Arnold shaders are available in the native Node Material (R23 onwards) and the shader graph can be viewed and modified in the native Node Editor.

For more information on how to use the Node Editor, please visit the Cinema 4D User Manual.

Node Material support is currently in a beta state with some known limitations:

  • Substance Shader is not ported.
  • Value and object shaders are not ported.
  • Light_blocker is not fully ported.
  • Exporting and importing shaders are not supported.
  • Popup menus in user_data shaders are not working.
  • Loading textures from a folder in the ramp_rgb shader does not work in R23.
  • Matrix type parameters are not displayed properly.
  • toon.stylized_highlight cannot accept multiple lights.
  • Shader presets are not supported.
  • OSL shaders from a custom folder are not listed if the plugin path is defined in the scene. It has to be defined via the ARNOLD_PLUGIN_PATH environment variable before starting Cinema 4D.
  • No python-support yet (other than the native support).
  • Viewport preview is not fully supported.
  • No custom Arnold-specific shortcuts.
  • No custom Arnold-specific editor functionality.
  • No custom Arnold-specific menu categories in Cinema 4D R23 (shaders are listed under Uncategorized).
  • Connecting shaders to non-linkable parameters does not show an error in Cinema 4D R23 and S24.
  • Modifying a shader in a referenced material resets the Attribute Editor in Cinema 4D R25.010. Please update to R25.109 or above where the issue was fixed.

Create an Arnold Node Material

  • Before creating a new Node Material, make sure that the active Node Space is Arnold. If you select Arnold as the active renderer in the Render Settings, the Node Space is automatically set. Otherwise, you can set the Node Space on the application toolbar (Cinema 4D R24) or from the Render > Node Spaces menu.

Node Space on the Cinema 4D R24 toolbar

Node Space in the menu

  • Create a Node Material from the Material Manager (Ctrl + Alt + N).

  • Double click on the material to open the Node Editor.

Change the Default Material System in the Preferences to create Node Material from the plugin by default instead of the old Arnold Material.

Arnold Material End Node

The shader graph must have an Arnold Material end node, which is added automatically when the material is created. The end node defines the surface and displacement subnetworks and other material-specific settings.

Material Settings

Render Preview

Render material preview (end node preview and Node Material preview in the Attribute Editor and Material Manager) when enabled. Otherwise a default image (Arnold logo) is displayed.

Render Shader Previews

Render shader previews (Node Editor and Attribute Editor) when enabled. Otherwise a default image (Arnold logo) is displayed.

Viewport Preview

Display a preview of the material in the viewport when enabled. Otherwise display a default material with 0.8 base color.

Material Stacking (alpha)

Shaders connected to the alpha input of the Arnold Material end node are used to drive the mix when the material is added on top of other materials (stacking).


Reference Shader

The reference shader allows you to include another material, either a Node Material or an old Arnold Material within the graph. For instance, you can create a procedural texture and reference it in multiple materials to drive different parameters. Modifying the referenced material will update all parent materials.

Since an old Arnold Material can be referenced in the shader, it can be used to overcome the current limitations of the Node Material system.

Cycles are not permitted, which means you cannot reference material A in material B if material A already has a direct or indirect reference for material B.


  • The shader graph connected to the shader port of the Arnold Material end node is automatically displayed in the viewport.

  • However, you can override the viewport by connecting a shader to the viewport input of the end node.

Below are the currently supported shaders and parameters:


Base > Coloryes
Base > Weightno
Base > Metalness (1 means metal, less than 1 means dielectric)no
Specular > Coloryes
Specular > Weightno
Specular > Roughnessyes
Specular > IORno
Transmission > Weightyes
Emission > Coloryes
Emission > Weightno
Geometry > Opacityyes
Geometry > normalyes


Base > Coloryes
Base > Weightno
Specular > Coloryes
Specular > Weightno
Specular > Roughnessyes
Specular > IORno

toon (displayed as a dielectric material, no edge support).

Base > Coloryes
Base > Weightno
Specular > Coloryes
Specular > Weightno
Specular > Roughnessyes
Transmission > Weightyes
Emission > Coloryes
Emission > Weightno
Geometry > normalyes

The first supported shader is always displayed in the viewport. For instance, if a layer_shader is the root in the graph, only its first input will be visible in the viewport.

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