Here is the second part of my collection of less talked about little features and workflow improvements added to Cinema4D R13.
Some of it will seem trivial, but everything is actually extremely useful in practice.
Read on for some more examples.
The Blue Arrow
By now, you have probably stumbled across a mention of the blue arrows that appears at the edge of the viewport to show the general direction of an out of screen selected object. But did you know that you can actually click on the arrow and the view will automatically focus on that object?
I cannot stress enough how convenient it is, especially on larger scenes populated by a lot of objects (archviz projects are notorious for this, for example). The arrow itself is also nice if you need to aim, say, a camera to the selected object. You know exactly where you need to point it, even if the object is out of view.
Yes, modeling tools didn’t see an overhaul for this version, but there are a lot of modeling workflow improvements that make Cinema4D R13 an great modeler still. One of these improvements is the fact that the object axis is placed out of the way as much as possible. For example, when switching to Component modes (points/edge/polygon modes), the axis will disappear completely if no points/edges/polygons are selected. This is a very minor tweak, but I don’t know how many times a day I’ve had to hide the axis, select something else or rotate the view just to move the axis out of the way, because it was in front of a point I needed to select. Also, the axis stem does not reach the center of the axis in Component modes anymore, meaning that you can still select points that are near your current selection inside that gap.
Not really a scoop, but fonts preview is certainly nice to have directly inside the application.
The layout switch button is gone, good riddance. In its place comes a dropdown menu. What’s the advantage? Well, it takes less real estate space, so you can cram more of your own icons in the interface, but the best thing is that the menu is always placed in the same spot, no matter which layout your are currently in. This is useful for any user, but especially beginners, because the old layout switch button was not necessarily placed in the same spot on different layouts, making layout switching a bit confusing at times.
The Light object icons have been revisited, making them clearer to identify at the first glance. The fact that we can identify lights that have shadows more easily is also not negligible.
Now, this is a worthy and mighty behavior change. Muted keys are now actually properly muted!
In prior versions, muted keyframes would cut off animation completely between the muted keyframe and the next one, pretty much treating it as if it had a Step interpolation. Now, the muted keyframes are ignored properly, and the interpolation will be done between the previous and next keyframes. Note that interpolation changes are not applied to the animation path in the viewport, which is an unfortunate limitation at the moment.
Renderer Selection Dropdown
Along with the layout switch, the renderer selection is now done with a dropdown menu. This is very useful because you can not only select your render engine from any tab in the Render settings window, but you can also view what render engine is active at any time.
Very nice feature to have when you are using a lot of different render settings in the same project.
As an added extra, it also means the General tab is not here anymore (annotations went into the Output tab), removing clutter.
Dynamic Render Settings Tabs
The new renderer selection method has been enhanced with another tweak to the interface: depending on which render engine you have selected, only the relevant tabs for this engine will be made available. No more Hair or Post Effect tabs when using the Hardware renderer, for example.
Small improvement again, but it cuts down on the amount of tab identification one needs to do (less clutter = you find things faster), as well as lower the chances of mis-selections.
Palette tabs can now be oriented top, left or right side. The default interface features some of those, especially all the palettes on the right side of the interface. This is a good way to cut down on space, especially if you have a small screen.
Commands have a new icon next to them in the menus. These icons can be clicked directly to call each command options, or bypassed completely by clicking the command itself. For those who use shortcuts (like me), you can customize the way each command behaves directly in the Commands manager. Because by default commands won’t open their options popup anymore, it can be useful to tell Cinema4D that for a specific command, you would like to call the options popup every time when using a shortcut. For example, I find useful to always call the options popup when using the Untriangulate command, mostly because I use several of its options all the time. On the other hand, I don’t tend to need the options for the Optimize command as much, so that’s one command I can call faster in the end (less clicks, less mouse travel).
Constrained Tweak Mode
Another modeling improvement, you can use the new tweak mode and constrain your tweaks to a specific axis by holding the Shift key and moving the mouse in a specific direction. For example, holding the Shift key, then clicking and dragging a point vertically will constrain the movement on the Y axis automatically. Workflow-wise, this cuts down significantly on the amount of click or selection needed, because you can just do it in one action instead of have to select your point, move your mouse to select a specific axis, then move the point and finally deselect the point. Another example of its use is that you can work and tweak points that are on the axis of symmetry without fear of breaking that symmetry.
The interface uses a new, cleaner font as well as a slightly more contrasted shade of grey, making all the texts more readable.
This is more obvious in some areas than others (timeline, for example), but in general it’s a nice improvement, especially since we spend our day staring at it.
I’m off to Siggraph next week, where I’ll be demoing the new character animation tools at the Maxon’s booth. Come and have a chat if you are in the vicinity.
I’ll post some more little features upon my return. Cheers!