Cineware and Cinema 4D Lite FAQ

April 22, 2013 - By 

I was honored to be able to play with and show off the new and upcoming Cineware layer and C4D Lite this year at NAB. There were a LOT of questions from the audience about these new tools, and I have been getting tons of twitter questions and email about it too. So, I figured I would compile all of the questions and answers into one place. If you haven’t seen these tools in action yet, be sure to watch my videos featuring the basics on both of these new tools or check out our Intro To Cineware and Cinema 4D Page. Stay tuned for many more videos and tutorials coming soon here on Greyscalegorilla.  


A Quick Disclaimer

I don’t work for Adobe or Maxon and don’t represent either company. But, all of these answers were either confirmed by people working on the new tools, or by trying it directly on the beta version at NAB. These answers may change at final release since these tools aren’t officially out yet or in the final form. So with that said, here is (hopefully) some useful info to get you ready for this incredible new workflow. 

How Do I get Cineware or Cinema 4D lite?

These new tools are only available in the newest version of Adobe Creative Cloud. You must be a Creative Cloud subscriber and download the latest version of After Effects to get Cineware and Cinema 4D Lite. It will not be available for CS6 or below.

What’s the difference between Cineware and C4D Lite?

With the new version of After Effects comes two new things that are included. Cineware and Cinema 4D Lite. Let’s clear up the difference between them first. Cineware is the new layer between C4D and AE that allows you to bring in your Cinema 4D files directly into After Effects without rendering. C4D Lite is a version of Cinema 4D that will be INCLUDED directly inside the next version of After Effects. First, I will answer questions relating directly to the Cineware layer since some of you may already own Cinema 4D. Then, I will try to answer questions about Cinema 4D Lite for you current After Effects users looking to get into 3D. 

When Is Cineware and Cinema 4D Lite available to the public?

Cineware and C4D Lite will be available when the new version of After Effects is released. As for a date, I have no idea. 


Can I use my Commercial version of Cinema 4D instead of C4D Lite?

Yes. If you own a current professional version of Cinema 4D, you can use that with Cineware instead of the Lite version that comes with AE. This allows you to use things like GI, Dynamics, Hair, and other professional features in the Cineware Layer. 

How Fast does Cineware Render inside of After Effects compared to Cinema 4D?

When using Cineware, Cinema 4D is opening in the background to render your scene. So, the speed difference between rendering in C4D and with Cineware is negligible. Basically, it’s just about the same time as rendering directly in C4D. There are a few tricks you can try to speed up the render and to keep the render times as short as possible, but this will be discussed in future tutorials when the official version is out. 

Are Object Buffers supported?

Yes. Set up your object buffers in C4D and you will be able to access them directly in Cineware with no rendering. Layers are also supported. 

How much will all this cost?

Both Cineware and Cinema 4D Lite will be included at no additional cost in the next version of After Effects. If you are a part of an Adobe Cloud subscription, these new tools will come included with next AE release. If you don’t own After Effects or need to upgrade, it will cost you the new license price or the upgrade price. 

Does Cineware work with Global Illumination?

Yes. If your version of Cinema 4D Supports GI, so will Cineware. Physical Renderer is not currently supported. 

Does Cineware work with Vray or other 3rd party renderers?

No/Not Yet. Cineware does not currently work with Vray, Physical Renderer, or any third party renderers. However, remember that this is the first version and more features will probably be supported as new versions of this are released. 

Do the AE files with Cineware link properly in to Adobe Premiere?

Yes. I haven’t tried this directly, but from what I have heard, this will work. 

Can I use After Effects Cameras to view Cinema 4D Objects?

Yes. You can use any camera from Cinema 4D or After Effects to control the viewing angle of your Cinema 4D scene. You can extract cameras from your C4D scene, or use the built in AE cameras to spin around your scene. It’s pretty seamless. 

Can I extract Cameras, Nulls, and Lights from my C4D Files using Cineware?

Yes. You can extract all of this and more directly from your scene file using Cineware. This means you can use your C4D Camera and lights to effect AE layers directly. 

Can I Use multiple Cinema 4D Scene files in one After Effects File?

Yes. For example, you can use one C4D scene file for the background and another for the foreground in the same After Effects file.

What versions of Cinema 4D are supported in Cineware?

Cinema 4D scene files made with R12 and up are supported in Cineware. 

What Plugins Are supported in Cinema 4D Lite and Cineware?

All Plugins work and are supported if you use Cineware and you have a version of Cinema that also uses those plugins. However, if you only are using C4D Lite, then only certain plugins work. We updated Light Kit Pro and Texture Kit to work with C4D Lite.

Does Cineware work with NET Renderering?

No. Your net rendering workflow will have to remain the same as it is now. However, using Cineware before using NET renderer will still be a great way to see your scene file directly in the composite. 

Does Cineware work with Watch Folder rendering?

Early reports say yes. It looks like you may need to be very diligent in collecting your files, though.


Is Cinema 4D Lite a real version of Cinema 4d?

Absolutely. They may call it a “Lite” version, but it’s a very robust set of tools to use and integrate into your workflow (see below for a full list). This is especially for the current After Effects user that always wanted to try using 3D tools in their workflow but never decided what 3D package to try. Now, there is one of the best 3D packages INCLUDED in After Effects and they talk to each other seamlessly.

What Features Does Cinema 4D Lite Include or Exclude??

This isn’t a comprehensive list, but this covers most of the big features people specifically asked me about. 

GI and Physical Renderer is NOT included. 
Dynamics are NOT included. 
Polygon Modeling tools are NOT included. 
Hair is NOT included. 
C++ and Python is NOT included. This removes the ability for many plugins to work with C4D Lite.
Ambient Occlusion IS included.
All the Mograph Tools are NOT included. 
However, you can get a small set of Mograph tools if you register your version of Cinema 4D Lite. These Mograph tools include the Fracture Object, Plain Effector, and Random Effector. 

Cinema 4D Lite is a pretty robust version of C4D that will allow After Effects users to try C4D that would not normally try 3D. In many ways it’s more powerful then even the basic Prime version of Cinema 4D. But, if you are planning on using Cinema 4D as a major part of your 3D workflow, you may want to upgrade to  one of the Commercial versions.

Where is my Mograph Menu?

You will need to register your version of Cinema 4D Lite with Maxon to gain access to the Mograph Menu.

So, What is the upgrade path from C4D Lite to the Commercial Versions?

If you want all the other Cinema 4D features including Mograph, Dynamics, and Physical Renderer, you will need to upgrade to a Commercial version. I would suggest moving to the Broadcast or Studio version. Upgrading to the Prime version gives you practically no new features from the Lite version. If you plan on following along with many of my tutorials, I would suggest getting the Studio version. 

More Questions?

Did I miss your question? Drop it in the comments below and I will try to add it to the list. Also, if you are interested in more Cineware news in the future, be sure to sign up for the Greyscalegorilla Newsletter. There you will get tutorials, news and info about Cinema 4D, Cineware, and upcoming tutorials specifically made for this new workflow.

Posted In:  Cinema 4D News
  • Very helpful info, Nick, thank you. Can’t wait!

  • nice one!

  • Let’s say we work on servers in our office using many machines.
    Person A starts a project with intergrated C4D scenes. He/she builds it, puts some layers on top of it (for example lens flares). The underlaying C4D scene gets rendered into the defined AE Cache on Person A’s machine.

    Person B needs to make adjustments on the project. Opens Person A’s AE project which is on the server from his machine.

    Result: He will need to render the underlaying C4D layer again. -> Render-time is doubled.

    Is there anything that circumvents this problen than making proxies from Person A’s machine onto the server? Since C4D is not rendering anything it passes to AE to a folder, which you could access (BUT WHICH IT SHOULD DO!).

    And if you are rendering full quality proxies of your underlaying C4D scene, is it rendering from the cache or does it need to render everything again, since this is the problem we have now in AE CS6 with the new cache.

    Thanks! Looking for your answers. 🙂

  • When Adobe says the ‘next After Effects version’ do they mean CS7? If so, isn’t the waiting time gonna be long?

  • Thanks Nick.

  • Nick,

    So…will GSG plugins like Transform work in C4D Lite? I take it that since AI is not available, then there is no point in using the Light Kit Pro? What about Texture Kit Pro or City Kit…are those compatible with C4D Lite?

    • Hi, you answered my question so i answer yours :). From the Q&A: ” I did a demo of some of the Greyscalegorilla plugins including Light Kit and Transform and those were supported. “

      • Thank you Sven. I somehow missed that.

        Bummer about Global Illumination and Physical rendering not being included though, which I suspect will restrict the usage of the GSG packs which make use of it.

      • I can’t seem to get Transform to work with Lite. I follow the instruction video that came with Transform when I bought it (which only refer to Studio and Broadcast versions of C4D) but can get it to work with Lite. Do you have specific instructions to installing Transform into Creative Cloud C4D Lite?

        • Transform does not work with C4D Lite. Let us know if you need a refund.

          • Hey Nick, in the FAQ it says the following:

            “What Plugins Are supported in Cinema 4D Lite and Cineware?

            This one is tricky to answer. I did a demo of some of the Greyscalegorilla plugins including Light Kit and Transform and those were supported.”

            So does it or does it not work?

          • Thanks for reminding me of this. This FAQ was made before we had a chance to test it more. The answer now is that Cineware works with All of our products, but Cinema 4D Lite only works with Texture Kit and Light Kit Pro.

          • Hi, Nick …Please Can you tell me how to use Trapcode Particular with cinema lite…can you understand me by any tutorial.

  • I think cineware layers is sort of like element 3d layers, apart that I couldn’t find any other new features of the upcoming realize of C4D, I wasn’t at the nab show though, Could you Nick be kind enough and tell us what Maxon is hiding for us :)!

  • Thank you, buddy!

  • “[…]Because CINEMA 4D Lite includes functionality not included in Prime and Visualize, upgrades are only available to Broadcast and Studio.[…]”
    I found this in a FAQ on toolfarm

  • Lets say that cinema 4d studio is only installed on the windows computer and aftereffects is only installed on the mac. Can I still use the files that I made on the windows computer in cineware in aftereffects on the mac without installing cinema 4D studio on the mac?

    • I kinda doubt it. Especially since NET Rendering is apparently not supported.

      • As long as you have AE and C4d installed on each machine (and all have same plugins save version of AE and same version of c4d)

        you can save your AE project file with a render Pointing to a Folder to a network folder..

        Then open up all the AE project files and Render it out as a image sequence.
        then hit start on each machine.

        Then open up the image sequence back in to AE and render it to a video file of some kind.

        its not really a network render but should work right.

    • Surely you can, because you’ll have cinema lite with after effects installed.

  • Can you assign expressions to a single object using the object buffer? i.e. wiggle

  • How would markers work? Let’s say you have edited some live footage, and you made markers in premier on the timeline. Is there a way to take those markers and use them as guides (with notes included) with c4d somehow?

  • Juan Francisco Calero April 24, 2013 at 2:52 am

    One question: is ProjectionMan included in the Lite version? It will be a great advantage for matte painting works.

  • Hello, I have a question:
    If I use cineware layer but I do the c4d rendering directly in C4D (or with net render for example). Is there an easy way to include my rendering in the cineware layer without render it again ?

  • THIS IS SO AMAZING! so excited about this. My only question is I recently Purchased Studio 14 and Upgraded to CS6, will cineware be offered to be able to use with CS6? like a plugin of sorts for CS6

    • Seems like it’ll be on the newest version of AE, but through Adobe’s Creative Cloud. They aren’t doing full CS versions anymore. Doubt they’ll put out a 6.5 update either. Forcing everyone to go to a monthly subscription. You can still buy CS6 but since you already have, well you know, more money to burn.

  • Thanks for the preliminary info about this! When you say “Polygon Modeling tools are NOT included.” exactly what modeling tools are not included in C4D Lite?

  • thanks Very it helpful for me

  • Well, this was a good idea until Adobe just announced that all of it’s products are going to the cloud with a monthly subscription. ($50/mo for the Creative Suite of products, $20/mo for individual apps)

  • cineware & c4d lite will be available in future for AE6 / 5 / 4

  • Will the RealFlow plugin be supported in C4d lite?

  • Hi, Nick! Sorry, my English is not so perfect as yours. Interested in the stability of the imported C4D files from a network share at rendering time. These are buffered in memory? If, during the rendering time will break the connection to the network folder, or someone will make changes in imported files C4D … there’s an error?

  • Nick, So what are your takes on the subscription only service and the 300% raise in cost to users that have used Adobe for years?

  • I want to be able to use the same camera position from C4D but then navigate with the AE camera in that same position. Basically from where the C4D camera is in AE and then take it from there using AE navigation

  • Thanks Nick! One question. Would the cineware layers render faster in AE if
    you use the BG Render script?

  • So how can I use Cinema 4D Studio in After Effects Cineware? Because it always opens in Cinema 4D Lite.

  • It has cleared my questions thankxx Mr. Nick

  • So, i have R14 Studio and AE CS6, but there is no way to get CINEWARE if i did not subcribe to that Adobe Cloud service?
    Just in case there is a way to get CINEWARE without any extra cost.

  • Hi. In our studio we have R13 and R14, but whenever we launch cineware the R13 opens… How to change the settings from R13 to R14 as a default app to launch?

  • @Nick, are you using Vray for Cinema in any of your work? Think you will ever post a tutorial using Vray?

  • Where is the stitch & sewing or bridge tool in Cinema 4D Lite R14? And also where is the “Connect” when connecting two objects?…. Please Respond.

    • Wondering the same thing. It seems to be removed in C4D light when right clicking on two splines in the object manager. My gut feeling is that it is intentional to minimize features and suggest a C4D purchase by the user.

    • This is a real chintzy move by Maxon.

  • Best website ever !! thank you for all of your hard work 😀

  • Hello,

    Try indigo render plugin , but doesn’t work. Does anybody try this render engine in c4d lite?

    Great Blog,


  • I’m using the Adobe CC and I’m really enjoying C4D Lite. Although I’m able to run after effects on two different computers, including C4D, I can’t unlock the Mograph menu on the second computer. Am I not allowed? Is there something I’m missing?
    Thanks a bunch!

  • October 10, 2013 at 11:46 am

    “Can I Use multiple Cinema 4D Scene files in one After Effects File?” On the same z plane/axis or is there a way to move them? I have some ‘flicker’ with multiple C4d layers in some of my Ae setups.

  • Can I render an actual .mov file from C4D lite?

    I’ve been trying to figure out how to render out a animation I made in C4D lite, and comparing my screen to that of rendering tutorials, I seem to be missing certain boxes in the render settings, specifically, the file save path.



  • When the C4D Lite file comes into After Effects, it still has deform boxes, etc. apparent. How do I export from AE and get rid of those boxes and all other nongraphic elements? Thanks.

  • just wondering if you have any tips for how to get cineware to render so that the background behind the logo animation is transparent and the .mov file behind it in aftereffects is visible?

    Bit of a newbie, but loving the tutorials!


  • Please help!
    When I track a .mov in AE , and then put it in Cinema lite, the .mov on a background is all ok … it is operating properly.
    When I try the whole thing in another Cinema version, the following problems occur:
    1: the mov is not easy playing in the material (on the background)
    2: Although if I in the material under the animation movie start keyframe, it plays the video from it but no longer matches the tracked camera match ..
    What am I doing wrong?
    You guys are the Cinema Gods! Can you help me?
    Please excuse my English

  • I find it incredibly lame that Maxon does not have Connects Objects and Delete command available.

  • I am new to Cinema 4D. Im using After Effects CC and using the new workflow between the 2. I have flash bang object that i put texture on. I add a 2nd scratch texture and looks great in Cinema 4D but one its saved and reloaded into After Effects only the green texture is there and the scratch layer isn’t. I am not sure how to fix it.

  • Hello everyone,

    Not sure if I’m missing something but I can’t open Cinema Lite as standalone program. I have to first open After Effects, and I don’t have problems creating the C4D files from there. If I close AfterEffects, C4D keeps working.

    I already got the activation code and running Windows 7 64 Bits. Also, Cinema4D Broadcast is installed and licensed but I’m planning to show the functionality of Lite to some fellow designers who haven’t used C4D and are subscribed to CC.

    Is anyone having the same issue? Is this the way it’s supposed to work?

  • After reading the article above, it seems that C4D Lite can do practically everything that r15 Studio can except create hair & polygons. If C4D Lite is so robust, why would someone want to make the hefty purchase for C4D Studio r15? Thank you in advance for your answer.

  • Hiya, I’m using the sound effector in Cinema. How do you export the sound to after effect using Cinaware?

  • Can always count on you for the best answers! Thank you.

  • Jithin Krishna C T July 29, 2014 at 8:32 am

    I use AE CS6 and C4D studio r13.My friend gave me a folder of aftereffects plug ins which contains the following: c4dimporter.aex and c4dformat.aex.
    In which folder should I put these in?

  • hi, I have C4D R14 which comes with more functionality than the C4D provided by AE CC. How to I run my C4D R14 instead of C4D Lite using my AE CC.

  • Hey Nick

    I’ve been trying really hard to get the “Motion Camera ” data – specifically the camera that is called Motion Camera and attached to a spline – into AE thru cineware . it doesn’t seem to want to pull in the motion. When I extract all I get is a camera but no animation. I’ve tried baking the keyframes that didn’t work – do you need a tag on the camera ? this is the only thread I found that had any solution – also how would you align 3d objects from cinema4d to 3d objects like element – form or plexus in AE – the only way I can see is to add a light to every object you want so you can get the extracted light as a position

  • can anyone give me a link to download cinema 4d lite

  • y’all’ve got great tutorials; thanks. you might mention that LITE does NOT allow you to extrude (ctrl-D). about once a week, i think that this can’t be true, but it still seems to be.

  • How can I take a picture of my C4D proyect?

  • Hey Nick question how come when I goto my render settings to set a location to save the final render I don’t have the option of choosing where to save?

  • Hiya,

    quick question, I’m using Cinema 4D lite and I’ve been trying to render a 1:39 animation that is mostly extrude nurbs, cubes and a few boole objects. Nothing highly complex. When I rendered to the picture viewer it took about an hour and a half to create an image sequence that is apparently only saved to the picture viewer. However, when I tried to render the video in After Effects it rendered for 8 plus hours and is still not even half done. Is this a common problem for anyone?

  • Hy everyone!
    I own C4D STUDIO R15
    my OS is Mountain LION (OS X 10.8.5)

    I’m planning to purchase Adobe CC 2016-17
    For this I must upgrade to ElCapitan (OS X 10.11)

    1) Will my C4D R15 be fine with this new OS ?
    2) will Cineware works fine with my old R15 Studio ?
    3) if not, is it possible to maintain both C4D Studio R15 Studio and Lite (included in Adobe CC) ?
    4) What functionality included in the LAST version of C4D Lite, is it sort of R18 ? Camera tracking is?
    5) Is it ok for project-file-exchange between my C4D R15 Studio and C4D Lite included?


  • Hi,

    AE Cineware doesn’t recognize the movement of a null set with a signal expression in C4D. Any advice?


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