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Skill Level Beginner
The Preferences menu in CINEMA 4D allows you to change a whole variety of settings. Rather than trying to explain what it is, let's just dive in. The way you access the Preferences is under the Main Edit menu. At the very bottom is Preferences. You could also get there by hitting Command+E or Ctrl+E on the keyboard. Now, there are a lot of options here, so rather than cover them all, I'm going to cover the ones that I think are the most important for now. The Preferences window is divided into two primary sections. You have the left-hand side, which lists the categories of preferences, and then the right-hand side, which shows you those categories. It defaults to Interface, and the Interface section tells us what kind of language you're using, what's the scheme, how does the interface look? For example, I only have the English version installed, but you can work in a variety of languages: Chinese, German, Russian, French--you name it.
The Scheme is how the interface looks. And if I click and hold on that, we can see have two choices: Light and Dark. So I'll switch over to Light version, and you could see that all of the menus have now changed to their light component. And I personally don't like this. It's very hard in the eyes, especially when you're going to be working in CINEMA for hours at the time. So let's switch that back to Dark. And then you can change the font that's used in the user interface, change what that font is. The Bubble Help you can turn on and off. That's when you hover over something and it shows you that.
Now one important item I am going to change is the Show Shortcuts in Menu option. Let's turn that on. Now when I go back to the Edit menu for example, I now see on the right-hand side of that, all of the shortcuts that weren't listed before. Let's turn that off so you can see the difference. I'll go back to that, and you can see now I don't see any of the shortcuts. And having that on is a great reminder for how you can get to things more quickly. So I'll turn that on. Next up are the Input Devices, and the Input Device is related to how you navigate an interface with the software.
By default, it's expecting for a mouse with three buttons. If you don't have a mouse with three buttons-- you're working on a laptop, for example--you can activate Control-Click for the right-click so that you can access the contextual menus. I'm working with a three-button mouse so I'll leave that off. Navigation is how you're navigating inside the editor window, inside the viewport here. And Reverse Orbit is an option that a lot of folks like to turn on. Let's check out the Units option next. The Units allow you to change what type of units are showing in the interface.
So for example if I change my Unit Display from Centimeters to, say, Kilometers, when I make a new cube, you notice that the cube is still the same size, but CINEMA 4D looks at it in terms of how big it is relative to a kilometer. So you could see that it's 0.002 kilometers big. Let's change that back to default, which is Centimeters, and that's 200 cm. Really though, I think of them in terms of units. There have been projects in the past where I've worked on a floor plan, for example.
I was working on a set replacement, and I had to match a floor plan exactly, and so I did work in feet and inches for that project. But most of the time I just leave it at centimeters. The last element I want to talk about for now is the Import/Export options. If I twirl that open and scroll down, these show me all of the different types of formats CINEMA 4D can interface with, both on import and export. And there is different settings I can change. For example, if I go to Illustrator Import, which is right down here, and I'll select that, there are some options here.
Now I don't want to change them. I just want to make note of them right now. I could change the Scale that CINEMA 4D imports Illustrator files at. I normally always leave it on one. And I can also leave Connect Splines on. In later modules of the CINEMA 4D Essentials, we'll talk about Illustrator Import more specifically, and we'll come back to this setting. The very last thing I want to talk about in the Preferences folder is this Open Preferences Folder option. As you can see, this button shows you where your Preferences folder is installed, and that's really important because there may be times where you want to delete your preferences to get back to the factory defaults.
So if you click on this Open Preferences Folder button then that will open up your Preferences window. Now, I'm on a dual-monitor system and my Preferences window opened on the other monitor, so I'm going to go over here and drag it across so you can see where that's located. Now I have multiple versions of CINEMA 4D installed on this system, and so I've got different Preferences folders. Now, I'm working in the Preferences folder for CINEMA 4D 14 right now, and that's the version that I'm working in. If I twirl that open, I could see that I've got a prefs subfolder, and in that prefs subfolder are all my preferences.
Now, if I want to get back to the factory defaults, I can delete this entire prefs folder and then relaunch CINEMA 4D, and I'll be back right to the factory default settings. So those are the main application preferences. Remember, there's a lot of preferences there. The most important thing to remember about them is, don't change anything unless you know exactly what it does. And if you do change something, only change one thing at a time, and make careful note of what the original setting was. That way you can get back to where it was before. Of course, if you do mess something up, you can always take the nuclear option and blow your preferences out by deleting the Preferences folder on your computer.
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