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Guest jslicer

Top Ten C4D tips

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Guest jslicer

OK, i'm posting my top ten list of tips to keep in mind when using Cinema 4D. I'm using version 9.6, but most of these apply to previous versions. I'm posting these cause i would love to know what other user's useful tips or tricks are that they use practically everyday for working effectively and efficiently in the program. If you can't think of ten, at least post one new one here!

 

1. use a wacom tablet with C4D - just started using one....really fluid to use (just make sure to check the "Graphic Tablet" box under the Common section in the preferences

 

2. use hot keys whenever possible - you can customize these quite extensively in the program.

 

3. use null objects often for organizing and animating (so that you have control over objects inside the null independently

 

4. when you export out stuff from illustrator, if you drag your 0,0 point from the top left corner of the window, this will set the axis position for how c4d imports the ai artwork - remember to save as illustrator 8 format

 

5. the transfer tool is really helpful (Functions > Transfer) for transferring the axis point of one object to another - use this all the time

 

6. if you don't want to use the menus from the top of the program, just hit v (or whatever key you want to customize) for a Maya-like menu system.

 

7. in the object menu (where all your objects in the scene are shown) choose object > current state to object to keep a copy of your editable object and create another one as geometry that you can tweak. this creates an editable backup that you can leave turned off until that inevitable client change

 

8. if you have alot of splines or paths, in the same object menu, just have all your splines or paths selected and choose object > connect. this turns all the splines or paths into one path if you need to consolidate

 

9. you can collect your file and all it's related assets just as you would in AfterEffects....just use File > Save Project - this is really helpful in workflow situations or just backing a file and it's supporting elements paths correctly

 

10. if you have version 9.6 - you can finally use sweep nurbs that allow animated start and end growth...something C4D was lacking for way too long

 

most intermediate or advanced users will be aware of these, but there's usually a few helpful features that even an advanced user will not be aware of for a while. look forward to hearing of any other even more advanced tips that anyone cares to offer. thanks.

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Guest Chinaski

Well, I don't know if I can come up with ten, but here's a few:

 

1. Use the different layout menus and customize your own. (Layout menues are on the top left side of the Program window)

 

2. Learn about shadow map parameters. The default settings for map size are usually too low for good results.

 

3. Learn as much Xpresso as possible. Its tough, but it will help you a lot.

 

4. Not everything needs to be done in Cinema. Learn how to integrate After Effects to minimize your time and processing Cinema. For example, if you can render simple smoke with particular, use that instead of pyrocluster. You can always output a locater from Cinema to use with particular.

 

5. When modeling, make sure to have references for front, back, and side views of your model. Draw them out if you have to. This will make the process a lot easier.

 

6. If you are animating a high-rez mesh, use a proxy to animate with and then swap out the proxy for the real model at render time.

 

7. Try to use as few lights as possible. Don't forget lighting basics - key, fill, kicker, background, etc. Lighting foreground apart from background can be very useful, as well.

 

8. Render in passes. This will help a lot in compositing. Object buffers are an easy way to get mattes for individual object.

Edited by Chinaski

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Guest Andraz

Saving projects in Cinema is ok, but I still find it very confusing because you dont have an option to set the project (with for example new scene in the same project structure). I find it very annoying.

 

Otherwise my top 10 tricks:

 

1. For modeling, make sure that you assign shortcuts for point, edge and face selection. It doubles the productivity

 

2. For texturing and rendering try to bake as many textures as possible. It really helps with the render time. Specially if you are using AO a lot. Bake it into diffuse and the render time will shrink a lot.

 

3. When baking textures there a few limitations you have to be familiar with. Apart for the obvious things, like you cannot change camera position if you want to bake reflections plus dont bake those textures that have animated influences on it. Like floor, if you have character walking around the floor with shadow, do not bake that because shadow does change :). Very important: if your object has very low number of polys (even if its under HN), it will cause heaps of problems when baking. You will get black artefacts all over the place, edges will be messy and so on. To avoid that, use this recepie: first make sure that you objects has well layed out UVs. That is first step towards getting good baking results. Then, duplicate that objects (UVS will be duplicated as well of course), subdivide it (level 3 for example) so you get quite a mesh. Then set the rendering/baking settings very high and bake the texture on the subdivided model. You should get a nice baked texture with far less artefacts compared to the low poly object one. And now, just transfer the baked textures on the high poly one to the low poly one and voila!

 

4. Don't expect textures without edge problems on the HN objects. Simple, it cannot be done. Subdivision algorythms have all problems with that, so not even the projection painting in bodypaint cant deal with this problem. 100 % solution lies in high poly objects, but of course that will be heavy on the rendering time.

 

5. If you get out of memory errors (windows), most of the time rendering on OSX will fix the problem (with very long rendering time)

 

6. Dont rely on plugins too much. They are cool, but remember, having plugins means you have to extend your knowledge even further. Result = you have to spend time to understand how to use them. Better spend that time on using the known tools and techinques with default cinema tools

 

7. Alpha channels and tiffs = can cause heaps of headaches. Try to avoid them.

 

8. When modeling and manipulating objects (not animating), make sure you have object mode turned on

 

9. To speed up the rendering test phase, make sure you save render settings and use that!

 

10. Camera mapping can be soooo usefull

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Guest Beaver

1. Parent your camera to a null at the center of the scene for good dolly-like movement (same as in AE).

 

2. On your keyframes, use the "Strength" property in conjunction with "Soft" interpolation to get good quick easing without having to touch the fCurves. I've found 50 to be way too much for most things. 10 works pretty good.

 

3. In the timeline, use "Filter > Show Active Objects" to hide all the schtuff you don't have selected. This is a HUGE time saver.

 

4. Deselect properties you don't want to animate to reduce clutter in the timeline. Like if you're only going to rotate something, deselect the scale, position, properties, and PLA buttons at the bottom right of the viewport.

 

5. Use preview renders "as editor" to tweak your animations before doing a final render. This is better than just hitting play in the viewport because that usually doesn't play real time.

 

6. I keep a "trash" null instead of deleting stuff that I've spent time modeling, that way I can dig stuff back out if I decided I didn't really want to delete it.

 

7. When using hypernurbs, bump your "Subdivision Editor" down to 0 if you already have your model looking right. Takes the load off your graphics card.

 

8. Do type in illustrator. Use fonts that don't have a ton of vertices, unless you want to go to tweaking hell.

 

9. When knifing objects, use "loop" and "path" to add detail to more complex models. This is great for sub-d modeling.

 

10. Don't surf mograph.

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Guest Tread

6. I keep a "trash" null instead of deleting stuff that I've spent time modeling, that way I can dig stuff back out if I decided I didn't really want to delete it.

 

I think it's a better idea to copy old stuff into a new project, and then delete the original. Even if you disable an object, c4d still keeps track of it, and it slows things down.

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Guest the_Monkey

1. Never use an omni when you can get away with a spotlight (omni's use 6x the rays for calculation).

 

2. (Sorry Beaver) Build as many splines as possible inside of C4D. It has many more spline types than Illustrator (Akima, B-Splines, Cubic, Bezier, and Linear) that are all very good for different tasks. Learn how to move seamlessly between them. One example is the ease with which one can build architectural piping with Linear Splines and then select the corner points and Chamfer them to create a perfect Bezier path with smooth elbows.

 

3. Always pay attention to the quality of your mesh/wireframe. If it's even and smooth you will avoid many artifacts that may not appear until you render. Too many points, edges, polygons is just as bad as too few.

 

4. Already said, but worth repeating... Nulls... use them to death.

 

5. When the "grain" of a wireframe is important... FFDs are your best friend.

 

6. When needing an even distribution of points on a spherical object switch the Sphere type to Icosohedron (very useful when trying to achieve mathematical economy in light domes and such).

 

7. You almost never need better than Geometry Anti-Aliasing with Scene Motion Blur. Reducing it from best can speed up a render as much as 10x.

 

8. Clean your hierarchies. Name your materials. Name your objects (especially now that External Compositing tags transfer that information to AE).

 

9. You can type formulas into just about every dialogue box that hold a numeric value. If you have a Sphere with the radius of 200m and need something 5 times as large you type "200*5" in the dialogue and it will automatically convert it to 1000. This works with all mathematical notation (+, -, *, /, ^2, sqrt(), sin(), etc.)

 

10. This is *THE* gold nugget of C4D tips: Learn what the threshold setting in the Render > Options window does and how to use it. With complex scenes it can turn your render hours to render minutes.

 

-m

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Guest yoni bendor

8 TIPS FROM A C4D Begineer...

 

1. The Object Deform Tools are really useful and produce cool stuff within seconds.

2. Particles / Emitters might appear as complex at start, but they are superb for creating sparkles,liquids,flames.

3. The Particle Deformations are quite useful (Turbulence, Rotation,etc..) Dont need to know Xpresso for them and they have acquisit results.

4. 9.521 comes with built in Lighting Setups (3 Points) use it in a diverse manner in you'll have shadows , reflections, etc in NO TIME.

5. The Sky object is NOT as good as a Big plane in the Background , texturing the sky completely is too complex to produce good results...

6. Go To C4DCafe.com and download all the tutorials availble, burn them on a disc, and take your time going through EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THEM... it will take you alot of time, but eventually you'll be able to put your ideas into your work without too much effort and "googling".

7. Get a HyperThreading CPU (a good DualCore) cause rendering with a computer like mine (2.4ghz, 512mb ram, Nvidia geforce 2) is WAY TOO SLOW.

8. Wait for other people in the forum to post better tips than yours -- cause obviously, no matter how good you are at C4D, there's always a cat that knows more tricks than you...

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Guest TimC

1. Add a cylinder. set height divisions to 1 and caps segments to 1. In the AM choose, Edit > Set as Default. Do this for all objects, lights, deformers etc that you find yourself constantly changing the defaults on.

 

2. Use 'P' hotkey to bring up the snapping menu.

 

3. To help learn the keyboard shortcuts, use the M and U keys, followed by another letter. A popup will appear showing the shortcuts. For instance U+L = Loop Selection.

 

4. A quick way to model in point mode is to use the magnet tool. First deselect all points. Then select the magnet tool (M+I). Set it to Use Nearest Point and a radius of 0. Now you can pull points around easily, without selecting them first. So click drag moves the point, rather than click to select point, click to drag.

 

5. Create a plane, make it editable. Go to edge mode. Select some edges. Now press shift and click into point mode. The edge selection is converted to a point selection. Undo. Go back to edge mode. Now press control and click into point mode. Again it has converted the edge selection to a point selection, this time it is only edges that are joined by points, rathr than any edge touching the points. Both really handy, you can use this to switch selections between points, edges and polys.

 

6. How to get rid of this middle edge?

deleteEdge.jpg

 

1. Press U - L to get loop selection.

2. In edge mode select the edge loop.

3. Press shift and click on point mode to convert it to a point selection.

4. Go back to edge mode. Right click and choose melt.

5. The edges are gone.

6. Click into point mode. The selection is still there.

7. Hit delete to delete the points.

 

This method works for cleaning up your mesh nicely, without having to rebuild or bridge loads of polys back together (especially when combined with n-gons).

 

7. Alt clicking on the little traffic lights (in the object manager) will switch them both simultaneously.

 

8. Control-Tab in any editor to make it full screen.

 

9. Use the material Illumination tab. Learn what the difference is between phong, blinn and oren nayer illumination models. You can also set your material to animate in the editor and the display resolution.

 

10. If you want to animate the individual knots in a gradient. Then right-click on the word gradient and choose Show Sub Channels. You'll then see all the knots and their parameters.

gradientSubchannels.jpg

 

 

11. In preferences > units. Use the Enhanced Color Table, add optional mixing and storage.

colorTable.jpg

 

Hey that's 11.. oops

 

cheers

Tim

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Guest Tread

this is an awesome thread, thanks for all the tips guys.

 

I don't have any cuz I suck at c4d.

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Guest boywonder

I don't have any cuz I suck at c4d.

 

Don't feel too bad, I even suck at sucking at C4D. I think I can create a sphere...hopefully this thread will help me to be able to create a cube! Woohoo!

 

BOY:1:DER

 

(rockin' thread guys!!)

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Guest barrymcw

 

1. For modeling, make sure that you assign shortcuts for point, edge and face selection. It doubles the productivity

 

 

Shortcut keys are great, but if you work in "Auto Switch" mode, c4d will automatically switch between points, pollys and edges as you hover your pointer over them. It can be a bit sketchy at first, but I've come to like it quite a bit.

 

You can enable/disable this option by clicking on the little button underneath the "running legs" button for IK (when you're in the Standard layout). Also in that button is the option for "Tweak" mode, which allows you to extrude (and maybe some other functions) by just clicking & dragging the point/polly/edge. This option I don't use so much because I'm afraid I'm gonna pull something out of whack and not notice it 'till it's way too late.

 

Cheers.

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Guest the_Monkey
You can enable/disable this option by clicking on the little button underneath the "running legs" button for IK...

I believe the icon is supposed to be a re-positioned (raised) arm... but who says right? Running legs would mean the same thing.

 

Since there are so many keyboard shortcuts in this thread I suppose this is a good place to bring up a question about that. I've been working off/on in Modo for the last 6 months and I really need to choose a keyboard system that applies to both modo and cinema. C4D shortcuts make no sense to me (letter association) and I always just assumed it was because they were based on German commands. I'm assuming "U" stands for something synonymous with "Selection"... "M"?... any german users know? Regardless... I've been using them long enough they're stuck in my finger memory now. But I feel I should unlearn them because some Modo commands are more logical although they still feel foreign.

 

Most notably is Modo's window navigation with the control keys and C4D's navigation with the 1,2,3 keys. I'm not certain but I think Max and Maya also navigate via cmd keys? I'm curious what other dual app users have done?

 

-m

Edited by the_Monkey

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Guest scofield

sweeet, great thread... just started exploring c4d coming from about a year in maya.

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1. Add a cylinder. set height divisions to 1 and caps segments to 1. In the AM choose, Edit > Set as Default. Do this for all objects, lights, deformers etc that you find yourself constantly changing the defaults on.

This tip is in the manual and phrased in much the same way, which suggests (from the list of examples) that this only works for parametric objects. I just found out today that 1) you can set a default polygon and spline object and 2) the default settings actually carry all the tags of of the "master" object (texture, phong, UV, Selection, etc).

 

Not really a big deal since one has the presets and content manager now, but I just found out.

 

-m

Edited by the_Monkey

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Just wanted to give this dinosaur a bump. It helped me out this morning

 

Thanks for doing so: I'm in the throes of switching over from Max and it's been a Chester Cobblepot-sized treasure chest discovery. I'm doing the Truffle Shuffle while I'm reading this.

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@willryan.

 

if you're just switching over, my tutorial about the jumping lamp should help you out. It covers a whole lot of cinema in a rather short time. generally geared towards people switching over from other packages. ( i made it while learning max, since i realised there are very few tutorials for people switching applications).

 

just follow my signature.

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10. This is *THE* gold nugget of C4D tips: Learn what the threshold setting in the Render > Options window does and how to use it. With complex scenes it can turn your render hours to render minutes.

 

-m

 

Wow. So I tweaked this from .01% to 50%.. honestly Im just spitballing here. But then I tried rendering out a file that originally took me 49hrs. rendered in 1hr. I havent taken a look at it.. gonna see what it looks like after post. but I must say that some crazy specs there.

thanks for the heads up monkey.

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Wow. So I tweaked this from .01% to 50%.. honestly Im just spitballing here. But then I tried rendering out a file that originally took me 49hrs. rendered in 1hr. I havent taken a look at it.. gonna see what it looks like after post. but I must say that some crazy specs there.

thanks for the heads up monkey.

50% seems absurdly high.

I'm assuming the results will be unfavorable.

 

-m

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50% seems absurdly high.

I'm assuming the results will be unfavorable.

 

-m

 

well, yeah. I was just experimenting, see what would happen if I just pushed some limits. but I see a huge potential.

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it's cool how 5 years later these tips are still great.

 

I didn't know you could shift click a selection mode to convert to it til yesterday! I need to read through these properly tomorrow there's some gold.

 

Best use of a bump in ages

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