How to keep your objects manager clean?

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Old 03 March 2013   #1
How to keep your objects manager clean?

Hi, I'm learning C4D faster than I thought and I'm already making somewhat complex scenes. Coming from LW where the objects are made in a separate application, I feel C4D is a bit messy when you need to model something in the middle of your scene. I played a bit with layers but I'll need to use them more.

The object manager become cluttered very fast. I would like to ear your tips about keeping it manageable. X-ref? Group? Layers? Null?

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thanks!!
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Old 03 March 2013   #2
Originally Posted by earwax69: The object manager become cluttered very fast. I would like to ear your tips about keeping it manageable. X-ref? Group? Layers? Null?


I guess all of them make sense It's probably more a matter of your own convention as probably an architectural visualisation may have other conditions for grouping, layering than an animator or an fx artist has...
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Old 03 March 2013   #3
I usually group things inside of nulls. That keeps things pretty cleam for me.
 
Old 03 March 2013   #4
Couple tips: * Use the filters in the OM ( eye icon )
* Couple handy preferences to check related to OM/structure under Preferences > Interface are..
* Insert new object at
* Paste new object at

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Old 03 March 2013   #5
Modelling in a complex scene is probably not ideal. I occassionally pop the object into a null which zeros it's position then I copy it into a new scene. This clears the clutter and I can work on it a bit better. Once finished I copy back. But that's essentially what an xref is and so I would suggest using those. They can even hold animation which is great, if you have a complex scene that features lots of micro animation.

Layers are good too for organization but I rarely use them as I am a little disorganized in my OM workflow.

Anyway there are many tools to help this it's just up to the user to find which works best for them
 
Old 03 March 2013   #6
Thanks! filters will be useful, yes! So would be an option to create all new objects inside the selected Layer. That way it would be a bit similar to Photoshop/illustrator.

As you cannot solo an object, do you recommand to model it in Xref mode or in another scene? Or just create a Layer that you solo for it?

EDIT; thanks RSquires. I've posted before reading your post.
One thing I notice with Xref is that the objects inside it still editable but that when you move one, it doesn't update correctly when updating the Xref. That could become annoying of you move an element by mistake... Maybe there's a way to make the Xref non editable.
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Last edited by earwax69 : 03 March 2013 at 11:36 PM.
 
Old 03 March 2013   #7
xref's becoming my main choice for a soloing method. It's a little overkill though, I'd look at the various solo plugins available.
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Old 03 March 2013   #8
Try MagicSolo.

http://nitro4d.com/blog/freebie/magicsolo/
 
Old 03 March 2013   #9
I'm a layers fan personally, helps me quickly find things I need to find, and it gives you some soloing ability. I use the same layer colour set for each project (it loads in with my template new.c4d file):



I then assign categories using the layers, such as "scene" or "cameras", depending on the project, sometimes I'll sort and colour code by shot name. I'll still have those groups under Nulls though with the category name, so I guess I use a mix of a few ideas.

I also try to be strict about naming conventions for example any spline is "object_name.Sp", hyperNURBS "object_name.HN" etc. This takes some getting used to and I'm not always sticking to it as it takes longer renaming things sometimes than it does creating them... I've also wondered, as I'm not a scripter, whether using .xx after the names would cause problems due to it's syntax.

cheers
brasc
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Old 03 March 2013   #10
Originally Posted by brasco: I've also wondered, as I'm not a scripter, whether using .xx after the names would cause problems due to it's syntax.

cheers
brasc

Within C4D all characters are allowed for naming since the name is a separate attribute of the object.
At least exporting the scene as .FBX, then importing it into Maya converts the dots into another character since it's an invalid character there.

Originally Posted by earwax69: One thing I notice with Xref is that the objects inside it still editable but that when you move one, it doesn't update correctly when updating the Xref. That could become annoying of you move an element by mistake... Maybe there's a way to make the Xref non editable.

If you're on R14, there's an XRef attribute labeled Generator. If you have it checked the whole XRef will be treated as a single object. If you're in an earlier C4D version, you'll have to assign the objects inside the XRef'd scene under layers and lock them.

And with regards to layers, get used to using the switches in the Layer Manager. The ones I use the most are Lock Layer, Show in OM, Visible in Viewport, and Visible in Render.
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Old 03 March 2013   #11
I work much too quickly to patiently organize items beyond the null/group system in the OM. I've never voluntarily used xrefs, layers or any other management feature of C4D. I find clearly named groups and child groups are sufficient for keeping a tidy workflow, even if the projects are horrendously large. You can switch them on/off quickly enough and there's less confusion when passing along a project to another artist imho, you're not asking somebody to decipher your workflow beyond common sense naming conventions in the OM.

The material layer system is something I can relate to, in that it's actually beneficial to separate materials by category. Xrefs seem great in theory, I've been involved with only one project where they were utilized and the artist kept shifting things around, like his xref was the master scene.

Originally Posted by brasco:
I also try to be strict about naming conventions for example any spline is "object_name.Sp", hyperNURBS "object_name.HN" etc. This takes some getting used to and I'm not always sticking to it as it takes longer renaming things sometimes than it does creating them...


This is exactly what I mean. Sure all these names are good for your workflow, but passing this scene along to another artist might require an explanation. One with which the artist has to become accustomed to in order to keep things consistent. No offense, but to me this just seems like a waste of my creativity time.
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Last edited by ThePriest : 03 March 2013 at 02:23 AM.
 
Old 03 March 2013   #12
No naming convention per se here, but I do try to name everything properly, so that if I pass the scene along, it makes it easier to find things (or when I open the scene a while later for another project).
Otherwise I use a mix of Nulls and layers (mostly layers for materials & Nulls for objects). I also use Nulls as separators. For example:

- MyGroup
- >>>>>>>.
- OtherGroup
- >>>>>>>>

And so on...

I also use the Null icon colors, which makes it even easier to discern between groups if necessary. Workflow-wise, you can also make use of the selection object, so you don't have to keep folding/unfolding Null objects to select a specific object and adjust its parameters.
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Old 03 March 2013   #13
A small trick I've done since forever:

When working in a particularly large scene, like deformers that are buried in meshes, buried nulls and endless joint chains, ad nauseum, instead of using the Layer Manager, I'll just quickly punch in a unique, memorable character, like a tilde (~), at the front or end of any items' names that may be scattered throughout the hierarchy but are related somehow. Hell, I do this if I just need to get to only one thing often, but it's buried deep.

Then I just type ~ in the search field at the top of the OM, and boom, easy access.

Of course, this is just for my own workflow, so it's not a true organization method. But it's a little trick I do to simply work faster.
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Old 03 March 2013   #14
Keep in mind you can have as many projects open at the same time as you like. A simple workflow is to model up each item and component you need in a new scene, then just copy and paste it into your master project. This way you get a nice clean object manager and can work in the centre of the project.
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Old 03 March 2013   #15
Originally Posted by imashination: Keep in mind you can have as many projects open at the same time as you like. A simple workflow is to model up each item and component you need in a new scene, then just copy and paste it into your master project. This way you get a nice clean object manager and can work in the centre of the project.


Agreed, that's been my workflow since v5
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