I admire your candour. Embarrassing if true.
Why would I be embarrassed about not knowing how, when or why to use vector maths? In 30 years of doing 3D, not once have I ever wished to know how to perform vector calculations. Nor should anyone else ever feel bad for not knowing any part of the software they use. Going around trying to berate other people for not knowing one specific function out of the 10,000 offered by C4D though, that’s something you should be embarrassed about.
I can link an upvector on a rig. I can assign a vector rail along a spline, I can make a spline with the vectorizer. Do I know the maths behind those vector functions? Nope.
Regarding scene nodes. Literally the main point of scene nodes is to act as a backend that for the most part people will never have to see or use. The scene manager will sit on top of the node system to give an artist friendly UI for the majority of people.
I don’t know how any self respecting artist working in 3D wouldn’t have basic Trig or understand vector maths. If a client came to you and wanted a visualisation of their winery and they wanted images of wine bottles with a thin layer of dust only on the up facing surfaces you couldn’t knock up a simple shader tree? Really?
What does setting up a dust layer via nodes have to do with knowing and understanding vector maths? If I were using Octane I would assign a falloff node as an opacity mask for the dust. If I were using c4d’s built in engine then I would use the terrain mask shader. There you go, I’ve just accomplished your task without having to adjust, understand or perform a single vector calculation myself.
Do you go around physical art forums acting high and mighty when somebody doesn’t know the chemical compound that makes up the graphite in their pencils?
Guess what, I don’t do my own car oil changes either.