Review: Maxon Cinema 4D Release 18

May 27, 2017 at 11:27 pm by -gToon

This is the first C4D release in a couple of years where I felt like I really needed to play around with the software and discover the implications of the new additions. To me, it seems like the software has progressed from really-good, to a critical mass of features that can lead to flat out awesomeness. I'm not done experimenting yet, and that is the hallmark of a good upgrade - Mark Bremmer, Microfilmmaker

Cinema 4D is such a new and fresh 3D application it's hard to believe that the program has been around for 27 years. Maxon's development of Cinema 4D has always been deliberate and well-planned. No matter where you look, on television, in movie theaters or in computer games, Maxon's Cinema 4D has a major impact on how content is created. And with the recent release of Cinema 4D R18 we now have a 3D program that is at the peak of its features, performance and value.

New in Cinema 4D R18
I've always admired how careful and deliberate Maxon is in developing/releasing updates to Cinema 4D. Their updates are always focused and helpful in making life easier for the computer graphics artist. They also stay true to their focus on being user friendly, but with a deep feature set. With version 18 of Cinema 4D, Maxon has made a concerted effort to focus on new and updated features for MoGraph, VFX, Materials and Rendering and Modeling in addition to improving Third-Party support. Let's take a look at some of the most important updates to Cinema 4D R18. You can read a full list of changes and additions to Cinema 4D R18 here.

  • MoGraph Push-Apart Effector - With the addition of the MoGraph module a few years ago, Cinema 4D instantly became the top application for motion graphics. Maxon has been adding to this module every year. Now, we have the new Push-Apart Effector in Cinema4D R18. This new addition allows users to solve the clone overlap problem in a variety of ways in addition to enabling new ways of working with clone objects.

  • New Voronoi Fracturing Object - Another key additon to the MoGraph toolset is the amazing Voronoi Fracturing tool. Using a noise algorithm to generate breaks in an object you can either let the tool determine the result or fine tune it manually. The range and ease of using this tool is amazing and lots of fun to use.

  • New Knife Tool - Maxon continues to improve its modeling tools in Cinema 4D with the new Knife tool. This completely reworked tool lets the user cut up objects and then manipulate them visually in any axis. There are a remarkable amount of variables that can be added to save time when using the Knife tool.

  • Inverse Ambient Occlusion as a Shader Function - Another outstanding new addition to Cinema 4D R18, users can now use a mix of shaders to create a worn look on objects without having to paint them on. Another time saver for artists that can really make a difference.

  • Thin Film Shader - This new shader is used to simulate thin layers of oil and other refractive surfaces that coat everyday objects. Imagine the swirling colors seen in soap bubbles. A terrific addition to the shader functions in Cinema 4D R18.

  • Object Tracking - Maxon's Motion Tracker now offers Object Tracking which lets users replace objects in video footage with their own 3D creations. Results are excellent even without manual adjustment. A big time saver for artists, especially small film crews who want to do their own VFX. No need to rely on expensive dedicated tracking software when you can do it all in Cinema 4D R18.

  • Improved Third Party support with OpenSubdiv - Seamlessly transfer smooth models between applications and more flexibility when animating and modeling. Cinema 4D R18 also supports Allegorithmic Substances which gives users access to a huge collection of procedural materials.

Using Cinema 4D R18
I couldn't wait to start playing with the new Voronoi Fracture object in MoGraph. Quick thanks to Nick at Grayscale Gorilla for his excellent introduction on the new Voronoi Fracture feature.

It's incredibly easy to set up an object, adjust the point distribution and amount of points. Note: you can also use shader distribution to adjust the fracture points using noise or gradients. I quickly chose the new Voronoi Fracture from the drop-down MoGraph menu, added a sphere then parented the sphere to the fracture object. Now you can adjust the amount of fragments and choose the type of distribution. You can also stack the distribution so you have several point types affecting one object. This is incredibly useful for setting up all kinds of fracture animation in graphics, models and vfx.

Once you add Dynamics to the sphere you can quickly create a very cool shatter animation. Add a floor (plane), make it a collider body using simulation tags. Then go to fracture object and make it a rigid body. Now we tell the dynamics to use all of the fragments, adjust the friction and bounce properties and shatter away! From selection to shatter took about 2 minutes. How cool is that? And the possibilities are limitless once you drill down into the features and make adjustments.

The new Knife tool is going to make modeling easier in Cinema 4D R18. Three new knife tools pop up when you hit "K" - plane cut, knife cut, loop path cut. It's so easy to either cut across any geometry in large cuts or to work more detail cuts into the geometry itself. Modeling is getting a big boost with this new tool.

The Thin Film shader is a welcome addition to Cinema 4D because now you can create a variety of surface effects quickly. In the materials editor you select effects > Thin Film. You'll find several presets like "beer", "oil" and "water". A physically-based shader, it produces a thin film around or on an object that changes the way light moves through the shader producing a very neat film effect. You can also customize any film effect by changing values in the shader properties. Another fast and easy way to create an effective and unique look inside of Cinema 4D R18

There's a ton of new features in Cinema 4D R18 like view-port enhancements, object tracking (love this feature), a new "vertex color tag" and a new bump map feature "parallax offset". Each of these new features are easy to implement and helps you save time in creating the desired effects you want in Cinema 4D.

Grayscalegorilla has a nice YouTube playlist of new feature videos that are short, but packed with info. Maxon's Cineversity also has some great videos on the new features of Cinema 4D R18. A full list of the features can be found at the Maxon Cinema 4D website.

Final Thoughts
I've been a big fan of Cinema 4D for many years now. Over the years, Maxon has carefully planned their new additions to the program so that they work as advertised (some companies release features that aren't quite ready) and fit with their easy to use/implement philosophy. There is a depth of options in this new version of Cinema 4D that I think are essential. Although the focus in R18 tends to be centered in the VFX area, there are improvements in practically every area of the program.

Cinema 4D R18 is a must-have update.

Whether you are already a C4D user and are considering an upgrade or a new user looking to buy for the first time, Cinema 4D R18 is an essential update to an already powerful (and fun) 3D application. A trial version of the program is available here.

Four Versions of Cinema 4D R18
There are four different versions of Cinema 4D R18 each one has a special focus for specific types of tasks.

  • Cinema 4D Studio is the very best that Maxon has to offer for 3D artists.
  • Cinema 4D Broadcast has a feature focus on broadcast graphics and has a special appeal to the motion graphics artist.
  • Cinema 4D Visualize is the version designed for architects and designers who want to produce fantastic images and animation quickly and to any level of realism.
  • Cinema 4D Prime is a great choice for all graphic designers looking to add 3D to their toolset.

A complete product comparison for each version of Cinema 4D R18 is available at the Maxon website.

How to Buy Cinema 4D R18
MAXON products are available through resellers and direct from MAXON. Customers can call their toll-free number (877-ANIMATE) or visit our online shop ( for a list of resellers and/or direct sales information

Pricing varies depending upon the version of Cinema 4D R18 you choose. Maxon has a complete list of prices at Note that Maxon provides free Cinema 4D licenses to students at qualifying schools along with other benefits and resources for educational institutions. Learn more at this link:

System Requirements
Maxon Cinema 4D Release 18 runs on the Windows operating system and on a Mac OS X 10.9.5 or higher. Complete list of minimum hardware requirements can be found here.

What's new in Cinema 4D R18 Video

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