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Chris Schmidt’s Favorite Cinema 4D Tips and Shortcuts 71 Comments

This video is full of Chris Schmidt’s favorite tips, tricks, and workflow enhancements for Cinema 4D! Add your favorite tips to the comments.

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This is a friendly community. Please treat everyone with respect. We don't all have to agree, but we do have to be nice. Criticism is fine, but rude comments and name calling will be deleted. Use your real name and don't be spammy. Thanks for adding to the conversation.


  1. Thanks for this Chris 🙂 I love shortcuts, can dramatically speed up the workflow!
    ALT+G it’s always been fundamental to me, not only to make groups but by using is as a “folder” so that everything is stored in a clean way and all is in the right place.

  2. Ravian

    Nice tips&tricks video Chris, I really like to drop to floor plugin ;D Thx for that, ‘ve been craving for that since I started using C4D.


  3. Nice one Chris! I apreciate workflow tutorials with shortcuts and handy plugins. They never cover those in the manual!

  4. Really thanks! will save a lot of time!! I’ll begin creating my own pallets now!

    just one question, can you assign a shortcut to a command like: Delete track_animation_rigth click from an animated property?? it would be really really useful..

    thanks for the tips!

  5. Another good tip I picked up somewhere is that C4D understands metric and imperial measurements and can convert between them.

    For instance by default I have my measurements set to centimetres, but if you type ‘1 ft’ it understands and converts to 30.48 cm.

  6. These tutorials are all informative, but I would love to see some “Real World” example tutorials.

    • Omar Gonzáles Díaz

      Yeap! Animation of characters would be great! I dont know anything about that ;(

    • i agree i really enjoyed the light bulb tutorial based off of a mtv ident, long one, but a great one!

  7. Oliver

    Man, just killer tipps. I love it, thanx a lot for sharing.

    Is there a way to export my custom c4d settings (shortcuts, workspace, etc.) and import/use it on a different machine (e.g. agency jobs in house)?

    • Go to Window > Customisation > Save Layout As…

      The layout will be saved as a .l4d file that can be opened on any machine

  8. You can deselect a Selection tag by cmd/ctrl + clicking on the tag. It’s faster since otherwise you’ll have to select the object again (like Chris did). It saves you seconds and minutes and hours 🙂

  9. rovino

    CS – whooot! Tuesdays are fun again!

    Listening to your tutorials we can hear the energy and enjoyment you get from working with this software.. its addictive.

    Reset PSR = FTW… that has got to be one of the best nuggets of information I’ve ever gleamed from any tutorial in the history of tutorials, evah. I’m telling everyone I know even, my mailman.

  10. some more essential Object Manager Icons for me :
    – Delete ( Bin Icon)
    – Current State to Object
    – Connect Objects and Delete
    – Show all Open Projects
    – Add Xpresso / Protection / Restriction Tag ( takes a script to set up : )

    main(doc, op)
    var cTag = AllocTag(Texpresso);
    doc->AddUndo(UNDO_TAG_NEW, cTag);

    If you’re looking for the Icons ; you can find them ready-for-use in the Images Folder of the Python SDK ( )


  11. Godmil

    Brilliant tips, thanks so much.
    I want to get brutal with my main pallet, like instead of having a drop down for all the selection types, I just want to have the live selection and rectangle selection… I’ve added those, but I have no idea how to delete the one I don’t want. Any suggestions?

    • Chris Schmidt

      Double click any icon while in ” edit pallet” mode!

      • Godmil

        Brilliant, Thanks so much. Can’t believe I’ve been using C4D professionally for 2 years now, and never organised my tools.

  12. I keep a Null Object button at the top of my pallets, next to the trusty scroll to fist active. There as well for creating nulls free of hierarchy.

    Some one posted a tip in the modelling tutorial last time that I did not know thats super handy, cmd (or crate) and dragging a face extrudes it; realllllly handy.

  13. Oh i have a question, this would speed me massively. Is there a duplicate object command?

    Scrolling to first active them command dragging it to duplicate it is a right pain (and I usually drop it into the wrong hierarchy). would be good to just keep moving in the editor window.

    • Jon Draper

      Drag out from object using CMD creates a copy….
      There’s also ‘duplicate’ in the customize commands window, but it’s under modelling so not sure if that’s of use?

      • Benjamin

        Ctrl dragging! Eegad, that saved my life! Thank you!

  14. Great Tut! 🙂

    I assigned shortcuts to the selection-modes, wich is really powerful once you get used to it. “Optemize” is another function wich should have a short cut in my opinion! 😉 …oh and don’t forget the “chess”-button, always helpful for boring working-houres. ;D

    Cheers, Fabian

    • stupid optimise button. Should not need to press it! (apart from actually when optimising). Why would I ever want invisible points for geometry I have removed (well there are some reallllllly niche ideas in my head but also utterly pointless).

      The other time i use optimize is the attach the ends of cylinder to the actually cylinder, now thats a strange one….

      • Jepp, optimize shouldn’t be necessary, but well it unfortunately is. :/
        I hope Maxon is improving the general modelling-workflow even further in the next releases. With R13 they defenitly did some steps in the right direction imo. 🙂

  15. Thanks a lot! Very useful.

    Could you please make a video explaining the tools that Cinema has for exact measurements?
    For example to measure distances between objects, align or position objects in relation to other objects or points.
    I’m aware of some of the tools that are available for this but I can’t really understand them clearly.

  16. Sebastiaan

    My custom Shortcuts I think everyone should use (as of R11.5 on MacOSX):
    – 1: enable 3d snapping
    – 2: disable snapping
    – 3: render view
    – Shift+C: Select all children
    – Shift+D: Connect and Delete
    – Shift+1: Model tool
    – Shift+2: Axis tool
    – Shift+3: point mode
    – Shift+4: edge mode
    – Shift+5: polygon mode
    – ctrl+S: Set Selection

    I use these all the time in conjunction with the provided shortcuts. It gets really annoying sometimes to watch a colleague work while not using any shortcuts at all… Work faster dammit! Faster!

  17. n49o7

    If you customize your layout, make sure you don’t include the Content Browser (as a tab for example). Including it in the Startup Layout results in very long startup times.

  18. Admin

    Thx for the excellent tips, Chris. I got 2 additional questions:

    1) How can i remove single customized icons from my layout?

    2) Is there a way to save some materials in my startup layout?

    • Sebastiaan

      1) double click on them (r13) or drag them to a new palette and close that one. Then save your layout.
      2) make a scene with your default settings for options and any materials/ objects and save it as either new.c4d or template.c4d into the user folder. New is for each new document. Template for the startup scene.

  19. Wow Chris u’re my hero ! How could I live without drop to floor !! Very nice tips ! Thanks again and again… 😉

  20. Please note that the R12 camera display names are different to R13. Can someone clarify this for R12?

  21. Another tip. If you have the Drop to floor plugin it would be much easier to use if you assign it a shortcut, may be alt+F which is free by default.

  22. Mariusz

    What a great and usefull tips. Thanks a lot for sharing your knowledge.

  23. thanks Chris!!
    very helpful. love the Rest PSR. every time I bring in AI artwork i have to set it back to zero.

  24. Hi Nick and Chris! These are extremely helpful little tricks! By the way: Does anyone know if it’s possible to make one of these buttons out of a tag? I would love to have a quick little button to add a protecting-tag onto a object in the object manager.

    • Oh! I forgot: what I noticed, when I opened the R13 version: Where is the modelling layout?

  25. “alt Q” for the light is not working on my iMac with wireless keyboard.

  26. What s the name of the plugin you are using o „zero out” the objects in Cinema, the one with the „0 PSR” icon ? It looks really useful.

  27. Richie Henson

    Is it possible to add explanatory notes/comments to objects in the Objects Menu? This would be useful when someone else takes over your job and needs to know exactly what is going on with each object.

    • Moritz

      You can use the doodle function (Help->Show Help..) or cleaner:
      Select the object, choose in the ‘User Data’ tab ‘Add User Data…’,
      set the ‘Data Type…’ to String and the ‘Interface…’ to Multi-Line String.
      If you want, you can also add this to the editor view panel by right clicking on the new
      data an choosing ‘Add to HUD’. You can place it while holding Ctrl.
      You also can animate this text to get different comments on different parts of the animation.

  28. Scroll to First Active is gonna save my life. Thanks, Chris. I have been hunting for layers for the longest time and it feels like searching for a needle in a haystack sometimes.

  29. Hi Chris!

    Awesome as always.
    But: I have a problem.

    Since I installed OS Maverick, the shortcuts 1, 2 & 3 don’t work!!
    Have searched the internet but didn’t find any solution.
    Was in R13.

    Now I’ve got R15 working but still: no navigation through 1, 2 & 3.
    Any idea’s?


    • Jon Draper

      Pretty sure its with the W,E,R keys … as it was similar but not the same setup as 3DS Max.

  30. Jon Draper

    thanks for these… Just making a custom shortcut for going back to default camera is awesome. Coming from 3ds Max where you can just press ‘P’ to goto perspective mode… I found it very frustrating having to do a few mouse clicks so this is great. I’d already changed shortcuts for a few other standard scene controls move; Select (Q) Move (W) Rotate (E) Scale (R). This plus some mouse changes and I’m all set.

    Thank you. Drop to floor and the 0 null stuff is also a superb time saver… unlike writing this which is obviously me doing my best to avoid work 🙂

  31. kevin

    Hi,please if you can please help with a tutorial… im trying to make an animation of a scoop dipping and scooping ice cream .. the ice cream must collect on the scoop and evidence must remain on the surface showing that scoops have been removed… thanks

  32. marsio

    Hello do you now where can find the set driver command in R13

  33. Mike Kelly

    Hey guys,

    I’m a huge fan of GSG and am recently going thru the tutorials.

    Quick ques, is there a keyboard command to move an object up and down thru the obj manager? Kinda like how you can move a layer up/down in pShop?

    Sorry if this was already mentioned.
    Thanks in advance!!!

  34. This is awesome, great tips!!!

    I have been looking for a plug-in or ways to do selections like I can in Wings3D… the favorite is IDENTICAL which selects identical selections to the current selection. Any way to do this in Cinema?

  35. harsha

    how to copy the key frames bones and paste to a character


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Comment Rules

This is a friendly community. Please treat everyone with respect. We don't all have to agree, but we do have to be nice. Criticism is fine, but rude comments and name calling will be deleted. Use your real name and don't be spammy. Thanks for adding to the conversation.