New in Cinema 4D R20: Import Catia, STEP, IGES, SolidWorks and JT CAD files in Cinema 4D R20

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Instructor Cineversity

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  • Duration: 03:50
  • Views: 24429
  • Made with Release: 20
  • Works with Release: 20 and greater

Import Catia, STEP, IGES, SolidWorks and JT CAD files in Cinema 4D R20, with Scale-Based Tessellation, Material, Display Color and more

In Cinema 4D R20, you can directly and easily import Solidworks, STEP, Catia, JT and IGES files. Bring in the machines and the other things - the objects, splines, instances and hierarchies - and start building amazing visualizations in Cinema 4D.

Special Thanks for the CAD files used in this video:
- Kubota V2203 Engine by Santa Floss (
- Hammer Drill by Rod Ross (Importing a CAD Model into Cinema 4D)
- Formula Front Wheel Suspension and Assembly by Aitor Amigo (

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Cinema 4D Release 20 now includes native import of Catia, STEP, IGES, Solidworks and JT files so you can easily make use of CAD data provided by clients. Import CAD formats just like any other file using File > Open or File > Merge, or by dragging and dropping. All the CAD formats share the same options dialog, though you can set different defaults for each format. Besides choosing what type of data to import, you have detailed control over how to handle the layers, normals, display color, and materials from the CAD file. You can choose to use the built-in display colors or assign random colors to easily distinguish each part. If the CAD file includes materials, you can choose to use those - or you can use the built-in materials with random coloring to easily distinguish each material. Many CAD files don't include built-in materials, and in those cases you can choose to generate materials based on the display colors. Some JT and STEP files include a polygon version of the model, and you can import that by choosing the Source Mesh option. CATIA files with the CGR extension only include a polygon mesh. Finally the JT format can include three different models with varying levels of detail, and those can be imported as an LOD object. In all other cases the NURBs data in CAD files has to be converted to polygons during import through a process called tessellation. There's options to specify how detailed the resulting polygon mesh will be. Low values will result in a simpler mesh where curved surfaces will appear jagged, while higher values where we render curves more smoothly but you're going to get a larger mesh that's going to be harder to work with. You can also use the Max Length option to prevent really long edges that can be difficult to work with and deform in 3D. Often a CAD file will include very large objects that you need to render smoothly and millions of tiny bolts which are a waste of polygons because they're hardly visible but would require high tessellation to represent their detailed surfaces. The CAD import includes an option to tessellate objects differently based on their size. You can specify the sag angle and max length for small, medium, and large components and use this slider here to set the threshold for each size. The resulting object hierarchy can be optimized as well - there's a very important option to swap the y and z axis, since many CAD applications use a Z up system. You can also choose to combine meshes into objects based on the definition in the CAD file, the topology of the object, the display color, or the layer. Choosing the optimized hierarchy option will remove any extraneous null objects. The heal and stitch options help to close holes and clean up the resulting mesh. Heal simply closes holes without modifying the surface, while stitch will modify the surface in several passes to close more complex holes. One thing to note about the CAD import is that due to the nature of the system there's very few updates to the progress bar as the import is progressing and files can take five to ten minutes to import depending on the file size and your tessellation settings. I've not yet encountered a CAD file in a supported format that doesn't import so just take a break while C4D does the work and when you come back the model will be ready and waiting. Everything in the world is built in CAD and with the ability to easily import CAD data into Cinema 4D Release 20 you'll have the power to create amazing 3D visualizations. Make sure to check out all of our tutorials on to get a comprehensive view of all of the great features that Cinema 4D Release 20 has to offer.
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