Cinema 4D XL 8 "VectorWorks" Edition Review


Are you a designer, animator or a person who would like to make some cool 3D stuff like cars, models, houses, and more? Well I would.  I am enrolled in a course where 3D applications are used and you have to make projects.  Have you heard of Maxon?  I actually haven’t heard of Maxon until I was introduced to an early version at school. It was called Cinema 4D XL 6 and it was on an iMac.  Ever since,I have been using it in school and am hooked. Cinema 4D XL is a 3D application software such as those of 3D Studio Max, and Maya that hasn’t been very popular as of yet, at least not to my knowledge.  Well this year is Maxon’s year with growing popularity.  Cinema 4D has been used in entertainment such as recent films, and sports broadcast.  Dare Devil’s intro was produced utilizing Cinema 4D XL and the NBA Finals intro was made on Cinema. Cinema 4D is catching on the 3D world for some time now and is very popular overseas. If you want to model, create and render, you may want to check out if Cinema 4D XL 8 is worth the look.

About Maxon Computer

MAXON Computer develops professional solutions for 3D modeling, painting, animation and rendering. Its award-winning products have been used extensively in the film, television, science, architecture, engineering and other industries.

MAXON products have been used for and in Star Wars 2-The Attack of the Clones, Spiderman, The Mummy Returns, Gladiator, Tomb Raider, the new Columbia-TriStar Film Logo, the On-Air Packages for Comedy Central, Monday Night Football, Discovery Channel Canada, Inspector Gadget, The Emmys on CBS, TiVO, NBC, DirecTV, CBS NFL, Mad TV, Smart House, J.A.G., The WB, Fox Kids, and many more.

The company is located in Friedrichsdorf near Frankfurt (Germany) and has international offices in Newbury Park (California, USA), Bedford (UK) and Tokyo (Japan).

Cinema 4D XL 8 is a 3D software application that allows you to create, and model anything you want.

The Cinema 4D XL 8 package arrived in a corrugated Maxon box containing the software and many other goodies. The presentation of the box is first rate. It is very cool and exciting. The Cinema 4D logo is cool too. The box weighs in a hefty 12 pounds. Why so heavy you ask? Well it comes bundled with a CD wallet containing the CD’s and booklets that cover each program module you choose.

Two boxes

That's a whole lotta books to read!

Press Release Portfolio; look at those awesome pieces of work!

The C4D CD along with a couple of others

Cinema 4D XL 8 is offered in different bundles, which Maxon describes as modules. What the modules essentially are, are plug-ins/software that enhance how Cinema 4D XL 8 (C4D) works.

These modules include the following:

Net Render – What Net Render does is use, un-used processor power from across the network of computers to complete the rendering task quickly and efficiently.

Advanced Render – Although the standard renderer in C4D is already great. Why not make it better? The Advanced Render Module provides advanced features like radiosity and caustics to achieve the ultimate realism.

Thinking Particles – These are special effects that you can control to interact with each other. For example wind (a particle) will bounce of a car.

PyroCluster – You use PyroCluster to create special effects such as smoke, fire and much more. Just like when you use a flamethrower, you can create that in C4D’s PyroCluster module.

MOCCA – “Motion Capturing and Character Animation” Use this module to create facial expressions, movement, and more.

Dynamics* - You use this module to create the law of physics. Make your work realistic with dynamics. For example, in real life when you bounce a tennis ball, it jumps back up. You can do the same thing in this module quickly.

BodyPaint 3D* - I think this is the coolest module. You can place materials and textures right on your model in real-time. So if you have lets say a table, you can spray on these materials and textures on it. Not on a different window, right there in front of your eyes!

*Modules not included in the bundle we are reviewing


Installing the Cinema 4D XL 8 “VectorWorks” Edition bundle takes a couple of minutes. All is standard stuff. All you have to take some time on is punching in the serial numbers for each module.

System Requirements

Minimum System Requirements:
Mac OS 9.x or Windows 98 / ME
128 MByte RAM, PowerPC, Intel Celeron or
AMD Duron and compatibles with 400 MHz

Recommended System Requirements:
Mac OS X or Windows NT4 / 2000 / XP
512 MByte RAM, PowerPC, Intel Pentium 4 or
AMD Athlon with 1 GHz

C4D likes to hog my resources when rendering movies and that is expected.

Getting started

Once you have punched in all the serial numbers it’s time to enjoy C4D. Upon waiting for the program to load you will be introduced to the layout. C4D utilizes an OpenGL interface so it’s wise to have a good card that can do OpenGL. In my case I use an ATI Radeon 9700 Pro.

Starting up!

The layout consists of the four perspective views where you will model your creations. The left hand panel consists of buttons where you can move objects, etc. The top portion is where the render button is, you tools such as x-axis, y-axis, add an object, light source and many other features. On the top right you have your objects menu where you can edit the objects you have. The FPS bar is right below the perspective views. This allows you to monitor where at which frame you want to do your thing.

Your top tab bar has your things like tools (Live Selection, Edges, Polygons, etc), your objects tab has things like Primitive, Spine Object, Particle, NURBS, Modeling, Deformation, Sound and more.  There is really a lot to learn and all the tools to model anything you want.

I really like the layout of C4D because it is clean, and easy to use. Within a day of learning, you should be comfortable with the options on the layout. You have plenty of other cool features within the tabs, which includes explosions and so on.

C4D is very easy to use. I think this is the easiest program I have used. Maya seems too confusing for me, and 3D Studio Max is a bit of the same, but that's just my opinion.

You can configure how you want your layout to be. You can move toolbars around and leave different option bars like a timeline in tact if you wish.  This adds to the way the Cinema 4D layout is.  When you have the options of configuring what you want to have in your screen, it makes it that much quicker to do things.

Let me give you an example of what I accomplished in about 5-10 minutes. It is pretty basic but I am going to show you how to add a texture to your object.

First choose you object of choice and place it where you want to be.  I added a background color and some lights.  Now in your materials bar create a new material.  Double click on it to bring up the options.  You have a variety of functions such as color, environment, and transparency.  Experiment with any combination of options you want.  Once you have finished configuring your material, drag it from the materials bar into the objects bar, right on your material or drag and drop it on the object in the perspective view.  It’s that simple.  Cinema 4D features pre-defied textures for you to use. The bhodiNUT volume is one of them with tons of features you can use to create the most detailed textures with bumps, etc.  Here is the result with the bhodiNUT CHEEN material. I just filled it up with tons of roughness.

Regular material options

bhodiNUT options

Nice result.  I did it :)

Cinema 4D gives you a chance to model and create realistic 3D objects and it has features and tools that will help you do so. Maxon Computer also lets users download an update to version 8.1 for free. Version 8.1 adds many features such as 64-bit color, and HDRI format imagery. 

The rendering engine in Cinema 4D is one of the best I have used.  It is fast and there are tons of options in the rendering options box.

Cinema 4D gives you a chance to learn with the use of the manuals they provide on CD and the booklet manual. The booklet was well informed and relatively easy to understand. You just need to carefully read what they say to do to become successful. There are so many plug-ins that enhance C4D and examples that can be downloaded via Maxon's website for free to give you an idea what the software program to do.

The main focus of the VectorWorks Edition is that this is a plug-in where you can transfer your VectorWorks done projects into C4D for some modifications and final touches. From there you can even render the final piece.

Copyright Maxon

The VectorWorks CD Plug-In.  This includes textures, and some examples.  VectorWorks is a CAD based program where you can design, and create real things.  For example, when making cars, CAD is used to design and displaying lengths, etc.  This is what VectorWorks does and will be covered in a different review...For now here are some examples of CAD created work.

Here is a piece of wood floor tile.  You can now render this in C4D and make any changes you need.

My colleagues and I agree on something. We all agree that Cinema 4D is an underestimated program. One of the people in my program but at a higher level says C4D isn’t as powerful than the likes of 3D Studio Max, etc but C4D is. C4D is one of the most powerful yet easy to learn programs out there. You begin to see how powerful it is when you see it being used in the industry.

This review doesn’t even come close in telling you how good this program is. Really. This review is just telling you what C4D is and some basics around it. There tons of other things you can do such as volumetric lighting, HyperNURBS that smoothes out corners, recreate the floor below you, easily anything can be realistic. It doesn’t even begin to tell or describe the better aspects of C4D. You will have to purchase this program to believe what I say.   Which brings us to our next point.  Look at Cinema 4D community.  We have complied a couple of resources where you can learn and see what C4D can do. Cinema 4D has quickly gained ground in the 3D industry and we would like to say Cinema 4D has it all.

The suggested retail price (SRP) for Cinema 4D retails for $1695U.S. for the XL Bundle and $75 (SRP) for the plug-in of VectorWorks.

Another thing I’d like to point out. The customer service at Maxon is bar none, one of the best, if not the best support services. The delivery was quick, the person I am communicating with is very open and they listen to you.

I rate the Cinema 4D XL 8 "VectorWorks" Edition a…


Pros and Cons

+ Boat loads of features
+ World Class animation
+ Awesome renderer
+ Powerful
+ Layout

I would like to thank Maxon for matching me up with my old time favorite.

Links to Cinema 4D XL work (copyright to respected owners):

  • Maxon (We advise you to thoroughly go through the website.  There are tremendous pieces of work that needs to be seen.)
  • JeremyW
  • - The real deal here. Amazing work.

Keep an eye on at Maxon because they have a BIG announcement coming from this years SIGGRAPH from July 29-31th.  They are tight-lipped about what we can expect but you can be sure will be at the forefront on bringing you this exciting news. If you are happening to attend SIGGRAPH, visit Maxon at Booth # 1937.

Some work I rendered from the free scenes provided at Maxons website.



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Depth of Field




My far

My work again..I am experimenting with balls and reflections

Thanks for reading.