How to use metaball kino 4d r16

CINEMA 4D Basics: The Window to the 3D World - The Options Menu

The settings in this menu expand the options in the View menu of the editor views. With these functions, too, it is true that they initially have nothing to do with the subsequent image or animation calculation, but only influence the display in the editor windows (see Figure 1.12).

Figure 1.12: Entries and submenus of the options menu in the editor views

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The level of detail

The level of detail only affects parametric objects. These are objects that are defined by settings, such as: B. the NURBS objects or the parametric basic objects of CINEMA 4D. You will learn how these objects work in the relevant section. The number of surfaces on these objects can be dynamically controlled in three levels, namely low, medium and high (see Figure 1.13). In the case of low display levels, this then means that only a simplified display of these objects takes place in the editor views, but the high-resolution object can be seen again during the image calculation. Because this saves space for the editor display, the display speed of complex objects in the views can be accelerated.

Otherwise, you already know the term rendering from earlier explanations. The rendering can not only be used for the final image calculation, but also directly in the editor views. One then speaks of editor rendering.

Figure 1.13: The same basic sphere object, shown in the levels of detail Low, Medium and High

The resolution of the editor views can generally in no way be compared with the later image output during rendering, but the quality of the display is almost identical and thus allows us to quickly check e.g. B. the material settings or the lights, without having to wait for the often long calculation times for an image in high resolution. If the same high levels of detail are to be used in these editor renderings as when rendering the final resolution, activate the option for Use render level of detail.

Not least since James Cameron's avatar kicked off a new boom in stereoscopy in cinemas, 3D stereo is on everyone's lips again. The technology is by no means new. The older ones among you will perhaps still remember corresponding special programs in the WDR program during the 1980s, which were watched by many with red / green glasses.

The technology is based on the fact that two cameras placed side by side imitate natural vision. So that a single image can be created in the head when viewing this stereo film later, the left eye may only see the image from the left camera and the right eye the image from the right camera. Various methods have been developed for this purpose, such as B. Glasses with different colored lenses, active shutter glasses or passive glasses with polarized lenses. Research has also been carried out on playback devices that no longer require glasses.

The placement and operation of real cameras for stereoscopy is still relatively complex, but we have it much easier in CINEMA 4D. Simply activating the stereoscopy option simulates the view through two parallel cameras in the editor views, whereby a simple red / green color is used (see Figure 1.14). If you put on the appropriate glasses, you can actually see your scene in three dimensions. This works quite impressively as long as you don't zoom in too close to the objects. Otherwise, the leap in perspective between the left and the right camera will be too large to be combined into one picture with a natural eye position.

Figure 1.14: On the left the normal editor view, on the right for comparison the same objects in stereoscopic view

Later you will get to know further options when discussing the camera objects, the rendering presets and the view presets, in order to be able to control this effect precisely for the image calculation.

Linear workflow

There are some fundamental difficulties in creating and displaying images. Each device uses its own specifications for how colors and brightness are dealt with. Anyone who has compared a digital photo on different monitors and then possibly again after printing it on an ink or laser printer will have noticed huge differences in some cases. When viewing images on a monitor, this is often due to the gamma curve of the monitor and thus to its calibration.

When it comes to rendering an image, CINEMA 4D is initially not interested in this. Internally, we work with 32-bit color depth and thus with the finest gradations and the highest precision in color determination. Ultimately, however, our monitors are only able to display 8-bit images. This is the first time that a conversion is made. In addition, each monitor has its own gamma profile, i.e. a kind of timetable showing how the different colors and gradations are to be displayed.

This gamma curve should ideally z. B. ensure that differences in brightness between colors are perceived proportionally. An area with 50% brightness should therefore appear as exactly half as bright as possible next to a white area. Gamma is about the human perception of color and brightness and not about the actual brightness of a pixel. Otherwise, this would always be perfectly reproduced with a linear gamma profile.

In order to compensate for this change in the otherwise physically correct brightnesses of a rendering by the monitor profile, the brightnesses have to be artificially increased or weakened by an inverted gamma curve in order to finally be displayed correctly, i.e. linearly, on the monitor again. This process is also called a linear workflow (see Figure 1.15).

Figure 1.15: You will see the exact same scene on both sides. Left without, right with activated linear workflow. The light distribution there appears much more natural and less high-contrast.

In order for this to work, the images, shaders and materials used must of course also be included in this calculation. Fortunately, CINEMA 4D does this for us automatically after ticking Linear Workflow in the so-called project preferences. We will come back to this dialogue a little later. In addition, the linear workflow is already activated there by default. This option is only automatically deactivated when loading files that were created with CINEMA 4D versions prior to Release 12.
In order to be able to see the shading and materials adapted to the linear workflow directly in the editor, activate Shading Linear Workflow in the options of the editor views. Incidentally, it is sufficient to operate this option in a single editor view. The other views automatically adopt this setting.

Extended OpenGL

You may already be familiar with OpenGL as a programming interface, especially for graphics cards, in order to be able to display typical 3D tasks more quickly. This has the advantage that not everything that concerns the representation of 3D objects has to be done exclusively via the main processor of your computer. The drawing of points or the shading of a surface under the influence of light can be done much faster by a graphics card specialized in this field.

Figure 1.16: Exemplary comparison of normal OpenGL display (left) and extended OpenGL quality in the editor

Since it cannot be assumed that every CINEMA 4D user always uses the latest graphics cards and drivers, newer OpenGL functions within CINEMA 4D must be activated separately under the heading Extended OpenGL. A separate test in the program preferences can check whether Extended OpenGL is even supported by your own graphics card. More on this in the relevant section.

If Extended OpenGL can be used, this visibly improves the display of shading and highlights (see Figure 1.16). Additional options, such as shadows and transparency, enable improved display of these effects in the editor, provided that light sources with shadows or transparent materials are used. Of course, you cannot expect the quality from this representation that is achieved by rendering the scene. Even without being able to estimate how big z. B. a shadow will fail, but can be very helpful.

Noises are mathematically generated patterns that can be generated in materials by so-called shaders. If this option is active, these patterns can already be displayed in the editor on the surfaces. Post effects, on the other hand, describe properties that are added to the actual image afterwards. This can e.g. B. be an automatic color correction or an optical soft focus to simulate the depth of field of a camera.

CINEMA 4D itself supports post effects in the extended OpenGL of the editor views only very rudimentary. This option can therefore be more interesting in conjunction with plugins, i.e. external extensions that use this effect in a targeted manner. As already mentioned, we will come back to this topic when we discuss the program preferences.
Backface culling

This term only covers the omission of all elements that are on the back of an object. This is similar to the hidden line display type for objects, except that you can still look through the surfaces in front. This is particularly evident in the combination of lines and wire mesh.

Figure 1.17: The basic geometry of this roller skate is quite simple, but appears organically rounded thanks to a HyperNURBS object. On the right you can see the isolines display when editing the HyperNURBS form.

This option has been switched off on the left. The original shape of the object becomes visible as a kind of line cage.
Again, the effect has nothing to do with the later calculation of the objects, but only offers us another option for the object display in the editor.


Isolines can be compared with the isobates / isoparms already discussed, which represent a simplified structure of the object surface. So not all polygon edges are displayed, but only a certain selection of them. This keeps the view clear and still gives a good feeling about the course of the edges on the geometry.

Isolines can always be displayed if an object is additionally smoothed by a so-called HyperNURBS object (see Figure 1.17). This object works parametrically by resolving an assigned model more finely with surfaces and then rearranging these additionally obtained polygons to round off the shape. This object becomes a key element of many modeling projects because it helps to create rounded and organic shapes from relatively simple and angular geometry.

To edit such a HyperNURBS object, you can continue to work with the angular original object, or - if you activate the Isolines option - directly with control points that lie on the rounded HyperNURBS surface. This principle will become clearer to you as soon as you learn more about modeling with the HyperNURBS object in a later chapter.

Layer color

The Use Layer Color option ensures that objects are automatically assigned the color of the layer to which they have been assigned. You can think of a simple sorting system under levels. You create the desired number of levels or groups yourself and sort your objects there. This makes sense for projects with a large number of objects, e.g. B. to always have all screws of a machine in one plane. Layers then facilitate, among other things. quickly showing or hiding your elements in the editor.

Figure 1.18: Polygons have a front and a back side, which appear differently colored when selected in the editor. In addition, the normal can optionally be drawn as a white line on the front of the polygons.

Each layer is automatically given a color by CINEMA 4D, which can then be applied to the objects by checking this option. This gives you a quick overview in the editor of which objects are e.g. B. all belong to the blue group. You will learn more about the levels and how they are managed later.


We have already briefly talked about polygons as the smallest visible unit of a surface. These are triangular or square planes. However, this also means that there is a front and a back on the polygons, similar to a sheet of paper, which also has a front and a back (see Figure 1.18).
In order to be able to calculate the course of the light falling on a polygon, CINEMA 4D uses a so-called normal. This is a vector that is usually perpendicular to the front of the polygon and points away from it. However, these normals are also used for many modeling functions. It can therefore be helpful to actually be able to see the direction of the normals on the polygons of an object in the editor. To do this, you must have activated the normal option.


CINEMA 4D understands tags to be individual properties that can be assigned to objects. This can e.g. B. be a surface material, a specification that determines the quality of the object during the image calculation or even a circuit or a script that influences the movement of the object during animation. Depending on the level of CINEMA 4D there are over 50 different tags. One of them is called a presentation tag and can include individually influence the shading of the object in the editor views.

In this way, an object can be permanently z. B. display in quick shading quality, although a completely different quality level has been set for the display of the objects in the editor. In order for this special display tag to be evaluated, the tag option in the options menu must be active.

Figure 1.19: Dialog of the display tag as it is shown in the Attribute Manager

Using the display tag, the use of the shading mode, the line type of the display and the level of detail can be set individually, as can the use of backface culling, textures and the extended OpenGL (see Figure 1.19). You can read about what is meant by textures right afterwards.

There is also a visibility parameter in the tag dialog. This percentage value can actually adjust the visibility or the transparency of the object continuously between 0% and 100%. This can e.g. This can be useful, for example, during an animation to slowly fade in or out an object.

The ghosting section in the display tag is only of interest to you when it comes to figure animation, i.e. so-called character animation. Different movement phases of an animation can then be displayed in the editor at the same time, which can simplify the setting of the timing of an animation.


Textures are bitmaps, i.e. images or films that are used in materials. So-called shaders also belong in this category. Shaders are more or less complex programs that e.g. B. can simulate color gradients, complex patterns or physical surface properties. Thanks to these shaders, we don't have to simulate every property of a surface with loaded images later. You can learn more about textures and shaders in the CINEMA 4D material system section. So far you just have to know that only by activating the textures option, these will also be displayed in the editor. Again, this option has no meaning for the actual image calculation.

X ray

This X-ray mode makes the currently selected object appear semi-transparent. This enables you e.g. B. to see other objects in the editor that are inside this larger object. A little later you will learn that this property can also be assigned to each individual object separately. A previous selection is then no longer necessary in order to see the X-Ray effect in the editor. The X-Ray effect does not affect the visibility of the object when rendering.

Figure 1.20: Different positions of the standard light

The standard light

We already talked about the fact that CINEMA 4D uses its own light source as long as we haven't set any lights ourselves. This light source is z. B. used in the shading mode quick shading to display gloss and brightness gradients on the objects (see Figure 1.20). You cannot further determine the brightness and color of this light, but you can change the direction from which this standard light comes. After selecting the standard light entry, a separate window with a sphere appears. By holding the mouse click on this sphere, you can then change the position of the standard light by moving the mouse pointer. However, usually frontal lighting makes the most sense while modeling your objects. Special light sources are then used for the image calculation anyway, so this function is one of the less important.

About the author

This tutorial is an excerpt from the CINEMA 4D compendium by Arndt von Koenigsmarck.The complete CINEMA 4D compendium with over 850 pages of know-how as a download (PDF and ePub) can be downloaded here: CINEMA 4D compendium.

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