What Version Of Cinema 4D Should I Buy?

August 21, 2014 - By 


UPDATE: Check out our more recent article about Cinema 4D’s new Subscription Model. It makes adding Cinema 4D to your workflow even more affordable.

Learn About Cinema 4D’s Latest Subscription Pricing

So, you are going to finally buy Cinema 4D? A real copy you can call your own? With support from the company and all the tools you need to do your job? Congrats! You earned it.

And why not? You have probably spent hours learning C4D already. Maybe you are becoming a freelancer, or you need it for your professional studio. Either way, it’s about time you got a real deal official version.

So, what version should you get?

  • Broadcast?
  • Studio?
  • Visualize?
  • Prime?

Let me get straight to the point. The Studio version has everything.

Buy the Studio edition.

Honestly, I don’t know why they even have the other versions available. People must buy the other versions, but almost everyone I talk with owns Studio.

You may be hoping for a huge comparison chart on what version of Cinema 4D to get. Maxon already has one. It’s long and full of every little feature. If you really want to get detailed about it, there you go.

I know, you were hoping for a big discussion about if the Studio features are worth it over the Broadcast version. Let me save you the trouble… They are.

Sure, you may be able to get away with not having some of the features of Studio. But soon you will have a client that requests a certain look or a tutorial we come out with that uses some of the Studio features.

If you are serious about using Cinema 4D, get Studio and have every tool Cinema 4D makes.

It’s probably not what you wanted to hear. It’s the most expensive one. But, if you are making a living off of this software and if you are as excited to play and make great work with Cinema 4D as much as I am, then you owe it to yourself to buy it all.

If you have ever watched my tutorials, you know that I constantly use tons of features that are in Studio only. If you want to follow along with all of our tutorials (over 260 so far), you should get Studio.

What Will I Miss If I Don’t Get Studio?

  • Dynamics! I put the biggest thing first. I use dynamics all the time.
  • Hair rendering. I’ve been using hair a LOT lately with X-Particles.
  • Most of the character tools are only in Studio.
  • You may want to play with Sketch and Toon. Studio only.
  • All the new sculpting tools are also only in Studio.
  • You won’t get all the great Content Browser stuff like free models and scene files.
  • You won’t have it ALL with anything but the Studio edition.

Listen. Software is cheap. To be able to build, design, model, animate, an entire world for under $4000 bucks is amazing.

If you are in any way making a living off of Cinema 4D, get studio and charge your clients for all the cool stuff you make.

Seriously, Just get Studio.

Where Should I Buy It?

If you are looking for a no hassle, no phone call way to get Cinema 4D, get it from Toolfarm. They usually have the cheapest price, too.

Actually, all the links above go to Toolfarm. They always seem to have the lowest price on Cinema 4D and have great customer service.

Buy through these links and support Greyscalegorilla. We get a small commission every time you buy something from Toolfarm through one of our links.

Ok, what are you waiting for, go get Cinema 4D and let’s have some fun making cool stuff.

Posted In:  Cinema 4D
  • Agreed, Nick, I would much prefer the Studio version over everything. But, just to be the Devil’s Advocate for this discussion, I’ll relate my C4D story.

    Before C4D I was restricted to another proprietary 3D program (let’s just say it came as a part of something that rhymes blahvid). After a time I was asked to do more than that program allowed so I asked the company I work for to get me C4D. $3500 (or thereabout at the time, version 10 or 10.5) was a bit more than the managers were willing to spend but they saw that Prime was less than $1000. That’s what we got. A few months later I was able to buy the Mograph package.

    Then I got the upgrades to the next versions…eventually I got enough pull and budget to get up to Studio and a glorious day that was. All in all, I’m sure there was over $10k spent over the years in order to get something that actually costs $3500 but that’s they way the grown ups wanted to roll.

    Point is: you want C4D but don’t have more than a thousand or two, you can save up for the whole shebang or you can buy something less and get started right away. Personally, I can justify buying Broadcast before studio as I’d rather work a little than not at all.

    But again, totally agree Nick. The full version is what you should be shooting for, at least until Maxon comes out with a slightly more reasonable MSA (that’s IMO).

  • I’d love to see Maxon move to a Creative Cloud licensing style! It would be easier to afford it 🙂

    • I wish they had a rent-to-own option. $100-$200 per month until you’ve paid it off. Basically like buying with a credit card with zero interest.

  • Thank you for the simple but useful post.

    I agree with your sentiments, however if you’ll allow me a small degree of dissent:

    The Foundry MODO – $900

    Autodesk Maya – $2300

    Lightwave – $1500

    Blender – $0

    Those are prices based on current promotions. I think that perhaps it would be nice if Maxon would consider that their pricing structure/feature set seems a bit out of pace with their competition and adjust the price of Studio accordingly. I think it would benefit them quite a bit and I bet they would see their net profits rise considerably.

    • Houdini Indie $199

    • In the Autodesk US webshop Maya retails for around $3600 and that’s without taxes I guess. In the EU webshop it’s about €3900 without tax (about $5100!!). :$

      Cinema 4D studio goes for €3000 (about $4000) without tax.

      Autodesk does have (‘pretty’ high) monthly subscriptions though.

  • If you make money using C4D then maxon agreement is the way to keep it cheap and update

  • This being from a 13 year daily user of Autodesk 3ds max. I decided to switch to Apple / OSX and I needed to switch 3d packages. That Left me with Maya, C4D, and Blender at the time.
    With current projects in my work load, I needed something stable, so Blender was out. I needed something that had a better workflow, Maya was out!
    So that left me with C4D, But I did not want to gamble $3450 with a MSA of $650.
    So I went with C4D Broadcast, for $1500 and $400 for the MSA. This gave me time to get to know C4D and then I waited for a upgrade Deal and went to the full studio.

    Upgrading vs. MSA
    Software upgrades happen every year. These are current cost on Maxon’s Site

    R16 $650 $995
    R17? $650 $1595
    R18? $650 $2195
    ______ _______
    $1950 $4785
    you would save $2835 just in three years

  • And question is… You are beginner…What if you want to learn c4d..and you need studio version,because Nick and evry1else who are making tuts on youtube has “full” studio version..you buy or get torrent? 🙂

    • There are demo and student versions available for sure.

    • Well, almots everybody who makes tutorials are in some shape or form associated with Maxon, and has the $300 NFR version (Not For Resale).

      So telling others they should dish out $4000 is honestly quite…dishonest.

  • Thanks for writing this. I was LITERALLY writing a proposal for work about which version of Cinema to purchase. You saved me so much time and your points are great!

    Great timing!

  • “Listen. Software is cheap. To be able to build, design, model, animate, an entire world for under $4000 bucks is amazing.”

    $4000 is not cheap.
    You could use a Blender, it’s free. It has the same functionality. And ?ycles render is much faster than c4d has at the moment.(If you have a GPU costing $300 and up)

  • In some way i agree with you. But the broadcast version really gives you bang for the buck for it’s fair prize. There are some features I miss of course, but most of it I can go without or work around. I don’t think sculpting/soft body dynamics/cloth/sketch and toon can justify the extra 2000 $. I’d rather save that money and put it towards a V-Ray and Zbrush license, which I think has a bigger impact on my work.

  • I just got my upgrade from Prime to Studio. Finally. Looks real good on the shelf. And the MSA, so i count the days to R16. 🙂
    I agree, no matter if other 3D Software is cheaper: C4D is worth it. Alone getting into the workflow costs more time (=money) than a lousy thousand €. Or $.

  • Interesting debate. I would love to own a Studio version and would have no problem dropping 4 grand if it was my main software and produced $40,000 thousand of revenue a year, but it isn’t, so for me the Broadcast version will have to do.

    That isn’t actually bad news as there a still a tonne of fundamental techniques and tools I need to learn and i can get about 80 percent of what I need from Broadcast.

    When I finally conquer those maybe I will be generating a lot more revenue from my 3D work since my skills would be much higher.

    Like everything else at the end of the day, it is just a tool, its the artist that makes the art and spending more money won’t solve that, only time and practise will.


  • I agree that Studio is the way to go, Nick but I wonder if at this late date it might be wiser to purchase it a few weeks into September? Purchasing now, with an MSA means that the the MSA doesn’t get you a new version. Purchasing in September with an MSA mean that you will get R16 AND a free update to R17 next year, right?


  • I bought R13 Studio a few years ago, but didn’t rely end up using it enough to justify the cost. I also use Electric Image, but of course that has it’s limitations.

    This year I decided to bite the bullet and learn Cinema 4D and ditch the rest (EIAS, Poser Pro, Silo 2 etc, etc) and so far its going well. It seems easy enough to learn and I am not at the stage where I have hit the edge of the envelope with my (old) copy of R13.

    Background side, my points are:

    1. I have Adobe Creative cloud and get a a cut-down version of Cinema 4D thrown in for free. Absolutely good enough to get you moving, plus I obviously get the entire suite of Adobe tools which I use every single day.

    2. The upgrade from R13 to R16 is basically a start again price. So much that I haven;t upgraded yet because my two workarounds (R13 version and Lite version) are good enough for now.

  • “People must buy the other versions, but almost everyone I talk with owns Studio. ”

    Well, almost everyone you know has the $300(?) NFR version.

  • A slight correction Nick, Sketch and Toon is available in Visualize, not only in Studio.

  • If people don’t mind not having a ‘fully loaded version’ like Prime, why not go for C4D Lite? You get it for free with After Effects. Whichever version you choose, After Effects is something you’ll want anyway.

    $4000 sounds like a lot of money, it is a lot of money. So is $2500/$4000 for a computer. But in the end, it’s your clients that pays you for that. It’s something you calculate in your hourly rate. What do you think a contractor pays for his tools? I know it’s a lot more and they earn a lot less.

    • I’m really starting to dislike Lite. Using Studio and then going to plant that only has Lite is like when I broke my leg and was lying in a hospital bed with an overwhelming desire to jump out and run away.

      I knew it was going to be slimmed down but WOW.

  • I love this program, i use it for my work and fun. 😀

  • It’s all very well to talk about billing clients for your software. If you’re just starting out, it will take you at least a year to get up to speed with the software, put together a reel and start getting work. At that point, you probably have to shell out for the next version. At least Maxon offers a non-time-limited demo for learning purposes.

  • I love C4d (I use it at work) but I have no personal commercial use for it, so anything more than a few hundred pounds is simply more than I can justify spending.

    They should release a non-commercial version that’s really cheap, but only lets you use it for an hour a day. And limits the size of your renders to 800×600 (or something).

    Sadly I have to live with Blender if I want to play at home :-/

  • Suppose you only want to use Cd4 as a rendering program with V-ray for importing DWG models created in a different program. Basically you just want to apply materials and render. So then what version of Cd4 might you want to buy for that purpose?

  • Hi Nick,

    First thank you so much for the useful and super stuff you share us always regarding C4D I’m a fan of this powerful software and I think is the best I ever seen.

    Actually I want to get C4D for my mac book pro and I noticed a Hybrid version of the software, is it good to buy it for my computer? And what is the difference between it and other types of versions mentioned above? Please let me know so I can get clear idea.

    Many thanks,

  • Henrik Mikael Kristensen May 7, 2017 at 6:34 am

    IMHO, SideFX does this better by including nearly all features in Houdini Indie and then restricting what you can use it for in terms of making money.

    Not making money? You pay 199$ a year for Houdini and you lose 2-3 small features.

    AFAIK, the Houdini user base is growing rapidly since Indie came out and is becoming a real player in small studios and for hobbyists.

    I’ve used Cinema 4D in the past, even back on the Amiga version and loved it for its consistency and correctness, but the bar to entry for Cinema 4D today is way too high, say, just to play around with physics.

    Leaving out features that are standard now in much cheaper packages like physics, forcing you to pay obscene amounts of money for it doesn’t fly today.

  • too expensive…Not everyone can afford it. I just use prime & render with vray/Corona.

  • Rombout Versluijs October 4, 2018 at 10:09 am


    You needed something stable and Blender was out…. Sorry but that is just nonsense. Its stable as hell

  • Cinema 4d cost way to much . love the program and have so for 22 years .
    and at long last i now have the mony for it.
    or not.

  • To the people that want c4d to be a cloud service seriously need a slap in the face. When I buy a product, I want to own it, forever, not a month or a year, forever. As far as I am concerned Adobe cc is stupid, as I still like my Cs6 masters collection. I use these softwares as a hobby. I save for it, then buy it, and I own it. I hate renting software. Keep the perpetual licensing with CD4, because that is the reason I bought it, if it was a subscription, I wouldn’t have even considered it

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