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Selecting objects with the Selection tool

From: CINEMA 4D Essentials 1: Interface, Objects, and Hierarchies

Video: Selecting objects with the Selection tool

Before you can get started creating and modeling objects in CINEMA 4D, you really have to get hold of the Selection tool. The Selection tool is the counterpoint to the Move, Scale, and Rotate tools, and it allows you basically to select objects. That seems like a simple and obvious thing, but there are some subtleties to it. I have here a scene full of a whole of bunch of cubes, and they're just kind of arranged around. And I'm using the 3 key to orbit around my scene to show you kind of what's going on here. I'm in the Selection tool now, and it defaults to something called the Live Selection tool.

Selecting objects with the Selection tool

Before you can get started creating and modeling objects in CINEMA 4D, you really have to get hold of the Selection tool. The Selection tool is the counterpoint to the Move, Scale, and Rotate tools, and it allows you basically to select objects. That seems like a simple and obvious thing, but there are some subtleties to it. I have here a scene full of a whole of bunch of cubes, and they're just kind of arranged around. And I'm using the 3 key to orbit around my scene to show you kind of what's going on here. I'm in the Selection tool now, and it defaults to something called the Live Selection tool.

If I click and hold on that, there are three other Selection tools as well. I'm going to highlight this double line here and then when I let go, I now have all my selection tools visible on one little floating palette. I can always close that up at any time and get back to it by clicking and holding and highlighting that double line again. So let's leave that palette right there. The Selection tool allows you to select objects in the Editor window. What I mean by that is if I click on a cube, I've just selected it. Now if I click and drag, I'm selecting multiple cubes, lots of cubes. This is called painting a selection.

And you can see that I've selected a whole variety of cubes. In fact, let's back out a bit and take a look at the cubes that we have selected. You can see that we've selected all through the scene cubes. This is based on the Selection tool passing across the objects as I was painting with it. That is the Live Selection tool. It allows you to paint a selection. I'm going to switch to the Rectangular Selection tool, and the Rectangular Selection tool allows you to click and drag to draw a selection. And every time I do that, I end up with a new selection of objects based on where my rectangle covers.

The Lasso Selection allows you to draw a lasso much like you would in Photoshop; it's a free-form lasso tool. And you can see it gives me this great little overlay to show me where my lasso is going. So I can see what sorts of objects fall within it. I can grab that one right there. I'll deselect by drawing the lasso anywhere else. If I grab just that one object, you'll see that now it selected that one cube. I am going to click and drag over that guy and let go and you can see, as I let go, it selects both of those cubes.

The Polygon Selection tool is like the Lasso tool except that instead of drawing a free-form hand, it draws in straight line. So I click once and each time I click, it's going to create another side to that polygon, which simply means a shape with multiple sides. When I let go, it ends up drawing a selection around those objects. So I can click and make multiple selections like that. Now one of the cool things about the Selection tool is let's say you get a cube in there that you know you don't want. If I click on the Live Selection tool and I realize I don't want this particular cube, I can hold down the Ctrl key to remove objects from the selection.

The rule is, Shift adds to the selection; Ctrl removes from the selection. The last thing I want to talk about is something called Only Select Visible Elements. That's going to be really important when you're modeling. Let's make a new scene: Command+N or Ctrl+N. And I'm going to add a sphere to the scene. And I'm going to make that sphere editable by clicking on the Make Editable button. I can't see the polygons yet that make up that sphere because I need to go into Polygon mode. So if I click on the Polygon mode button, I now see the polygons that make up that cube.

If I switch to the Live Selection tool, I can paint a selection across the surface of that cube, make it any shape I want. Now, the thing you'll notice is that when I painted that selection, if I orbit around my sphere, you see that it did not select anything on the backside, and that's where Only Select Visible Elements comes in. If I turn that off, now when I paint a selection, if I orbit around, you can see that it's selected corresponding polygons that were directly opposite the field of view. So if I click in this view right here, it's like it's drawing a straight line down through the sphere from the point of view of the camera, and you can actually see that line going right down through.

So Only Select Visible Elements is an incredibly important tool when it comes down to modeling. So those are the basics of the Selection tool. It's got a lot of other options that will make your modeling process that much easier. Take some time and study it before moving on with CINEMA 4D practice.

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