Getting Started with Cinema 4D, Part 02: Getting Comfortable in Cinema 4D

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In this video, you’ll be introduced to the Cinema 4D interface, the menus and the shortcuts that will help you navigate around in 3D space.

In this video, we’ll be getting your feet wet in the world of 3D. I’m going to be introducing you to the Cinema 4D interface, getting you familiar with the menus and keyboard shortcuts that are important in learning how to navigate around in 3D space.

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In this video, we're going to be getting your feet wet in the world of 3D. Now I'm going to start by introducing you to the Cinema 4D interface, getting you familiar with the menus, and also how to navigate around in 3D space. Now, much of your comfortability and efficiency in 3D is going to come from practice and committing a few useful keyboard shortcuts to memory. So let's go ahead and get started. So what we're going to begin today is this very important menu here, this blue cube. If I click on this little blue cube button and hold, it's going to bring up a whole bunch of different shapes here. Now, these are what are called primitive objects. Primitives are your basic 3D shapes and much like shape layers or shape objects in 2D applications like Photoshop and After Effects, where you have your rectangles and your circles that are building blocks to build other designs, we have primitive objects in 3D. So instead of a rectangle, we got a cube, instead of your circle, we have a sphere, pyramids that are triangle and we have a whole other bunch of really basic objects to start from, even a handy-dandy figure guy, which is always fun to use. Now if you want to choose an object to add to your scene, you just need to hover over it and just release your mouse. And you're going to notice that the cube appears in your viewport. It also appears as a little object in your Object Manager window. Now, think of your Object Manager as your comp view or your layer window inside of Photoshop, okay? And when you have an object selected in the Object Manager window here, you're going to see its corresponding attributes in the Attributes window here. Now, we have a whole bunch of different tabs here. And the most important one for a primitive object is it's primitive Object tab and its Object Properties. Now each primitive objects has its own unique object properties. So, you know, if you had a sphere, it would not have size X, Y, and Z, it would have a radius. And you can explore all of those different ones on your own but you can see there's the radius, there's my sphere that I just added, what I'm going to do is just go ahead and delete that. But I just want to show you how each object has their own unique object properties. So here for our cube, we have size in X, Y, and Z, that we can just click and hold on these up, down arrows to scrub through different values or we can just click and drag, and just highlight a number, and just enter in 200 or whatever number you want and hit Enter. So I can reset this back to 200, just clicking and holding, entering in 200 and hitting Enter to get back to its initial space. Now we have a whole other bunch of options here as well, which we'll get into later on in this series. But I just wanted to cover the Object tab. Another tab that is pretty important is this Coordinate tab and this, basically, stores all of the coordinates of the current position and scale and rotation of your object, okay? So much like a shape layer in After Effects, not only has its, say, it's rectangle size but it also has the overriding layers size as well. So that's why we have two size options. One's for the actual primitive shape of the cube. One's just the overall scale of the actual 3D object, okay? So here's where we can also click and drag and scrub through the different coordinates here in the X, Y, and Z. You can see that's moving around our object in 3D space. I can also rotate this as well in these different rotation values. And you're going to see that rotation is represented, not as X, Y, and Z as you might be familiar with, in, say, After Effects but they're represented as H, P, and V. And H just stands for heading, P is for pitch B is for banking. These are terms that are used for, you know, aviation and, you know, navigating a plane. If you're used to, like, Flight Simulator or something like that, these terms will be pretty familiar to you. But what I'm going to do is just zero out all of these options here, similarly, with the position. So I'm just going to click and drag, and highlight that number, hit zero, hit tab to go on to the next field and hit zero there as well. Now, in addition to moving around your object in the Attributes Manager, we also have all of these handy little gizmos here in the viewport. Now, you have your basic access handles here. And if you're not used to 3D, this is a very important thing to understand just by looking at it. So, basically, green is Y. Y is up. Okay. So this is the positive Y, negative Y is down, okay? And blue is the Z direction and this is actually positive Z is going further away from us and then X is red and basically positive X is to the right, negative X is to the left. And if you ever forget what's what, we have this little gizmo down here that shows you what Y, C, and X are, what position they are supposed to be aligned to and the color-coded nature of each of those attributes. So, hopefully, once you get the hang of this, you should be able to look at an object and know exactly what is what. If I want to move in the Y, I know that's green and it's pointing up so I'll just move this up. And if I click and hold on one of these axis handles, and you can see that as I'm hovering over it's actually highlighting it, I can actually constrain the movement of this object to the Y coordinate or Y direction. Similarly, if I hover over the X, I can constrain this to positive X and Y movement. You can actually see that update in not only our Attribute Manager but our Coordinate Manager here as well. So this is just another area where you can see the coordinates without actually needing to be in this Coordinate tab. I could be in this Object tab and still see my coordinates here. And as I move this around, you can see that update in my Coordinates tab right there. Now, one thing in addition to these little axis arrows are these little yellow dots that you might have noticed and if we're in our Object tab, you can see if I click and drag on one of these little yellow dots, these are actually corresponding with the object properties of this primitive object, of this cube. And you can see that this is actually just in the size in whatever coordinates or whatever direction that you have selected on this object. So this little dot on the Y-axis, that's making the size of this object in the Y, go up and down as I scrub this up and down as well. Now, we also have, in addition to the arrows and these little dots...we have these little corner angles here and you might be wondering what they are. And, actually, what this allows you to do is just like if I hover over a axis here and click and drag, it constrains an object to that axis. If I hover over this little angle corner here, you're going to see that this actually allows you to select two axes. Now, right now, we selected the Z and the X. Now, if I hover over this little corner, this little green corner and move this around, what you're going to notice is we're actually constraining the movement of this object, not to one axis, but to two in the X and Z plane, okay? So we're just moving this along the X and Z plane. Similarly, if I select, say, this little red angle here, you can see that I'm actually selecting the Y and Z so if I click and drag, you can see I'm actually constraining movement to the Y and the Z plane. And one thing that's actually handy to see is the axis that is constrained, that you can't actually move at all is going to be represented as the color in that angle. So what that means is, in this Z and X plane, I actually can't move this in the Y. You can see I can't move it up or down in the Y because it's constricted, okay? Same thing with the blue here and the red that is X. So I can't move this in the X, I can't move this in the Z, okay? So one thing you do not want to do... if I just go ahead and cmd + Z and just undo this a bunch of times, get back to our original position here. So the one thing you're not going to want to do is just move things around in your viewport all willy-nilly like, okay? And the reason for this is illustrated very well if we could actually see our object in multiple views. So if you're used to working in 3D or working in 3D views in After Effects, you know that you have more than one view to get a handle on your 3D scene. So, typically, you have a 4 up view and you can access your 4 up view where multiple views to be able to see your object by clicking on this little button here that's a tiny window with a bigger window inside. If I click on that, that's going to bring up your four up view, okay? So I have my perspective view that we've been working in this whole entire time. We also have our top, our front, and our right views. And what you're going to notice is that if I click and move this all willy-nilly-like, we're actually moving in different ways in all of these views. So, one really good illustration of this is if I wanted to just grab this object and just move it down, what you're going to see is, yeah, I'm moving this object down but it's also moving this object forward as well, which is why you're going to not want to just grab your object and just move it down. If you want to move your object down, make sure you grab that axis handle in the Y and move it down. And you'll know that you're not accidentally moving this forward in Z or anything like that. So get in the good habit of always moving objects by their axes handles or by their plane corners to move things around. One thing you're going to notice is in each of these top, front, and right views, I can actually click and drag. And what this will allow me to do is, in this top view, for example, is to be able to constrain movement to this plane that is actually represented flat on this top view. So, basically, what that means is we're moving and constraining the movement of this cube to the Z and X plane, okay? And, again, you can see one of these corners represented in this view. Same thing in the front view, you can see that the Z corner is represented, which means that it's going to be constrained and not move in the Z and be constrained to the Y and X plane. Same thing in the right view, I'm constraining this to the Y and the Z plane. So, just clicking and dragging in the right, front or top view is totally fine. You just don't want to do it in the perspective because it's unpredictable as to where you're moving your object. So I'm just going to, again, Cmd + Z to undo, to get back to my original coordinate or if I wanted to, I could just zero out the coordinates in the X, Y, and Z in the Coordinate Manager. So just 0, 0, hitting Tab and then just hit Enter and that'll go back to position zero in the X, Y, and Z. So one thing we can do to maximize a view is to...say, if we wanted to maximize the top view, I'll just click on the little maximize window icon here, that'll bring the top view up and maximized. And if I want to shrink that down, bring the 4 up view again, I just click that top right button again. If I want to maximize the perspective view, I just click on the maximize button on that perspective window and maximize my perspective view. Now, one thing you can do to be able to navigate around your scene very efficiently, and this is a very important set of shortcut keys I'm going to introduce, is your pan, zoom, and orbit shortcut keys. And they are 1, if I hold down the 1 key, that's going to be your Pan. If I hold down the 2 key, that's going to be my Zoom. And actually notice that where I'm zooming to is all dependent on where my mouse cursor is. So if I have my mouse cursor down this right corner and click and zoom in here, again, holding the 2 key down, I'm actually zooming into that part of the cube, okay? So it's very important that you understand where your cursor is to zoom into isolated parts of your scene. Now the last keyboard shortcut for being able to orbit and move around your scene is the 3 key. So if I hold down the 3 key, I can orbit around my scene. Again, you're going to see this little axes pop up here. And, again, that's going to allow me to orbit around different parts of my object. So if I wanted to orbit around this top left corner, I can do that or if I want to just orbit around the Access Center, I can do that as well. And if I wanted to just reset to the default view, I can just go into my drop-down view menu and go to Frame Default and I'm back to my default view that we started with. So 1 key is to pan, 2 is to zoom, 3 is to orbit. Similarly, you can use these little gizmos up here. And if I click and hold, this is my pan, this little arrow is the zoom, and then these little rotation arrows are the orbit tool, okay? So this whole entire time, we've been in the Move Tool. Now, what if you wanted to rotate or scale your object? Well, you can either go to the little Scale Tool or the Rotate Tool up here, where you will see if I hover over this button long enough or if you ever want to know what the button is that you're hovering over and what the shortcut key is, you can always just look at the bottom-left here and you'll see exactly what that tool is. So there's the Move Tool, there's the Scale Tool, there is Rotate Tool and the shortcut keys for these are E, R, and T or E, T, R, okay? So 1, 2, and 3 are important shortcut keys, so are the E, R, and T and they're actually close together on your keyboard so it's pretty handy. So, E is your move, R is your rotation. And you can see instead of our axis arrows, we actually have rotation bands. I can actually rotate around whatever axes direction here that I want. So if I want to rotate around the Z-axis, I just select that blue Z-axis band or I can rotate around there. Similarly with the Y rotation and x rotation or I can just, you know, not even grab one of those bands and just rotate all willy-nilly-like here. And, again, if I want to reset, I can just zero out the rotation parameters here and there we go. And the final shortcut key is T for the Scale Tool. And, again, I can just scale these up and down. You're going to see that when you're in the Scale Tool, those little arrows turn to cubes on each of your axes. So that's just a handy reminder to tell you what mode you are in or what tool you are using. So E, R, and T, E is the Move Tool, R is the Rotate Tool, and T is the Scale Tool. So the last shortcut keys I want to introduce to you are easy ways to be able to bring up your 4 up views or each of these individual top, front or right views. And these are the F1 through F5 keys on your keyboard. Now if you hit F1, you'll bring up your perspective view full screen. If you hit F2, you'll bring up your top view, F3 is your right view, F4 is your front, and F5 brings up your 4 up view. So this saves you a lot of time from having to click on each of these individual windows, to maximize them. If you want to go full screen on your perspective view, you don't even need to use your mouse, just use your keyboard and hit F1. And, again, if you want to toggle to your 4 up, hit F5. And it just saves you a lot of time and allows you to more proficiently and quickly navigate throughout all of your different views. So, again, practice is really going to be key here. So be sure you're storing all these shortcuts to memory because we're going to be leaning pretty heavily on all these shortcuts as we move around and build up our scene. So once you're feeling comfortable moving and grooving around in your scene, using all these shortcut keys, you can move on to the next video and we can then begin starting to build some objects out of primitives.
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