Cinema 4D Basics

Looking at Cinema 4D for the first time can be quite a intimating experience. The only reason I didn’t faint at the sight of it was because it looked very similar to another software called Maya which I had previously watched tutorials about and used very briefly. After taking in Cinema 4D in all its glory and complexity, I decided to post a blog about a few basics!cinema4d

Some important icons:

make editable

This is the “Make Object Editable” button. This is especially useful when creating your own objects by using splines. It transforms your object so that you are able to use select points, edges or polygons.


These are the “Use Point Tool”, “Use Edge Tool” and “Use Polygon Tool” respectively. This allow you to move, scale or rotate an object’s points, edges or polygons.




This is the Primitives group which contains all of CINEMA 4D’s predefined objects. You click and hold this to display all the available predefined objects and choose the shape you want to work with. The most used shape in Cinema 4D resides here – the cube!

SplinesSplines are “point-based curves” which can be used for multiple things. This group has several tools which help you draw splines and making up your own shapes, as well as some predefined shapes. However, splines are not just used for creating the outline of shapes which will then be turned into 3D objects. A spline can also serve as a path various 3D objects would follow as well as the path a camera would follow.

NURBSMeet the most important and powerful tool in all of Cinema 4D – NURBS. These create surfaces and give mass and weight to objects which once were simple splines. With these tools you can create almost every shape imaginable.


These are the Deformers which are used to deform (duh) objects by bending, twisting and squashing them.

The Object Manager

All object present in your scene are listed in the Object Manager. Setting up a hierarchy, assembling objects, setting tags or naming objects are all things which you can do here.

The Attribute Manager

The Attribute Manager manages the attributes of each object or tool. This is where you have further options and tools to change the appearance of the object such as the strength of the HyperNURBS and the object’s visibility in the editor window.

The Coordinates Manager

The Coordinates Manager is what allows you to  to change the position of your object as well as change it’s scale and rotation.You can do this by entering values in the appropriate fields and hitting enter.

The Material Manager

This is where you can create or import materials for your objects. Double-click the material to open the Material Editor and make changes to each of the materials. You can also import textures from the internet!

I hope this encourages you to take a look and experiment with Cinema 4D instead of cowering away from it!


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