Intro to Modeling in Cinema 4D Part 1: Selections

October 4, 2011

In my introduction to modeling series we begin here with the basics of selecting points, polys, and edges. Covers selection tags, shortcuts, and some personal tips. Warmup for moving onto some modeling tools, making sure everyone has the fundamentals before moving on. Next one will be slightly more exciting, I promise.

Learn More about Greyscalegorilla’s newest primate, Chris Schmidt

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  • Hey Chris Schmidt Thank you so much, its really useful for beginners. 🙂

  • ARG i want to watch this but im busy with a render maybe ill watch it when rendering is done.
    BTW i like your work i had a good laugh at live demo at chicago. 😛

  • Great ! Great ! Great !

  • thank you for posting this and look forward to the next one…i am just starting out with modeling after graduating from simply mo text.
    would love to see a tut on how to model a human head and face. been scouring the web for a week now and there is nothing specific to c4d.

    • Chris,
      check out the help>show tutorials. There is tuts on modeling a human + lots more useful tutorials on modeling.

      @Chris Schmidt Looking forward to this series. Thanks!

      • Yea,

        The help section has numerous tutorials located within it. Even having used C4D for years now I still find myself crossreferencing the help doc just to remember things. I will say that the edge flow used is not necessarily “Pro” but def gets you going. Many houses would be using Mudbox or ZBrush to produce organics in the long run. The ability to retopo and have versatile meshes just makes it more suitable. But just like you I searched and searched only finally discovering it in the help doc and progressing towards a decent workflow from there. There is also a video guide on Digital Tutors that gives step by step videos on how to compose a character much like the same style of the help doc. If you wish to get into a more realistic realm you can check out Vertex-Pusher tutorials as well. They go over the whole process of composing a model and rigging a model in the traditional sense. Really good info located within that series.



      • thank you, bret and colin.i didnt even think of going into help DUHHHHHH. lol

    • I’d highly recommend checking out everything you can find by Glen Southern
      Not C4D specific (his tutorials are mostly for Silo) but most of what you learn will be transferable to Cinema.
      Can’t think of a better person to learn organic box modelling from 🙂

    • can you help modeling my project
      mike howe.

  • Thanks Chris! If you read this, four words:

    R13 Character Tutorials PPPPPLEEEAASSSEE!!! 😀

  • great, looking forward to future videos 🙂

  • Brilliant, thanks so much for this, Chris 🙂

    Off to build a frankly dreadful spaceship.

  • This is a really great series, and I hope you guys will continue with it. I know I have had a tendency to put the cart before the horse in C4D and try to do things I don’t really have the foundation for. There’s a good balance of approachability and thoroughness here in the teaching style, and I think it’s a great resource for those of us who are looking to improve on the building blocks in addition to “making cool shit,” as Nick likes to say. Both are important!

  • jaj ! cant w8 for the next one (:

  • very helpfull tut Dear Chris,thank u very much for this.
    when u have a time please tell me;
    how can I add material to object with selection tags and also What else can I do with selection tag?

    Thanks again for this great tutorial,
    I love yours tut,I will follow you Chris 😉

    • Omar Gonzáles Díaz October 4, 2011 at 8:48 pm

      Hey i have the same question. I can put hair on a selection (of polygones) but not matirials. For ex, I wanted to do Teeth to a character, but i couldn with the selection tag (put a white matirial on it).

      I ended up making a copy of the hole head, selecting the polygones and deleting the rest of it. Then i applied the white matirial for the teeth. Any suggestions?

      • Hey guys! Super simple. Add you material to the object, click the new texture tag and drag the new selection tag into “Selection”

        Also you can just select a few polys, then drop the material onto the object directly in the viewport. It makes the selection tag for you!


  • Chris, I opened up greyscalegorilla to see if there were any new tutorials. To my amazement I saw the title “Intro to modelling..”
    I can not thank you enough for this tutorial but more importantly the future upcoming hopefully more advanced tutorials! I can not wait! Thanks.

  • as I see your tut, i’m sure that you are not a great modeler, or better say, you are not so in the theme of modeling.

    when you make selections f.e. by points be aware of to use the orthografic views more and not the perspective.

    a big point you missed is the “only select visible elements” to activate or to diactivate it!

    To become a great modeler you have to use maya or max, they are years ahead in functionality. c4d is more a “clickyclicky” software.
    When I see a lot of tuts here at greybignick, I often asked myself what are you doing to get a more proper scene of the project. It always starts at the modeling part. Otone: ok lets start with a sphere with 36 segments!! there is no need for it in case later you are using a hypernurbs.

    try for example “sidefx houdini 11”, for 99bucks the apprentice version. The only thing is that you cant use it in an commercial manner. But you get a professional piece of software, which everybody can afford and start learning the real bizz, relying on a node base system.

    btw, c4d is a german software, so the germans do better in building mercedes and porsches, quite sure they dont use cinema 4D for their cars. :-).

    • I agree, I’ve tried modelling with C4D and it’s really not that good at modelling compared to other packages. Maya is a lot easier to get nice results when it comes to modelling, but C4D is easier to get a nice render more easily.

    • Well… if you dislike C4D and the tutorials so much, why are you here? Shouldn’t you be off building superior things in Maya and Max? Totally unnecessary comment.

    • Im pretty sure “” was already taken before he started his blog. Now you’re just confusing people with random sites.

      Also Germans make really good Chocolate cake too, I happen to know you can do that in c4d as well. just check out Al Heck at

      I do however agree on 1 comment you made regarding “only select visible elements” however in v.13 the first letter of every word should be capitalized. so I think you need to double check your references. that is all..

  • nice combination, chris teach us how to model, and nick teach us how to make it look great 😀

  • Thanks so much, I really injoyed this turtorial:) Looking forward to the next.
    Greetings for Denmark

  • Quick Tip

    You can hold (Alt+Ctrl) Key When you navigation in C4D r13 to back in old mood for C4D r12

  • What! not HRDI balls, whats going on here? This is where everyone who uses cinema should start, not just because a bit of hard surface modelling is a fundamental 3d skill, but it will introduce people properly to the concepts of working in a 3d space.

    One of my biggest c4d irritations happens when you delete faces, it leaves the points without any geometry, very messy. Have to optimise each time to get rid. WHY!

  • This is useful and exciting… Best to get a good foundation!

  • Wasn’t going to watch this as it is covering the basics and didn’t think I would learn anything. Popped it on anyways during my morning coffee and found it to be a great refresher with some useful tips. Great pace and really liking Chros’s tut style.

  • This helped me out a lot. I took your advice in shortcuts and its becoming habit for me now. I find my muscle memory kicking in when using keys like U +L/P/S. Killer tut Chris!

  • thank you Cris!! I jumped to Cinema couple weeks ago from Maya. and this basic things that you talking about are very usefull for me. its really speed up my learning process. thank you so much!
    from Russia with best regards! :)))

  • Great site NIck! just started using Cinema 4d & really like the results. But for some reason seem to be missing a few tools in Mograph any help would be much appreciated thanks.

    • what version are you using? if you’re pre v.12 you had to buy c4d in modules if I remember correctly.. but if youre 12 and higher. then you need to make sure you have the right version of c4d.. broadcast and studio.. I think were the only ones that came with Mograph options. So my question is..which on are you using? and what tools do you feel you are missing?

  • im new to 3d and I’ve been watching some tutorials in which the teacher is using r11, however I am using r13 and im having a problem.

    in the video when he selects the circle to scale it the entire frame highlights. like this:

    however when i select the circle it does not… making it very hard to see the lines on top of the image. like this:

    can anyone point me in the right direction?


    • You could try going to preferences/scheme colours/editor colours and editing the ‘shaded wire’ colour to something lighter.


    • You could ask Tim Clapham directly, I’m pretty sure that’s from one of his tuts and hes really good at responding to class questions.

  • What about a “lighting tech serie” on how to use GSG Light Setup. I mean i know how set options, but how photographers use light?
    How can i get my best on every object?

    • Hmm did you go through all of nick’s training stuff on vimeo? I know to me, there seemed to be a ton of coverage on that.. I still haven’t gone through it all.

  • CS: at the very beginning says you typically will model everything from a cube (Im paraphrasing here.) but he is SO RIGHT!!! I mean here is my example of modeling a sphere from cube..

    Rock On!!

  • Hey Chris, great idea for a tutorial series. I can’t wait to see what the next installments bring!

  • Just wanted to point out that you can press the V key and get a floating menu with very useful shortcuts.

  • great.. its amazing how so many tutorial videos miss this very important step on showing the bare basics.. this was great thanks so much!

  • Brilliant tutorial – thanks so much, I’m very new to Cinema 4D but am finding these really useful.

    Is there anyway of tagging your tutorials to show which level of C4D is required as I’m only on Prime so it would be great to know which lessons are possible for me to get stuck into and which aren’t?

    Thanks again!

  • Awesome introduction to C4D’s selection tools.

  • Hey, I’m new to modeling in cinema and might seem like the dumbest question, but whenever I mouse over anything (with the live selection tool) it turns white. This is so annoying, I tried looking for a preference option for this and couldn’t find it. Any Help?

  • Thank you for this, Chris. I’m a beginner in 3d and I’m really only interested in stills to export to Photoshop (specifically, modeling text and humans to make photos from) and this is going to save me beaucoup time.

  • Thank you so much for this! I’m brushing up on my 3D skills for its been a while since I used Blender. Now I’m trying C4D out of curiosity. I was struggling so much with the selection tools (yes, yes, different program, different commands, etc.) and this video helped a lot! And also, good job in keeping it interesting and being informative all the way!

  • ey man seriusly thank a lot. Great tutorials.

  • Chris,

    How would you insert an edge loop, for example, or make distinct subdivisions?

  • Hi folks, hopefully someone is still keep a eye on this discussion!
    Awsome Tutorial by the way.
    My issue is at the very beginning of you explanations, when i change the amount of segments to have more. Well it simply doesnt do anything.. i tryed 3x3x3 that cube is stil opac and grey.. no segments i dont understand. i’ve looking everywhere for that the same problem.. cant find nothing.
    thanks ahead for your time


  • Thank you for this awesome tutorial, learned more in 25 minutes than I learned in a few nights.

  • I see this thread is pretty aged, if someone is reading, can you either answer, or let me know where is more appropriate to post?
    Just a small question.
    When using the selection tool, is there a preferences/view setting that can shut off display of the little circle that floats around the tip of the cursor?

  • please guys. anyone who can help me with a tutorial on how to create an animation of a book having the pages flipping using c4d

  • Where or how can I download this tutorial?

  • I need a tutorial on how i can model a man’s face.

  • These tutorials were very useful for me. A great way to review my 3-D skills going from MAX to CINEMA!!! Thanks Chris

  • Thanks a lot!!
    Very informative!!
    Cheers!! 😀

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