On the Generators menu, you will find some of CINEMA 4D’s most powerful modeling objects, including Extrude (for 3D logos, etc.) and Subdivision Surfaces (for any type of model, especially smooth shapes, such as characters).

Generator objects are interactive, which means they use other objects to generate their surfaces. Generators enable you to create surfaces quickly and easily using simple curves or objects. For example, to create a wine bottle you might draw half the bottle’s outline as a spline and make this spline a child of a Lathe object. The spline will then be revolved through 360˚ to generate the bottle.

In addition to helping you model quickly, Generators are faster and easier to edit than comparable polygon models that have thousands of points. For example, suppose you want to change the shape of a wine bottle. In the viewport, drag the spline’s points to form the new outline. The bottle updates in real-time as you drag the points, and in just a few seconds you have made the changes.

Although modeling with Generators is generally more powerful than polygon modeling, there are still occasions when polygons are useful. For example, you must work with polygons if you want to use polygon tools such as the Magnet tool. Therefore, before you can use one of these tools on a Generator object, you must first convert the Generator to polygons. To do this, select the Generator object and choose Mesh | Conversion | Make Editable. Keep in mind that the conversion is one-way only — you cannot convert the polygons back to Generators.

Generator Objects and Hierarchies

The Subdivision Surface object will affect only its first child object. The entire hierarchy of that child object is affected, unless a Stop tag is added.

The remaining Generator objects will take only the splines in the top-most hierarchy into account. Further, the Generators will only use as many splines as is necessary to generate the object.