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Toolfarm Throwback: FastRay Became this Popular 3D Software You May Use Daily

Toolfarm Throwback: FastRay Became this Popular 3D Software

Today, we’re taking a trip back in time for the birth of one of the most popular 3D tools, originally called FastRay. Ever heard of it? I’ll give you a hint. It’s used in feature film visual effects, motion graphics, game development, and more, and version 25 was recently released. You may even be a professional artist who relies on this 3D modeling, animation, simulation, and rendering solutions daily.

Give up? You may know it better by its current name, Cinema 4D.

Fast Ray’s Origins

Maxon, began in 1985 as a publishing company by German students Harald Egel, Uwe Bärtels, and Harald Schneider) published ST-Computer, an Atari ST magazine[2]. The magazine held programming contests. German brothers Christian and Philip Losch decided to enter the contest but couldn’t decide whether to create a spreadsheet program or a ray tracer[2]. It was decided on a coin flip and in 1989 they started development on a raytracer called FastRay for Commodore Amiga, a popular computer platform at the time[1]. Imagine that parallel universe where there is super-powered spreadsheet software but no Cinema 4D!

The Amiga Museum actually has downloadable software for FastRay, if you have a running computer and you want to check it out FastRay. Download and use the software at your own risk. You can try an Amiga Emulator, such as Amiga Forever, too.  I’m just sharing the links.

Note: The images below on IMGUR will load but they load VERY slowly. Continue reading the article in the meantime.

Also, there are no credits on the images below for FastRay 1.0, released in 1991 on Amiga, but they are interesting. If you know who the artist was, please let us know so we can properly credit them.

FastRay 1.0 Renders

FastRay in Action

A French Cinema 4D YouTube profile has some video of the original FastRay interface. Note, it’s all in German. Do you see any similarities to the current versions of Cinema 4D?

Below, a few quick translations of the interface from Google Translate:

  • Tieffenpuffer = depth buffer
  • 3-Tafel-Ansicht = 3 table opinion
  • Drahtgitter = wire mesh
  • Maler = painter
  • Ausschnitt = cut out
  • Vergrößerung = Enlargement
  • Tastatur = Keyboard
  • Schnellauswahl = Quick selection

Two years later, Cinema 4D 1.0 was released for Amiga. By the mid-1990s, Amiga and Atari were declining in popularity, so in 1996, Maxon began developing Cinema 4D v4 for Windows, Alpha NT, Mac, and Amiga[1]. Maxon introduced BodyPaint in 2000.

As you can see that Cinema 4D has come a long way in 30 years. Interestingly, Philip Losch currently works as the Chief Technology Officer at Maxon.


Maxon Cinema 4D S25Maxon Cinema 4D S25

3D for the Whole World

Easy to learn and extremely powerful, Cinema 4D is the perfect package for all 3D artists who want to achieve breathtaking results fast and hassle-free. Beginners and seasoned professionals alike can take advantage of Cinema 4D’s wide range of tools and features to quickly achieve stunning results. Cinema 4D’s legendary reliability also makes it the perfect application for demanding, fast-paced 3D production.

Learn MoreTry Maxon Cinema 4D S25 for free!

Cinema 4D R25 Compatibility

Maxon Cinema R25 Compatibility – The Definitive List

We’re elated about the release of Maxon Cinema 4D R25. But, as with any major release, the issue of compatibility comes into play. Developers are working diligently to make sure everything will work smoothly with the new R25 release.

We have put together a list of products and information to keep you informed about plug-ins and product compatibility. It’s all in our new FAQ, so check it out!

Maxon Cinema R25 Compatibility

Maxon OneMaxon One

Get all the Maxon products at one low price.

Maxon One is an annual subscription for all products in one all-encompassing package. To summarize, this bundle includes Cinema 4D, Redshift, and Red Giant Complete. Easy to learn and extremely powerful, Cinema 4D is the perfect package for all 3D artists who want to achieve breathtaking results fast and hassle-free. Redshift, the world’s first fully GPU-accelerated, biased renderer, meets the specific demands of contemporary high-end production rendering in C4D. Finally, Red Giant Complete includes Universe, Trapcode Suite, Magic Bullet Suite, and VFX Suite.

Learn MoreTry Maxon One for free!


Information Sources

1. Cinema 4D, Wikipedia
2 A Brief History of Cinema 4D, 3D World, 11 July 2019

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Posted by Michele Yamazaki