Cinema 4D / BodyPaint 3D Program Documentation Reference Cinema 4D Cinema 4D Prime Attribute Manager
Function available in CINEMA 4D Prime, Visualize, Broadcast, Studio & BodyPaint 3D

How to use the Attribute Manager

Editing

To edit a parameter in the Attribute Manager, do one of the following:

Formulas can be entered into the numeric fields. Values can also be entered for multiple selections of objects. See Formulas for details.

See Creating Keys in the Attribute Manager for information about creating, editing and deleting keyframes in the Attribute Manager.

Navigating the Attribute Manager

Near the top of the Attribute Manager you will find tabs for each parameter group of the selected elements. To display a group’s parameters, click on its tab. The parameters will appear below the tabs, where you can edit them.

To display multiple parameter groups, right-click (Windows) or Shift-click (Mac OS) each group’s tab. To remove a tab from the selection, right-click or Shift-click the tab again. Selected tabs are highlighted with a bright color.

There are further ways to navigate the Attribute Manager:

Scroll bars will appear if there is insufficient display space. To scroll the display space, drag the scroll bars or click in an empty part of the window and drag.

Drag from an empty part in the Attribute Manager to scroll the parameters.

History Buttons

Right-clicking on the navigation arrow will open a menu with the previously displayed elements, which gives you much quicker access to these items.

You will find three history buttons above the parameter group tabs: a left arrow, right arrow and an up arrow. Cinema 4D keeps track of the history of elements already displayed in the Attribute Manager — use these buttons to navigate through them.

Click the left or right arrow button to move back or forward one element in the history respectively.

Click the up arrow button to move up by one hierarchical level. This also works with shaders. For example, suppose you have created a material and loaded the Fusion shader into its color channel. You have also loaded shaders into the Fusion shader itself, i.e., you have shaders within shaders. Using the up arrow button, you can display the settings that are on the next level up.

For tags, this button will adapt to the parameters of the corresponding object.

Filter

Only those parameters containing the term "Clip" are displayed.

Ever get lost in the jungle of parameters in an over-filled Attribute Manager? Try clicking on the search icon on the top-right bar of the Attribute Manager. A specific term can be entered in the field that appears with which the results can be filtered. Only those parameters that contain this term or string will be included in the search results. All terms tucked away in the selection menus will also be included in the search.

Tip:
Special characters such as . or ] are not allowed.

The filter functions across all elements comprehensively, i.e., if a new element is displayed in the Attribute Manager it will also affect the results of the filtered search.

Selecting via double-click

Just because an element’s parameters are displayed in the Attribute Manager it does not necessarily mean that object is currently selected. This can occur, for example, if the Attribute Manager is locked. Double-clicking an element’s icon at the top left of the Attribute Manager will automatically select that element in the corresponding Manager window. The following elements can be selected using this method:

Simultaneous Editing of Parameters

From top to bottom: Initial state; +Ctrl-key, all values will be applied to the selected parameter; +Ctrl + Shift-keys all parameters will be changed relatively

Parameters of the same type can simultaneously be set to the same value. Simply select all four parameters (select the first and Shift+click on the last) and, while simultaneously pressing the Ctrl-key, either drag the slider or click one of the small arrows belonging to the respective value. You can also enter the new value manually and subsequently press Ctrl+RETURN.

This also works for the option fields (select the respective options and change them all simultaneously with Ctrl+click) and text fields (select several text fields, enter text into only one of them and subsequently Ctrl+RETURN).

If several values should be changed relatively at the same time, press Shift+Ctrl while changing the values.

Resetting parameters: As long as a change of values has not yet been confirmed (slider has not yet been released; the mouse button has not been released; the RETURN-key has not yet been pressed after entering a value) its initial state can be reset by pressing the Esc-key.

Setting parameters Back to Default Value

Right-click on one of the arrows to set a parameter value back to its default value (the value upon creation of the element). Simultaneously pressing the Ctrl-key set multiple selections back to their default value.

If you want to set parameters such as selection menus, option value fields, colors, gradients, etc. back to their default value, right-click on the parameter and select Reset to Default from the menu that appears.

Reset all to Default

Sets all values currently displayed in the Attribute Manager tab back to their default values for the selected objects, i.e., the values that are defined when an object has been newly created.

Attribute Manager.>

Imbedded parameters of linked elements

Access the Noise settings via the Texture tag’s parameters.

Right-clicking on the black arrow next to linked parameters will display the linked element’s properties (double-clicking the linked field will display that parameter exclusively), which can also be modified here. This very practical functionality saves you from having to search through various manager windows in order to find the desired parameter.

List

Two options are available for initiating the selection process.

Lists (e.g., Selection object or Light object (Include/Exclude)) offer the following context menu:

All elements that contain lists (e.g., Selection object or Light object (Include/Exclude)) have a context-sensitive menu (select and right-click on an item in the list):

Selection process for link fields

For every link field, a selection process can be initiated by clicking on the circular arrow button at the right of the field (or by selecting the Start Pick Session option from the dialog menu). All you then have to do is select the corresponding element (e.g., object, material, tag, layer, etc.) in the Viewport or Manager. When selected, the element will automatically be placed into the link field.

To start the selection process, click on the arrow button. One of the following steps will end selection process:

You can also double-click on an object in the list to display its properties in the Attribute Manager.

Menu Button

This interface element is a combination of selection menu and command button. Click on the left part to execute the command, which in turn can be selected by clicking on the right end of the button.

Function Graphs

Here you will learn how to use Cinema 4D’s function graphs. A function graph defines how a value or parameter falls off over a certain distance.

There are many places in Cinema 4D where you can define a custom function graph. For example, you can define a function graph for the Bevel tool, Sweep object and Spline Deformer object.

In the image above, for example, the Scale setting for a Sweep object was defined via a Spline curve. For a Sweep object, the Y coordinate represents the scale (i.e. the assigned parameter) and the X coordinate the Spline length (for other objects known as the distance from the origin).

Ctrl+Click on the graph to create each point.

Editing the Function Graphs has been adapted to the Timeline’s F-Curves.

You can select multiple Spline points by

Selected Spline points can be deleted by pressing the Del.

Each Spline point (can be defined via the Interpolation option) has a tangent that defines the curve in proximity to the point. The tangent can be adjusted by clicking on and dragging the handles at each of its ends.

Moving the tangent’s handles can be combined with the following keys:

For each of these three functions you will find a corresponding option below that lets you define the function permanently for each Spline point.

Other hotkeys also work, such as 0 (Zero Angle) or L (Zero Length).

By double-clicking on a Spline point you can define its Y value directly in the Function Graph.

The graphs can, of course, also be moved as a whole using the mouse. To do so, simply grab the curve outside of a curve point.

For the portion of the Function Graph that is displayed you can use the hotkeys 1 to move, 2 to scale or the center mouse button to zoom into the graph. If the Function Graph is displayed too small you can click on the Show in Separate Window button below to open a free-floating, scalable window in which to view the Function Graph.

If you click on the small triangle to the right of the Function Graph’s name, several additional settings will be made available.

Point X/Y

The coordinates of a selected point will be displayed. These coordinates can be modified here.

Lock X/Y

Locks selected points to their current axis values.

Interpolation

Here you can select the interpolation type (curve shape) for selected points through to the next point:

If you right-click on the Function Graph window a context menu will open from which you can select numerous additional settings from the Point Types menu.

Tangent Left / Right X / Y

Here you can define the tangent end points numerically.

The following 4 options let you define properties for each point individually:

Break Tangent

If enabled, the left and right tangents can be modified independently of each other.

Keep Visual Angle

If enabled, the angle between left and right tangents remain constant while the other tangent is being modified (as far as possible), i.e., the other tangent will move accordingly.

Lock Angle

If enabled, only the tangent length can be modified.

Lock Length

If enabled, tangents can only be rotated around their origin.

Show in Separate Window

The Function Graph will be opened in a separate, scalable window. This window can, for example, be scaled to fill your screen for very fine tuning of the graph.

Load Preset

Save Preset

Spline presets can be saved for later use.

These commands can be used to save and load Spline curves. Saved Spline presets will be saved to the Content Browser under Presets / User / Spline Preset as a library (user.lib4d in the corresponding user directory; this is where most other presets are also saved).

Selecting the Save Preset command will open a small dialog window in which the preset name and other information can be defined.

Note that the Spline curves can only be loaded using the Load Preset command and cannot be dragged and dropped from the Content Browser. Clicking on Load Preset will open a small selection window from which presets can be loaded.

Context Menu

Right-clicking on the Function Graph window (when Type is set to User) will open a context menu with the following options:

Frame All

If you zoomed in to a specific region, this command will display the complete Spline Curve, including points.

Frame Selected

All selected curve points will be displayed at maximum possible size.

Frame Min / Max

If you zoomed in to a specific location, this command will display the entire Function Graph.

Enable Snap

If enabled, spline points will snap to the grid.

Lines Min / Max

Minimum and maximum Y curve values will be displayed as dashed lines.

Move Curves

If enabled, you can click exactly on the Spline Curve and drag the complete curve (if not enabled only if all points are selected).

Rolling Curve

If enabled, the curve (if moved horizontally as a whole) can be moved to the left or right via the function graph. Points that are pushed outside of the graph will re-appear on the opposite side.

Link End Tangents

Picture the first and last points melted to a single point. If enabled, this option creates an unbroken tangent pair, i.e., both tangents lie exactly opposite of each other on the same plane. This is often necessary for functions in which beginning an end transition into each other – for example a Sweep object with a closed Spline. Without this option enabled, a kink would appear where beginning and end meet.

Link End Positions

If enabled, spline start and end points will always lie at the same height.

Zero X / Y (Tangent)

Sets the X or Y section of the tangent to zero. This will produce a vertical or horizontal tangent, respectively.

Reset

Sets an existing curve on a linearly ascending one with a start and end point.

Spline Presets

Here you can select from several preset Spline shapes, which will generate multiple spline points upon selection.

For Formula, see Formula.... Spline shapes can be defined via a formula that you type in.

Point Types

Here you can select from several tangent types for the selected points. This is explained with text and image examples here. These apply for both F-Curve points as well as for spline points.

Set to Maximum / Minimum

Existing curves will be converted to a straight line at Maximum (Y=1) and Minimum (Y=0), respectively. All tangents will then run horizontally.

Mirror Horizontal X/Y

These commands mirror existing curves along a straight line that runs through Y=0.5 (horizontal mirror) and X=0.5 (vertical mirror) (each straight lines through the center of the Graph).

Function Graphs can also be copied and pasted to other objects / tools: right-click on the Function Graph name and select Copy. At the location at which the Graph should be inserted, right-click and select Paste from the context menu.

Tip:
When opening older scenes (prior to Cinema 4D R13), a compatibility mode will be used so the scene looks identical in the new software version. "Read-Only compatibility Mode" will be displayed in the Function Graph. As soon as you Ctrl/Cmd+click on the Function Graph an attempt will be made to recreate the curve as accurately as possible. Minor differences may result.

Color Gradients

To access additional gradient parameters, click the triangle next to the gradient.

The knots or handles below the gradient are used to set the color and position of colors in the gradient. To add a knot, click in an empty area below the gradient and a knot of the color at that position will be added. To remove a knot, Drag & drop it away from the gradient. To change the color of a knot, double-click it and use the Color Chooser (alternatively you can select a knot and open the Color Chooser using the triangle) that opens to pick the desired color. The diamond shapes on the gradient are bias handles and these pull the interpolation of the color knots from side to side for more control over how the gradient changes.

Interpolation

Cubic Knots

Interpolates the knots with a CatMull - Rom interpolation while using the bias handles to offset the interpolated value (good for several knots).

Cubic Bias

Uses a Bezier interpolation algorithm to interpolate between the knot previous to the sample point, a weighted bias to the left, a weighted bias to the right, and the knot to the right of the sample position (good for few knots and accurate control).

Smooth Knot

Uses a SmoothStep function to weight an interpolation between the knot to the left of the sample point and the knot to the right of the sample point. It uses the bias handles to offset the interpolated value.

Linear Knot

Uses a BoxStep function to weight an interpolation between the knot to the left of the sample point and the knot to the right of the sample point. It uses the bias handles to offset the interpolated value.

Linear

Linear falloff/growth between the knots. No bias handles.

Exponent Up/Down

Exponential gain/loss between knots. No bias knots.

None

Uses the color of the knot to the left of the sample point.

Pos

The position of the currently selected knot or bias handle on the gradient. You can type a value into the box or drag the up/down arrows at the right to move the currently selected knot or bias handle.

Intensity

A measurement for the intensity of the currently selected knot.

For several color gradients if used as control element (especially with PyroCluster), the following are also available:

Edit Alpha

Enable this option to edit the color gradient’s alpha channel.

Show Result

Shows the color gradient including its alpha channel. This color gradient will in fact be used in the scene.

Load Preset
Save Preset

Using these commands, gradients can be loaded or saved as presets. Saved Gradient presets will be saved in the Content Browser in the Presets / User/Gradient Preset library (user.lib4d in the corresponding user directory; this is where most presets are saved). Selecting the Save Preset command will open a small dialog window in which the preset’s name and other information can be defined.

Note that presets can only be loaded using this Load Presets button and not via drag & drop from the Content Browser. Clicking on the Load Preset button will open a small dialog window in which the desired preset can be selected.

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Collaboration with the Color Chooser

Colors or color fields can be dragged directly into a gradient. The following functions are available:

  • An individual color or color field can be dragged onto a knot or bias know and the color will be replaced and the bias knot will be converted into a normal knot. If a color or color field is dragged onto an emtpy area of the gradient, a new knot will be created.
  • If you drag multiple color fields into the gradient, a gradient consisting of all these colors will be created and all existing knots will be replaced.

Context menu for gradients

To access the context menu for gradients, right-click (Windows) or Command-click (Mac OS) the gradient. You will find three commands on this menu.

Invert Knots: reverses the direction of the gradient.

Double Knots: doubles the number of Knots.

Distribute Knots: Sets the Knots to uniform distances apart.

Reset: Removes all Knots.

The Attribute Manager’s context menu

To access the Attribute Manager’s context menu, right-click (Windows) or Command-click (Mac OS) a parameter or click and hold on a keyframe button. Using the commands on the context menu, you can record keyframes, create set driven keys and much more. Animate without ever looking at the Timeline!

Animation

Add Keyframe

Records keyframes for the selected parameters at the current frame (as indicated by the time slider). Alternatively, Ctrl-click the circle next to one of the selected parameters’ names.

Next Keyframe, Previous Keyframe

Moves the time slider to the next/previous keyframe (if present) for the selected parameters.

Delete Keyframe

Deletes all of the selected parameters’ keyframes at the current frame. Alternatively, Shift-click the red circle next to one of the selected parameters’ names.

Each parameter with a filled red circle next to its name has a keyframe at the current frame.

Add Track

Creates tracks for the selected parameters.

Copy Track, Paste Track

Use these commands to copy tracks between parameters. First, select the parameters whose tracks you want to copy. Choose Copy Track. Next, select the parameters that should receive the tracks and choose Paste Track.

Delete Track

Deletes all tracks of the selected parameters. Alternatively, Ctrl-Shift-click the circle next to one of the selected parameters’ names.

Show Track

Shows all animation tracks of the selected parameters in the Timeline.

Show F-Curve

Shows all F-Curves of the selected parameters in the F-Curve manager in the Timeline.

Add Keyframe Selection

To create a keyframe selection, select several parameters and choose Add Keyframe Selection. The selected parameter names will be colored to indicate that they belong to the keyframe selection. When you use Cinema 4D’s Autokeying mode, only parameters in the keyframe selection will be recorded (provided their values actually change).

For example, if you define the color of a light as a keyframe selection, the subchannels will be highlighted, not the light itself. The same applies to all parameters that have subchannels.

Remove Keyframe Selection

Removes the selected parameters from the keyframe selection.

Clear Keyframe Selection

Deletes all keyframe selections for the selected objects.

Set Driver, Set Driven

Using these commands, you can create set driven keys directly in the Attribute Manager without having to open the XPresso Editor. A set driven key uses one parameter to drive (i.e. control) another parameter. For example, you might use a set driven key to make a car’s electric windows wind down when a character presses the switches. Almost any type of set-driven relationship is possible, making it easier to manage complex motions or objects.

For example, let’s say you have two objects, a cube and a sphere, and you want the cube to always be at the same x-position as the sphere. Proceed as follows:


  1. Select the sphere in the Object Manager
  2. Enable the Position.Y parameter in the AO Manager, then right-click on the parameter
  3. Select Set Driver from the menu that appears
  4. Repeat steps 1-3 with the cube but select Set Driven (Absolute) in step 3.

Done. Cinema 4D will automatically generate three nodes in the Node Editor: Sphere and cube, whose Position.Y parameters are linked via the Range Mapper Node. Using the Range Mapper (see Calculate (Group)) values within a certain range can be passed to values within other ranges (e.g., a brightness of 0-100 to a Position.Y range value of 34-2387).

Set driven keys also enable you to drive object parameters using your own sliders. To learn how to create your own sliders, look up User Data in the index.

Set Driven (Absolute), Set Driven (Relative)

With Absolute, the driven parameter uses exactly the same value as the driver. For example, if one object drives the height of another, the driven object will move to exactly the same height as the driver.

Relative, on the other hand, only passes on relative changes from the driver to the driven parameter. For example, if the driver object is moved up 10 units in relative mode, the driven object also moves up 10 units from wherever it happens to be in the scene. Suppose the driver object has an initial height of Y=1,000 and the driven object an initial height of Y=0. If you move the driver object to a height of 1,050 (a change of 50 units), the driven object also moves up 50 units, to Y=50.

Create Script

Use this command to create C.O.F.F.E.E. scripts that define specific parameter values. All parameters selected in the Attribute Manager will be output as C.O.F.F.E.E. scripts in the Script Manager.

This code can also be used in other scripts. For example, defining parameter values as a type of tool preset. Another use would be for the Render Settings: Select the desired parameters, execute the Create Script command and place this script (see Script Manager) in the form of a command somewhere into the layout. This lets you create Render Settings with a single click (if you prefer not to use the Render Settings menu).

Edit Entry

If you have used the Attribute Manager’s Add User Data command (User Data / Add User Data) to create your own sliders or other GUI elements, use Edit Entry to edit these GUI elements. For example, you can change the minimum and maximum values for sliders.

Remove Entry

To delete a slider or other GUI element that you have created, select the element and choose Remove Entry.

Additional Parameters

This sub-menu appears when only one parameter is selected. It allows you to adjust the parameter’s interface. For an existing parameter, you usually have a choice between a numeric text box (Float), a slider (Float Slider — No Edit Field) or a combination of both (Float Slider).

To control the minimum and maximum values of user-defined sliders, choose the Edit Entry command and in the dialog that appears, set Min and Max to the desired values.

The values entered here will be saved and applied as default values to each object.

Example: You define Integer Slider for Subdivision Editor for a Subdivision Surface object. When a new Subdivision Surface object is created, this setting will apply to it as well.

Show Subchannels

Some elements, such as color fields, can also be displayed numerically.

Copy User Data Interface

Parameters displayed in the Attribute Manager for various objects, tags, etc., can be copied via right-click and selecting the Copy User Data Interface command and pasted (context menu) as User Data for any object that is displayed in the Attribute Manager (see also User Data)

Copy, Paste

Use these commands to copy values between parameters. Select the parameters whose values you want to copy. Choose Copy. Next, select the parameters that should receive the copied values and choose Paste.

Identical

Suppose there are two cylinders in the scene. You select one of the cylinders, select its Radius and Height parameters in the Attribute Manager and choose Copy to copy the two values. If you then select the other cylinder and choose Paste Identical, the two values will be pasted to the same parameters — Height and Radius — regardless of which parameters are currently selected. This is in contrast to the Paste command, which pastes to the selected parameters.

Reset to Default

This command sets all selected parameters back to their default values (i.e. the values they had upon creation).

Select All, Deselect All

Select or deselect all parameters.

Load Data, Save Data

The Save Data command enables you to save the values of the selected parameters. This is especially useful for saving complex spline graphs.

To add a spline graph as user data, in the Attribute Manager choose User Data / Add User Data and in the dialog that opens, set Data Type to Spline and click OK. The spline graph appears below the existing parameters.

To load saved data, select the parameters that should receive the data and choose Load Data. Use your system’s file selector to choose the data file. The saved data and the selected parameters must be of the same data type. For example, you cannot load real values into parameters whose data types are set to Integer.

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Override

This and the next menu item will only be made available if a Take other than the Main Take is selected in the Object Manager. Selecting this command will let the respective setting be overridden. Alternatively (note also using the Override function for overriding settings) the setting can simply be dragged and dropped into the Take Manager.

Details about the Take system can be found here.

Remove Override

This command cancels the override of the current take and will re-apply the settings of the parent Take.

Add To HUD

Adds the selected parameters to the HUD. For a description of the HUD, look up HUD.