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Skill Level Beginner
The Attribute Manager is really the central clearinghouse for information about the objects and tools that you're using during your working process. It's really important to get comfortable with understanding how it functions and how to move around in it. Let's add a cube to the scene. And when I add a cube, you could see the Attribute Manager immediately changes from the project settings to the cube properties. And let's raise this up here a little bit so we can see it better. Now, the Attribute Manager has some sections. We've got Basic, Coordinate, Object, and Phong.
The Basic property show us the name of the cube, and you could see it's a cube there. And I can change the name of that cube here by highlighting the text and calling it something different. And when I hit Return, you could see that the name has now changed in the Object Manager as well. I can also change it here in the Object Manager by double-clicking on the cube, and I'll change it back to Cube. And you can see it changes and updates down here. The Visible in Editor and Visible in Renderer pulldowns relate to this middle column of the Object Manager and these two gray dots right here.
We'll talk more about those in just a moment. Use Color allows you to override the default color here. It's not the same as adding material; it's just the way of changing the display color here in the Editor window. And you can tell it to Use Color Automatic, which if it has a material, it'll use the material as opposed to the color set here. You can have it on all the time. And now this cube will be white, even if I render it. If I hit the Render in active view button, you could see that the cube is now white. I'll hit the letter A on the keyboard to redraw the window. I'm going to change that back to Off to get it back to the default color.
And the Enabled checkbox relates to this little guy right here. If I turn this off down here in the Attribute Manager, the cube is now gone from the scene. It's not deleted; it's just disabled, and you could see that that green checkbox is not active. If I turn that back on, now my cube reappears. Now this only exists for what are called parametric objects. Next up is something called X-Ray mode, which is really important for the modeling process. If I turn that on, my object becomes translucent. It's not translucent in the rendering, only here in the Editor window.
Let's turn that back off. Next up is the Coordinate properties. We talked a lot about that earlier. This shows us the relative values for our object's location in the world. So it's either relative to the parent or to the center of the world. The Object property show us the modifiable properties of the object that we have selected. Now, in the case of the cube, we can see that we can change the size and something called segments. We can also activate Separate Surfaces and Fillet. Now, these values are what define the shape of the cube, and they're preprogrammed to have the cube show up this way.
Let's add a cone to the scene. Now, I can't see my cone because it's inside the cube. Remember, they all show up at the center of the world. So let's turn the cube off by disabling its green checkbox. Now I can see this cone here in the center of the world. Now, the cone has a very different set of properties than the cube did. You notice if I click on the cube, it only has basic coordinate and object. The cone has those three plus some others, and the object properties are different because a cone is defined differently geometrically. It has a top radius, which controls the points on the cone, and I can change the value here.
I could make that five. I can input numbers or I can use the scrubber to click and drag and then change that radius. You can also change the bottom radius and make the cone fatter or skinnier. I could change the height of the cone to make it taller. I can also change something called the Segments, and we'll talk more about the segments when we get down to modeling in points, edges, and polygons, which are the building blocks of objects. The Caps control whether or not the object has a cap on it. If I used the 3 key and orbit around, you can see I've got a cap on the bottom. If I uncheck Caps, you can see now I have a hollow cone as opposed to a solid cone.
And if I go to the Object properties and adjust the Top Radius outward, you can see that my cone is now a tunnel. It goes all the way through. It's a tube. So let's Shift+Command+Z or Shift+Ctrl+Z to get our view back to the default. I could also go to the View option and change to Frame Default to get our viewport back to its default orientation. Now, the last thing that's common to both the cube and the cone is this little word here, Phong. And the Phong option refers to this tag here. Now, the Object Manager is divided into three columns: you've got the Object column, the Status column, and the Tag column.
The tag column shows us the tags that are applied to our object. Tags are used to modify objects in a variety of ways, and there are dozens and dozens of different tags. The Phong tag controls the smoothing, or how light falls across the surface of an object. Generally speaking, it's on for all parametric objects. Now, across the top of the Attribute Manager are the modes, and we can select different modes for our Attribute Manager. Right now, we're in Object mode. I can switch it to Tool mode and it's going to show me the tool that I currently have selected here. This is just sort of a manual way of doing something the Attribute Manager does automatically.
If I click on the object, you can see it jumps back to Object mode. If I click on the tool, it jumps to Tool mode. So I generally never use that Mode pulldown. The User Data option is an advanced feature that allows you to add your own custom information to objects. Now next to the User Data is this black arrow. These black arrows are navigation arrows. So, if I click it, I can navigate back to the most recent thing that I had selected. I can also go up. And from the level that this object was in the scene, the only place to go up from there is the project level, and you can see it's taken me to the Project Settings.
So if I hit back, it takes me back to the selected object. The search field allows you to search for strings of information, either in the objects or in your parameters. Uncheck that and click back on the cube. The Lock option allows you to lock the Attribute Manager, so I can click on that Lock option and now I can select the cone. That becomes very important for certain types of modeling objects. I'll unlock that. Don't forget to unlock that; that's a big gotcha. A lot of people will lock the Attribute Manager and then not understand why they're not able to see the properties for their objects.
And you've got to remember to unlock that again. And you can also grab a new Attribute Manager by clicking on this and if I click on that, that pops open a new Attribute Manager window. And now I have an Attribute Manager that's locked to the cube, and so I can click on the cone and I can compare the options between the two. You can see that I only have these four options, and I have one, two, three, four, five, six options for the cone. I can always close that Attribute Manager up, and there's no limit to how many Attribute Managers you can have open at a time.
So the most important thing to remember about the Attribute Manager is that it is a modal manager. It changes modes depending on what you have selected. So if you get lost, you can always just click on the thing that you want to see the properties for and the Attribute Manager will change right back.