Maxon did not skimp when it came to the September release of its Maxon One product bundle, which contains major enhancements to the company’s products. Cinema 4D was given a lot of attention in this update, with many big, new features and even bigger performance enhancements. There are many speed improvements, especially in terms of interactive playback. Simulations also got a rework, particularly when it comes to rigid-body sims and pyro workflows, the latter of which offers users a more art-directable solution. Maxon has also replaced the internal renderer within Cinema 4D with Redshift, which supports more modern workflows. In addition, Maxon also recently released an update to its Cinebench 2024 benchmarking software, reflecting the change in the native Cinema 4D renderer and more.
What do we think? When Paul Babb, Maxon’s CMO, introduced the recent fall Maxon One update, he stated that Maxon’s goal is to develop superior creative tools for artists so they can create in all dimensions. And he proved that was not just marketing speak. Indeed, Cinema 4D and the other Maxon tools have been growing stronger and are proven solutions not only in the world of cinema, but across other industries as well, including AR and MR, product design, visualization, medical animation, and more. For those creators who think Cinema 4D is that “also” product, they haven’t looked carefully at the software in a very long time.
Maxon releases the September update of its Maxon One, and there is a lot to take in
Just in time for IBC 2023, Maxon has rolled out its fall 2023 Maxon One release, and this is no small update, as it contains many significant new features, speedup changes, and lifestyle and performance improvements across the products comprising Maxon One and then some.
As Paul Babb, chief marketing officer for Maxon, noted during a conference call, “We’re constantly looking for ways to improve the Maxon One product offering and make it a turnkey solutions for artists.” And it is clear that Maxon is working hard to accomplish that.
Maxon One bundles Cinema 4D, Red Shift, Forger, Red Giant, Universe, and ZBrush in an annual subscription. Maxon announced Maxon One in the fall of 2020, thus beginning the company’s journey to bring its products and technology closer together. The company has also opted for continual (monthly) updates to the Maxon One products, with some ecosystem releases in the spring and fall, as opposed to larger, more comprehensive updates less frequently. But make no mistake, this September 2023 release is indeed substantial, with a range of impactful updates.
Maxon has been growing in stature in the DCC industry, where it has developed into a solid player in the software tools market, which experienced $14.1 billion in revenue in 2022, according to Jon Peddie Research’s 2023 Digital Content Creation report. According to the report, the DCC market is large ($15 billion in 2023) and growing (at 14%), and with a release like this, Maxon continues to prove itself in this market.
Cinema 4D is Maxon’s flagship modeling and animation software. The September Maxon One release features a more robust Cinema 4D, with significant performance improvements in interactive playback, enhancements to rigid-body simulations, a more art-directable pyro workflow, and a new default renderer with Redshift.
“Overall, Cinema 4D 2024 has some huge performance improvements—I cannot express that enough,” Babb said.
Cinema 4D is more than twice as fast as previous versions, though in some cases, it is 10× faster, depending on model complexity, with some functions as much as 100× faster. One area where users will notice a big difference is in playback, according to Maxon. Accounting for those increases is a brand-new Maxon architectural core that optimizes speed and performance. Maxon has been discussing and working on the new core architecture for some time now, and now it has come to fruition and packaged in a way that every user can take advantage of it without having to adjust their existing scenes, said Babb.
The software also contains enhancements to rigid-body simulations, which can now interact with all existing forces, cloth, soft bodies, and pyro. In fact, some hot new features have been added to pyro, giving users more interactive, precise control over the pyro sims. Fire also can now be emitted directly from particles and the MoGraph matrices within pyro, which is helpful for creating film-quality scenes with fire, smoke trails, explosions, and even fireworks. Artists can further simulate their pyro effects using a lower resolution so they can better manipulate and control it during the concept stage, at a much faster playback; later, they can use the cache to achieve a higher resolution version for the final results. According to Maxon, users also can cycle through different parallel simulations to see which one works better in their scene.
There are also some new modeling and animation features such as a pattern selection and a projection deformer tool; new viewpoint display tools; and new node tools. One of the more significant changes in Cinema 4D is the changeover in the software’s default renderer from the standard engine in Cinema 4D to Redshift. Redshift is a GPU-accelerated, biased 3D renderer from Maxon. To this end, the melding of rigid-body sims with soft-body sims in the new Cinema 4D simulation system takes advantage of the GPU processing for better performance.
Red Giant 2024
Along with the Cinema 4D additions, this release also contains numerous improvements in Red Giant. With Trapcode 2024, a combustion feature has been added for creating realistic thermal dynamics particle tracks with so-called Stroke from Parent, a new emitter option and alternative from Emit to Parent, for a seamless trace behind a parent particle.
VFX 2024 offers a new 2D+Distance feature for adding dimension to scene lighting by changing the distance of the light source in Z space. Users are also able to precisely position and control the flare in 3D tracked scenes based on After Effects lights. There are several enhancements to the popular real lens flares, too.
With Magic Bullet 2024, color correction is easier than ever with synchronized OCIO color management. Also, there are more than 30 new presets ranging from film looks, to music videos, to vlogs. Universe 2024 sports numerous workflow improvements as well, along with more than 50 new presets that ease video and compositing workflows.
Not only has Maxon made Redshift the default renderer in Cinema 4D, but the company added performance improvements on multicore CPUs. On systems running CPUs with 12 threads or more, render buckets will automatically run concurrently, resulting in improved performance and acceleration. The feature automatically shuts off on CPUs with less than 12 threads, since bucket splitting has no effect on CPUs under that amount.
In other news, Maxon recently released Cinebench 2024, an update to Maxon’s benchmarking software for evaluating compute performance running Maxon offerings. In addition to a revamped user interface, there are under-the-hood enhancements as well.
With the recent change of Cinema 4D’s default engine from the standard renderer to the Redshift renderer, Cinebench 2024 now uses the same render algorithms across both CPU and GPU implementations. As a result, the performance testing delivers accurate, consistent, and more authentic results, paralleling modern workflows.
The testing uses a consistent scene file for both the CPU and GPU testing. Maxon notes that this enables users to discern the advantages of leveraging Redshift GPU, providing a real-world look at the benefits of using cutting-edge graphics hardware for rendering tasks. To reflect the complexity and sophistication of contemporary projects, Cinebench 2024 has a threefold increase in the memory footprint of Cinebench 2023 compared to Cinebench R23, and a sixfold increase in the required computational effort and utilization of newer instruction sets.