Cinema 4D / BodyPaint 3D Program Documentation Reference BodyPaint 3D Tools Menu Paint Tools
Function available in CINEMA 4D Prime, Visualize, Broadcast, Studio & BodyPaint 3D

Gradient Tool

Use this tool to paint gradients. As with the other paint tools, you will find various settings in the Active Tool manager.

In the top left in the Active Tool manager, you will see a small preview of the gradient. Click on the preview to access the gradient presets. You can add your own gradients to these presets. To access a menu for the gradient presets, right-click (Windows) or Command-click (Mac OS) on a gradient preset.

This is the same menu that is available for other presets such as the color presets. For details on this menu, see The Color Presets.


To paint a gradient, click-drag in the 3D view or Texture view. The position where you click marks the start of the gradient and the position where you release the mouse button marks the end of the gradient. If you want to restrict the gradient, create a bitmap selection before you use the tool.

Active Tool Manager Options


Use Type to define how the Gradient Tool should apply the gradient colors. Here are examples of the available types:

Blend Mode

Defines the blend mode for the gradient. For details on these modes, see Color Manager.


This slider defines the opacity of the gradient.

Add Preset

You can use this button to save the gradient as a preset. Click the button and in the dialog that opens, enter a name for the preset and click OK. The gradient is now saved as a preset. To access this gradient and the other gradient presets, click on the gradient preview in the top left corner of the Active Tool manager.

The Gradient

The gradient is similar to gradients in other applications that you have probably seen before. The knots on the bottom of the gradient, known as knots, are used to set the color and position of colors in the gradient. To add a knot just click in an empty area below the gradient and a knot of the color at that position will be added. To remove a knot just click on it and drag it away from the gradient. To change the color of a knot double-click on it and the color chooser dialog will appear.

The knots on the gradient are bias knots and they pull the interpolation of the color knots from side to side for more control over how the gradient changes.


Use this drop-down list to select the type of interpolation. Choose from:


The position of the currently selected knot or bias knot on the gradient. You can type a value in the edit text field or drag the up/down arrows at the right to move the currently selected knot or bias knot.


A measurement for the intensity of the currently selected knot.

The gradient’s context menu

Three commands are available for gradients via a context menu. To access the context menu, right-click the gradient (Windows) or Command-click the gradient (Mac OS). The following options will be made available:

Alpha Channel

This means there are three different gradients in all (color, alpha, result), although only one gradient is shown at a time. Use the Edit Alpha and Display Result options to control which gradient is shown. To show and edit the color gradient, disable both options. To show and edit the alpha gradient, enable Edit Alpha and disable Display Result.

To show the result, enable Display Result. A checkered pattern is placed behind the gradient so that you can see the opacity clearly. Note also that you can edit the alpha gradient while the result is displayed (the alpha gradient’s knots and knots will still be visible).

Edit Alpha, Display Result

With these, you define not just one gradient but two. One gradient sets the color, the other — called the alpha gradient — controls its opacity. For example, to fade out the gradient, set the alpha gradient to run from white (opaque) to black (transparent).

Color Chooser

Defines the color of the selected knot.

Load/Save Preset

Don’t mix this preset up with the one described above. This preset is only a color gradient without additional parameters such as type, blend mode or noise variation.

Details regarding loading and saving presets can be found here.

Noise Variation, Noise Scale

These settings enable you to add noise to the gradient.

Noise Variation defines how harmonious the gradient is. Low values lead to smooth color transitions while high values generate bands of color.

Noise Scale defines the number of disruptions applied to the gradient. A value of 0% means no disruptions, i.e., a smooth gradient. The higher you set the value, the more color bands you will see appear in the gradient.


Dithering is a process that adds a random pattern to colors to prevent color banding. Although dithering enhances image quality, it increases file size also. For web graphics in particular, you may want to disable dithering to reduce image file size.

Use Alpha

Use Alpha switches the alpha on or off for the gradient. Invert inverts the alpha. See Edit Alpha, Display Result, above.


Inverts the Gradient.