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Skill Level Beginner
When you first open up a project in CINEMA 4D, the interface will default to the standard layout with the Project Settings visible in the Attribute Manager. In CINEMA 4D, you can have multiple projects open, but you can't have no projects open, and so because I have just a blank project opened, it defaults to show me the Project Settings in the Attribute Manager. Now over here on the right is the Attribute Manager. This Attribute Manager will change depending on what I have selected. So for example, if I click on the Move tool, now the Attribute Manager shows me the Move tool settings.
If I want to get back to the Project Settings, I can click on this back arrow or I could go to the Main Edit menu and select Project Settings. I could also hit Command+D or Ctrl+D on the keyboard to get to the Project Settings. The Project Settings window shows me several different sections: Project Settings, Info, Dynamics, et cetera. These sections I can click through by highlighting the different section name. If I click on Project Settings, I can't see everything. I'm going to enlarge this window by hovering over this dividing line and raising it up.
And then I'm going to hover over this dividing line and dragging it to the left just a little bit. Now that I can see everything, the Project Settings are where you control the global values for your project. Project Settings should generally always be set to 1. There may be an occasion where you need to scale up a project to match some other project that you're working with, but generally speaking, it should always be set to 1. The Centimeters are the working units that you're using for CINEMA 4D. They default to centimeters, but they can be made to show any value at all. And really, the important thing to remember about the units is that they are relative values.
They really don't mean anything, except for being units of measurement. And you can change them to be anything you want: Feet and Inches, Centimeters, Kilometers. It doesn't matter. Right below the Project Scale is the frame per second (FPS) and the Minimum and Maximum Preview Times, and these can be changed here in the Time slider as well. I'm going to leave them alone for now. They default to 30 frames per second, which is great for most of the things we'll be working on. The Project Time shows you the current time that you're parked on. The Minimum and Maximum Times show you the values that are changed here.
So for example, if I change the Preview Range to be 600, you could see that the Maximum Time has changed to 600. But it also shows you that the Preview Range is only showing me 90 frames. If I enlarge this slider here, then the Preview Maximum Times matches that. Level of Detail refers to how CINEMA 4D displays objects in the scene, and the Level of Detail can be changed up or down. This should normally be left at 100%, until you get into a very heavy project that has lots and lots of polygons. Then you can dial the setting down to give you a better working experience.
These Use checkboxes here should almost always be left on. There may be a time where you want to turn one off in order to get a better working experience while you're working on a very heavy project, but most of the time you want to leave those on, and these are also a big gotcha for a lot of folks. Sometimes they accidentally turn them off and they don't understand why, for example, animation isn't showing up in their scene. That's because that checkbox is turned off. So we want to leave these on. Right below that, the Default Object Color, Gray-Blue, is what the objects will appear as when you first add them to the scene. So for example, if I add a cube to the scene, that cube shows up as that color that we had selected in the Project Settings.
I can hit Command+D or Ctrl+D on the keyboard to get back to them. You can see that color there matches that object color. Now View Clipping, again, relates to how CINEMA 4D handles information in the scene. Generally speaking, you can leave it on Medium, but there may be a time where you'll need to change it to one of the larger sizes, and that will become apparent if an object gets cut off. And what I mean by that--let's change this to Tiny for example. And then when I zoom in on my cube and then change that back to Huge, you can see that my object is now being cut off.
And as I back out, there is actually a clipping plane. You could see that clipping plane changing. And I'm navigating through the scene by holding down the number 2 and dragging left with my left mouse button. So that is the View Clipping. I'm going to change that back to Medium, and that will work for most purposes. The next button, Linear Workflow, is something that will come into play when we talk about rendering. It's very important though--and I normally work with Linear Workflow off, but unfortunately, it defaults to on, and this is a big gotcha for a lot of C4D artists these days.
When we went from version 11 to version 12, Linear Workflow came into play, and it became a really big sticking point for a lot of folks. I normally work with it off, but it defaults to on. We're going to leave it on for now. The Color Profile relates to how Linear Workflow is expressed. Next up is the Info window, and the Info window allows you to put in information about what version of the project is created in, who is the author of the project, copyright information. You can also leave notes for other artists. For example, if you're sharing a collaborative workflow with someone, you can leave notes in the Info field about what you did in the last version of that project, and you can remind people to check that Info field.
The Dynamics, if you have the studio version or if you have the broadcast version of CINEMA 4D, then you'll see this Dynamics tab. Referencing allows you to reference different types of objects in the project. The To Do is a great way for listing changes that need to be made. If you're an art director and you want to have an artist work on a different aspect of the project, then you can use the To Do window. The Key Frame Interpolation settings should always be left at their defaults. These change how CINEMA 4D behaves when it's making keyframes, and you never want to change that unless you know exactly what you're doing.
The Project Settings are really important to managing your experiences inside of C4D. Another component of managing the experience are the Preferences, and we'll talk about those next.