Cinema 4D Exchange Add-On

by Péter Koncz · updated: 06.04.2012


  • The Cinema 4D Exchange Add-On lets you to establish an all-around workflow between ARCHICAD and Cinema 4D.
  • Download the C4D Add-On for ARCHICAD to be able to start working with Cinema 4D.


  • testforexport.png

New features for ARCHICAD 16

  • You can export Bump Map for materials too.
  • You will be able to export all Perspective Cameras. From ARCHICAD 15, only the active Perspective view can be exported.Note: The new Cinema4D Exchange Add-On for ARCHICAD 16 will support R12 and R13 versions. Suitable Add-Ons for older versions of Cinema 4D can be acquired from Maxon directly.

Data exchange

Exporting ARCHICAD projects to Cinema 4D

  • It is very easy to export ARCHICAD models to Cinema 4D. Simply open the 3D View, use the File/Save As… command and select .c4d format as an output.
    Make sure to match the scale of the two environments before starting to work.scale.png

Update or modify an existing project

  • If you have modified your model in ARCHICAD and you would like to update it in Cinema 4D, you just have to save your project with different name, go to Cinema 4D and merge the new model into the existing one.

Element Hierarchy in Cinema 4D

  • Cinema 4D organizes ARCHICAD construction elements in a Hierarchy tree and you can select any level of this order. You can set the type of Hierarchy in Menu Design/Desing Extras/Cinema 4D Exchange/Exchange Settings.settings.png


  • Exporting from ARCHICAD by Class
    • In this type of export elements are organized into groups according to particular objects. Above this level are object categories such as Doors or Windows in general. It is useful to use this type of export, when you want to modify the 3D model in Cinema 4D and send it back to ARCHICAD after the desired modifications.



  • Exporting from ARCHICAD by Material
    • Surfaces and polygons are grouped according to ARCHICAD materials. It is recommended to use this kind of export when you want to use Cinema 4D for creating still images or fly-through animations in Cinema 4D. You can select and modify the materials with only one click.


Importing 3D models into ARCHICAD

  • You can import freeform objects modelled in Cinema 4D into ARCHICAD using the Open or Merge command.melange.pngNote: before export, Melange exchange option has to be checked in Cinema 4D Preferences.


  • When you import a free-form Object into ARCHICAD, it is often displayed with triangulation on the Floorplans. In ARCHICAD 16, you can edit Objects using the Morph Tool to clean the 2D display view.floorplan.png

Tips and Recommendations

Two-way workflow for freeform modelling

You can use this feature to add a new free-form Element to your scene or edit an existing Element with the modeling capabilities of Cinema 4D. After you have opened the 3D Window, you can find this in menu Design/Design Extras/Cinema 4D Exchange.

  • menu.png
  • Edit selected elements in Cinema 4D allows you to modify an existing model element in Cinema 4D and send it back to ARCHICAD as an Embedded Object.
  • Create new element in Cinema 4D lets you export your scene into Cinema 4D and add a new free-form shape, then send it back to ARCHICAD as an Embedded Object.
  • After you have chosen your type of workflow, ARCHICAD will launch Cinema 4D and retire into a Syncronization mode.mode.pngNote: if you have launched this command for the first time ARCHICAD will prompt for the Cinema 4D executable file.
  • All the non-selected elements will be displayed as semi-transparent, to aid your design. At this stage you can either create new elements, modify existing ones, or merge files, previously made with Cinema 4D.create.png
  • After you have finished modeling, you can use File/Send to ARCHICAD and the new and modified scene elements will be merged as a new Embedded Object.embed.png

Good to Know

  • When you set up a lamp with an intensity lower than 100%, ArchiCD will merge this value with the color, so it will be darker respectively. For example, a White color lamp with 50% of intensity in ARCHICAD will be a Grey color lamp with 100% of intensity in Cinema4D.intensity.png
  • You should check the elements, that you desire to import from Cinema4D, that they don’t contain 3D solid bodies and 2D shapes or polygons at once. Each element should be made of only 3D solids or only 2D shapes.corrupt.png
  • ARCHICAD materials will be converted to Cinema 4D materials during the first export, and Cinema 4D materials will be converted into ARCHICAD materials during every return process.Note: In case of bitmap textures, the bitmap images are stored in the “tex” folder next to the C4D project file.
  • When you import Objects from Cinema 4D the number of polygons greatly influences the 3D speed of your ARCHICAD. According to our tests, objects containing fewer than 20,000 polygons work well in ARCHICAD.polycount.pngNote: You can check the polygon count in Cinema 4D by navigating to the Objects menu after selecting the Objects.
  • If you export a Wall into Cinema 4D that contains Doors or Windows, those elements will all be editable in Cinema 4D. When you Send them back to ARCHICAD, then both the Wall, the Doors and the Windows will be merged into one Embedded Object.
  • When you only edit a Door or a Window in Cinema 4D and you send it back to ARCHICAD, the original opening will be removed from the Wall and you must place a new Empty Opening manually. The Door or the Window will be placed into its original position as an Embedded Object
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