Get The Most Out of Cinema 4D

12 Jan

1. MODEL TO REAL-WORLD  SCALE

Modelling to real world scale means that any object modelled will be on scale with anything else, which helps when merging projects together. More importantly, certain tools work better at real-world scale, such as ray lengths in subsurface scattering or displacement distances.

2. COMBINE DIFFERENT SORT OF SHADOWS

In some projects you find that the shadow maps you’ve chosen only work on certain details and not in every corner of your scene. One solution is to use the include/exclude from lights option in combination of different lights. This gives you more control over the render – and may also speed up the render performance.

3. GEOMETRIC GRIDS IN BODY PAINT

Creating a geometric grid to snap the UV meshes enables you to achieve the exact alignment of your UVs. Create a plane object in the scene and connect it to the object you’re working on. Place the plane object away from the object in question. In bodyPaint, enable the Snapping At Points and Edges option, then move and place your UV meshes wherever you want.

4. CREATE NATURAL OR RANDOM PLACEMENT OF OBJECTS

When depicting a group of objects that look naturally placed, as if dropped or thrown, often the best way to achieve the effect is to use cinema 4D’s built-in dynamics engine and a MoGraph Cloner Object. This enables objects to fall, collide, stack or repel each other into natural falling patterns. Just add dynamics tags to any item you want to either fall or collide with, and adjust settings for each. If you want to further tweak placement of these randomly oriented objects on a flat floor plane, create a new zeroed null for each item, drop the item under the null, and move the nulls along the X and Z axes as required.

5. SPLIT VOLYMETRIC LIGHTS FOR MORE FLEXIBILITY

Volymetric lights are a good way to simulate atmosphere, light beams or dusty sky. Each light can be set to Visible Volymetric. Increasing the visibility levels will create a strong contrast, and upping brightness levels increases the visibility, but may affect an overcast of the scene. Using two different sorts of lights – one active and illuminating but invisible, and the other inactive, but with Volumetric Visibility – gives you the option of better control over the result.

6. MODIFY THE TEXTURE IN THE MATERIAL EDITOR

You can modify your bitmap in Cinema 4D by using the Filter Shader. Once you’ve loaded your texture in the Color Channel, choose the Filter Shader from the texture menu. In the properties of the shader you can dispose various parameters in order to modify the image, or add it to any other shader, with various blending modes, using a fusion or layered shader.

7. NESTED NULLS FOR BETTER CAMERA CONTROL

By nesting your camera in a number of null objects, each with a specific rotational or directional motion (Pitch, Bank, Roll, Dolly, Zoom ans so on), the resulting hierarchy allows much easier editing of individual motions in their own dedicated timeline tracks.

8. ASSIGN TEXTURE TO A POLYGON SELECTION

Make the selection for the polygons to affect, then drag and drop the texture onto the mesh. A Polygon Selection tag will be created and the texture will then be applied to the saved selection.

9. USE THE LOOK AT CAMERA TAG

The Look At Camera tag keeps any item to which it is attached to facing the camera. Use the technique, when there is a distant 2D-image or a 2D flat plane object you need to keep oriented towards camera (planets, trees, signs etc.).

10. CUSTOMISE YOUR INTERFACE

Change your layout to suit your work methods most efficiently. Use hotkeys and hide menus for more working space or set up a collection of tool palettes. Use visual selector instead of the object manager for a quick animation. Use layers.

11. SCALE AN OBJECT ALONG TWO AXES

Lock the axes you don’t want to be affected by turning off the axes using the buttons on the top bar and then scale the object by clicking anywhere in the view. Quicker way to do this is to click on the axis handle of the unaffected axis while holding down a shift button. The other axis will turn yellow and only those will be affected.

12. EDIT TRIANGULATION

Editing the triangulation is often necessary, especially in low-poly modelling. Select the face that has the incorrect triangulation and , from the structure menu, choose Edit Spline > Move Up Sequence. This will change the sequence of the vertices of the triangles that compose the quad, and consecuently change the triangulation of the polygon.

13. MODEL WITH MOGRAPH

Use tools to aid the modelling process. For example the Tracer Object can be applied to particle emitter, which then combined with a sweep nurbs can produce quick fibres or tendrils. Usinf effectors to add variations can produce very efficient results and Cloners can be used instead of instances for repeat geometry.

14. USE THE DEPTH CHANNEL IN POST WORK

Use multiple passes in render so that you have a greater control on the image in post work applications.

15. THE ARRAY TOOL – TRANSFORM A CHILD OBJECT

When using an array tool, the transformations done to the child object won’t affect the array instances. Solve this by placing the object under a null object, which then is placed under array object.

16. REMOVE THAT CLINICAL CG LOOK

Adding a hint of realism to your pristine 3D work helps your project to stand out from the crowd. Add a little noise to the materials or chromatic aberration to the lens, or even paint a custom aperture. Try changing glossy materials to something grungier.

17. USE LUMINANCE PLANES AS LIGHT SOURCES

Meshes textured with the active luminance channel can be used as additional light sources. In combination with compositing tags and visibility option, you can place them into the scene in the most effective way. The generated light has a very smooth appearance, and you can use bitmap-based textures in the luminance channel. As a result, the colour range follows the tones of the bitmaps, which is useful for rendering.

18. ADD A HANDHELD CAMERA EFFECT

To achieve a handheld camera look in C4D, you can add Vibrate tag to the camera, or a specific null if using nested nulls for the camera.This will simulate random flicker and shake with minimal effort. If you prefer greater manual control, embed your camera inside a null named shake, and record random, subtle directional keyframes on the x and y axes, then adjust the timing frequency and movement intensity relative to the events in your scene.

19. FAKE SUBSURFACE SCATTERING

Create a fake subsurface scattering by using the Ambient Occlusion function. First, create two textures with AO. For the second texture, the Normals of the object faces are inverted. Modify the second AO texture by using Hue/Saturation and changing the tone to red (in Photoshop); this will be the subsurface scattering layer. Then blend the two layers with the texture: Change the AO layer mode to multiply, and set the SSS layer to screen mode. Finally, apply blurr filter to both layers.

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