German 3D developer Maxon has released the next version of its flagship 3D modelling, animation and rendering suite, Cinema 4D XL. Cinema 4D XL 7 features many major enhancements, as well as free copies of Smells Like Almonds 2.5 and Cinema 4D NET 3 client software. The tool adds support for radiosity, the advanced lighting system that allows for natural effects such as colour-bleed between adjacent surfaces. This form of indirect lighting adds realism to scenes but can take extremely long times to render. Maxon claims to have kept this down to a minimum and delivered the world’s fastest radiosity engine. Adaptive antialiasing has also been added. This calculates how much of a render needs to be antialiased, which is often as low as 40 per cent, and only smooths pixels that need it. According to Maxon, adaptive antialiasing can make render speed up to 2.5 times faster. Other new features include caustics and polygon reduction. Cinema 4D XL 7 will support both surface caustics and volume caustics. This represents where light is reflected or refracted, respectively, by curved surfaces. Examples of this include the zig-zags of light on a swimming pool floor or the light cast on a table by a wine glass. The update can reduce the number of polygons in an object automatically by setting the maximum number of polygons allowed. Cinema 4D will then make the model less complex for use as background models or in computer games. The last new feature revealed at CeBIT was multi-pass rendering. This allows you to save different layers in a render, such as illumination, specular and transparency, separately for post-editing. The layers are saved in a single file in Photoshop, RLA or RPF format. Cinema 4D XL 7 costs £1,395 including VAT. Upgrade pricing from XL 6 is £349 (inc VAT), and £529 (inc VAT) from XL 5.