Reference Cinema 4D Cinema 4D Prime Appendix File Formats
Function available in CINEMA 4D Prime, Visualize, Broadcast, Studio & BodyPaint 3D

Image Formats

Images and videos can be loaded much easier and faster in Cinema 4D R19, which is important, for example, when working with the Motion Tracker and when using video textures.

The following image formats can be loaded (e.g., as a texture in a material) or exported (e.g., as a rendered image):

The various image formats and their properties. Multi-Pages is only for import; if multiple entries exist, these are for loading or saving; "i" for bit depth represents indexed colors.

As the table shows, the TIFF format offers the greatest flexibility, which is why this is the most widely used image format in production pipelines (also because it can be compressed loss-free).

Image formats and maximum resolutions

Cinema 4D can render images with a maximum resolution of 128,000 x 128,000 pixels. However, not all image or video formats can handle this large resolution.

The following formats are affected:

The following formats are not affected:


The following list includes images formats for which a lot of information is supplied or that offer options when saved from Cinema 4D (e.g., for compression), which are then described.


Save options


IFF images will be read according to the Commodore/Electronic Arts specifications.

The modes EHB, HAM-6 and HAM-8 are supported.


Save Options

Bitmap Info Header: You can select from:


Save Options

Quality: Defines the JPEG quality.


BodyPaint 3D proprietory image format. Saves textures, including all layers, layer masks and alpha channels.


The RPF format is a further development of the RLA format. Both formats add numerous channels to the rendered image that can be edited in compositing programs.

Save Options

Depending on which options are enabled, corresponding information will be written into the file (RLA has fewer options than the RPF format; functions of the same name work identically).


A HDR image for mat that can be saved with either 16 (float comma) or 32-bit (float comma/integer) per color channel. OpenEXR is the more current format compared to other commonly used HDR formats (Radiance (HDR)). Furthermore, OpenEXR can contain any number of channels.

HDR formats are well-suited for compositing or as Image-Based Lighting (lighting via Global Illumination). See also Color Depth.

Save Options

Comperssion Method: You can select from a range of loss-free or lossy compression methods.

16-bit Float Comma: Saves in a special, less precise float comma format that can be edited faster.

Layer Numbering: Disable this option of you don’t want to use the Cinema 4D OpenEXR layer numbering system (_0001, _0002, etc.).

Radiance (HDR)

This is the normal HDR image format. Even though this is labeled as 32-bit in the table above, this is not quite correct. HDR tricks a little and uses 8 bits per color channel plus a common exponent. When saving, use one of the other real 32-bit formats.


A commonly used graphics format with loss-free compression, i.e., the image size can, depending on the scene, be about half or one-third the size of a TIFF image (PNG does not support CMYK as TIFF does).

Save Options

The Interlaced option can be enabled, which produces a result similar to JPEG: these images will be displayed in their entirety much faster in the browser.


An image format commonly used in movie production and used in post-production (i.e., for the processing from camera to projector).

The following are not supported when loaded:

Save Options

The Planar option can be enabled if required by the software in which the image will subsequently be edited. Internally, the color channels will be saved as a single block.

The Bit Depth setting lets you set a color depth of 10 or 12 bits.


DDS (Direct Draw Surface) is a Microsoft container image format developed in the course of their DirectX development. It is used in the field of gaming. All DDS formats, including alpha channels, can be read.

The following DDS formats can be loaded into Cinema 4D as described:

Save Options


Several compression formats are available for DDS images:

MipMaps: MipMap technology, which is often used in the gaming industry, that projects textures onto objects in different resolutions depending on the objects’ distance from the camera. Additional lower resolution versions of the original texture are saved, which naturally increases the image file size.

Note that the output resolution has to be higher in multiples of 4 if one of the compression modes is used. Otherwise a warning prompt will appear and the resolution will be set to the next best size.


The following minor new features for image formats are available in Cinema 4D R19: