Cinema 4D Prime Configuration Preferences Import/Export FBX Import / Export
Function available in CINEMA 4D Prime, Visualize, Broadcast, Studio & BodyPaint 3D

FBX Import Settings

Cinema 4D’s FBX import filter supports the main FBX settings. If the file is encrypted, you will be requested to enter a password.

If the FBX file contains multiple Takes (these are equivalent to Cinema 4D Takes), they will be assigned to Takes accordingly.

To switch off the import of geometry objects, lights or cameras, disable the corresponding option. If any of these objects are targets for a Target tag, they will replaced by a Null object that will act as the target instead.

Note that numerous render preference settings (e.g., render image rate and render resolution) will be saved as camera properties in the FBX file, i.e., an active camera is must be included when exporting to FBX (if no active camera is included, the editor camera will be used).

Upon import, the active camera’s values will be used.

Coordinate System

Files coming from a right-handed system are converted to the left-handed system used by Cinema 4D. Meshes and the direction of polygons are also corrected to the differences between the coordinate systems into account.

Object Visibility in the Viewport

Enable this option to take object visibility into account. Visible and invisible objects will be assigned the corresponding status via their visibility dots in the Object Manager. Child objects that have the same visibility as the parent will be set to the unchanged status.

Other Information


Here you can define if geometry (incl. polygonal bodies) should be imported.


FBX supports the following types of lights: omni, round spot and directional. Directional lights will be imported as parallel lights to ensure 3ds Max files are imported correctly. The ambient color will be converted to an Environment object to allow correct import into MotionBuilder should you export the scene back to FBX later on.


Cameras are supported including the roll channel and FOV. The cameras will be imported as child objects of a Null object, thus allowing camera roll to be animated. Camera switchers will be converted to Stage objects with a corresponding animation track.


If this option is enabled, any splines that are present (referred to as ,curves’ in FBX terminology) will be imported.



If an FBX file contains instances, these can be loaded as such if this option is enabled. Otherwise each instance will be imported as a complete polygon object.

Subdivision Surface

Enable this option if you want to import Subdivision Surfaces saved as Type Catmull-Clark (incl. weighting) in an FBX file. Otherwise only the cage object will be imported.


Markers will be converted to Null objects with a corresponding color.


The following animation Tracks are supported:

Constraints animation is not supported by the FBX SDK. Only MOTIONBUILDER can animate these files (see Troubleshooting).

Clean Tracks

This option is the same as the Clean Tracks option in the Timeline. A series of neighboring keyframes with the same value will be reduced to the first and last keyframes of that value.

Vertex Cache to PLA

Enable this option if you want to import PLA animations within an FBX Project. When doing so, note that PLA animations will be saved to separate folders and files (see also PLA to Vertex Cache). The corresponding folder will most likely have the extension *.fpc if the FBX files come from Maya or 3D Studio Max. However, in the Cinema 4D open dialog window the *.fbx file itself must always be opened.


If the FBX file contains poses, this option controls whether the poses should be evaluated and, for example, imported as PLA.


This refers to point Normals that are stored in a tag. Enabling the option can result in better rendering results when importing mesh from other 3D applications.

Convert Normals to Phong Tag Edge Breaks

Existing Normals will be converted to a Phong tag with edge breaks and no Normal tag will be generated. The original Phong angle cannot be recreated but the geometry will receive the same shadows and is therefore completely modifiable (which would not be the case with a Normal tag).

Vertex Colors

If this option is enabled, Vertex Colors saved in an FBX fila as a Vertex Color tag (with a correctly defined Vertex Color option) will be imported.

Convert Grayscale Vertex Colors to Vertex Maps

If this option is enabled, any vertex grayscales contained in the FBX file (i.e., a grayscale assigned to a point that, for example, is used as weighting) will be imported into Cinema 4D as a vertex map (grayscale). If this option is disabled, grayscales will also be imported as Vertex Color tags.

Single Material Selection Sets

If this option is enabled, Cinema 4D will also create a Selection tag when the material is assigned to the entire object (which would not be necessary for Cinema 4D itself). This can be useful if you want to re-export the object (e.g., to Alembic) and want to maintain this selection (Face Sets).

Textures and Materials

Materials will be imported and converted to the corresponding Cinema 4D channels. If a mesh has multiple materials, a selection will created for each material and the selection will be assigned to the mesh.

A list of material channels and properties supported by FBX can be found here.

Note that identical materials with the same name can be combined into a simgle material (exception: the Cinema 4D engine naming convention ,Mat.1", "Mat.2", etc. will be viewed as identical names).


Enable this option if you want to import Substances linked within the FBX file.

Activate Deformation

When enabled, the deformations from the FBX file will be assumed.


Flip Z Axis
Up Axis

Due to its popularity, the FBX format is used by a wide range of applications, some of which have a different axis system from Cinema 4D. These settings can be used to compensate. If a scene is imported from a given application that rotates the back side to the front, the Flip Z Axis option should be enabled. The Up Axis settings will import the respective axis in the FBX file oriented upwards. For clarification: the FBX file’s vertex sets will always be mirrored or rotated. The object point axes in Cinema 4D will always point in the usual directions (Y up, X right, Z rear).