The Ultimate Guide to Cinema 4D Versions & Licence Types

Available in an array of licence types and versions, Cinema 4D caters for most budgets and needs, whether you're a professional 3D artist or just starting out. The number of choices is quite confusing for a new customer, so here’s our ultimate guide to help you make the best choice for your needs.



Cinema 4D is available in four different versions which appeal to different 3D artists and budgets.

Prime - provides a core arsenal of tools, which lets you take on a wide variety of 3D projects.

Broadcast - has all the features of Cinema 4D Prime, plus enhanced rendering with Physical Renderer, powerful cloning, motion graphics tools and a high-end content library packed with 3D models, materials, cameras, lighting setups, video footage and scenes. 

Visualize - has all the features of Cinema 4D Prime, plus rendering (Physical Renderer), IES lights, state-of-the-art sketch and art rendering (Sketch and Toon modes) as well as a packed content library.

Studio - contains all the features found in Cinema 4D Prime, Visualize and Broadcast, plus advanced character tools, hair, a physics engine and an unlimited client network for rendering. The result is that Cinema 4D Studio can tackle any project you throw at it with ease.

Please Note: The above covers major differences only. If you are after a specific feature, check out the product comparison guide here to make sure your chosen product includes what you require. 

Licence Type

You can buy Cinema 4D in a variety of licence types:

Perpetual Licence

The standard option. A perpetual licence runs indefinitely. Once you buy it, you own that licence forever. The software doesn’t expire and you’re also free to sell it, if you ever want to. If a new release comes out for your licence (e.g. R19), you’re free to upgrade if you wish, but you don’t have to. If you do upgrade, your previous version can be left on your machine for legacy reasons, but you can only run the old or the new licence at any one point. If you ever choose to sell your Cinema 4D licence, you must sell all releases, including the most recent one. 

Cinema 4D perpetual licences come in two types:

Single-Seat - These licences can be installed on a single machine only, unless you add a MAXON Service Agreement. Adding this increases install rights to two machines so long as only one is used at a time (for example, on a desktop while at work and on a laptop while at home). If you require more than one licence, discounts are available. 

Multiple-Seat - These licences can be installed on as many machines in one location as you like. Licences are authorised by a MAXON Licence Server or Reprise Licence Manager which need to be purchased separately.

Short-Term Licence

Available for Cinema 4D Studio only, these licences run for either three or six months (depending on your purchase choice) and then stop working. These licences are ideal for short-term projects or for toe-dipping into 3D before making a full investment in a perpetual licence.  

Cinema 4D Short-Term licences come in two types:

Single-Seat - These licences can be installed on a single machine only. 

Multiple-Seat - These licences can be installed on as many machines in one location as you like. Licences are authorised by a MAXON Licence Server which needs to be purchased separately.

Upon expiry, the product will stop working, although you can extend the licence by a further three or six months, or upgrade to a full perpetual licence.


Sidegrades are the same as a perpetual licence, except you get the licence at a discounted rate, if you own a qualifying commercial licence of 3D software such as Cinema 4D older versions, 3ds max, Maya, Modo, Lightwave 3D and many more.


Upgrade from Adobe After Effects CC’s Cinema 4D Lite

If you own Adobe After Effects CC, you’ll find it comes with Cinema 4D Lite (in After Effects, choose “File / New / MAXON CINEMA 4D File…” to launch). MAXON offers an upgrade from Lite to either Cinema 4D Broadcast or Studio. This saves you around £250 on a Studio licence or £150 on a Broadcast licence. 


MAXON offers upgrades from the last two or three releases of Cinema 4D, depending on how far into the release cycle the latest product is. Upgrades can either be made by keeping the same version, but moving to the latest release, or you can also upgrade to a higher version. 


MAXON Licence Server

The MAXON Licence Server enables you to administer and licence your Cinema 4D or BodyPaint 3D serials from a central location. It requires multiple-seat licences to work, which must be purchased separately. 

The MAXON Licence Server needs to be installed on a computer with a fixed IP address running Max OS X or Windows XP or higher. Note that the server needs to be running in an open window.  

The price of the MAXON Licence Server varies depending on how many multiple-seat licences of Cinema 4D or BodyPaint 3D you own. The more seats you own, the cheaper it is!  

Reprise Licence Manager (RLM) Support

If you’re an RLM customer, you can opt for this method to manage your Cinema 4D multiple-licences. Once ordered, your licences will be generated in a format compatible with your RLM software.  


Command-Line Render Client

If you’d like to manage your render clients via a third party render manager instead of MAXON’s Team Render system, then you can buy clients at a cost per client. Command Line Render clients can be installed on Mac, Windows or some Linux configurations. 

Maxon Service Agreement

MAXON’s Service agreement is an optional purchase, which provides four helpful benefits: 

  • Access to any upgrades to your software version released in the service period.
  • Access to MAXON's online training portal: This site provides thousands of tutorials, helpful plugins and a forum.
  • Enhanced install rights. MSA users who have a non-floating licence can install their licence on two machines rather than one so long as only one is in use at any one point. 
  • MAXON Service Agreements tend to work out considerably cheaper than manually upgrading from release to release. For example, a Cinema 4D Studio MSA for R18 costs £450, whereas a manual upgrade from R17 costs £675. 

To qualify, you need to be on the latest version of Cinema 4D and you need to agree to the terms and conditions of the MSA Contract.

Once purchased, your MSA will start from the 1st of the next month. For example if purchased on 16th February, the start date of the MSA would be 1st March.


Further information

If you still need further help, MAXON has a UK office with experienced staff on hand to answer your questions. You can call us on 0333 772 0444 or email us at 

If you’d like to see the latest prices on Cinema 4D, please visit

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Having worked for Maxon UK since its creation in 2001, I know of a LOT of great resources for Cinema 4D. If I I listed them all here, this would be one long post! But fear not, because if you want them, you can have them!

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About the MAXON Blog

Welcome to the official MAXON UK Blog. This blog provides the most up-to-date official information about MAXON, its products – in particular its flagship product Cinema 4D – and the Cinema 4D community. You can expect to see posts from a wide variety of MAXON UK employees.