The Take Manager
Many who work in 3D know about the problem of working with Projects that contain various animations, render settings, camera perspectives and a variety of other variations. This meant that several Project files had to be created and maintained accordingly when changes were made, which could require a great deal of time and organization effort. With the Take function, all of this information can be included in a single file, which can then be rendered (note also the powerful variable file and path names (Tokens), which was introduced together with the Take system).
Another application for the Take system would be for non-destructive work on a complex Project. In the past it was always important not to lose the scene’s initial state by changing settings or modifying animations. With the Take system, the initial state is saved in the Main take and new animations can then be used to fine-tune, test and modify the scene.
Simply put, the Take system is a valuable enhancement for all complex Projects that you want to integrate into your workflow quickly and reliably.
Before we start describing the system itself we’ll use an example: In the description of the Color Chooser an image was used that showed a bottle with various textures and colors.
To create this image you would have to render 5 times, each time with a different label texture and cap colors. With the Take system, this can be quickly set up and everything rendered at once using the Render all Takes in PV command.
Just as textures and colors were switched in this example, this can be done with just about any Attribute Manager setting (incl. animation keyframes!).
What is the Take system and what can it do?
The Take system makes multiple states - e.g., varying (even animated) object/tag/material settings, render settings or cameras - of a given Project available in a single file.
These various states are referred to as Takes can be selected with a click of the mouse, which means that a large number of parameter changes can be included. With reference to the example above, the following can, for example, be done:
Only one Take can be active at once. This Take is then the current project, i.e., this Take will be exported (and not a Main Take).
If you want to work without the Take system, make sure that the Take Manager contains no Takes except for the Main. Cinema 4D will then work as it did in previous versions.
Where can Take settings be found?
Which settings work in conjunction with the Take system?
All settings available in the context menu in conjunction with the Attribute Manager's Override command. These include most settings for objects, materials, shaders, tags, nodes, etc.
Tool settings, Preferences, Project settings, and so on will not work. These are stored in the Main or are valid globally anyway.
Several special objects such as XRef objects (that modify the Project's content) can be applied in a limited fashion (reference objects cannot be exchanged in the master Project, i.e., the reference Project is the same in all Takes).
Animations are supported by the Take system, i.e., each Take can have its own animations that are independent of other Takes (with the exception of the Motion System). The following rules apply:
At the top left of the Take Manager (with default settings) you will see the Main Take. This option cannot be removed or moved elsewhere. All scene elements will initially be cached here. Even when an older Project is loaded, everything will be placed into the Main Take. The Main Take contains all elements such as objects, tags, materials, animations and the element's relations to one another (allocations, hierarchies, etc.), i.e., everything that makes up a given Project. It represents the complete Cinema 4D file as you know them from previous versions. If the Main Take is activated, all other overwrites in the remaining Takes will be displayed in the Override Tree.
You can create a new Take using the Main Take (double-click in the empty area on the left window). Each newly created Take will initially reflect the Main Take because it will inherit all properties (=Attribute Manager settings). This is evident by the fact that the newly created Take is displayed as a sub-object of the Main Take object in the hierarchy.
If you create a new object or tag or model an object on a give layer, all new elements or models will always be placed in the Main Take. The Take system primarily only varies properties of existing elements (whereby objects can naturally be hidden from rendering; e.g., Visible in Renderer is "only" a property).
An exception to the rule: On the one hand there are the Override Groups that only allow a few selected tags to work within a Take; on the other hand, Take-specific animations can be created whose animation keys are not placed into the Main Take. Note also this tip.
When a new Take is created, all element settings are grayed out in the Attribute Manager. What this basically means is that the settings from the parent Take will be assumed. If you want to subsequently change settings you have to 'overwrite' the parent settings with a new Take. This can be done in one of several ways:
The setting value can then be modified in the Attribute Manager or by double-clicking on the respective setting in the Take Manager's 'Value' column. A setting that is overwritten in this way will in turn pass its values on to subordinate Takes and can overwrite these. The passing on of values reflects the behavior of the tags in the Object Manager: If an object at the top of the hierarchy has a texture, this texture will be inherited by all subordinate objects unless an object has its own Texture tag.
You can switch between various Takes by clicking on the small cross icon at the far left of the Take names. It will turn white and the active Take will be displayed. The Take name will also be displayed in the Cinema 4D name list at the right of the file name.
Where there's light there's also shadow: It has to be noted that the 'readability' or the comprehensibility of a scene that is opened for the first time can be challenging, depending on the complexity of the scene. This was also true in the past but now it is, in principle, possible to load a seemingly different file by selecting a different Take. Open the following file:
Switch to the Take Manager and switch between Takes. You will notice the effect.
Take a look at how the scene is set up in the Layer Manager. Depending on the Take, different objects and materials will be hidden for both the Viewport and the Managers.
This is due to the fact that the Take system is so powerful that confusing Project states can be generated. In such cases, the scene should be commented (e.g., using the Annotation tag).
On the left of the image above you will see a list with existing Takes arranged hierarchically in a Take Tree. The items can be re-arranged via drag and drop (e.g., to modify hierarchies, render orders, etc.) or selected (
When Takes are selected, their properties will be displayed in the Attribute Manager below.
Each item listed has the following settings (from left to right):
Defines the current Take. The current Take will be displayed in the Viewport and rendered when, for example, the Render to Picture Viewer is called up. This is currently active Project state in Cinema 4D. Note also that the Current Take HUD element (view settings / HUD tab) does the same.
Each Take has a unique name, which can be changed by double-clicking on it. The Take will be displayed with this name at other locations within Cinema 4D as well.
Mark individual Takes, e.g., to only render a specific Take. Click on the Take to change its state.
Assign an existing camera to a Take as a render camera via click + selection from the selection menu. The selection menu also contains the following options:
Click on a Take to assign an existing Render Setting to it. The selection menu also contains the following options: Inherit From Parent: assumes the render settings from the Parent take.
Note also the context menu, which is displayed when you right-click on the Take Tree (these settings are described further below).
The Override Tree displays a list of the following settings when a Take is selected:
The settings are sorted hierarchically according to elements (objects, tags, shaders, etc.), sub-tabs and other structures, depending on the type, and their depiction is oriented according to the Attribute Manager.
The listed items can be selected in the usual manner (
If the list appears to cluttered you can apply the filters - the first two icons at the top right of the Take Manager.
Selected elements/settings (but not folder names) each list their overwritten settings that can be modified in the attribute section (alternatively you can double-click on the individual setting in the Override Tree). Multiple selections only work well within the same element settings, i.e., for a single object or tag. The order of elements can be re-arranged via drag and drop within the folder (e.g., objects within Objects).
The following columns are available in the Override Tree:
This is where the setting values of selected elements are displayed. These can be modified - or animated - here or in the Attribute Manager.
The four icons at the top right
The following icons are available at the top right of the Take Manager window:
Use this command to create a new, empty Take (it will inherit all properties of the Main Take). A new Take can also be created by double-clicking on an empty region of the Take Tree.
This command can be used if a certain number of objects have to be grouped for a Take, which all have to be affected equally by the selected tags. It can, for example, be very useful for assigning an object group a common alpha channel (via a Compositing tag’s Object channel) and an object group with a different constellation in another Take the same alpha channel. Or, simply put: assigning a different material to different object groups per Take. The possibilities are wide-ranging. However, the Override tags are restricted to render-specific types and only one of these types can be applied per Override Group.
This is how Override Groups work:
Note that one object per Take can belong to only a single Override Group.
Take presets can be saved to the Content Browser (Presets/User/Take Presets) for later use or distribution. Only Take names, hierarchies, Override Groups (incl. tags and their settings) and User Data will be saved. All Project elements such as objects, tags, materials, etc. and their setting values are not part of a Take preset.
Take presets are useful, for example, when they don’t have to be redefined when used in conjunction with User Data each time a Take is created.
Another use would be for maintaining studio presets, e.g.:
Such presets (which can easily consist of dozens of Takes) are easy to maintain and manage.
The Auto Take mode can be enabled to automatically assign the ,Override’ status to each modifiable setting (note that you can also drag entire objects, tags, materials, etc. into the Take Manager to make all of their settings overridable). The element settings will be colored accordingly (similar to Autokeying mode) and each setting will be modifiable (and will again be colored accordingly). All modified setting values will be placed into the Take Manager.
The Render Setting selections and render camera will also be set automatically in this mode.
Calling up this command will create a new document that contains all the properties of the current Take as a Main Take (incl. render settings and cameras). The Main Take will in essence be duplicated and all overridden settings will be assumed by the Main Take. Let’s say that you have a huge amount of Takes in convoluted hierarchies and no longer have an overview of which Takes override which settings, which setting value was inherited from which Take, etc. This command lets you get a fresh start with clearly defined setting values.
These commands resemble the already known
The Take name will be added to Project file names and directories.
Takes can be marked by clicking on the light gray icons at the right of the Takes in the Take Tree (see also Markierung).
Right-clicking on the Take Tree will open a context menu that contains the following commands, in addition to those previously described:
Creates a new Take as a Child of the Take selected per right-click.
Deletes the selected Take. The same can be done using the
Selected Takes, including all Child Takes, can be copied and passed as Child Takes of the Main Take. If the Main Take is copied, all Child Takes (all except the Main Take) will be copied.
Depending on the type of overridden element, these will be placed in corresponding folders such as Objects, Tags, Materials, etc. If these folders are empty they will be hidden by default. Selecting this option will display these empty folders.
Use these two options to define how the Take Manager should be arranged (Take and Override Tree sections). The properties of Takes or elements can be hidden in the Attributes section, which can itself be hidden and is normally positioned at the bottom but can also be positioned as a third column on the right.
The following options are available:
Take and Override Trees are displayed next to each other. If a Take is selected on the left its Overrides will be shown on the right.
This mode only displays the list of Takes with corresponding icons.
In this mode, the Override settings are displayed and a selection menu is available at the top with the following options from left to right (exactly what can be selected in Dual Tree Mode):
If this option is enabled, the corresponding element in the Take Manager will be selected if an element in the Object or Material Manager is selected, and vice-versa. This can help give you a better overview of things.
This menu’s settings let you omit specific sections from overrides (e.g., transformations, render settings, etc.), which means nothing more than that changes made to settings are no longer restricted to Takes but are global (no corresponding settings will be grayed out). This is useful, for example, if you only want to affect the visibility of objects in different Takes but keep all other settings modifiable and consistent across all Takes.
The settings made here apply if Auto Take is enabled or disabled.
Note that for each of the Customize Commands Manager options described below commands of the same name are available that can be quickly enabled or disabled via keyboard shortcut.
This mode is enabled by default. If disabled, far-reaching modifications can be made to the Take System: all settings can be modified for the active Take (and each subordinate Take). Settings that were overridden in a previous step can on the other hand not be modified. What is this good for? Let’s say you are working with Take X and create new objects, for example; if you want to modify these objects in the base state you will have to manually switch to the Main Take each time to do so. It would be very practical to switch to this mode temporarily especially since you have the Allow Override command in the Customize Commands Manager, which can be quickly enable or disable this mode with a keyboard shortcut.
This command can also be called up temporarily (e.g., via a hotkey) if you want to modify parameters of nested elements. Imagine a Noise shader in a Filter shader in the material’s Color channel: You normally reach the underlying material layers by clicking on the shader preview images. This does not work for an active Take. You can circumvent this restriction by temporarily calling up this command.
Use these settings to make all or none of the elements/sections available for the Override functionality.
Select these items to enable or disable the respective element for the Override functionality. The Others option includes such items as XPresso nodes or special plugin elements.
This command affects Generator activation (the green check mark in the Object Manager) and the Visible in Editor[Visible in Renderer options (the dots in the Object Manager). These can be enabled or disabled for the Override functionality.
The term ‘transformations’ refers to all settings in the Object tab’s Coordinates fields. This option enables/disables these for the Override functionality.
These include all element settings with the exception of Transformations (Object tab’s Coordinates fields). This option enables/disables these for the Override functionality.
Use these settings to define whether or not separate render cameras or render settings should be defined for the Takes. If disabled, only the Main Take’s render cameras and render settings will be used. Takes can be marked by clicking on the light gray icons at the right of the Takes in the Take Tree (see also Markierung).
The following options are available in the main Cinema 4D menu under Render/Takes.
Use these commands to render all or marked Takes in succession to the Picture Viewer (PV). Note the variable file and path names that can be assigned different names based on the Takes.
Use these commands to render all or marked Takes in succession to the Picture Viewer (PV) using Team Render. Note the variable file and path names that can be assigned different names based on the Takes.
A Take can be assigned any number of User Data, which can then output values and settings in combination with third-party plugins (e.g., render farm plugins) for the Take.
Note that User Data can be saved together with Take presets, which makes it easier to create new Takes in the future.
Creating and managing User Data is principally nothing new and works as described in the Attribute Manager section.