20 Secrets & tips to Improve Your Cinema 4D Skills

Keyboard shortcuts and useful tricks are the first line of defense in combating a project. They can make boring things quicker, cut down on clicks, and the much more of them you be familiar with, they better off you can be. If you are an enthusiast Cinema 4D user, why not take a look at the top 20 tricks and keyboard shortcuts that make your task much easier.


  1. Project Settings and Scaling

Some simple clicks on the mouse before you start will make your works much easier. You need to set your project’s size settings to millimeters. This technique, you don’t require to re-scale the printing dimension of your design later. For this, you have to go to Edit, then Project Settings and set Project Scale to 1 mm.

You may also need to change your general preference in Maxon Cinema 4D to millimeters. For doing that, go to the Project Setting’s General Preferences – then Units – Change Unit Display and finally choose Millimeters.


  1. Reset PSR Button to Your Layout

In Cinema 4D, you need to click on the right in the dark-gray area next to the toolbar.  Then select customize palette, a customize command and the palette will appear.

Use the Name Filter search area to look for PSR or Reset. You will notice Reset PSR on the list. Now you need to drag Reset PSR to the layout of the point where you like to keep it.

Cinema 4D

Note: The info below is from older versions of Cinema 4D. In S24, Reset PSR was changed to “Reset Transformation”. Find it under the Tools menu.

  1. Frame Your Objects

The magical H and S keys work a lot. H is a vital key that will frame all your objects so that they capacitate the viewport.

Another key S will frame your selected objects in the view. They are the keys for multi-use, not only for the viewport.


  1. Switch Between the Selection Tool

Another important key is the space bar, which will allow you to switch between two important features; the selection tool and the tool that was used most recent. You just need to hit two times on the space bar and it will work like a double click. And finally the option comes up for the recent tool.


  1. A & B along with L and 0 (zero)

It is a group of 4 key strategies that share the similar category – the graph; A & B along with L and 0 (zero). The L key is very necessary during animation; it will switch the graph to a lineal interpolation. A will restore automated tangents, but it does it so they are shift easily. The Zero key will crush out the handle but will maintain its length. The key B will help to break the tangents.


  1. Magical Command F1

Command F1 is a great key shortcut. To see the magical result, levitate over any option and hit F1 and the matching documentation will magically come into view for it. It’s actually a great method to find out more about what’s what.


  1. Shadow, Diffuse and Specular Casting Lights

Lights can make diffuse illumination, cast shadows, and specular highlights they can complete these at the same time.

Cinema 4D

You can turn off the specular option in the general tab of lights. Now manifold the lights and then allow specular and turn off diffuse on the new lights. You have a light now which will make a specular highlight. Also you can change the position of the specular without having affected the main light.

Cinema 4D

You can find the checkbox for Shadow Caster, under light details tab – the checkbox will turn the light in a shadow casting light. You can achieve a more satisfying composition by completing the reposition of the shadow.

In the following example, three lights are used to emphasize the result. In the first render – all three lights are contributing a specular, centre there’s no specular and finally, only the core light has the specular allowed. (left to right)

Cinema 4D


  1. Work with Fresnels on Reflective Surfaces

The reflectivity channel will assist you to get a reflecting surface. To help making the reflection clear and transparent, an option is just to reduce the opacity of its parts inside the material. However, the Fresnel layer is the best for the reflectivity reduction, but this is for more natural reflections.


  1. Distorter Effect

The Distorter effect works with two different types of noises. This will help you to achieve a lot of attractive organic textures by deforming existing noises.


  1. Use Light Falloff

If you allow falloff in your lights tab, you will accomplish a more genuine result as light will decrease strength the more it gets from lights. You should most likely select to use Inverse Square as your falloff type. This is the accurate falloff curve.

Cinema 4D provides a second option called Inverse Square, this uses the inverse square option, but has the lighting clamped to assist alleviating problems with over visibility.

Cinema 4D


  1. Cinema 4D’s Vertex Map Shader

If you want to render a Vertex Map as greyscale then C4D’s Vertex Map Shader helps you to do that. Use the Vertex Map Shader in the Alpha and Luminance to end up with the accurate greyscale production. Allocate the Vertex Map weights you prepared to the Vertex Map Shaders and finally you’re done.


  1. Solo Lights

If you want to solo your lights, then you need to disable all other light in your scene and focus on each light specifically. You have to do it refine the illumination and shadows being casted. If any light is not working for your scene, then just ditch that. This way help you to save precious render time.

In the following example, you can see three lighting setups as key, fill and rim lights.

Cinema 4D


  1. Glowing Edge Effect

The Fresnel texture helps to create a glowing edge effect. To achieve a glowing effect in your complex model, first add a Fresnel and keep the background black to it.


  1. Utilize the Normalizer

The Normal channel requires a normal map, to create more comprehensive surfaces. The Bump channel generally uses black and white images. Therefore, you need to load the Normalizer into the Normal channel and then feed it with your black and white images. Now the reflections will look better.


  1. Light Position and Direction

Imagine the environment you’re trying to reproduce and the feelings you’d like to stimulate, maybe it’s a heart-touching moonlit night with an awesome blue sky and a playful fire off to a side. A morning with a low light, launching dark shadows and a dark blue fill up from the diminishing night. Of course, your light settings are mostly essential to the story.

Cinema 4D


  1. Better Noise Color with Colorizer

Sometimes you need to add extra colors, because noise shaders only contain two colors. Colorizer helps adding more colors. Look at the left of your noise in the drop-down menu, as if you wanted to change the noise with a different shader. Rather than replacing it, the noise will be positioned in the Colorizer. Now the setting allows you adding a full color gradient to the noise.


  1. Texture Tags or Objects

Selecting Texture tags helps to change materials quickly.

To do this, look at the Material Manager and click on the material and then choose ‘Select texture tags/objects’. You can now drag new material into the Texture Tag> Tag Properties> Material slot. Finally all materials will be updated.


  1. Global Illumination

You can improve your lighting easily by allowing the function of the Global Illumination feature. GI will make additional bounces of lights decreasing the need for several fill lights and creating a more pleasing result in the process. The render times for GI can be a bit expensive.

Cinema 4D

It is likely to fake GI by utilizing a hemisphere light; if you merge this with tactically placed bounce light you can imitate the impact of light lively surfaces.

Cinema 4D

If you want to see your creativity to a new level, then rendering with GI can do the best for this.


  1. The Phong Shading Tag

You have a great option to accentuate your designs with edge breaks. The Phong Shading Tag works to give an object a beautiful and smooth appearance. Choosing certain edges and breaching the Phong tag there can highlight different objects qualities of the model.


  1. Live Selection Tool

You can add dirt without undoing a complex mesh. To add dirt to a design without bedraggling with UVs, you can pile textures with Alphas on the separated geometry of your unique mesh. Choose polys and apply the Mesh Split command after using Cinema 4D’s Live Selection Tool. Use the command as many times as you like, and keep differing them by including different Alphas and Displacement features. This is quicker than unwrapping a complicated mesh and you will find an excellent outcome.


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