What Version of Cinema 4D Should I Buy or Subscribe to?
With several options to choose from, which version of Cinema 4D is right for you? Follow along with this guide to choose the right version or subscription.
In an attempt to simplify the entire purchasing process, Maxon has eliminated the various versions of Cinema 4D (Studio, Prime, Broadcast, etc) and has announced that going forward there will be only one version of C4D.
While choosing the right version of Cinema 4D has now become a lot easier, choosing the right subscription bundle has users scratching their heads.
So let’s dive into the new options to pick which is right for you.
Cinema 4D Purchasing Options
Cinema 4D is available as either a one-time purchase with the perpetual license or as an ongoing subscription. For those of you with an MSA plan in place, or about to expire, be sure to reach out to your local Maxon representative and they can either discount your subscription, or help you figure out an upgrade path for specific cases.
$3,495 one time purchase
A perpetual license allows you to buy a version of Cinema 4D forever. You will never lose access to the program. It does require a serious upfront investment, but you won’t have to pay any service fees. That said, you won’t receive any future updated versions. So if you’ve never owned Cinema 4D, and you want a copy that will work forever, a perpetual license is your best option.
- Keep forever
- One time purchase
- No service or maintenance fees
- Does not include updated versions
In the past, if you purchased a copy of Cinema 4D, you would then pay an annual MSA (Maxon Service Agreement) to keep your program updated.
With the new subscription platform, Maxon has eliminated the MSA. That means if you purchase Cinema 4D R21, you will only have version R21. To update to R22+ in the future, you will need to either sign up for the subscription service or contact Maxon directly about a future upgrade path.
As of today, we have to no details on future upgrades, but Maxon is offering steep discounts for users willing to switch to subscription.
NOTE: If you are an R20 owner with an active MSA, you will receive a copy of R21. You will not be able to renew your MSA after your current one expires, so you’ll need to choose between moving to the subscription program or waiting for Maxon to release details on a future upgrade path. We highly recommend contacting your local Maxon representative as they can offer discounts and guidance for you to make the right decision.
The Cinema 4D subscription program comes with a few options. You can either choose to get Cinema 4D by itself annually or monthly, or you can get a Cinema 4D + Redshift renderer bundle for a little bit more.
Cinema 4D Only Subscription
- $59.99/month with a 1-year plan
- $719.88 paid at once upfront
- $94.99/month with a 1-month plan
Cinema 4D + Redshift for C4D Subscription
- $81.99/month with a 1-year plan
- $983.88 paid at once upfront
- $116.99/month with a 1-month plan
As for the good and bad of the subscription,
- Updates and new versions available upon release
- Cheaper than perpetual license
- Cheaper than old MSA maintenance plan
- Pay upfront for annual subscription
- Lose access to Cinema 4D when cancelled
- The included version of Redshift only works with Cinema 4D
- Cannot use this version of Redshift with other 3D programs
Choosing the right subscription is really going to come down to a few factors, primarily being if you will be using Redshift with other DCC (Houdini, Maya, 3ds Max, etc)
If you already own Redshift, and use it with other 3D programs, it makes sense to purchase the annual Cinema 4D only subscription. By keeping your Redshift license separate, not only can you still use Redshift anywhere, the price of a C4D subscription + regular Redshift maintenance fee is lower than the annual bundle.
Cinema 4D annual subscription with standard Redshift maintenance
$719.88 + $250 = $969.88
Cinema 4D + Redshift annual bundle
If you do not own Redshift, you still have a few things to think over. If you only plan on using Redshift with Cinema 4D, the bundle is actually the best option for new users. But, if you plan on using Redshift with other 3D programs, it doesn’t make sense to subscribe to the bundle, as the bundled Redshift renderer only works with Cinema 4D.
Cinema 4D annual subscription with new Redshift license
$719.88 + $500 = $1219.88
Cinema 4D + Redshift (only for C4d) annual bundle
As stated previously, while the bundle is the cheaper option for new users, if you intend to use Redshift with any other compatible 3D program, you need to buy a new license from Redshift. The bundled Redshift renderer only works with Cinema 4D.
Greyscalegorilla Guide to Choosing Your Cinema 4D Subscription
Now we know this is a lot of information to take in, so we wanted to simplify the process with this mind-map guide. It’s a choose-your-own adventure style choice of picking the right version of Cinema 4D for you and your team. (You can click on the image for a high-resolution PNG.)
The Best Purchasing Options for Users New to Cinema 4D
So, you are considering moving to Cinema 4D. Maybe you are new to 3D in general, or perhaps you are moving from another Digital Content Creation (DCC) app like Blender, 3ds Max, or Maya. Here’s what you need to know.
First things first, download a free Trial of Cinema 4D to make sure it’s the right fit for you. Maxon offers a 14-day free trial of C4D, and I’d also suggest signing up for our free Intro to Cinema 4D course to help you get started.
Should you fall in love with Cinema 4D like we have, then you have all the options above to choose from.
Previous Owners Upgrading to a Cinema 4D Subscription
Now let’s say that you are an existing Cinema 4D user, and you want to upgrade to the latest version of Cinema 4D. Follow along with the guide as you do have some challenges presented to you. If you’re MSA is up to date, you will get R21, but after that it’s going to be up to you to decide. I would note that it’s worth calling Maxon to determine your best course of action, because they are offering discounts.
Users moving to a subscription now are being offered deals, so definitely look into any possible discount you are eligible for.
Previous Owners Not Wanting a Cinema 4D Subscription
If you are set on avoiding the subscription entirely, your only course of action is to contact Maxon directly. The company has assured us that an upgrade path will be made available to perpetual license owners, but those details have not been made public. Do expect to pay more than the subscription to maintain a perpetual license, but as of now we don’t know anything more than that.
Want to work faster and do more in Cinema 4D?
After you’ve determined your best path forward, you can rest assured knowing that Greyscalegorilla plugins, assets, and training will all be compatible with the new Cinema 4D subscription.
So be sure to check out best-selling plugins like Light Kit Pro 3, HDRI Link, and Signal. The beloved Everyday Material Collection, HDRI packs, and asset packs are also ready to use with our simple drag-and-drop workflow.
Want to stay up to date with the latest software? Browse our free tutorials and check out Greyscalegorilla Plus for all the professional training 3D artists and motion designers need to hone their skills. Learn about the latest Cinema 4D features, updates to Redshift, X-Particles, and so much more.