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NEWS JULY 26, 2000
Cinema 4D XL Gets New Plugin Architecture, Speed Boost
New version 6.1 update available as free download

by David Nagel
Executive Producer
[email protected]

Maxon Computer has announced a new update to Cinema 4D XL, its high-end 3D modeling, rendering and animation package. The new version is immediately available for free download to registered users (with addenda to documentation). Maxon's calling 6.1 a major update to Cinema 4D XL 6, which was introduced three months ago. New features include a different plugin architecture (along with a new software development kit), new interface schemes and improved use of camera tracking data. Here are some details:

New SDK and Plugin Architecture: Designed for third-party add-on developers, the new SDK and plugin architecture was created to help speed development of Cinema 4D plugins. Maxon says it gives developers "vastly improved" interface tools, access to low-level system calls and speedier performance. Cinema 4D's Coffee language provides developers with total cross-platform compatibility, so plugins developed for Windows will also work on the Mac. The plugin interface also now allows the creation of individual graphical interfaces and has a new C++ API. Examples and the compiler can be downloaded from the Maxon Computer Web site for free.

Multi-Target IK: The new Multi-Target Kinematics functionality allows designers to use as many control targets as they want within one IK hierarchy, eliminating unpredictable effects using IK chains.

Interface Schemes: Cinema 4D now supports variable Schemes. Like the skins of other programs, this allows users to change the look of their GUI. Users can now create and share customized interfaces. A Macintosh scheme is included for reference and use.

Camera Tracking Data: Version 6.1 now imports the new LW6 file format—including UV coordinates, vertex maps and zoom animations.

Optimized and Extended Texture Mapping: Now you can use "Stick to Texture" to attach common texture mapping types (like flat or sphere) to an object's geometry. This enhancement makes it possible to texture even complex HyperNURBS objects using the basic projection types and animate them using deformers like bones.

Extended Shader and Texture Handling: A new and hierarchical menu structure in the material editor makes it easier to find and apply textures and shaders. Users can now copy and paste textures and shaders, including their parameters, from one channel to another.

Optimization and Speed Increases: According to Maxon, Cinema 4D XL 6.1 is 20 percent faster than version 6.0. The company says the best speeds boosts appear with inverse volumetric light sources.

Version 6.1 is available now for download for registered users. For more information or to download the update, go to http://www.maxon.com.

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