Getting Around in Cinema 4D | Absolute Beginner Cinema 4D | Travis Vermilye | Skillshare

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Getting Around in Cinema 4D | Absolute Beginner Cinema 4D

teacher avatar Travis Vermilye, Digital Media Artist

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

6 Lessons (40m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. General Layout & Customizing

    • 3. Menus & Buttons

    • 4. The Viewport

    • 5. Moving Objects

    • 6. Project & Final Thoughts

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About This Class

This class is designed to get you comfortable getting around and understanding how the various tools within the software are arranged.

We will cover:

  • Windows, Layouts and Customizing them
  • Menus and Buttons
  • Navigating the Viewport (View Panel)
  • Moving Objects

Meet Your Teacher

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Travis Vermilye

Digital Media Artist


Hello! I’m a digital media artist, professor of design and illustration, biomedical illustrator and animator, coffee enthusiast, fly fisherman, hiker, biker, and a bunch of other things - but I digress.

I’ve gone through some different phases on Skillshare to try and figure out just what kind of classes I want to make for y’all. I focused on biomedical animation (3D Motion BioLab), beginner classes in Cinema 4D (ABC4D) and now I’m creating more general motion design and art-related classes. This may seem a little fractured to some, but I’ve decided it fits me perfectly. I’m always trying something new, growing tired of it after a bit, and learning new techniques to get me energized again.

I am a Gemini after all. 

:)<... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hi, I'm Travis Familia. And in this absolute beginners cinema, four D will cover Getting around in cinema four D will look at layouts and windows, buttons and menus. Now the getting with you court and how to move objects in the software. Let's get started. 2. General Layout & Customizing: Okay, here we are in cinema four D Released 21. When any time you're getting started in a new software product, it's really important just to sort of get your bearings and understand how everything's laid out. So in the new version of Cinema four d r. 21 you'll notice that the menu items are all along the top, like they are in many software packages. Previous versions actually had the menu included in this top bar right here, where it says untitled for Maine. So this is something that's changed recently. Also, all of the a lot of the eye icons have been updated and are looking a little bit different . But let's just go through how things were arranged. So over here on the left side of the lay out, do you have your basic tools? You have your objects tool on some of your modelling tools, your access tools and all of your snapping and grids. These things are always located on this side, and along the top side you'll have different tool groups. Now this first tool group has to do with moving objects. This one has to do with the axis. You move your objects on rendering items and these air all your creation items of different sorts. Anything you see yellow when you first opened a new software is anything that's added recently. So some of these things have had added features put in there. Now it's important to know that you can get to any item in the create menu by also going up here and selecting it in the create area. So if you wanted to make make a primitive, you could make a cube cylinder etcetera. Here you make a supply and it's located here. Generators did formers, fields, etcetera. All of that is available in addition to holding down and clicking it right here. And here's something else that's kind of interesting. Each, um, menu that pops up actually has a tear off so you could conceivably hover over this and tear it off just by letting go and it pops up is a separate menu. So if you wanted Teoh arrange things in your layout and always have these things all available, you could do that over on the right side. We see our objects palette and any time you make a new object. For example, if I click the Cube, you'll notice that cube pops up in the objects palette. And so this is where you'll see all of the items that are in your seen all arranged, and the way things are arranged in here is that you see a little icon for what type of object it is. It gives it a default name, and you can change the object name Any time you want to buy slick, simply double clicking on it slowly and calling it whatever you would like to call it. These little items that show up here are doing dealing with layers, and so this will assign it to a different layer. This top button deals with whether things air high, hiding or being shown in the view port. And this bottom one is whether things are being hidden or shown and the render. And we'll go through that in a later segment that talks more about render settings and how to deal with objects. But briefly, red means hidden and the editor window you can see it disappeared. Red at the bottom means it's hidden in the render. So if I were to hit shift are now, you would see that nothing happens. If that was not hidden in the cook, you would show up in my render, but not in my editor window. And this item is either turned on or turned off. Some objects have the ability to turned off, turned on, others don't. And finally, this last item is a tag. So the funk tag is talking about how smooth an object is being displayed. But what I'd like to get to here, really, is that Cinema four D uses tags as a way Teoh change or add features two objects. And so in this Objects panel, you'll notice that there's a tag menu item and you can come through here and have camera tags or modeling tags. That's what you'll find your thong tag rigging tags it simulation. Ted. It's etcetera. So as you get more and more into the software, you'll probably be using tags a lot. It's important also to note that there are object modifications that can happen right here for every object, so I can change my object or make it a parent or unparalled tid various things that will. You'll learn more as you go through the software and edit has pretty basic editing capabilities like you'd find in most software packages. One thing we'll look at is the content browser. Now, if you've installed all of the presets and all of that with Cinema four D when you got it, you should be able to come into here and see different preset categories. For example, sketch presets, sky presets and clicking through here will get you various things like skies or models. All those are available in this content browser. You can come up here to the window at any time and also get to the content browser or any other of the windows that are available. Let's go back to our objects tab down at the bottom. Here you'll notice the attributes menu. And so if I click on my Cube, this is where you're gonna get all the attributes that can be changed or modified for this object. So there's a basic section on every object, and there's a very some very basic level items that can be changed here. The coordinate system is a available for most objects, and you can see the coordinate system object is where you find the very specific attributes that can be changed. Foreign objects, for example, the size of the cube can be changed here. How many sides the Q pants can be changed here? Or how many segments now, whether it's a Philip Cube, how round it is etcetera. So all those things can be changed in these attributes. Panel on every new object you creator, different objects you create may have different object attributes. It's also important to note if there is a tag on an object, which shows up right here as well. In this attributes panel down here, we also have layers, and so if you begin working with layers, you can change those things around at the bottom of the screen. You'll see your materials editor, and this is so if I came into materials and said, Just create a new standard material that will show up in this menu and I can then dragged at onto my object and then that shows up as an additional item on my object. You have a basic timeline here where you can move through time in your scene and where you can control how much you're seeing. So if I had a scene, for example, that's 900 frames. Now you can see that this has scaled down and I would have to grab this little side portion and drag it out for me to be able to see my entire timeline down along the bottom, you see simple things like a play head. I can push, play or Aiken, step one frame at a time, or I can go all the way to the next. This one goes to the next frame. This goes to the very end. This one goes to the very beginning. And then we have our key framing tools right here, which you'll see more information about in the later video about key framing and then again , additional key framing things. So right now we have position, scale, rotation and parameters that can be key framed. One last thing toe talk about under layouts and windows is just the default layouts and windows that are given to you. So if I go up here to layouts in the top right corner, I can choose rigging, or I can choose model tracker. I can choose animate when I choose any of these is gonna rearrange the way that my menus are positioned on my screen animate gives you a larger timeline that you can work with. Standard is the one that it was on originally. And so if you want to just see the startup layout, standard is your startup layout. And just one last thing that I'll go through is how to sort of customize your own layout. And so let's say, for example, I wanted to see something like the dope sheet. And so this is all of the key frames that will show up on any object that's key framed. If I wanted to be able to see this at all times, I could take this menu item and I could drag it down and you'll notice that it's showing me a line that lights up where it's going to land. And so if I just put it right here, I can now pull this time additional timeline into my, um, workspace on. I like to do this on occasion so I can actually see a little bit more detail on an object that I might be adding key frames to. If this is something that you want to save, you can always go into window customization and then go save you can save it is your startup layout. Or you can say save layout as now. This gives you an option. Teoh, Save this as Travis. Lay out one or whatever you'd like to save. It asked. And so when we get later on to the project, I'm gonna ask you to go ahead and create your own layout. So this is something important to remember. But that is a pretty solid overview of just how things are arranged and where things were located in Cinema four D Just to get you started, the next video is going to talk about, um, just some a little bit more detail, the menus and the buttons that are available on here for you to work with. 3. Menus & Buttons: in the segment. I'd like to go through a little bit more detail on some of the menu items and the buttons that are available to you and just sort of how they're arranged in how to work with them. So as we go along, the top of the menu items will see we have the standard buttons. We can say New project There in the menu. We have a new project, Open Project Merge Project Close and all of the save items that we have exports in recent files. Under edit, we have project settings and project info, and we have preferences. There are many cases, particularly if you work with plug ins in the future that you may need to get into your Preferences folder. And you may need Teoh work with Cem settings in there. Or at the very least, figure out how to open your Preferences folder and by going to the Preferences menu, there's always this button at the bottom. It says Open preferences folder, and that will actually find it for you on your local hard drive. In Here is well, you can go through a lot of the information about how your rendering which renders you have available if your team rendering, which will get into in another video or another some class later on, Uh, and just how things were arranged at the very beginning, I'd recommend not messing with your preferences too much. A zit may cause you some issues, but one thing you I could think about messing around with is the units display. This is where you can come in and decide whether you like to work in inches or miles, yards, feet, centimeters, etc. Defaulted centimeters and getting started. It's probably a good idea just to stay with that. Let's go back in the object and then we'll look. Look at project settings on Project Settings is a little bit different. Project Settings tells you how the timeline is going to be set up in terms of frames per second, tells you what your scale of your project is. What's your default project? Amount of time is, and level of detail things like that. So you may need to come in here if you wanted to adjust things like dynamics or gravity settings. Project settings is where you would do that. The create menu gives you all of your objects for creating things such as primitives, such spines, all generators and Boolean objects and lathes and sweeps that will get to in various classes in the future. Any diff formers that help you manipulate things, fields that help you control how you manipulate things. Environments give you things like floors and skies, so this is an infinite floor that goes on forever. Um, physical sky is a completely different tool that lets you paint clouds and things like that in your scenes. All of the different types of cameras that you have available all the different types of lights your materials tags show up here is, well, extracts, settings and sound settings. You probably won't get into these things until you're more advanced in the software, but all of these up here you make it into. And as I mentioned in the previous video, thes things are also available in the buttons section down here. The Modes menu gives you a lot of information about whether you're using an object or model mode what your model settings are, which your snap settings are. Like many software packages, a lot of things that are available are available in multiple locations, selection filters, selection tools. The's tools are all about arranging objects entering the in transferring objects. There's a painting guide doodle again at the beginning. While you're just getting started, you probably won't use a lot of these. Volume is a relatively new feature that was released inversion 20 and, well, I'll have a class on that as well. McGrath is an extremely powerful tool that as you get more advanced, you'll definitely want to get a handle on. And again I'll have classes on this. In the future is a complete set of character tools. There's a animation features in here for making previews and for how you play things back and whether it pink ponds or you can manipulate all these settings and how you record key frames and things like that. Simulate is where you find all your dynamics like cloth and hair, and uh, um, um, rigid body objects and particle emitters, etcetera. Motion Tracker allows you to track video on screen and tracking in three D space of the chicken MC cameras and place objects in three D scenes you're render menu is where you'll find all the settings in all the different types of rendering that you can dio whether you're rendering to the View port editor or whether you're rendering to the picture viewer , which is your final render. Any extensions you have installed will show up in the extensions menu, and the window menu shows you all the various windows that are available, such as the picture of You Are. They attribute Manager, Project Asset Inspector things like that Material editor and manager and then the help menu . Cinema four D has a pretty extensive help system built into it, and I definitely suggest, Do you use that if you're running into problems? I said. I talk about menus and buttons. All of the objects that we just went through in the menus are also available as buttons. And so again, uh, if you wanted to create a cube or an oil tanker a figure, you just have to click through here and, uh, select those and you can create new objects in that way. Um, spines and things like that all could be created here. He looks sparring that you can manipulate. It has a lot of settings you can change. Let's just get rid of this floor. I'm gonna selected and delete it. This is, Ah, section that deals with a raise and metal balls and connecting objects and subdivision surfaces. And here we have the volume settings. Here we have a lot of different defectors and formulas and cloners and all of the McGrath things that you we deal with with mo graph Our fields are the former's, our environment, camera settings and all of our various lights. So whether you decide to work through the menu or work through the buttons, Cinema four D gives you lots of options, and you can arrange and do things the way that you like to do them. In the next video, I'm gonna get into a little bit more how to navigate through the cinema four D world on just how to navigate through and use your view port editor and all the settings within the report 4. The Viewport: OK, in this video, we're going to talk about the view port specifically and how to get around inside the people, remove and navigate. And to do that, I think it be important to have a couple of objects for us to look at. So I'm just gonna click on the Q. But I'm gonna click on it again. That is made to you can see that to have shown up in my objects pallet over here. So I'm gonna click on one of these and move it. The reason I want to do that is just briefly discuss Haddon Avenue. It could be very overwhelming at the beginning to see all of these buttons and tools and not know how to move anything. And so what I want to point out is, if you look at the upper right corner of the View port and the View Porter editor window is right here this window, it has its own set of menus. Aan has its own navigation tools over here on the right side. So if I click on this pan, I can actually just click and move around and pan, This is one way to do it. Another way to pan is to hold down the number one on your keyboard and then click in your screen and you could do that same thing from holding down number one and I can pan go back up here. We have click and drag left and right zooming amount. Or if I come to this object holding on the number two on my keyboard, I can click and drag left and right to zoom in and out. You'll notice. The difference is when I do this from my keyboard and use the screen in my mouse to control thing, it actually uses the area I click on on an object that is the starting point versus going straight from the center like it does. If I move with this tool and the editor up here, this third tool is the rotation, and again it's going from the center of my view or I can hold down. Guess what? The number three And then I can rotate around the objects, using that as my tool. So I recommend getting used Teoh using 12 and 31 again pan two and click and drag is zoom in and out, and three is rotate a couple of a couple of other important things to understand when you're trying to navigate through your view. Port is how to find objects if you lose them. And so, for example, if I were to hold down one and drag, I can actually drag my objects off the screen, And it can be really hard now to sort of relocate those objects. But there's a really quick and easy way to do that. And this is something I think it's really important to learn early on. And that is use your objects pallet over here on the right side, and I can hold down shift. So I've clicked on one hold down shift, click on another one. But now I'm gonna use my keyboard and type option s were all to s if you're working on a PC . Now, if I were to click on one of these and hold down option s, it's gonna zoom specifically to that object. Let's say if I had another object on here, so I'm gonna are going to see command. See, that's copy. Or I could come to this menu and say copy and I could say, edit paste and that's paste pasted another cube. So I have this cube right here that is overlapping. My 1st 1 gonna hold down two on my keyboard and zoom way, way out. I'm gonna move this cute way over here, okay? And then, having done that, what I want to illustrate now is another option. Let's say I want to zoom in on Lee to the things that I have on my screen option, and the letter H on your keyboard will zoom to any objects that you have on your screen. So I could just to illustrate this one more time I can select an object option s zooms to that object no matter what I have selected option. Each shows me everything that I have in my seat. And I think those air really important tools to get a handle on pretty quickly. Let's just look through the view port menus really quickly. Um, this frame all is the same thing is pressing H frame geometry is going to do something very similar. Frame default is going to go back to the default view. So if you don't remember those those shortcut commands you can actually come into here and do that frame selected objects is going to come in and do the same thing that's gonna do whatever object I have selected. So it's these two and I come to view frame selected object. It's gonna zoom to those you'll notice. It says option Oh, for that I usually use option s because that works even when I'm doing modeling things and have a polygon selected a little zoom in on just that polygon. So if it's an object, zooms to the object. If it's a polygon, um, selected, it zooms to the polygon, So option No, I don't find all that use that redraws just kind of refresh your your screen for you. Um, let's not get into these things right now. Cameras. I wouldn't mess around with two too much ado beginning stages, but you can see right now it's using the default camera. I don't have any other cameras in my scene. Uh, parallel left talk back and bottom. We're all going to change the way your camera sees things, and I would not recommend messing with those, But if you have accidentally hit something like parallel and you start seeing things like this and you wonder how to fix it. Coming back up to camera and selecting perspective is going to get you back. Teoh. That view display allows you to change how you're looking at objects. So Gerard shading is the default Gerard shading with mind's eyes, something I use quite often so you might see that the lines on the edge of these objects are showing up just to show you what that's really doing. If I came in and gave my object more segments, Oh, this allows me to actually see those segments where, if I have it on just the standard shading, I don't see those segments. So that's what that's for. And there are various ways to look at objects in here that I recommend you mess around with and figure out the options menu gives you choices to change your level of detail. Working stereoscopic view things like that that can be kind of complex, whether you're using enhanced open G l. Whether you want to see shadows transparency, these are all things that are very much reliance on what kind of graphics card you're using and so you may find some issues if you start clicking on these Just be aware of that filter . This menu gives us options to turn on or off things. So, for example, if I wanted to hide the background grid, I could turn that off in the filter section. Or I could come in and turn off the axis bands so I could hide those. Sometimes you might want to do that if you're working with, um, blinds and the panel talks about the arrangement so you could make a new view panel here, So I'm gonna multiple view panels. Um, or I can toggle my active you. Now this gets this is the same thing, actually, as if you use this fourth button that I didn't mention for this fourth button. Um, on the top here toggles it to the four views, which is default. So now I see my perspective. You see, top, I see front and I see right and you can see these are all set to the lines with soap arms showing if you don't know what isil farms in our don't worry about it right now. But the lines view is just giving you a little bit less detail. But you can see that I can still use all the same navigation tools, or I can use thes as well to do the same sorts of navigations. But now I can do it in each individual window, which is potentially very useful. Now. If you decided you wanted to get back to the single view, you can click any of these buttons in the right corner. It will put that back to the single view. So just illustrate. If I wanted to look at my top view, only I would click this window or this button in my top view if I wanted to look at it. In my perspective, you would click that button in my perspective, you and then finally we have the pro render, which is a relatively new feature. Pro render is Ah, one of them is the latest render option we have inside Cinema 40 and there will be future classes on the Pro Render as well. The next segments going talk in more detail about how to manipulate and move objects within software 5. Moving Objects: in this video, we're gonna talk about how to manipulate and move objects around inside the View port in Cinema four D and let's just go ahead and start by creating a few different types of objects when I'm going to create a cube, a sphere, a tube and a figure, and let's go ahead and just arrange those in space. So let's let's move the figure. So how do we move things? I'm going to select the figure and you'll notice each of these has its own axis and own attributes, right? So the attributes panel changes down here. They all have their own sorts of attributes that could be modified. But across the board, they all show up with this axis. So you've got green, which is why you'll notice that that correlates with the access that shows up down here. And if we were to rotate around in our view port, you can see that that access changes in the lower left at the same rate that it changes in our view port window with their object. And so what this tells us is this is the Y. Axis blue is the Z axis, and red is the X axis. And so, if I were to rotate around on the front here now I'm looking at things in an X Y coordinates a wide vertical exes horizontal to the right, just like a standard graph would be. And just best practice is to use the handles to move objects. So if I wanted to move something along the x axis, I would hover over this until the X axis highlights and then click and drag. All right, so now it's stuck to or sliding along that x axis. I could do the same thing in a vertical axis. I could do the same thing in the Z axis. So some of the when you're moving an object around, it's recommended to move them based on the coordinate system that exists now, you might have noticed that there is a an additional, um, object here. And this allows me if I hover over this so that move things on a plane. So this would be the X Y plane, and if I do that, I can move things on X by plane. However, I like, or I could decide to move things on an X Z plane. All of these things air acceptable. What I would not recommend is that you just click on an object anywhere and start moving it . Because now what you're doing is actually moving something based on your view, right? So you have no control over where it's actually going and no real understanding for where it's going. My firewood, a rotate like this and move my object. I don't have a lot of control. And you can see if I look at my coordinate system that all of my coordinates air changing right versus if I'm selecting the XZ plane or Y Z plane on Lee, the Wine Z coordinator changing or the XZ plane only the X Y plane on Lee, the X and Y coordinates are changing. Only the X only the Z Onley the why, If you get things out of whack and they're hanging out in little space and you don't know where anything is, you can always come to the coordinate tab just hit 000 That's gonna put it right back where it was when you were originally made it. Since we're looking at the coordinate system right now, I think it's a good practice especially if you're a numbers oriented person to sort of always keep this available for you. You can actually move things along that X And that's so right now I have moved it 397. So maybe I just want to do 400 I can change that and make it exact. And so this is one way you might think about working with moving objects. So let's just arrange something. So remember this cube along the Z axis? I'm gonna move this sphere along the Z and explain, and now I have them all arranged, located together. Must try to do things a little bit more exact. Precisely. So I'm on doing that. Must do 400 here and 400 here. We can arrange things exactly the same space apart from each other. So if I do 400 here, everything has been moved 400. Um, centimetres is what we're looking at now from each other. Something kind of important to note about making new objects is they tend to start right, dead center. In other words, if you look at this grid that is created, it actually makes the object on that grid claim. And so if I wanted the object to sit on the great plain instead of B in the center of it, I'm going to need to know how big the object is. So this is a 200 centimeter cube. If I wanted it to set right on that plane, I don't want to move it. Ah, 100 centimeters. And the why. And now that cube is sitting perfectly on my grid surface, which is nice, because if I decided to do something like make a floor Now, my cube, it's sitting on floor where everything else is being cut. With the exception of the mannequin begins, if you'll notice the mannequins default access plane is at its feet where the access for every object object other than that default is vertically in the center, the center of the wide dimension. So similarly, I'd have to move this 100 and this 100 and now all hoops. How big is that tube? Uh huh. It is only 100 centimeters tall, so I need to give it only 50. How big is this sphere? It is 100 centimeters in the radius. So moving that 100 was actually the good thing to do, So we talked about moving on the whole the entire time I've been on the move tool. So move tool shortcut is e So we've got move scale and rotate right positions. Scale a rotation of the three things that you typically key frame on an object. It's a position we covered Scales gonna change the scale than object. When you create any new objects by using the this menu right here or going under creating, creating primitives, they have a default scale. I can't scale this object only along one axis because it's a primitive object. And so anything I any time I scale This doesn't matter which are my quick on its going to scale in that dimension because of the nature of that object. Same thing goes for the Cube. Same thing goes for the tube. Same thing goes for the character or the manicure. But the scale tool. If you were working with something that was not a primitive object anymore. So if I made this edit herbal for example now because my sphere is an edible object, I can then scale it along any axis independently. But I have lost all of my attributes for my sphere. So you see, my kids still has attributes, but my spirit is not on the I count has changed to show me that this is an edit herbal object. So I'm just going to hit Command Z controls the if you're on a PC until I get back to my standard sphere. The Cinema 40 has unlimited undoes, so you can. I feel pretty safe about not losing things, but still, I recommend saving very often. Let's talk about rotation every object. If you click on rotation, you can then use thes bands, right so you'll see. The Y Axis Band allows me to rotate around the Y axis. The X Axes band allows me to rotate around the X axis and Z axes band allows me to rotate around the Z axis of that object. Now, once I have done that, if I go back to move, you can see now that the axis for the move position has changed no longer lines with the world because I have moved this object access as I have have rotated it. So now the scale and rotation have changed with that. This one more important note is that right now I am viewing things in the world Coordinate system. I could change this. Uh, I'm sorry. That was the object coordinate system. I can change this to the world coordinate system, and now my access will always match the world versus the object. That may be a little bit too much, and I apologize if it is, but it's important because sometimes people click on this button not knowing that they have changed the way they're manipulating things. Um, it allows you to move things around off of the objects access and use instead the world's access system. So the default when you first open center before D, though, is that you're using the object coordinate system. So I encourage you to take some time just to create a few objects moving around your scene and just get comfortable with positioning objects where you want them to be positioned within your window. 6. Project & Final Thoughts: Thank you so much for watching this class on just getting around inside cinema four D just to recap really quickly. We've talked about how toe position your windows, where they're located and what they do. We've talked about how to create objects, how to move them, how to position them where you want them to be, how to use coordinate systems. Teoh. Move things vertically or horizontally or in the Z direction, X, Y and Z, and we've talked about how to position things in space, how to rotate and navigating your view port and where things are generally located within the software for your project. I would love to see everyone create their own personal layout and save that layout. So just to recap, if I wanted to have something like an additional Vieux port, so if I came in, said New View Panel and I wanted to do a split screen, for example, I could have to screen showing up at any time, and then I could come into the window customization save layout as, and then I could save this layout as whatever I like Travis Lee out to, and maybe I'd give that a better name, so I know what it was for. So take some time, Teoh. Play around, Get yourself comfortable in the software. Take a screenshot of the layout that you saved, and I hope to see you in another skill share class. Soon I'll be posting lots of new classes about how to use the various tools with inside Cinema four D. So see you soon in a future. Absolute beginner Cinema four D class.