Maxon Introduces C4D R21, New Subscription Option

Cinema 4D R21, the newest version of Maxon’s popular 3D software, is set to release on September 3. In addition to the updated feature set expected with any major release, Maxon announced that licensing for R21 will be available on a subscription basis, bringing Cinema 4D in line with other subscription-based products like Autodesk’s Maya and Adobe Creative Cloud.

New Features

With any new software version, an updated features list is to be expected, and R21 is no exception. Highlights include:

  • Caps and Bevels - Introduces a new system for creating convex and concave bevels on any spline-based object, including 3D text.

  • Field Force - A new dynamics object that offers additional flexibility to control dynamic forces in the MoGraph toolset.

  • Vector Volumes - Allows directions to be stored in voxel grids, which can be used with the Field Force dynamics object to create and control new forces.

  • Improved Volume Builder - Includes a new cache layer for faster workflow, a UI for defining and adjusting thickness along spline volumes, and ability to create curvature vertex maps with the Volume Mesher.

  • Improved support for Mixamo animations - Offers a quick way to implement character animation.

  • Rendering improvements - Includes the addition of the Intel Open Image Denoise library and additional nodes and UI improvements to accelerate workflow.

  • Improved Interface - Includes speed augmentations for quicker modeling operations, and a more modern UI with improved color, menus, and defaults.

  • Updated CAD format support

  • Direct Export to Unreal and Unity

For the complete list of new features and performance improvements, check out the Maxon’s R21 features list here.

Licensing Changes

Arguably more important than the additional features in R21 are the changes Maxon is making to Cinema 4D packaging and licensing with this release:

Maxon is doing away with its multiple editions of Cinema 4D: BodyPaint 3D and Cinema 4D Prime, Broadcast, Visualize, and Studio editions are set to be discontinued on September 1. The features from the various Cinema 4D editions and BodyPaint 3D will be consolidated into R21 and will continue to be developed. This move allows Maxon to offer one singular version of Cinema 4D that includes the complete feature set, and should reduce customer confusion over which edition to purchase.

Maxon is also moving to a subscription-based licensing service in addition to its existing perpetual license model. Users with an existing Maxon Service Agreement (MSA) will receive a perpetual license for Cinema 4D R21 which will allow them to continue using the software, but will not entitle them to future upgrades. Those users will also be offered a new two-year subscription at a discount. Maxon warns that some upgrades and features (such as access to Cineversity and plugin libraries) will only be accessible to users on a subscription license.

Redshift users should note that the renderer will not be included in the baseline Cinema 4D subscription, but will be available as part of a bundle subscription. The Redshift license included in this bundle is only usable with Cinema 4D; Redshift Standalone and Redshift integrations with other 3D applications will be available separately.

Cinema 4D users will access their licenses through a new MyMaxon account. This account will allow for on-demand remote license retrieval, as devices can be signed in and out through the online portal. The portal will also facilitate real-time licensing, as new licenses are available for use immediately upon purchase.

Maxon is also introducing a new License Server, which runs as a service on Windows or as a daemon on OSX and Linux. It utilizes a web interface and allows different Maxon accounts to pool licenses onto a single server. The new license server will provide greater control over licenses and a graphical view of past and current license use, giving administrators additional tools in managing licenses.

Plugin Compatibility

As with any major software release, popular plugins must be updated to maintain compatibility. At the time of this writing the following companies have released statements regarding readiness for R21:

  • eyedesyn
    All plugins except Text Edge Pro are currently compatible. Bendy Limbs has been tested and works in R21.

  • Greyscalegorilla
    Details are being finalized, new installers will be ready around the release of R21.

  • Laubwerk
    The Plants Kit plugin is currently compatible. An update for the Player will be ready around the release of R21.

    An update is in process for the SurfaceSpread plugin.

  • Xfrog
    Plugin updates are in process, with no ETA on a finished product.

Toolfarm is compiling a comprehensive list of plugin announcements for Cinema 4D R21, which you can find here


An annual Cinema 4D subscription, which includes access to the Cineversity training site, C4D plugin library, and Team Render, is priced at $59.99/month, billed annually ($719.88/year).

The bundle subscription that includes Redshift for Cinema 4D will cost $81.99/month, billed annually ($983.88/year).

Month-by-month licenses are also available. Baseline C4D is available for $94.99/month, while the Redshift bundle month-by-month license runs $116.99/month.

A perpetual license for Cinema 4D (without Redshift) is $3,495.

For more information on the new features being introduced in Cinema 4D R21, Toolfarm, CGChannel, and StudioDaily all have great breakdowns on the upcoming release. Toolfarm has also posted a handy FAQ covering common concerns about the new licensing model.

If you have questions about deploying the new version of Cinema 4D at your facility, or need assistance managing your software licenses, feel free to contact Nodal!