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Cinema 4D techniques


29 pro tips for cinema 4d

Orange Towers by Calder Moore

Experts reveal their Cinema 4D R19 techniques and creating incredible models, motion graphics, animations and more

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inema 4D is known for its stability and fast workflow, and the good news is that the newest release certainly won’t let you down in those departments. In addition to the solid performance we’ve come to expect, there’s a raft of exciting new features that will push the boundaries of what has been achievable with this software so far. Over the following pages, Edna Kruger from MAXON takes you through the best of new features in Cinema 4D R19, and is joined by other artists who offer up their tips and tricks for using core elements of the software. Covered in detail is Voronoi Fracture – enabling you to create interesting organic structures, glue fragments together, create

splinters and shards, add detail to cracks and much more. Edna’s tips and walkthrough will whet your appetite for exploring what’s new with this incredibly powerful tool. Other exciting improvements include the upgrades to Viewport, which now performs render-quality results in real-time; Levels of Detail (LOD), which gets you faster framerates by using low-res versions of objects when the camera is far away; and the new Spherical Camera, which will render 360-degree VR videos. Whether you’re new to Cinema 4D or a seasoned pro, our artists will have something interesting to teach you about the newest release as well as the core features.

Contributors Michael Balchaitis 3D artist artstation.com/skullmelt Edna Kruger Learning content developer, MAXON cineversity.com/user/profile/282816 Calder Moore Surface artist, Atomic Cartoons artstation.com/refriedspinach Rodrigo Saavedra Director and founder, Cinema 4D Tutorial cinema4dtutorial.net


Calder Moore

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Render with the Octane plugin

Try rendering scenes using the Octane plugin. Having a GPU renderer enables very fast iterations so you aren’t slowed down by making small adjustments and waiting to see the change. Using Cinema 4D’s lighting and cameras, it’s nicely integrated into the software and makes it easy to learn how to create high-quality images.

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Optimise your scene

When working in your scene and rendering, you can save a lot of time by frequently cleaning your scene, naming objects, deleting unused objects, caching anything that can be cached. When rendering, default settings usually aren’t optimised for your scene, so adjust and remove unnecessary features to drastically reduce render times.

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Selection tools

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Boolean​​Tool

Cinema 4D has some of the best selection tools in any software. By using the U hotkey, you have all your quick selection options. The ability to easily select a loop of faces or quickly select an island has made modelling way more efficient.

Cinema 4D’s nondestructive workflow is perfectly suited to modelling. Its Boolean feature has the ability to stay live for as long as you need. Being able to make adjustments while the Boolean is enabled takes out all the guesswork.

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Mograph​​cloner

The Cloner feature in Cinema 4D is a very powerful command. Instead of you having to place every instance of an object, the Cloner will do it for you. Adding effectors like Random, Step or even creating your own rules using Coffee or Python can enable you to populate an entire city. Alien Landscape by Calder Moore

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geometry from Hair

The Hair feature can be used in some very powerful ways. Besides using it to create actual hair for your character, you can also convert the hair to splines and create geometry by using the Sweep feature, or use the Mograph Cloner to instance geometry onto the spline.

Rodrigo Saavedra

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Use textures for animations

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Particles from hair

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top Shadows

Sometimes you see a bit of flicker in your animations produced by the shaders. Generally it is best to use shaders to generate images without movement, and textures for animations. Try to use textures in PNG format, so that your render has a good resolution.

You can use the hair material with a render tag on the object to generate particles; this trick will enable you to have more particles and a faster render. This can be applied to particle generators like thinkingParticles.

For perfect shadows, first use a light that has activated the shadow type, then use shadow maps in the light object/shadow tab. With resolutions beyond 1000 x 1000, this will reduce the flicker when you have animations or very large images in your render.

Michael Balchaitis

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continuous Edge flow

Edge flow is very important in modelling. One helpful tip is to use your Directional tool and double-click on an edge to select a continuous flow of edges. A continuous edge will move through a four-edge vertex to the opposite side. An edge will terminate at a pole with three edges or a pole with five or more edges.

11 Click here to download your free trial!

Slide tool cloning

The Slide tool is very useful for speeding up your workflow. The Slide tool can bevel, extrude and extrude inner in one tool. You can use Ctrl/Cmd and the Slide tool on multiple edges to clone edges. This is very useful for beveling details around border edges.

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Box instead of spline

It’s very tempting to use splines and an extrude object to create geometry. When you are first starting out modelling, you might have


29 pro tips for cinema 4d

White Beach by Calder Moore

a background using the Adobe Pen tool. However, it is very difficult to deform or add in more complex features. Some good advice is to learn how to build geometry from a cube. You can build anything with a cube that you can with a spline, but with the benefit of using deformers.

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Edna Kruger

Polygon selection

When sculpting in fine details around tight areas such as fingers or toes, use the Polygon selection. This lets you hide some areas so that you can view other areas that would be otherwise difficult to see.

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from mask’. You can quickly sketch out ideas that would normally take you much longer in modelling or traditional sculpting methods.

Mask for sketching

Another tip for sculpting is to use masking for sketching. Go to Tools in your sculpting layout. Then choose ‘Extract object

Cinema 4D R19 tips master r19’s new features

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Realistic viewport rendering

Long test renders are almost a thing of the past now with viewport upgrades. Turn on two new enhanced OpenGL options to see some immediate results: Depth of Field and Screen-

Space Local Reflections. You can turn on these options, as well as the new Supersampling, by going to the Render Settings for the Hardware OpenGL renderer.

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PBR with AMD ProRender

You can now take AMD ProRender out for a test spin with physically based rendering (PBR)! Do this by setting your project’s renderer to ProRender in the Render Settings and then simply click the ProRender button in any viewport to start a preview. You can then tweak materials and lighting and see a constantly improving preview of your final render. Create a new PBR Material (Cmd/ Ctrl+Shift+N) and set up its Reflectance channel, then add a PBR Light to easily set up diffuse lighting and reflections.


Spaceship Lander by Michael Balchaitis

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Pose Space Deformation

Edna Kruger teaches you how to create corrective shapes for skin based on a video by Bret Bays on cineversity.com

Create a Pose Morph tag for the elbow control PSD morphs can help

you get the correct skin shape for certain poses, such as fixing creases or even adding muscle or fat definition. Starting off with a rigged character, you first need to add a Pose Morph tag to any rig control. We’re going to use the right elbow control here.

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Planet of the Apes by Rodrigo Saavedra

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360 degrees of freedom

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Reduce those polygons

Add in a new pose Open the elbow

control’s Pose Morph tag. Now switch over to Edit mode and then click on the Add Pose button. By doing this, Cinema 4D will add in a new pose that you will then be able to use for creating the corrective shape. It’s called Pose.0 by default, but you’ll probably want to rename that when you start creating more of these poses.

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Pose the arm where you need the corrective shape Rotate the

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Switch to Correctional PSD mode If you leave the Mixing in

elbow control so that the arm is in a pose where you need a corrective shape. This is usually at a point where joints are bending and creating unattractive bulges or creases. It’s hard to fix this using only joint weighting, which is where these shapes can help out.

Relative mode and then try to edit the skin’s points, it doesn’t work because it’s not taking the skin’s current deformation into account. All you need to do is switch the Mixing mode to Correctional PSD. The Post Deformers option automatically turns on and PSD Settings show up below.

Virtual reality can now be a true reality. Use the new Spherical Camera controls in any camera’s attributes to render 360-degree VR videos and dome projections for YouTube VR, Facebook, Oculus, or Vive. Go ahead and immerse viewers fully into your 3D worlds!

Reducing polygons just got a lot easier with the new Polygon Reduction generator object. Because the object’s reduction is cached, you can quickly try out different values for its Reduction Strength, or set the number of Triangles, Vertices or Edges. And the object’s UVs, vertex maps and selection sets are preserved, which helps to provide a bit of extra stress reduction.

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Sculpt the corrective shape Now that the skin’s current deformation is being considered, you can make use of any of the usual tools that you’d call upon for fixing the skin, like the Brush tool, for example. Here, we can now get to work smoothing out the crease and maybe add in a bit of a bicep bulge for a flexed pose. And that’s pretty much all that you have to do here!

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Rotate the elbow control Switch back to Animate mode in the Pose Morph tag, and then watch the corrective shape automatically fire as you rotate the elbow control in and out of this pose. And no Xpresso is required for this to work, since this is controlled with the Auto Weighting option on the new PSD tab in the Pose Morph tag. It is so easy to do.


29 pro tips for cinema 4d

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Levels of detail (LOD)

Whenever you need faster frame rates, detailed objects that are far from the camera can really slow things down. The new LOD object can help. First, use Polygon Reduction to create low-res versions of your object, then select them and choose the LOD object. Now dial in each version at the right camera distance: high detail for close-ups, low detail for long shots.

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Reconstruction site

Why not have a go at re-creating reality using the new Scene Reconstruction feature? All you have to do is take some footage, camera-track it and then create a 3D model of it using the Scene Reconstruction tab in the Motion Tracker. You can use this reference geometry for your modelling, HUD effects, collision geometry or even for a quick-and-dirty shadow-catching object.

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Manage your character’s weight

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Sounds like fun!

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Make some noise

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It’s the simple things

With the Weight tool, you can now Ctrl/ right-click a mesh to easily select influences and start painting. Or press Cmd/Ctrl+Shift to access the dropper to quickly sample weights on your mesh. And in the Weight Manager, you can also select all your influences, then click Mirror + To – to cleanly mirror the weights across your character, even when the geometry isn’t perfectly symmetrical.

Black orb by Calder Moore

Make your motion graphics come alive with audio-reactive music visualisations using the improved Sound Effector. Simply choose Sound from the MoGraph Effector menu and add it as an effector for any mograph object. Load an audio file and choose which frequencies of the audio will drive the animation. Render it all out as MP4 with sound and you’re in business.

Utilise the new Noise Shape as the Falloff tab of any MoGraph effector or deformer to add randomness and more variety to your effects. All of Cinema 4D’s Noise types are at your disposal in order to create the noise field. You can even animate the effector so that it passes through the noise field to help create some cool effects.

It’s now possible for you to easily add objects as parents, children or siblings to multiple objects at once with shortcuts. For example, select multiple objects and then add generators as parents for each with Alt/ Option-click, add deformers as children for each with Shift-click, and add more deformers as siblings with Cmd/Ctrl-click.

Hairy goop by Calder Moore


26 01 Ship by Calder Moore

Edna Kruger looks at creating different types of destruction for Voronoi Fracture based on a video by Donovan Keith on cineversity.com

Set up a Voronoi Fracture to a mesh Create a Voronoi Fracture object

from the MoGraph menu and make it the parent of a mesh – here we have a simple flattened cube. Add a Rigid Body Simulation tag to the Voronoi Fracture object and create another floor object below as a Collider. Play back to see the whole mesh breaking up into random pieces at once upon impact.

03 Snake by Rodrigo Saavedra

Keep Fragments Connected

Increase the force Connectors are

live and dynamic, so you can change physical properties and everything is recalculated automatically. In the Connector object’s attributes, open the Object tab and change the Force and Torque to high values like 10 (100,000 cm) so that the mesh is less likely to break apart. Play back and see the fragments now straining, but generally staying together in one big piece.

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Splinters and Shards with Voronoi Fracture

You can easily make vertical splinters and shards by adjusting the Scale Cell size. In the Voronoi Fracture object attributes, you can open up the Object tab and then go down to Scale Cells. To create splinters, you can simply increase the Scale Y value. Try using a value of 10 to create wood splinters for something like a fence or door.

28 Satellite by Rodrigo Saavedra

Glue Fragments Together

Ever find that you want bigger chunks of fragments? Now you just have to glue them together! In the Voronoi Fracture object attributes, open the new Geometry Glue tab and turn on Enable Geometry Glue. Then select

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Build connections In the Voronoi

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Change the type of connector

Fracture object’s attributes, open the new Connectors tab and click Create Fixed Connector. This creates a Connector object under the Voronoi Fracture object, and connections have been generated to join every single fragment together. Play back to see the mesh now break up in multiple stages, starting from the point of impact.

Because connectors are dynamic, another thing you can do is change the type of connector and everything is recalculated for you. Still on the Object tab in the Connector object’s attributes, select Ball and Socket from the Type list. Play back and see the fragments connected and staying together, but in a very flexible way. By using this method, you can create fabric-like or elastic effects.

Cluster as the Glue Type and set the Cluster Amount value: as you increase the number, the chunks will get smaller.

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Create Organic Lattices

You can create all sorts of groovy organic shapes using the new Thickness and Invert attributes together with Offset Fragments. In the Voronoi Fracture object attributes, open the Object tab and increase the Offset Fragments value to push them apart. Then add some Thickness to make them as chunky as you like. Now select Invert to inverse the geometry, and you can see some really cool lattice-like structures emerge. Add a Subdivision Surface object to enhance that organic quality.


The power of Fracturing in Cinema 4D

The power of fracturing in Cinema 4D

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Breaking objects is probably one of the funniest tasks in a 3D project. And whether you want to break an object made of stone or wood, you need a tool that you can rely on in terms of both flexibility and stability

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e see a lot of collapsing buildings in Hollywood movies, loads of destruction going on in games, a whole bunch of fractured text in motion graphics and many random patterns in visualisation. The key to all of this is fracturing. With fracturing we can break objects into many fragments with a variety of shapes and sizes. Generally this process is a lot of fun, but it can also turn into endless hours of work if you use the wrong tools or workflows. In Cinema 4D there is a powerful fracturing tool – the Voronoi Fracture object. It was introduced in Release 18 and was already a very capable tool for the motion graphics and visualisation industries. In Release 19, Maxon updated the fracturing tool in Cinema 4D to be a reliable solution for destruction VFX in movies and games. It offers everything you need for any fracturing use case – even cases going beyond object destruction. In the fracturing tool of Cinema 4D, you can adjust the fragmentation of objects on a very deep level. Of course, you can adjust the count of fragments, but also their distribution using random point generators, shaders, textures and other objects such as primitives, polygon objects, splines or particle emitters, just to name a few. There are options to create gaps between fragments, to fracture only the hull of objects and apply some thickness to it, and also for non-uniform scaling of fragments, if you want to create long fragments, e.g. for wood. You can glue fragments back together in order to create big chunks, use detailing to roughen up the object’s insides and break edges, and use connectors for realistic simulation effects, where a certain force is needed to break an object. When it comes to materials, we can expose selections in order to apply different materials to the inside and outside faces of objects. All of this alone would make Cinema 4D’s Voronoi Fracturing a powerful tool, but there is one

more thing that makes it really incredible: it is part of MoGraph – Cinema 4D’s toolset for professional motion graphics. This means that every single fragment is part of the MoGraph context by default, and therefore can be influenced by all of the effectors that Cinema 4D has to offer. You can also add MoDynamics to create a physical simulation of the fracturing setup. If you prefer, you can restrict MoDynamics to just a part of the setup by using MoGraph Selections. Because of the amount of features and the countless ways to combine them with other parts of Cinema 4D, the flexibility of fracturing is on a very high level. Sure, the most obvious use case is breaking objects like walls or buildings for VFX shots in movies. But the more you explore the features, the more you will discover some less-obvious ways of using fracturing. In visualisation projects you can use fracturing for cutting an object in half and show its insides. You can also use it to slice and dice objects or for creating graphical patterns, like honeycombs. The same workflows can easily be used in motion graphics as well. You can create animated fracturing patterns or use dynamics to create aesthetic animations. But fracturing can also be used as a powerful modelling tool for both abstract and technical objects. As you can see, the ways of using fracturing in Cinema 4D are endless. Fracturing in Cinema 4D comes with a very easy and intuitive workflow. Just make the object you want to fracture a child of the Voronoi Fracture object, and it will be fractured immediately. Adjust the pattern to your liking using the parameters offered in the fracturing object. If you want to add some dynamics to the setup, create a floor, select both the floor and the fracturing object and then assign a rigid body tag to them. And that’s it! Press play and enjoy the object falling down and breaking as it hits the ground.

Jonas pilz www.maxon.net

Bio

Jonas works as a Cinema 4D product specialist at Maxon. Before, he was a 3D generalist mostly for industrial visualisation and motion graphics.

Schism by Simon Fiedler


© Johan-Bernd Zweverink

Versus by ManvsMachine

© Moritz Schwind

© Pixellusion

© Pixellusion


Pattern creation

Pattern creation

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U

nderstanding how the Voronoi algorithm works in general is essential if you want to unleash the full power and flexibility of fracturing inside Cinema 4D. Basically it starts with scattering points in the volume or on the surface of the object you want to fracture. It will cut the object exactly in the middle of two points. And because you usually work with more than just two source points for the fragment creation, a pattern will be created. Whenever you create a new Voronoi Fracture object in Cinema 4D, there is a default Random Point Generator linked in the Sources tab, which creates the typical Voronoi pattern. Let’s use some other objects as a fracturing source and see which pattern comes out.

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Straight spline Once you create a straight spline and use it as a fracturing source, you will get a sliced object. All of the points that are used for creating the fragments are placed on the spline, and therefore are distributed in a perfect straight line. That’s why the resulting cuts are parallel. By adjusting the point amount you can create more or less slices.

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Circle spline Because points will be placed on the spline, using a circle spline as a fracturing source will cut the object like a pizza or a cake. Similar to the straight spline, you can adjust the amount of pieces by adjusting the point count parameter. Feel free to use other spline shapes as well. Exploring the possibilities is very exciting.

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Plane If you use a polygon object as a source, fracturing will use the object’s

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vertices as points to create the cutting pattern. The good thing is that many polygon objects come with a clean quads mesh and therefore create a graphical pattern. That’s why a plane with some subdivision will create cuboids. You can also use a Matrix object in grid mode in order to dice an object.

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Honeycomb Matrix A Matrix object in honeycomb mode creates a point pattern that you would also get by using a plane with regular triangles. As a result, fragments have the shape of hexagons. You can create this kind of pattern with any object that comes with a regular triangle mesh, e.g. icosahedrons.

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Animated object A very exciting feature in Cinema 4D’s fracturing is that you also have the ability to animate the pattern. All you need to do is use an animated object as the fracturing source. For example, this can be a polygon object with animated position or point level animation, or even a particle emitter. Using a Matrix object with a random effector applied provides you with some more options, e.g. blending between cuboid and random patterns.

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Combination Of course, you are not limited to only one source object per Voronoi Fracture object. You can put as many objects into the link list field as you want or need. You can combine objects of any type – random point generators, splines, primitives, polygon objects, matrices, particles, you name it. This way you can create an object with random fragments at the top, slices in the middle and cuboids at the bottom.

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A very exciting feature in Cinema 4D’s fracturing is that you also have the ability to animate the pattern. All you need to do is use an animated object as the fracturing source 06

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Destroying an object

Destroying an object

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Fracturing objects As soon as you make an object a child of the Voronoi Fracture object, it will be fractured. In the Sources tab of the Voronoi Fracture object you can adjust the distribution and count of fragments to your liking by changing distribution modes or adding sources. Use the Offset Fragments parameter to create small gaps between the fragments. Make use of the scaling parameters in the Scale Cells section to create long fragments, e.g. for wood. EXPERT TIP: The fracturing algorithm needs a closed mesh in order to create solid fragments. If the fracturing result is just fragments of the hull and not solid fragments, enable Optimize and Close Holes in the Object.

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Fine-tuning the distribution Sometimes you need more fragments in areas with more detail. The most flexible way to create additional fragments is to create a Matrix object, make it a fracturing source and randomise the positions by using a Random Effector. This way you can move, rotate and scale the source points and art direct the fragments more efficiently.

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Adding dynamics Right-click on the Voronoi Fracture object and go to Simulation Tags -> Rigid Body in order to add dynamics. Also select all of the colliders, right-click and choose Simulation Tags -> Collider Body. Lower Bounce and increase Friction in the Collision tab of the simulation tags. As soon as you hit play, you’ll see the simulation. You can also set the triggering in the Dynamics tab.

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Adding connectors In most cases you need to add connectors in order to get convincing simulations. In the Voronoi Fracture

object, go to the Connectors tab and create a fixed connector. It will be applied automatically. Adjust the force and torque that is needed to break the connection of adjacent pieces. If the connection wiggles, increase the Force and Torque in the connector and Steps per Frame parameter in Project Settings -> Dynamics -> Expert by the same factor. EXPERT TIP: Use Falloffs or MoGraph Weights if you want to control the breaking force and torque per fragment for some nice effects.

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Adding detailing When it comes to VFX or visualisation it is essential to displace breaking edges and inside faces. To do so, go to the Detailing tab in the Voronoi Fracture object and check Enable Detailing. Increase the quality of detailing by lowering the Maximum Edge Length parameter. Activate Noise Surface to get displaced edges. In the Noise Settings you can change the displacement strength by adjusting the Noise Strength and also scale the noise itself. EXPERT TIP: Detailing can slow down scenes. Increase the Maximum Edge Length or deactivate detailing completely, if you don’t need it.

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Assigning materials Usually, the material properties of the inside and outside faces of a broken object are different. The insides are much rougher. Therefore, create two materials – a glossy one and a rough one. In the Voronoi Fracture object, go to the Selections tab and tick both Inside Faces and Outside Faces. Assign the glossy material to the Voronoi Fracture object. With the Texture tag selected, drag and drop the ‘Outside Faces’ Selection tag into the Selection link field. Repeat those steps for the rough inside material.

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You can use Falloffs or MoGraph Weights if you want to control the breaking force and torque per fragment. This can lead to very nice effects 06

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Creating a graphical animation

Creating a graphical animation

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s mentioned before, fracturing can not only be used for VFX and visualisation. Of course, there are multiple ways to use it in motion graphics. In this small tutorial, you will learn how to create a graphical web out of any object and how to animate it. This setup is based on just a few basic parameters in the fracturing tool. Furthermore, you will create some basic materials and lighting to make it look appealing. You will set up ProRender in order to adjust the look and feel interactively and finally render the whole thing. Although the result will look quite complex, this setup is ready to render in about 15 minutes.

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Find the right object As mentioned before, anything can be fractured. But as we want to create a graphical animation, going with a simple object would be appropriate. The platonic primitive is always a good start for motion graphics setups, so let’s use it.

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Fracture it With the platonic selected, hold the ALT-key and create a Voronoi Fracture object from the MoGraph menu. This will automatically create the Voronoi Fracture object as a parent for the platonic and fracture it. Holding SHIFT on the other hand would have created the Voronoi Fracture object as a child of the platonic.

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The right fracturing source Finding the right fracturing source is essential when you use fracturing for motion graphics. For this project, we will use a copy of the platonic in order to fracture the platonic itself. Therefore, hold the CTRL/CMD-key and drag and drop the platonic

in the object manager to another place in the hierarchy. It is important that the copy is not a child of the Voronoi Fracture object. Rename it ‘Source Platonic’. Now select the Voronoi Fracture object and delete the default point generator. Drag and drop the source platonic into the sources link list. This creates cuts in the middle of every edge.

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Create the lines Now you need to create lines out of the pattern. Select the Voronoi Fracture object and go to its Object tab. Set Offset Fragments to 2cm and check Invert. This will create geometry out of the gaps. Now check Hull Only and set its Thickness to 4cm. This finishes the first line that we will use as the base for additional lines.

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Another set of lines Copy the Voronoi Fracture object including the platonic (CTRL/CMD-drag) and set Offset Fragments to something bigger, like 10cm. This increases the width of the line. Now we want to cut and offset it along the centre of the lines. Therefore, create another Voronoi Fracture object as a parent of the existing one with the wide line. Delete the default fracturing source and also use the ‘Source Platonic’ as the fracturing source. This creates a cut along the middle of the lines. Set Offset Fragments to 6cm. Now you have created two additional lines that are parallel to the initial line from the previous step.

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And some more Repeat the last step as often as you want in order to add even more lines to the setup. With every additional set of lines add 8cm to the current Offset Fragments

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Anything can be fractured. But as we want to create a graphical animation, going with a simple object would be appropriate. The platonic primitive is always a good start for motion graphics setups 07

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Creating a graphical animation

value in both Voronoi Fracture objects. This finishes the modelling part. EXPERT TIP: If you want to create some variation for the line and gap width, just play with the Offset Fragments parameter of all Voronoi Fracture objects.

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grey, like 20%. Then assign the material to the background, just by dragging and dropping it.

Sky object from the scene objects menu. Then, create a new material and activate the luminance channel only. Open up the Content Browser and search for ‘HDR’. Drag and drop the HDRI you like most directly to the texture slot in the luminance channel. Now, if necessary, create PBR lights to enhance the light setup. I created a classic 3-point light here.

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Randomise the pattern There are several ways of animating the pattern, but since you started with a platonic you will now learn how to animate the setup using the ‘Source Platonic’. The key is to deform it. You might not expect that, but one deformer with automated animation is the Random Effector from the MoGraph -> Effectors menu. Create one and make it a child of the source platonic or hold SHIFT while you create it with the source platonic selected. Now you need to set the effector up for working like a deformer. It’s as easy as that: go to its Deformer tab and adjust the Deformation parameter to be Points. The shape will be randomised immediately.

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Animate the pattern Now add some animation to it. Go to the Random Effector’s Effector tab and choose Noise as Random Mode. As you hit play you see that it is animated right away. Adjust the Animation Speed and Scale to be around 20% in order to slow down the animation. You can easily blend between the randomised and the graphical version by adjusting or even animating the Strength parameter.

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Create bevelled edges The easiest way to bevel the edges of animated geometry is to use a Bevel Deformer. Grouping the Voronoi Fracture objects first will make the workflow a bit easier, because you can use one deformer instead of many. Select all of the Voronoi Fracture objects, right-click and choose Group Objects from the context menu (or simply press ALT+G). Then, with the group null selected, hold SHIFT and create a Bevel Deformer. Adjust the bevel’s Offset to be around 0.2cm and increase the count of subdivisions to 3. EXPERT TIP: Deformers in Cinema 4D need to be either children of the object to be deformed, or on the same hierarchical level. EXPERT TIP: Depending on the settings the Bevel Deformer can slow down the viewport, especially on animated objects. Switch it off while you animate and then switch it back on when it comes to rendering.

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Create a background Choose a background depending on the shadow (and the reflections) you want to create. I just created a plane with +Z orientation, placed it behind the object and resized it to be full-frame. To make the background dark, create a new PBR material. Go to its Reflectance channel and deactivate the Default Reflection layer. In the Default Diffuse layer, set the colour to be a dark

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Create materials Now it’s time to create some simple materials. Let’s start with a white plastic. Just create a new PBR material and adjust the Default Reflection layer to be less rough, like 15 or 20%. Use a texture in the Roughness to add more variation. Done! Copy the material and adjust the Default Diffuse layer to be coloured in 10% grey. Now the dark material is ready as well. For the gold material, copy the white material again and deactivate the Default Diffuse layer. In the Default Reflection layer set Type to GGX. Go down to the Layer Fresnel settings, adjust the Fresnel to be Conductor and choose Gold from the presets. Done! Assign the materials to the top-most Voronoi Fracture objects via drag and drop. Of course you can further adjust the materials, because the ones you created by following these steps are pretty basic at this stage. EXPERT TIP: Always use a texture’s Reflectance channel, because it adds variation to materials and makes them look far more realistic.

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Create a camera In order to get access to all of the camera parameters you may want to adjust, like focal length or distance, you need to create a camera. Simply add one from the scene objects menu and adjust the parameters to your liking. EXPERT TIP: Press SHIFT+C to open up the Commander. Here you can type in the object you want to create (or the tool you want to use), hit ENTER and it will directly create it for you.

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Create a light setup For a realistic look it is always recommended to start with an HDRI and then, if necessary, fine-tune the light using some additional area lights. First, create a

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Interactive preview Now let’s use Cinema 4D’s GPU-renderer ProRender to fine-tune the look of the scene. To do so, open up the render settings (CTRL/CMD+B) and choose ProRender as the renderer. In the viewport menu choose ProRender -> Start ProRender. Now you can interactively adjust the camera angle, materials and the lighting to your liking. If you want to adjust the interactive render settings, use the settings in the Preview tab.

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Tone mapping Open up the render settings again. As preparation for tone mapping, go to Save and choose a 32-bit format. Now press the Effect… button and choose Tone Mapping. Adjust the settings in order to get the look you are after. You will see the result directly in the interactive preview.

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Final rendering Once you think it’s time for final rendering, define an output path in the render settings. The frame range to be rendered can be defined in the Output section. Also go to the Offline tab in the ProRender settings and adjust the settings to get a (close to) noise-free result. Hit Render to Picture Viewer. Then we’re done! EXPERT TIP: If you want to save a result from the interactive preview, choose ProRender (viewport menu) -> Send to Picture Viewer. This way you are able to avoid rendering anything twice unnecessarily.


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Sorting Clones with Fracturing

Sorting clones with fracturing Click here to download your free trial!

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lthough sorting fragments doesn’t sound like something spectacular in the first place, there are quite a few cool things you can do with it. Every fragment (or MoGraph clone in general) comes with its unique number, the index. And some of the effectors in MoGraph are based on the clones’ indices. Therefore, the sorting of clones will affect the shaping and appearance of effects achieved with these effectors, because the index changes depending on the sorting. Now, let’s use this knowledge to create something spectacular. EXPERT TIP: The following MoGraph effectors are index-based: Step Effector, Formula Effector, Sound Effector and Spline Effector.

Sorting basics

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Initial sorting Every MoGraph setup, be it based on a Cloner, Voronoi Fracturing, MoText or any other MoGraph generator, comes with an initial sorting of clones. There are two ways to find out how clones are sorted. The first way is to select the MoGraph generator (Cloner, Voronoi Fracture, etc.), go to its Transform tab, and choose Index from the Display dropdown. This will show you the clone numbers in the viewport. The second way is a more visual approach. With the MoGraph generator selected, create a Step Effector and adjust it to your liking. This way you can directly see the effect of the sorting. In the Cloner, clones are sorted in a line or line by line. In the Voronoi Fracture object the sorting is random. EXPERT TIP: If a MoGraph generator is selected in the moment you create an effector, the effector will be applied to the generator automatically. If no generator is selected, only the

new effector will be created. Assign it to a generator by dragging and dropping it to its Effectors link list in the Effectors tab.

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Sorting of fragments Let’s start with a randomly fractured flat cuboid with a Step Effector applied to it. As you can see by the random scales, the fragments are not sorted. In the Voronoi Fracture object, go to the Sorting tab and enable sorting. By default, the fragments are sorted in X direction, but you can also sort in any other direction or by the distance to an object. Thanks to the Step Effector, you can see immediately what you get. EXPERT TIP: Sorting by object is applied by distance to the actual object surface. If you sort fragments using a multi-island polygon object or particle geometry, there will be many ‘centres of sorting’.

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Piping the cloner through fracturing You might have noticed that there are no sorting options in the MoGraph Cloner object. But there is a way to make it available: you can make the cloner a child of a Voronoi Fracture object and it will automatically detect every single clone as a fragment. All you need to do now is to deactivate or delete the default fracturing source. You can now use the sorting options in the Voronoi Fracture object with the Cloner.

Sorting + effectors = fun Here comes the fun part! Applying effectors makes sorting a powerful tool for motion graphics. Let’s check the effect of the index-based effectors. We applied the Step Effector to previous setups in order to get visual feedback for

the sorting. But there are two more effectors that work based on the clone indices: the Formula Effector and the Sound Effector. For both setups, start with a 30 x 30 grid of cubes piped through a Voronoi Fracture object.

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Creating a simple setup with the Sound Effector First of all, create a Sound Effector and assign it to the Voronoi Fracture object. Select it and load some sound. Adjust the probe to cover the full frequency and loudness range and set the Sampling parameter to Step. This will visualise the frequency graph of the sound by moving the clones in Y direction as you hit play. Of course, you can change the default. Create a Null and drag and drop it into the Distance to Object link field of the Voronoi Fracture object. Check Invert Sort. Now the frequency graph is visualised from the inside (the closest point to the Null) to the outside. Create a spherical falloff in the Falloff of the Sound Effector to fade out its effect as it comes closer to the edges. Finally, add colour. Make a copy of the Sound Effector, go to Parameter and deactivate Position. Set Color Mode to On. In Falloff, set Shape to Infinite. Now, there is a gradient from red to yellow beginning in the middle. Go to Effector and set Direction to Volume. This will colourise the clones based on the volume at the respective frequency. Adjust the colours to your liking using the colour gradient in that section. EXPERT TIP: Sound Effector animations can be quite fretful. Use the Decay slider to smooth the animation.

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Creating a more complex setup with the Formula Effector Let’s start by creating a Particle Emitter from the Simulate -> Particles menu. Scale it down in Y and up in X to fit the width of the 30 x 30 grid of clones. Place it next to the clones, shooting the particles into the grid. Set the birth rate to 1. Bring up the particle speed variation to 50% to make it feel more organic in the end. Next, create a sphere, set its radius to 1 and make it a child of the emitter. Don’t forget to check Show Objects in the emitter. Drag and drop the emitter into the Distance to Object link field of the Voronoi Fracture object. Though we can’t see anything the sorting of clones is now based on the distance to the particles. To make it visible, create a Formula Effector, deactivate position in Parameter and assign it to the Voronoi Fracture object. By default, the Formula Effector creates a sinus animation based on the clones’ indices. This leads to quite an interesting effect: rings of clones being scaled up while the ring centre is moving. Finally, fine-tune the effect by adjusting its speed and frequency. Go to the Formula Effector’s Effector tab and make two little adjustments. In the formula, type 720.0 instead of 360.0 to double the frequency. Bring down the t – Project Time parameter to something around 0.2. This slows down the animation. Done!


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Character rigging for everyone with Cinema 4D

Character rigging for everyone with Cinema 4D Rigging characters with Cinema 4D is not only for professionals, it’s achievable for every artist

controllers by just rotating every single joint until a hand, for example, reaches the designated goal.) Now you should have created the joints, placed them correctly and also made sure that they all are placed inside the mesh of your character. If you need to move a joint, just use the ‘Move Tool’. EXPERT TIP: In case you want to move a single joint without its children, just hold down 7 while moving.

Glenn Frey www.maxon.net

Bio

Glenn is a marketing product specialist. After seeing Cinema 4D for the first time in 2004 he instantly fell in love. In 2009 he became a member of the Maxon family.

© Turbosquid.com, model by WindTrees

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igging a character is a complicated technical challenge that overstrains many artists who just want to be creative. Some people refuse to even try it, because they think mastering this task takes months, if not years of learning. Fortunately, Cinema 4D has a toolset that makes it incredibly easy to rig anything from fantasy characters with three (or eight, or fifteen!) heads and sixty-seven legs, to authentic animals or human beings. On top of that the user is not limited to the templates MAXON provides; they have every possibility to adapt the rig completely to their own ideas and needs. Sounds easy and exciting, doesn’t it? It actually is! More than that, it’s also a lot of fun. To get everyone started, this article will cover the most important topics – the manual rigging process; the autorigger, which is part of the so-called ‘Character Builder’ in Cinema 4D; and, as all good things come in threes, CMotion, a walkcycle generator built into Cinema 4D. We start with the manual rigging process. This includes placing joints, creating IK Chains with dynamics behaviour and using the Jiggle Deformer and a Vertex Map for secondary animation by restricting wind turbulences only to the longer parts of the feathers.

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Click here to download your free trial!

Manual rigging Every rig needs joints to be able to bend. To start creating your rig, select the ‘Joint Tool’ in the ‘Character’ menu and place joints by holding CMD (Mac) or CTRL (Windows). Use the top view of the Cinema 4D viewport for a better overview. The joints always

have their origin in the hip area, so this is where you place the first joint. In the case of the eagle rig, every time you reach the end of a chain, you will start a new chain, adding joints either from the hip or the shoulder joint. Start from the hip joint for the legs and from the shoulder joint for the wings. To place the leg joints it makes sense to select either the Front/Back or Left/Right perspective in the viewport, as this makes it easier to position and align them correctly. When you start placing joints after selecting a parent joint, Cinema 4D always creates a Root Null Object between them. This is needed for the Root Joint only, so please deactivate ‘Root Null’ in the ‘Joint Tool’ settings after you have created the first Hip Joint Chain. The joint placement should look somewhat similar to the example but doesn’t have to look the same. It is very helpful to name the joints appropriately in the Object Manager to avoid confusion when adding properties later. Next step is to create the IK Chains for each wing, the legs and the tail. The head does not need the IK Chains since we want to animate it manually by FK. EXPERT TIP: IK stands for Inverse Kinematic and FK for Forward Kinematic. The difference is easy to explain. An IK Chain mostly has its controller at the end of the limbs, which enables you to animate a whole leg just with this controller. You move the controller and all joints of the leg follow. You can also add dynamic behaviour i.e. for bending the wings of a bird or ‘animate’ the jiggling dorsal fin of a shark. With Forward Kinematics you have to animate without

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Binding the mesh Now it’s time to create a relationship between the joints and the mesh. For this task select all joints and the mesh object and use the command ‘Bind’ in the ‘Character/Command’ menu. That’s it! The algorithm recognises the mesh and does everything else automatically. Of course, you may find yourself adjusting the weight of some problematic areas to refine the influence of a joint on the mesh. Tedious work but not when compared with painting every weight manually.

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Adding IK to the wings To add an IK Chain to our eagle, we select the first and the last joint of one of the wings. Now select ‘Create IK Chain’ under ‘Commands’ in the ‘Character’ menu. In the Object Manager you will find a Null Object that was created as a controller for the wing. As we will animate the wings using a Vibrate Expression, the controller is not needed and has to be deleted in order to make the Vibrate Tag work correctly. Now click on the ‘IK Tag’ right next to the main wing joint in the ‘Object Manager’ and select the ‘Dynamics Tab’. Enable the dynamics and set the ‘Strength’ parameter to at least 50%. You can test the wing’s behaviour by selecting the main wing joint and rotating it around any axis. The spring effect should be visible.

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Animating the wings Now right-click on the main wing joint and select ‘Cinema 4D Tags/Vibrate’. After selecting the newly created Tag, activate ‘Regular Pulse’ and ‘Enable Rotation’. Set the ‘Amplitude’ to -10/60/10 degrees for the three axes. The values might be different, depending on the placement, or more precisely, on the rotation of the joint. The


‘Frequency’ should be set to something around 1.5 for a more natural wing movement. If you press play in the timeline, you should see a naturally moving wing. You can now add the IK Chains to the other wing, the tail and the legs in the same way. IK Dynamics can be added to all these chains but you need to make sure to find the right ‘Strength’ value in the ‘Dynamics Tab’ of the ‘IK Tag’.

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Adding secondary animation to the feathers After the main setup of the rig we’re going to add in a few things that are not only adding more realism to the eagle but are also very easy to implement. To achieve a more realistic flight we will create a Wind Object, a Jiggle Deformer and paint a Vertex Map.

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Create the weight map Let’s start by painting the Vertex Map. A Vertex Map contains point weight information indicated by colour. Yellow means 100% weight and red means 0% weight. Select the ‘Paint Tool’ in the ‘Character’ menu. Cinema 4D makes this easy, the only thing you have to do is select the polygon object and paint the weight information directly on the object. In our case you paint along the edges of the bird so the feathers will be influenced by the Wind Object we’ll create in one of the next steps. Cinema 4D automatically creates a Vertex Map Tag right next to the polygon object in the Object Manager, which can now be used to restrict the influence of our Wind Object.

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Create the feather animation setup The next step now is to create a Jiggle Deformer (Create/Deformer/Jiggle) and a Wind Object (Simulate/Particles/Wind). The Jiggle Deformer needs to be the child of a polygon object, so we drag and drop it under the eagle mesh in the Object Manager. Go to the ‘Object Tab’ of the ‘Deformer’ and change the parameters according to screenshot 5.2. In the ‘Jiggle Deformer’ control panel, drop the Vertex Map into the ‘Restriction’ field and the Wind Object into the ‘Forces’ field. Also adjust the parameters of the ‘Object Tab’ in the ‘Wind Object’, using screenshot 5.2a as a reference. Please keep in mind that the ‘Turbulence Scale’ value can vary depending on the size of the object, so if you don’t see an effect, you might need to raise the value of this parameter. We’re done. Press play now to see your bird flying and its feathers moving in the wind. If you want to make your animation even better, you can also add a Vibrate Tag to the hip joint and this time you can activate the ‘Enable Position’ parameter. Make sure the up and down movement of the hip is in the reciprocal direction of the wings. If you stop the rotation of the wings, then the feather movement will be even more obvious. Watch this effect in the video playing in 5.2b’s screenshot.

Test the wing’s behaviour by selecting the main wing joint and rotating it around any axis. The spring effect should be visible 04

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Rigging made easy – with Cinema 4D’s Character Builder

Rigging made easy – with Cinema 4D’s Character Builder

Click here to download your free trial!

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shark is rigged now! In the case of the shark the autoweighting works perfectly. But in other cases it can be necessary to reweight some parts, which is of course possible by making the full rig behind the components visible. To see the full hierarchy follow the next steps.

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Select ‘Fin IK’ (press the button two times, Cinema 4D automatically places them left and right), ‘Tail IK’ and ‘Dorsal_Fin IK’.

Last tab: Animate Select the ‘Animate’ tab and press play in the playback controls of the timeline. The shark should already be swimming. You can easily display the actual rig by selecting the ‘Display’ tab of the ‘Character Builder Object’. Just click on the small grey arrow next to the word ‘Managers’ and choose ‘Full Hierarchy’ from the dropdown menu. By selecting the ‘Master_con+’ object in the ‘Object Manager’ and changing to the ‘Controls’ tab, you can even change the animation speed and some other attributes by moving the sliders.

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© Turbosquid.com, model by msurguy

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n this tutorial we’re going to use Cinema 4D’s Character Builder, a more convenient way of rigging. With Cinema 4D’s autorigging system, you use rigs made by professionals, and it doesn’t take more than five to ten minutes to attach them to your characters.

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Select a template In this tutorial you make this shark swim in just three simple steps. To achieve this you need the ‘Character Builder Object’, which can be found in Cinema 4D’s ‘Character’ menu. After selecting it you can choose from several templates. In this case you’ll use the ‘Fish’ template. This Fish rig is, of course, relatively small for a shark, so if you want to have a better look at the rig, zoom in and probably hide the shark mesh.

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Choose components Now you need to choose the components. Just click on the buttons in the ‘Components’ field and choose ‘Spine IK’ (the dropdown menu is hidden under the small grey arrow). For the next component hold down SHIFT to stay in the correct hierarchy.

Adjust the joint layout In the next step you will relocate the joint positions. Select the tab ‘Adjust’ in the ‘Character Builder’ menu. You will notice that the rig now displays as small coloured dots. You can now make the rig fit the shark by using Cinema 4D’s regular ‘Move’, ‘Scale’ and ‘Rotate’ tools. Select the ‘Spine-IK’ in the ‘Object Manager’ and resize the whole rig until it fits to the shark mesh. Adjust every single point of the rig until they have the right position in your character’s mesh. Again, using the left, top and front perspectives of the viewport facilitates the adjustment. Also make sure that every point of the rig is inside the mesh. This enables the algorithm to calculate the weights more accurately.

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Bind the mesh Now select the tab ‘Binding’ and drag and drop the mesh of your character into the ‘Objects’ field. Done, your

Refinement Let’s change just one last thing to make the animation really compelling. The ‘Dorsal Fin’ of the shark moves way too shakily. It is controlled by the IK dynamics and needs a bit more stiffness, which can be changed in the IK Tag’s Dynamics tab. Search for the Dorsal Fin joint in the hierarchy, with the IK Tag next to it. Select the tag, go to the ‘Dynamics’ tab and change the ‘Rot Hold’ parameter from 30% to 45%. Done! Your shark is animated now. With a few keyframes the animation will look like the video in 6a. You now have enough knowledge to start your own projects and explore the Cinema 4D Character toolset even further. No more worrying about how to overcome the technical obstacles. Take some time and open the other templates to examine their individual rigs. As all templates have been created by experienced character artists, you can learn a lot.


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Creating walkcycles with cinema 4d’s cmotion

Creating walkcycles with Cinema 4D’s CMotion Click here to download your free trial!

© Turbosquid.com, model by gallerie1

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inema 4D comes with a tool that saves you hours of work while creating walkcycles and making characters walk on surfaces. It’s called CMotion. Despite the fact Cinema 4D takes care of the walkcycle itself and ensures that ‘leg’ controllers always touch the ground, also on uneven terrains, you are still able to add your personal animation style to this walk. It’s very easy to use, so let’s jump right in. If you look at the animation of the spider in this video above, you will probably wonder how time-consuming it must have been to animate every leg. What if you changed your mind and wanted to make the spider walk somewhere else, on a different surface, or with varying step size and speed? Using manual animation you would have to animate everything from scratch. This is harder on irregular surfaces where you need to place every leg at a different height. By using CMotion, you won’t have these problems.

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Creating the CMotion Object Create a ‘CMotion Object’ in the ‘Character’ menu and activate it by clicking on the red x in the ‘Object Manager’. The first object you drag and drop into the ‘Objects’ field of CMotion is always the hip controller. In our case it is called ‘Root’. Lock the Attribute Manager’s view with a click on the lock symbol so you can select multiple objects without the CMotion interface disappearing. Now drag all leg controllers into the ‘Objects’ field but

make sure you drag them as a child of the Root controller (white arrow pointing down and orange line under the root controller).

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Stopping the Palp motion Now play back the animation. You will now see a spider sliding on ice. We will change that soon but first we will need to get rid of the movement of the two palps. Select both of the palps in the CMotion ‘Object’ field and scroll down to the dropdown menu ‘Driver’, and change the standard ‘Steps’ into ‘Hub’. This way they will teeter while the spider walks but they won’t have their own movement.

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Lifting the legs CMotion works with ‘Actions’. We need to assign these actions to the hip and legs; they define the movement during a cycle. First, the legs need to lift from the ground, so select all legs in CMotion and click on ‘Add’ next to the ‘Lift’ action. Now select one of the ‘Lift’ objects that have been created as a child of every leg and scroll down to change the ‘Lift (P.Y)’ parameter from standard 10cm to 70cm. Do this for every lift of the legs.

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Assign actions to the Root Controller Now select the ‘Root Controller’ and assign a ‘Lift’ action to it. Change the standard setting from 5cm to 10cm. Leave the root selected and assign a ‘Twist’ to it and a ‘Roll’

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action. Both come with a standard setting of 10 degrees that you need to change to a value of 4.

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Changing Stride & Time It is time now to change the step distance (Stride) and the walking speed of the spider. Change ‘Stride’ at the top of ‘CMotion’ to 170cm and, under ‘Time’, adjust the speed to 15 F. Click on the dropdown menu next to the word ‘Walk’ and choose ‘Line’. The spider walks out of the viewport. EXPERT TIP: CMotion is creating the animation in a cycle. To make the walk more realistic, change the ‘Phase’ for one side of the legs, so the legs start moving at a different time of the cycle. The legs will now lift one after another instead of at the same time on both sides.

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Add a landscape You can now drag any Primitive- or Polygon-Object into the ‘Surface’ field under ‘Route’. This way the spider will recognise the surface with its height differences and moves along the surface. Create a ‘Landscape Object’, make it bigger and drag and drop into ‘Surface’ field. ‘Align Hubs’ should be turned on so the spider walks along the surface of the Landscape Object. You can see the effect of this option best when you turn it on and off while the spider is on a slope. The spider now crawls along the surface and even if you turn off the animation and move the ground, the controllers of the legs update their position according to the surface height. EXPERT TIP: If a leg of your character stretches too much you can adjust it by clicking on the ‘Create Steps’ button in the ‘Steps’ tab of CMotion. This will create a movable object for every step of the character in the chosen framecount. Adjust the position for each step that doesn’t look natural or give your animation some variety so it does not look like a standardised repeated cycle.) You’ve now gone through the process of rigging and animating walkcycles without any technical issues. EXPERT TIP: If you want to add your own animation style, adjust the spline curve of each Action you added to the controllers. Your next character rig or walkcycle will probably be easier to create. And you’ve learned that difficult tasks actually don’t have to cause you a headache – if you have the right tools at hand.


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© ANTOINE COLLIGNON

Cinema 4D R19 – Today’s Tools, Tomorrow’s Technology Cinema 4D R19 offers great new tools and improvements as well as a range of forwardlooking technologies: The new ProRender utilizes the complete power of your graphics card, depth of field and object reflections can be evaluated in real-time in the improved Viewport and the expanded Voronoi Fracture function can shatter objects more realistically and more precisely. Experience the accelerated workflow and creative freedom yourself – with Cinema 4D‘s high level of dependability.

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Maxon Presents: Cinema 4D Techniques  

Maxon Presents: Cinema 4D Techniques