Cinema 4D 12 review

Price when reviewed

Over the years Maxon’s Cinema 4D has established itself as PC Pro’s recommended choice for 3D software for a host of reasons. The all-round usability and power of the standard version (now renamed Prime) is one, and the ability to extend the platform with state-of-the-art modules is another.

Over this period Maxon has also built up an excellent track record of regular must-have upgrades, each of which comprehensively updates a fundamental area of core functionality, such as modelling or animation.

With Cinema 4D 11.5 [a href=””] the focus was all on rendering, with major speed improvements and a complete overhaul of the Picture Viewer, which let you compare and colour correct rendered images and animations. In this new release those benefits have been extended with the Picture Viewer’s new Navigator and Histogram for onscreen navigation and feedback, support for Title Safe, Action Safe and Pixel Aspect display, plus the ability to open multiple windows and use full-screen mode.

The overall approach to lighting and rendering has also been reworked with the introduction of the confusingly named “linear workflow”. This refers to the way that Cinema 4D now handles gamma internally, and in practice it means the default results generally seem more naturalistic, so you shouldn’t need to add too many lights to get good results.

Cinema 4D 12

You can also now set precise colour temperature and Lumen or Candela brightness values for your lights and control the white balance for the scene as a whole. And Maxon’s advanced Ambient Occlusion effect for creating realistic contact shadows is now made available to Prime users.

Other changes to rendering include an increase in maximum output size to 120,000 x 120,000 pixels, the ability to save separate alpha channel files to the same format as the rendered image and a reworking of the previous batch render command to provide more standard Render Queue handling.

Cinema 4D 12 also introduces profile-based colour management, and with improved OpenGL support, the onscreen display is faster and more accurate than before.

In terms of new modelling power, Cinema 4D 12 now uses double precision for all internal calculations, so dramatic differences in scale, such as a moth flying around a cathedral, no longer cause problems. And scaling is generally simpler and more flexible, thanks to the ability to store units and scaling information within the document, and to quickly and accurately view measurements in different units.


Software subcategory Graphics/design software

Operating system support

Operating system Windows Vista supported? yes
Operating system Windows XP supported? yes
Operating system Linux supported? no

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