July 6, 2023 Yen Lily

Cinema 4D and 3ds Max: which one is better?

Maxon Cinema 4D and Autodesk 3ds Max are two of the most famous 3D software which artists and studios often use in many fields. They both have different things to offer, and in this article, let’s compare them. We will try to give you an overview of key different between them, and what these two are capable of.

Which one is easier to use/ learn?

Both Cinema 4D and 3ds max have their own user interface and workflows. However, Cinema 4D could be a little bit easier to use or learn for beginners. The interface itself of Cinema 4D is more hand-on than 3ds Max while you can achieve creations using just a few buttons only. It also provides you enough functionalities to do motion graphics, and access many preset objects and scenes to achieve better concepts without using many tools.

3ds Max is also easy to use, because it has most of toolset and modifiers available to ease the modeling process on the user interface. However, while Cinema 4D only takes some second to do tasks, 3ds Max could take longer.

A very important factor you should consider before learning these two programs is that 3ds max is available only for Windows, while Cinema 4D can run Windows, macOS and Ubuntu.

Compatibility with render engines of Cinema 4D and 3ds Max

When it comes to rendering, both have built-in render engines, and also support third party renderers (like Arnold, Redshift, Octane, V-Ray, etc.) which use GPU power.

For Cinema 4D, it has a standard renderer and now supports Redshift CPU (if you don’t buy Redshift license). If you want to use Redshift GPU, you can buy the license and work on it. One of the most famous renderer for Cinema 4D is Octane, which could be even faster than Redshift. Other external render engines like Arnold, V-Ray still are choice for many studios or 3D artists because of their features.

Because 3ds Max is very well-known for architectural visualization, it supports some render engines for Archviz as well, such as Corona, Fstorm, Lumion, Twinmotion, Enscape, D5 Render, etc. Redshift or V-Ray are also very famous.

Cinema 4D and 3ds Max in the pipeline of 3D

3D modeling

As mentioned above, both software have user-friendly interface, and have a set of tools or third party plugins to speed up modeling process. In this fields, both are great.

Architecture Visualization and Design

If you are working in architecture or product designing, 3ds max is perfect for them as it has access to robust libraries for 3D design and 3D printing, which could help you achieve more atmospheric visualization. 3ds Max is the product of Autodesk, so it will allow integration with Autodesk CAD software like Revit, Inventor, AutoCAD, also with other software like Sketchup, Unity, Unreal, Lumion, Fstorm, etc.

Cinema 4D can be used for this field too, but 3ds Max is still the dominance in this area with support from many plug-ins and renderers.


For animation purpose, 3ds max is a better choice than Cinema 4D. It has many tools to customize animations, and a top-notch F-Curve editor which can handle complex splines and other special functions. Cinema 4D is better with short animation like motion graphics.

Because of 3ds Max greatness in animation and ArchViz and designing, it’s used widely in game development. If you work in AAA games, 3ds Max is in the pipeline for creating assets, animations, environment. Some of the most iconic game titles used 3ds Max are Warcraft, Lara Croft: The Tomb Raider, and Halo Games.

Motion graphics

Cinema 4D is pretty a complete package as it does good in animation, modeling, VFX, etc. However, you will find it best in creating motion graphics effects, where it can meet the tone and personality of the brands or its products. Therefore, it’s more popular for individuals or small studios.

For advertising, it can contain ideas and changes with high complexity. However, advertising works are usually short in time, therefore it doesn’t need much power and plugins like doing a movie, or a game. That’s the reason why Cinema 4D is popular in advertising work, or even Music video work. It’s able to create such works without so many plugins, and render fast with the help of the third party render engines.

Cinema 4D and 3ds Max: which one is better?

This is a very hard question because as we explore, both has their strengths and weaknesses in some cases. It really depends on the purposes of use and how skillful you are.

If you are working in modeling, archviz, product designing, animation or game debvelopment area, 3ds Max is the choice. The abundance of library, textures, plug-ins, render engines, render software, especially the integration with other Autodesk and other companies’ software will help you to create everything with ease.

If you are an individual or a small studio, Cinema 4D is a better choice. It’s a complete package and can help you achieve good results in a faster time than 3ds Max. Maxon, the developer and provider of Cinema 4D also improves the software so much, and slowly builds their own network of software and plug-ins (such as Redshift, Red Giant, After Effects, etc.) for complete integration and workflow like what Autodesk has done with their products.

Final thought

We have explored the differences between Cinema 4D and 3ds Max, from learning/using possibilities, their strengths over the other and their application in 3D pipeline. If you would like to work with Archviz and product design or game development area, 3ds Max is more suitable. Cinema 4D is good for individual and small studios, where you can achieve simpler products with faster time, but still has good quality.

Both Cinema 4D and 3ds Max often come with third render engines like Redshift, Octane, V-Ray, Arnold, etc.. Whether or not you use any of those render engine, you still can find a suitable package at iRender.

For Redshift, V-Ray and Octane, we suggest you our 2/4/6/8 x RTX3090s/RTX4090s. For Arnold rendering, you can choose our single RTX4090. 

Moreover, iRender provides single card package for Archviz renderers like Lumion, Twinmotion, Enscape, D5 Render. If you work in 3ds Max with one of those software, iRender is the best option for you.

Let’s see some of Cinema 4D and 3ds Max tests on iRender packages:

Not only those powerful configuration, iRender also provides you more services. From NVLink for large scene (contact for more details), to useful and free transferring tool named iRender drive. Our price is flexible with hourly rental which has pay-as-you-go basis, daily/ weekly/ monthly subscription with discount from 10-20%. Plus, you have 24/7 support service via livechat with real human who will support you whenever you encounter an issue.

Register an account today to experience our service. Or contact us via WhatsApp: (+84) 916806116 for advice and support.


Thank you & Happy Rendering!

Source: inspirationtuts.com, cad3dhouse.com

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Yen Lily

Hi everyone. Being a Customer Support from iRender, I always hope to share and learn new things with 3D artists, data scientists from all over the world.


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