We have tested for you: Cinema 4D R20 by Maxon

The 20th version of Cinema 4D, promoted as a major software update, has been released this summer for SIGGRAPH.

Node-based materials

In my opinion this is the major part of this release: the design of node-based materials. This feature which enables the creation of more complex and easily adaptable materials has been implemented for many years on other software such as 3DS Max, Maya and became broadly generalised with Substance Designer.

Clean up your Room!

It requires a bit of discipline to create your node-based materials: indeed chaining nodes can quickly take a lot of room and unease the reading. With more than 140 nodes available, it is a whole new world that opens up to its users. In keeping with this novelty, there is also the appearance of an uber material which uses the previous editor’s design combined to the possibility of connecting nodes.


Fiels was expected as a revolution for Motion Graphics in C4D. It increases the power of the “Falloff” functionality. Fields and Falloff enable its users to modify either the position of objects or their aspects (shape or materials) as a magnet would do it with iron dust. The aim is to animate a large amount of objects or to warp them. C4D was already a leader on this domain so Fields increases even more the design possibilities.

Volume Builder

Based on the Open VDB, C4D Volume Builder offers a different approach of modelling. You create a basic shape and you combine it with a « volume builder ». The shape is divided in numerous voxels (imagine the voxel as a Lego brick). Then, you can subtract or add other shapes to the basic shape. Eventually, you apply a volume mesher to get your polygones. I already saw this method a few years ago on Houdini and Maya through some plugins, but apparently it had not found its audience yet. Perhaps C4D users will be more receptive to this feature.

Opening toward CAD

C4D offers a real alternative to Keyshot thanks to the possibility to import CATIA, Solidworks, STEP, IGES and JT files. The import interface is very well designed with the shift of Y and Z axes but also the tessellation settings which variate according the size of the objects. It enables you to keep a minimal amount of polygones on a simple 5mm screw.


AMD renderer, Radeon ProRender also benefited from some betterments with this release. For instance: the SSS (SubSurface Scattering) rendering, the motion blur and also the addition of complementary passes in the multi-pass. Let’s point out that ProRender is fast and free. I can clearly picture it in a CAD vizualisation workflow.

 Copyright Yan Ge


When you have thousand of cloned objects, browsing the viewport may become difficult. The multi-instances mode grants you the possibility to retrieve a higher fluidity while browsing your viewport. The result is very astonishing: you can select the display mode in the viewport: either safe box, points or full geometry… The other perks of this multi-instance mode are the low RAM usage and the quicker launch of the renderings.

The release as well includes:

  • Enhancement of the camera tracking
  • Better support of the alembic
  • New design of the shading editor.

Christophe Bicchierai