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Reference Shader

shader instancing

The Reference Shader provides the possibility to reuse shaders in different channels and materials. You will no longer need to perform time-consuming multiple copy and paste operations after each adjustment of shaders. Any changes of the source shader are automatically applied to every linked Reference Shader.

The whole user interface for creating and handling Reference Shaders is integrated in the CINEMA 4D material editor. By selecting a material you can create a new Reference Shader just like a common texture within an arbitrary channel.

By using the Reference Shader you can easily achieve automatic adaptation of the bump and alpha channel when changing only the appearance of the shader in the color channel. You can even save more time and effort by nesting shader references.


  • overwrite specific properties of the source shader individually
  • Reference Shader supports m4d mental ray® and iray® as well as V-Ray® shaders and any other shader being a part of an arbitrary CINEMA 4D object
  • m4d materials, V-Ray® materials and other non-standard CINEMA 4D materials can be transformed
  • m4d materials, V-Ray® materials and other materials can be also selected via the Select-Tree
  • a link field where any shader at all can be dragged and dropped
  • dynamic shader changes in animations
  • enhanced overview to keep track of your shader dependencies
Reference Shader plugin for CINEMA 4D Reference Shader plugin for CINEMA 4D

Download the manual for more detailed information on the plugin.