A Cinema 4D Primer for Maya Artists: Setting Up the Viewports

Photo of Edna Kruger

Instructor Edna Kruger

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  • Duration: 08:43
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Setup the viewports the way you want them: filter the type of objects to display, select the display mode, use the Enhanced OpenGL options, set up the HUD, and more.

This video shows how to change the arrangement of the viewports, filter the type of objects to display, change the object display modes, set display options per object with the Display tag, use colors from layers, set the default light, toggle the Enhanced OpenGL options, set the Level of Detail for generator objects, set the viewport background color, and set up the HUD options.

Tip: If you want to sketch in the viewport, check out the Doodle Tool in this video: Doodle



In this video, we'll explore the different ways in which you can display the objects in your scene by setting up the viewports the way you want them. As in Maya, the view panel contains viewports where you can see and work with the object in your scene. By default, a single viewport takes up the workspace, but you can change to the classic four viewport layout by clicking this icon in the corner or middle-click in a viewport to toggle between it and the four viewports. If you're more a fan of keyboard shortcuts, you can press the F1, F2, F3, and F4 keys to switch among specific viewports and press F5 to have the four viewports. And if you prefer menus, you can also find these in the panel menu along with other layout options in the Arrangement menu such as for different two, three, or four viewport layouts. To make the viewports take up the whole screen for the complete viewing experience, press Ctrl+Tab. In fact, you can just move your mouse over any panel and press Ctrl+Tab such as the material manager, if you needed more space to show all your materials, more than we have here. To decide what you can actually see in the viewport, you can select Options from the Filter menu. You'll recognize the usual suspects here. For example, if you don't want to show cameras or lights in the viewport, just deselect them here. Notice that the effect of the light is still there even if it's off, so it's not like disabling it. Once you've decided what to display, you can choose how those things look in the viewport. A good place to start is with the display modes in the Display menu. Gouraud Shading, or press "NA," is similar to Textured Mode in Maya, which you can also have with lines. Just to note that whenever you use a display option with lines, you can then chose the level of detail you want for the lines here. The standard wireframe shows all lines. Isoparms shows only the isoperimetric or structural lines, or Box which shows bounding boxes and drowns our little guy in the landscape. We'll set it back to wireframe to rescue him. To get an equivalent of Smooth Shade All Mode in Maya, keep Gouraud on and then turn off textures. Press "NQ" from the Options menu, which we'll keep handy here. Quick shading, or press "NC," is like Gouraud with or without lines, but it uses only the default light, so it's faster to draw on the screen. We'll just put textures back on to see it with that too. Speaking of the default light, you can choose it here from the options menu, then drag on the Shader Ball to get the light direction you want. And it's kind of fun to play with too. Unlike Maya, this light is set per viewport, so you can have a different setting in each one, as you can see in the front view. And if you change your mind about how it's set, just right-click it to get back to the default setting. We'll do the same thing for the perspective view. The Constant Shading Mode, press "NE," gives you the same effect as the flat lighting option in Maya, again, without lines or with. You can view in hidden line or press "NF." And for a standard wireframe view, select lines, or press "NG" and then wireframe, press "NH." And we'll just get his head out of the landscape here. You can use Isoparms for a simpler view or use Box for a classic bounding box view. And if you like, you can activate Backface Culling, press NP, from the options menu if you don't want the noise from background lines. All these options let you change the display mode for all objects in the viewport, but you can also set them on a per object basis using a tag. To do this, first, make sure that Tags is on here in the options menu, or press NO so that we can see the effects of what we're going to set in the tag. Let's say we wanna keep our landscape in wireframe so that it's not so much in the way. In the Object Manager, choose Tags, Cinema 4D, Display. As you can see, this creates a display tag for this object. In the attribute manager, activate the shading mode and change it to lines with Isoparms style. You could also set the object's level of detail here which we'll look at next, the visibility, and so on. And notice that there're some nice ghosting options here for animated objects. To check out the Level of Detail options or LOD here in the Options menu, we'll just switch scenes to look at a pineapple. The LOD options let you change the quality setting for things like the clone spheres here or objects created with any of these generators, which we'll get into in another video. For example, you can set the LOD to medium or low for faster display while you're working. And then set it back to high to see the final results. We'll just press the V key and get back to our little guy. As you can see in the layer manager here, some of the objects are in a layer. And if we wanted, we could make the object wireframes take on the layer's color by selecting Layer Color in the options menu. Be warned, though, that it's not just the wireframes that are affected. This color overrides any other material or texture on your objects when you're in a different display mode. So we'll just turn it off for now. As in Maya, you can use X-Ray Mode, or press "NR," for seeing through layers of selected objects. Although not as detailed as some of the options in viewport 2.0 in Maya, you can set the enhanced OpenGL options quickly and easily. Just activate enhanced OpenGL here and then toggle any of the options beneath it like Shadows or SSAO which is ambient occlusion. If you want to change the settings, choose "Configure" or press Shift+V and click the enhanced OpenGL tab in the Attribute Manager. These are all the same attributes as shown in the options menu, and you can change the setting for some things like ambient occlusion. So far, we've been looking at how things in the viewport are displayed, but you can also decide how the viewport elements themselves are displayed. Let's change the viewport's background color. We'll first switch to the front view since the physical sky is blocking our background view in the perspective view. In the Preferences, choose scheme colors, edit colors, and then change the background color. Obviously, you can choose whatever color you want here, but we'll just go back to some basic gray to keep things easy on the eyes. If you want to toggle the display of the grid for all viewports, open up the Filter menu in any viewport and click Grid. The head option is on by default here too, but only a few things are shown in the viewport right now. But if you click the Head tab for the viewport attributes in the Attribute Manager, you can toggle with display of a bunch of different options as we'll do here. Oops, I almost forgot those OpenGL statistics. Press Ctrl and drag any of the head elements to where you want them in the viewport. If you have a bunch of cameras, you can select the Camera option and then easily switch among them from the head element, a little bit like you could use camera Bookmarks in Maya. You can also decide how the head text is displayed. So if your favorite colors are a neon green, like we'll use for the background here, and hot pink, which we'll use for the text, you can indulge yourself. And then you can be assured that nobody will ever use your computer again. So, that concludes our little trip around the viewport, and here's the cheat sheet of all the keyboard shortcuts we used in this video. In the next video, we'll make some trees using polygon primitives, so stay tuned for more fun.
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