API Transition


Cinema 4D R20 introduced significant changes of the C++ API. The new MAXON API was introduced, which is fundamentally different that the previous, classic, API. The classic API is still available in the cinema.framework, but several components of the classic API have been replaced with new MAXON API components.

Any plugin that was written for an earlier SDK (R19 or older) must be adapted and re-compiled to work with Cinema 4D R20.

For API changes introduced with Cinema 4D R15 see Transition to Cinema 4D R15 API.
In future releases more and more parts of the classic API will be replaced with new MAXON API components.

Project Files

Since Cinema 4D R20 the SDK does no longer contain any project files. The project files for frameworks, plugins and solutions must be created using the project Tool. See Project Tool.

Code Adaptations

Code Style

The source processor is part of the tool chain to build a plugin (see Source Processor). This source processor checks the source code and creates automatically additional code. The processor also checks the code style according to the level that is set in the project's projectdefinition.txt file (see Project Tool).

String Resources

The naming scheme of string resource folders was changed. The resource folder that was named "strings_us" is now named "strings_en-US". See Plugin Resources.


The complete MAXON API is defined in the maxon namespace. In contrast, the classic API is defined in the global namespace. To avoid collisions and ambiguity it might be necessary to use fully qualified names.

// This example uses explicit namespaces to use new and classic components.
// creating a maxon::String
maxon::String helloWorld { "Hello World" };
// creating a classic String
::String fooBar { "FooBar" };


Wherever possible unneeded includes and umbrella includes were removed. It might be necessary to add additional includes to include specific header files explicitly.

Global Resources

The global resources instances has been renamed to g_resource.

// This example loads the plugin's resources when
// C4DPL_INIT_SYS is sent to PluginMessage().
// don't start plugin without resource
if (g_resource.Init() == false)
return false;
return true;


Simple enumerations were reformatted as enumeration classes. Since "0" is not a valid enumeration value name it has been replaced with "NONE".

The macro ENUM_END_FLAGS() has been removed. If you have a custom enumeration you have to use MAXON_ENUM_LIST() or MAXON_ENUM_FLAGS().

// This example uses the enumeration value DESCFLAGS_GET::NONE to use GetParameter().
// In previous versions of Cinema 4D this was DESCFLAGS_GET_0.
GeData data;
// access the parameter
if (cubeObject->GetParameter(PRIM_CUBE_LEN, data, DESCFLAGS_GET::NONE) == false)
return maxon::UnexpectedError(MAXON_SOURCE_LOCATION);
// get the value
const Vector size = data.GetVector();
DiagnosticOutput("Cube Size: @", size);

Using new Data Types

The MAXON API introduces new data types and replaces or extends classic data types:

  • The new maxon::String class is the base class of the classic String class. To declare a string literal as a maxon::String one can use the "_s" qualifier. The classic API has been refactured to use maxon::String wherever possible. See String Manual.
  • New maxon::Vector and maxon::Matrix classes replace their classic counter parts. The Matrix class has a slightly different internal structure. See Matrices.
  • More explicit data types are available and used. E.g. explicit color types like maxon::ColorA() are used instead of vector types.
// This example creates a sphere object and uses "_s"
// to declare a maxon::String to define the name.
if (sphere == nullptr)
return maxon::OutOfMemoryError(MAXON_SOURCE_LOCATION);
// set the name of the new sphere using a maxon::String
sphere->SetName("New Sphere"_s);
doc->InsertObject(sphere, nullptr, nullptr);

Error System

The MAXON API error system allows functions to return an explicit error state. Several functions of the classic API have been replaced with new functions that do return such an error state e.g. NewObj() or maxon::BaseArray::Append(). It is needed to handle this error state. See Error Handling.

The error system also allows to re-write functions so they return error states. This is extremely helpful to find the source of any error and to write stable code.

// This example shows how errors returned with "iferr_return" can be handled.
// catch any error
// print error to console
// debug stop
// create and fill array
intValues.Append(100) iferr_return;
intValues.Append(200) iferr_return;
// allocate memory
// access memory
buffer[0] = 0;


Several functions have been renamed to follow a consistent terminology. Functions like "Content()" that check if a given instance has any content have been renamed to "IsPopulated()" and "IsEmpty()".

// This example uses IsPopulated() and IsEmpty() to check the string.
// create string
const maxon::String someText { "some text" };
// check if populated
if (someText.IsPopulated())
DiagnosticOutput("String is not empty");
// check if empty
if (someText.IsEmpty())
DiagnosticOutput("String is empty");

New Logger System

Cinema 4D R20 introduced a new, complex and adaptable logger system. The standard console is just one of many available loggers now. One can write messages to the standard console using ApplicationOutput() instead of GePrint(). See LoggerInterface Manual.

// This example prints the given message to both the IDE console and the application console window.
// define message
const maxon::String someMessage { "some message" };
// print the message to the console
// print the message to the application console window

Further Reading

void InsertObject(BaseObject *op, BaseObject *parent, BaseObject *pred, Bool checknames=false)
Bool Init()
#define NewMemClear(T, cnt)
Definition: defaultallocator.h:205
Definition: c4d_baseobject.h:225
Definition: string.h:1198
#define iferr_return
Definition: resultbase.h:1434
Definition: memoryallocationbase.h:66
Definition: basearray.h:368
#define DiagnosticOutput(formatString,...)
Definition: debugdiagnostics.h:166
#define Osphere
Definition: ge_prepass.h:1041
Definition: c4d_string.h:39
Definition: basearray.h:569
maxon::Vec3< maxon::Float64, 1 >
Definition: c4d_gedata.h:83
#define iferr_scope_handler
Definition: resultbase.h:1361
void SetName(const maxon::String &name)
Definition: c4d_baselist.h:2324
#define ApplicationOutput(formatString,...)
Definition: debugdiagnostics.h:207
char Char
signed 8 bit character
Definition: apibase.h:180
static BaseObject * Alloc(Int32 type)
GeResource g_resource
Global resources for Cinema&#160;4D.
Definition: ocube.h:6
#define C4DPL_INIT_SYS
Initialize system.
Definition: c4d_plugin.h:28
Definition: apibase.h:1509
const Vector & GetVector(void) const
Definition: c4d_gedata.h:451