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VW to C4D export

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I'm not sure if this is the correct part of the forum for these questions - I assume this is Renderworks related - Mods, please help me out if I'm in the wrong section.

I have a bunch of questions, but let's start simple:

1. I export, using Export Cinema 4D (3D ONLY), when I open the file in Cinema, every object (or group, or symbol) has it's axis origin at 0,0,0, not in the center of the object. Is there anyway around this. I can move the centers in Cinema with teh Axis center functions, but it's more work then should be needed.

2. If I open the native .c4d file that VW creates, I get all kinds of culling (I think) issues - mainly, If i zoom out, items disappear from the viewport. When I MERGE the .c4d file into a fresh scene - I don't have this issue. Not a big deal, but curious, all the same.

3. There is a dialogue when I merge into a new scene asking me what I'd like to import (Materials, Geometry, cameras. lighting, etc.) no matter how I set this up (I only ever want geometry) - everything comes in anyways, ignoring the dialogue check marks. Again, not a show stopper, but curious how to alter this behavior.

4. Symbols translate to instances nicely, unless I mirror the symbol, or use Duplicate array - then each one comes in as separate geometry. Any way around this limitation?

Not sure if these are bugs or user error and was wondering if others had experiences with any of these before I reach out to the company. Also not sure if this would be raised with NVW or Maxon....

Thanks for any feedback.


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That is annoying, yes.

Don't now if that is really solvable.

An exported Mesh can contain more than one CAD Object.

So the mesh is like a Null Object, sitting at 0/0/0, while the contained objects/faces

have different positions.

But as FBX and C4D export each CAD part individually anyway, I think their location

in CAD should come into C4D too.

There are Plugins that can batch convert the centers and do other useful stuff

for imported CAD geometry.



Annoying, yes.

Don't know whose fault though.


That is indeed very extremely annoying !

I would think this definitely a Bug.

(But it exists at least since VW 2014, maybe since the introduction of Send To Cinema)


There are other problems with Symbols.

Their instance copies haven't applied the Class as they have in VW.

Therefor you can't control their visibility.

F.e. make all Glass layers invisible to set a GI Render Test, the Symbol itself

will follow but all instances glass will still be visible !

(And you can't convert those instances back to real geometry in C4D)

So I'll add


Materials that I assign to Objects and/or Classes, stays one Material in VW,

but if you Export to C4D or FBX you will get a new copy of that material for

each Class assignment.

So if you have 20 Render Textures in VW, you will easily get about 60 in C4D

that you can't control anymore.


The Materials and Textures get even renamed by VW

Means that you no more recognize/find your materials again,

you even get duplicates of your image textures with new names.

5.+6. together with point 3. makes the whole system unusable


VW's important Layer+Class ordering system gets lost.

C4D import is grouped by Layers only.

All single Objects of all Classes come in separately, grouped by their Layer only.

At least they have the Class Name included in their Name, so you can do a

search for them. But you would have to group them manually to find them again.

There is a strong need to get the same Export Options for C4D and FBX, like you

have for DXF/DWG. Like :

- by Class or Layer

- separate file for each Layer

- One single Mesh from each Class

- decompose Symbols

- decompose Groups

- do not triangulate

Edited by zoomer

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Thanks Zoomer. I agree with some of your additional points. And thanks for the bug submit!

I'll admit, I don't do any texturing or lighting in VW - I save all of that for Cinema, so the interplay of textures and lighting in regard to classes and import/export isn't an issue for me because of my workflow. I only ever am interested in getting geometry out of VW and into Cinema. I feel like the axis center wasn't a problem when I was using the old plugin provided by NVW and it's a newer development that everything is at 0,0,0.

Thanks for the plugin link - I'll look more carefully at that.


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I haven't bought that plugin.

But every once and a while I go to the eShop and look at it.

(Standard or Pro Version ?)

I always set simple Materials and Cameras in VW because I can do fast but appealing

screenshots while modeling.

This comes in nearly* lossless in C4D so no work wasted.

(* Except of that multi used Material Duplication thing)

It would be a nice start in Cinema with Basic Material Assignment nearly done

and start Fine Tuning of Visualization Work in C4D.

Unfortunately I need my Geometry continuously updated.

Currently that is a one time solution only.

Sent to Cinema does nothing else as Export to Cinema.

I doubt that VW would not destroy my Materials in C4D if I would not assign any in VW.

No satisfying solution but a workaround could be :

Do all Material changes in VW only, let it simply overwrite all in C4D and don't care

about Render Quality.

As for Cameras, Lights and Render Settings, you can copy/keep these separate outside

of the complete VW import Group/Null Object. This way the won't be overwritten and

deactivate/ignore all that other stuff VW brings in, beside Geometry and Materials.

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Another thing that isn't mentioned ist that VW exports a lot of stuff that needs

at least the Vizualisation Version of Cinema4D.

If you use C4D Prime Version only,

perhaps because you will integrate all those missing "Architectural Visualization" Tools

in a much more professional way by VRAY4C4D like I do,

all VW exported things like :

Physical Render Engine, so all Render Settings (since 2016)

Physical Sky

Physical Sun

IES Lights (may work but can't be edited)

Cartoon/Hiddenline Materials

Will simply not work anyway and can be deleted to avoid error messages.

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Thank you Jim! Happy to provide real world examples or videos if that will help. Wasn't totally clear if this is renderworks related or just VW in general (or MAXON)...



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It would indeed. The engineers working specifically on Renderworks upgrades are taking a close look at feedback on this currently.

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Thanks again Jim !

As for the separate element exported in C4D and FBX,

To put them just in another Group/Null Object by Class would help much.

Geometry comes in very good into Modo by FBX, like C4D export to C4D.

(no missing or flipped Faces, Vertex Points welded, Scale, Axis Rotation,

parts of Materials, some (Diffuse) Textures only)

But those 3D Packes are optimized to have millions of Polygons in one Mesh,

and doing very hard having million single Meshes in millions of groups.

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I played a bit with C4D and FBX.

EAlexander, to your # "2."

These Display Problems occurred very strong to me when I imported the VW file

by FBX into C4D. Until the geometry disappears completely when zooming out.

But I don't see any Problems in C4D R17 when I export a C4D file.

Older Versions of C4D (I have a R13) had a View Setting for View Clipping

in Perspective Views. Default was Medium.

If you set this to Very Large, it often helped.

(That Setting disappeared at least since R16)

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Desperately looking for a way to Refresh VW Geometry in C4D.

Found that when assigning an additional Material on top of a VW Material Assignment,

it will not be overwritten in C4D when refreshing Geometry, as far as it currently looks.

With Material refresh deactivated of course.

I tried VW Geometry that has not assigned any "Render Texture" to Objects

and Classes. Does not hold VW from foisting a "Material" for Fill Color on C4D.

If you had set a Class to Gray you even get a "Material" called "Grayed Layer Colour".

And you will get a new "Material" for each Class that contains Objects and becomes

a Fill Color assigned, which you will likely do in VW at some time.

So currently no way to avoid any Materials coming from VW in any case.

As a workaround you could assign your own Materials to a separate Material Class

in C4D, so by activating this Mat Class, the mass of unwanted VW Materials would

be hidden at least. They are still disturbing in the Object Lister.

And it looks like unstyled Walls will not be assigned to the same Class as VW's Wall Class,

same like Instanced Copies of Symbols do unfortunately, so can't be controlled in Visibility,

Selection and other things.


The Material checkbox in Send To seems to keep its deactivation, at least during the session.

The Kamera and Lights Checkbox do not and have to deactivated again manually for each

data refresh.

Not a big issue though, as long as currently none of these checkboxes has any function.

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The other way would be to not try to avoid VW Materials in C4D,

so set Fill Colors and maybe even Materials in VW as you like.

The Bunch of Materials and their Copies by Classes coming in at C4D,

you could copy all these into a new file,

and each time after a geometry refresh you activate C4D Material Exchanger

and overwrite again all VW Materials with the ones you edited in C4D.

But somehow I am not willing to edit my Materials in a separate File,

as well as I am not willing to edit 100 Materials including their copies

as they were thought to be 25 Materials only, that each just had to be

assigned to more than one Class.

Anyhow I would not be able to find the original Material + its Copies

from Preview Thumbnails only at all, as the get renamed by

class names that aren't related to the original Material name in any way.

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So regarding the fill colors, I start to understand that "Material for each class thing"

In this case that makes sense. Without RW used, your Geometry will look

exactly the same as before in VW, even C4D doesn't use Layer or Object Colors.

So a Material assignment is needed.

And for Fill Colors that makes even sense to name that Material by Class Name

as Fill Colors are normally used unlimited and there isn't much repeating.

But if there is, it would be quite ok to name the Materials by Fill Color Name/RGB

value anyway. And export multi used Colors as one single Material.

(Which also happens until you set your first Custom fill Color in a Class)

But for Materials assigned by Classes it does not make sense as you can

assign Materials to more than one Object in C4D too.

In deed it is assigned to each Object separately as C4D just can't assign a

Material to one of its "Layers" and all containing Objects, which is pity anyway.

It is just about treating each new Fill Color in VW like a new Material.

If an additional Material is used on top, it overwrites the Fill Color.

For the Export to Cinema it doesn't matter if Colors/Materials where assigned

locally to an Object or globally by a Class.

In the End each Object in C4D will have its own Material assignment.

What I still don't get is why Image Textures are renamed by "Class Name Channel"

or internally by "Material Name Channel".

There is that Layer/Class System where we were told Layers are "Where" (1st Floor)

and Classes are "What" (Wall) something is. And Materials are "Materials" (Concrete)

So a Class Name can but mostly doesn't have any relationship to the assigned Material

and its Name.

So I vote for :


As Image Textures are saved in the VWX container, add them to the Ressource Browser

in Folder "Textures"


Keeping the names of original Image Textures until a User decides to overwrite it


Do all editing of Image Textures like Filter Color/Invert/Duplicate/ ... in Ressource Browser


Rename Folder "Render Texture" to "Material"


Export Materials only + their Assignments

(For all Export File Formats)

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looks like an Image that was carpet.jpg once, internally will be

"MaterialName Channel" and keep that name for C4D.

But when you create a new Material and use the first Image Textures called

"MaterialName Channel" (and assign it by Class ?)

The new Image Texture name will be in Cinema :

"Class Class Name-1 Color.png" and

"Class Class Name-1 Bump.png"

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"Class Class Name-1 Color.png" and

"Class Class Name-1 Bump.png"

Sorry my fault,

my duplicated Test Classes were just default named Class : "Class Name-(n+1)"


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2. If I open the native .c4d file that VW creates, I get all kinds of culling (I think) issues - mainly, If i zoom out, items disappear from the viewport. When I MERGE the .c4d file into a fresh scene - I don't have this issue. Not a big deal, but curious, all the same.

Meanwhile I learned that's meant as a feature, to speed things up ;)

The setting is still there in R17 in the File/Project Settings.

You can,

and should,

adjust the Clipping Planes.

Default is to small or medium, below is shown the resulting distance in

working units, which may be too small for most architectural projects.

You should set this to a larger option, or better use custom and set it

manually as you may know your project size.

I'm not sure but I think this is related to Standard Camera only.

("Real" Cameras have their own local setting (?))

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I learned some new workarounds.

I have about 30 Materials in VW but get 100 in.


"Delete unused Materials" will delete about 8 of 100


"Delete double Materials" will delete another 40 Materials.

It does not detect all Dublettes, but will help though.

(Still annoying with Material Names changed by VW)


For the problematic Export Form of one single Mesh per Solid,

which happens for C4D and FBX Export,

there is "Pipeline > Compress Project" (or similar named)

That can compress all Elements of 1 Layer (VW Class) or 1 Material

into one single mesh.

Theoretically !

For my not uncommon project size, it currently runs since 5 Hours,

needs 70 GB of RAM, and still no end or a bar to see how long it will take.

So not a real solution.

At least tip #3 will make a geometry reload obsolete anyway.

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I'm a bit lost and confused with this issue.

Considering all of the above, What is the best way to set up a vectorworks model so that when you import / merge into an existing C4D model you don't need to reassign all the C4D materials again.

Previously I would do it by class - so say class 1 is 'Timber', class 2 is "Glass' etc etc. I'd merge the file into C4D and then apply a C4D material to that class. Then, if i updated the VW model and merged it again, all the C4D materials would be retained. This does not happen any more in R17 - all the material assignments disappear and i'm back to a VW OpenGl model and I don't know why :(.

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In some easy cases the Materials, even changed in C4D, will stay.

For me all Materials were reloaded (the C4D Mats still existing but no more assigned)

when I had used Symbols, and changed anything in one Symbol before the Refresh.

Considering, by FBX/C4D Export,

getting every single part inside a Class as a separate Mesh into C4D,

(Not as one Mesh containing all parts like by DXF)

Reassigning Materials in cases where Materials got overwritten by a refresh

is absolutely impractical.

You could ALT+drop your older Material over the reimported ones, one by one.

Or you could save a pre-refresh scene to overwrite Materials by name.

Unfortunately there is no Material Assignment by Class (Layer) in C4D as it

was in 3DSMax. All Materials are assigned locally by Part.

At least in C4D you can select by Layer and assign (or overwrite) Materials that way.

Generally, for Modeling VW geometry for C4D :

- You mustn't use "nested" Symbols

(Their Instances will lose/mix Assignments to Original Geometry at some point)

- You should avoid Symbols in general

(As their Instances will not export as Geometry or instances when you will export

from C4D by FBX to another App. And there is no way in C4D to get Geometry

again from these instances later, in any way)

- Do not change Class Names after first Export

(Looks like C4D will keep the old name for "Layers" and Parts name that exist on

these "Layers". At least if you did some changes to them in C4D)

- Do not use any 2D Geometry, you have to convert all 2D to 3D Polys in VW before

(As it will not be imported as Geometry but an Image Map only)

Even 2D Polys in 3D Space work reasonably well and 3D Polys are far from being

comfortable to edit in VW.

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The easiest way would be to just not changing Materials in C4D.

Simply ignoring the exported Material and Image Texture Duplicates.

This way you can keep overview of your reasonable amount of original

VW Materials and don't have to care about their assignments.

You can still deactivate all Cameras, Backgrounds and Lights in C4D and that

setting of Deactivation will be kept after a Refresh as far as it looks.

Just copy all of the needed Cams, Background an lights above, outside of the

"Vectorworks Scene FILENAME" Group/Folder,

or create new ones, so that they won't be touched by the Refresh.

This gives full C4D control at least for these things.

If you really need better C4D Materials (or maybe use VRAY Materials like I do),

and can live with the fact that these Materials+Textures are duplicated and renamed

different like you were used in VW,

I already mentioned the two workarounds :

1. Either ALT+drag your Material over the refreshed VW Material, one by one,

(To a) change the new Material back to your previous edited Material, b) use the new Assignment)


2. replace all new Materials from a C4D Backup Scene in one step by "Material Exchanger" to the

ones you edited before.

Keep in mind that the Material/Texture Duplication and Renaming is a Nightmare in itself and that

there isn't any workaround to avoid this. Neither for C4D or FBX export.

The only Option to get your your Geometry from VW to C4D WITHOUT any Materials + Assignment

is by DWG (better DXF) Export - with the problems of missing and misaligned Faces.

But at least you will get only one Mesh Object for each Classes Geometry which makes Visualization

and Material Assignment much easier.

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Hi Jim,

If you would like feedback, you can check out my post from a few years ago in the link below.


The above shows the extremely bad export organisation of the current connection. Organisation is extremely important in c4d especially with regard to animation. The old plug in was extremely good with regards to this. It was also extremely good when it came to material export. We could export using current textures or colours without duplication of replacing. The wheel didn't have to be reinvented. The old plug in should have been used as a basis and other features, if required, could have been added to it.

The link below is also to another thread of mine where I show the geometry issues of vw. I must admit the geometry has been improved since 2012 however, vw still doesn't create clean geometry to the level required by the 3d industry (the world of animation software like 3d Max, Maya, Modo, etc.). If we had to transfer files with other professionals using these applications, we won't be taken seriously, in fact, we'd be considered amateurs-I'm not trying to be nasty, it's just what the industry excepts for productive polygon handling.


One thing the old plug in lacked was the ability to release the origin point of each object. It was always the 0,0,0 origin of vw. Max/Revit can be relocated in Max and the updates from Revit does not reset it. This is also important when it comes to animation.

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