Plugin Compatibility for Cinema 4D R20

Over the last years we were working on new core technology for Cinema 4D. This new technology will also be available to third party developers in the form of new and extended API.

To make the transition as smooth as possible, we have introduced the first elements of this new API in the latest releases. With Cinema 4D R20 much more of the new API will be published. This will allow us and third party developers the development of faster, more stable and future-proof software.

To introduce this new API, compatability with older plug-ins needs to be capped. Existing C++ plugins that were build with previous versions of the SDK (R19 or earlier) will not work in Cinema 4D R20. Such plugins will simply not be binary compatible.

To adapt an existing plugin for R20 it is at least necessary to recompile it using the R20 SDK. Additionally there may be code changes necessary. The number of such changes required depends among other things on the code base being already adapted to the API changes of the previous years.

We will provide an extensive documentation and examples on the new API elements as well as information on how to adapt existing plugins. These resources will be available for all developers for free with the release of Cinema 4D R20.

The Python API will not be affected by these changes. Existing Python plugins and scripts will also work in R20.

In contrast, the C.O.F.F.E.E. programming language will be removed starting with Cinema 4D R20. So all C.O.F.F.E.E. plugins and scripts will no longer work in R20.

To stay informed on changes in the SDK you can subscribe to the MAXON Registered Developer program.

Sebastian Bach

Sebastian Bach

Former SDK Support Specialist I have a degree in media production and specialized in 3D graphics and programming. In the last years I worked on several commercial plugins for Cinema 4D and 3ds max including render engines, asset management and modeling tools.


  1. Hi..It would be nice if cinema had motion capture tool and support for xbox sensors.. or 3d capture software at least.. would be greatful if sme of the houdini stuff would be implemented in cinema

  2. Hi,
    thanks for your feedback. I’m afraid this is the wrong place, as this blog is targeted to 3rd party developers and this post actually deals with the compatibility of plugins in the upcoming Cinema 4D R20.
    Suggestions are better posted here: https://www.maxon.net/en/support/suggestions/

  3. Hi im confuse how exactly am i supposed to installed my plugs ins in cinema 4D R 20

  4. Hi,

    in Cinema 4D R20 you have a lot more freedom to install plugins. Basically any folder would do and it can be added via the Preferences or even command line options.
    We recommend the use of the plugins folder in user’s preferences directory. But the good old plugins folder in Cinema 4D’s installation directory continues to work as well (it’s just no longer created from scratch, but you need to create it manually).

  5. Is it possible to use plugins with the Demo version?

  6. The answer is: It depends 😉
    In general the demo version does support plugins. But plugins can be bound to MAXON license numbers and also to certain versions of Cinema 4D (Prime, Broadcast, Visualize and Studio). In this case it depends on the plugin, if it’s possible to be used in the demo version. MAXON has no influence on the behavior in this case.

  7. can you please help me I am just going around and around, ok I got a fuse character in c4d prime, I want to 1st get the lips to move then export it as an obj Sequences, I know I need a plugin but from where.

    I’m putting my hair out here, there are lots on youtube but it’s not working for me

  8. Hi Chris,
    I’m afraid you are in the wrong place to ask. This is MAXON’s developer blog, where we can not provide answer on questions about using Cinema 4D. You are probably better off in one of the public forums, such as CGTalk or C4DCafe.
    One additional thought: Your question is way to unspecific as probably anyone can answer. Explaining your request in more detail will certainly help to get answers.

  9. Good day,

    We are on multi-user computers (Mac and PC). We plan to set up C4D(most R20, but some R19) so that all users will have the same plugins and would prefer not to put duplicates in each user folder.

    •Can we add the plugins in a shared folder?
    •Can we use R20 plugins in R19 as well? Or do we need R20 specific versions and R19 specific versions of the plugins?


  10. Hi Michael, thanks for reaching out us.

    In R19 you can configure the C4D_PLUGINS_DIR environment variable to use an UNC path of a shared folder to search for Cinema 4D plugins. In R20 you can instead use the “g_additionalModulePath” command line parameter and passing the proper UNC path.
    Aside from these notes, beware that R19 plugins are not compatible with R20 and you’re required to use R20-specific ones.
    It can be also meaningful to mention that R20 plugin extension is different from R19 in order to limit confusion and avoid unexpected crash in R20 attempting to load R19 or older.

    Best, Riccardo

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