 are a direct response to customer feedback, something MAXON has continued to emphasize in their steady development of this increasingly popular 3D software.

For this review, I’ll be covering the Studio version of Cinema 4D R15. See for a complete listing of the various Cinema 4D packages (Prime, Visualize, Broadcast, Studio, Cineware/Cinema 4D Lite).


New Team Render in Cinema 4D R15


What’s New in Cinema 4D R15?

Cinema 4D R15 has many, many improvements, along with some completely new additions to the program. There are too many to cover in this article, but I do want to point out some of the major ones. You can read the the complete list of what’s new in C4D R15 right here.

  • Typography Tools - major improvements in users' ability to adjust typography either within the 3D scene (gui) or using the control panel. Kerning, in particular, is a welcome addition for graphic artists who need a comprehensive typography toolset.
  • Team Render - The new Team Render, which replaces Net Render, allows users to render stills or animations “distributed across multiple computers.” Team Render is faster and easier to set up.
  • Workflow - New Architectural Grass shader and grass creation + a new Texture Manager for locating, assigning and switching textures.
  • Sculpting - Many additions to Sculpting tools including a new Amplify Brush, improved symmetry functions and a very nice Slide tool to clone and move complete edge loops.
  • Modeling - Completely new interactive Bevel tool, a new Align Normals algorithm and a FitToObject button for deformers.



No Crashes, Lots of Fun

Aside from the fact that Cinema 4D has always been the best program for new users, it’s also been the most stable of ANY program I’ve reviewed here at Some developers rush out their applications in order to meet certain deadlines or promotional goals. MAXON doesn’t rush anything. When they release a new version of Cinema 4D it has been thoroughly tested. This comes from careful planning and hard work in integrating new functionality so that the user isn’t left having to reboot or spend time trying to solve a problem with customer service. Cinema 4D R15 simply works without crashing.

I’m impressed with the new Bevel tool. Modeling has been an area that MAXON has been slow to develop until recently. The Bevel tool gives the user so much more flexibility in modeling rounded edges dynamically within the viewport of Cinema 4D R15. The new Slide tool is also a gem. Being able to add/move edges with a keyboard click and then adjust them interactively or using the control panel is a big help in creating 3D models. Cinema 4D is slowly building up it’s modeling capabilities so that it now competes with specialized modeling programs like Modo.


New Projection Mapping in C4D R15


Sculpting seems to have a special place in this version of Cinema 4D. Rendering is the only other area that has so many improvements and additions. Competing with standalone programs like ZBrush isn’t easy, but MAXON has done a superb job of implementing and developing the live sculpting capabilities of Cinema 4D.

Projection mapping is a lot of fun in this release. High resolution meshes can be projected onto a similar shaped object which results in a good reproduction of the original mesh, but at a lower resolution. Symmetry has also gotten attention so that now you can symmetrically model all kinds of objects in Cinema 4D R15.


Love, love, love the new Camera Crane in C4D R15


Being primarily a 3D filmmaker, I was most attracted to the new Camera Crane in Cinema 4D R15. You can replicate dramatic realworld jib shots within Cinema 4D so much easier now with the Camera Crane. Match moving the camera for VFX shots using live-action footage is also a lot easier. I spent considerable time with this new aspect of Cinema 4D and had so much fun trying out shots and copying camera positions that it was hard to tear myself away. Indie 3D animation directors are going to have a field day with Camera Crane.

BodyPaint 3D, Maxon’s standalone texture painting and sculpting application comes bundled with Cinema 4D R15’s Studio version. While there were no major updates to this powerful program in R15, I suspect there is one in the works. You can learn more about the application here.

A Strong, New Version of Cinema 4D

“That's the beauty of Cinema 4D — you don't need to know everything about it to get interesting results quickly, and in some instances, there aren't that many steps from original concept to final output.”
-Jean Pichot, Digital Arts Online

Make no bones about it, I’m a big fan of Cinema 4D. Having reviewed the application for the last several years and attended several MAXON lunches at SIGGRAPH, I have a unique perspective on the development of Cinema 4D. And every year MAXON surprises me with their imaginative and smart additions to the program. They respond to customers' needs and provide a program that, while increasingly complex, still manages to keep it simple and fun for new and continuing users.

Cinema 4D R15 is another excellent release for MAXON. They’ve improved on practically every aspect of an already solid 3D application. It’s a fun, yet powerful 3D tool for the visual effects artist, the graphics artist, the architect and filmmaker. The program is relatively easy to learn and grows with you as you become more proficient. MAXON has had a steady hand in developing this version of Cinema 4D. I believe it will prove to be the most popular version of the program yet.

Cinema 4D R15 has my highest recommendation. Be sure to try out the demo which is available for the PC and Mac and you’ll see why I’m so enthused about this program.


I reviewed C4D R15 on a windows 7, 64bit PC using hardware from a medium-level workstation. Check this link for requirements for your particular computer.

Cinema 4D R15 comes in 4 different versions, all developed to appeal to a specific user. Here are the versions and prices for each:

  1. Cinema 4D Prime ($995/$895 for side grade) the “core” version of the program built for “graphic designers who want to add 3D to their toolset”
  2. Cinema 4D Broadcast ($1,695) As the name suggests, this version of the program is specifically tailored for creators of broadcast graphics.
  3. Cinema 4D Visualize ($2,295) This version of the program is geared towards designers, photographers and architects.
  4. Cinema 4D Studio ($3,695)This is the high end version of the program that has “the very best MAXON has to offer professional 3D artists.”

Cineware / Cinema 4D Lite is a version (R14) of the program designed specifically for After Effects CC users and comes bundled with that program. This version of the program capitalizes on the superb integration of Adobe After Effects and Cinema 4D. I predict that this Lite version will introduce many new users to 3D.

MAXON also has a student version of the program which you can learn more about here. And if you’d like to compare versions, you can find the chart at the MAXON website here.

Cineversity is MAXON’s learning center. You can view tutorials for free there or subscribe for more in-depth training. The site has received a big makeover recently and is now beautifully organized.

My thanks to MAXON for providing Cinema 4D R15 for review. Particular thanks go to Vicky Gray-Clark at Ambient for her continued help and support.

Editor's Note:
Be sure to check out the following CINEMA 4D related links on Renderosity:

Ricky Grove [gToon], Staff Columnist with the Renderosity Front Page News. Ricky Grove is a bookstore clerk at the best bookstore in Los Angeles, the Iliad Bookshop. He's also an actor and machinima filmmaker. He lives with author, Lisa Morton, and three very individual cats. Ricky is into Hong Kong films, FPS shooters, experimental anything and reading, reading, reading. You can catch his blog here.




February 10, 2014

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