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General Advice/yleisiä ohjeita

28 Jun
  1. Projektin tiedostojen järjestely

    1. C4d hakee tekstuurit mieluiten kansiosta, jonka nimi on tex. Tämän kansion tulisi sijaita samassa kansiossa, kuin itse .c4d projektitiedosto. Luo siis projektille oma kansionsa, jonka sisään teet kansion nimeltä tex (kaikki pienellä), jonne tallennat kaikki projektissa käytettävät kuvatiedostot. Jos siirrät koko projektikansion toiselle koneelle, c4d kykenee tällöin edelleen löytämään kaikki tekstuurit.
  2. Tallennuskäytäntö

    1. C4d tiedostokin voi korruptoitua. Tiedosto ei yhtäkkiä aukea ja tulee virheilmoitus “incorrect file structure”. Tällöin ei luultavasti ole mitään tehtävissä. Kannattaa tallentaa tiedosto usein ja ainakin aina, kun olette tyytyväisiä saavuttamaanne lopputulokseen. Hyvä käytäntö on käyttää tallennukseen komentoa “Save Incremental”, jolloin tiedostosta tallentuu aina uusi versio kronologisessa järjestyksessä. Tällöin voi aina palata aikaisempaan versioon tiedostosta.
  3. Uiva tekstuuri

    1. Tekstuuri voi ns. “uida” eli liikkua geometrian liikkuessa. Tämä voidaan estää käyttämällä objektissa “Stick Texture” tagia.
  4. Rendaus

    1. Tarkista rendausasetukset. Onko Alpha-kanava päällä tarvittaessa? Onko kuvanopeus sama asetuksissa kuin itse projektissa?
    2. Rendaa kuvasekvenssejä, älä elokuvatiedostoa. Rendaus voi keskeytyä jostain syystä, jolloin jo rendatut kuvat säilyvät ja voit jatkaa siitä, mihin rendaus keskeytyi. Jos elokuvatiedosto korruptoituu, tiedostoa ei voi käyttää, jolloin koko rendausaika on mennyt hukkaan.
    3. Aina, kun ensimmäinen kuva on rendautunut, avaa kuva ja tarkista, että kaikki on kunnossa.

 

  1. Organising your project files

    1. C4d prefers to collect textures from the folder called tex (lower case letters). This folder should be situated at the root of the folder where you save your project. Create a project folder inside which you have a tex folder and save all the images for your project to that tex folder. If you move your project to another machine it should be able to find the images without renewing the search path again.
  2. Saving conventions

    1. C4d-file can get corrupted. File won’t suddenly open and there is a notice “incorrect file structure”. Most likely in that situation there is nothing to be done to retrieve information. It is a good practice to save file often and particularly every time you achieve something you’re satisfied with. Use the command “Save Incremental” to save a new version of the scene in chronological order. Then you will always have a resent version of the file to get back to.
  3. Swimming textures

    1. Texture can “swim” on the surface of the object when object moves. This can be prevented by applying a “Stick Texture” tag to the object.
  4. Rendering

    1. Check your render settings. Is there an alpha channel active if you need one? Is the frame rate consistent with the project frame rate?
    2. Render frame sequences and composite them together afterwards. If the render gets corrupted or interrupted, you can always replace individual frames or continue from where the render stopped. Previously rendered frames are there to be used later on. If you render a movie file and it gets corrupted, the file is unusable and all the render time is lost.
    3. Always check the first frame as soon as it is rendered to see that everything is as it should be.
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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.

Production Pipeline

9 Sep

PRODUCTION PIPELINE

3d Vocabulary and keyboard shortcuts

8 Sep

Keyboard shortcuts

GENERAL

SCENE – All the work is included in the scene. Scenes are the way to organize the work.

PROJECT -Project normally includes different scenes that are linked or composited together in post-production state.

IMAGE – Even though the work is done in 3d, the final result is often a 2d image or sequence of images run one after another to create an illusion of motion. The 3d program calculates all the information inside the scene and produces a 2d image in rendering state.

FORM – All matter in the world has got a form. The form is a combination of how things look, feel and act in the physical world. This is something that an animator wants to mimic in 3d world, so that it looks believable to the viewer.

OBJECT – An element in 3d.  In 3d the lights, cameras, models etc. are all called an object. Object is something that the actions influence.

MODEL – A model has been created in the similar fashion that the sculptor works with the clay. There is an underlying wireframe structure that is covered in some kind of surface. Group of polygons that are created and linked together until the whole surface of a form is constructed is called a model. Gives an idea of the shape of the form.

PROPERTY – Properties are the characteristics of an object.

PARAMETER – Parameter is a value given to a property.

PERSPECTIVE VIEW – Most work in 3d is done in perspective world, where the elements appear smaller and distorted the further away from the camera they are placed.

ORTHOGRAPHIC VIEW – In orthographic world the objects appear the same at any given distance. They don’t change in size or shape.

DISPLAY MODE – The display mode influences on how the elements in the scene are represented to the viewer. It doesn’t show how objects appear when they are rendered. Objects can be seen smooth (with surface) Gouraud shading, wireframe (no surface, wireframe cage) Lines or textured (with colour and the influence of lighting) Gouraud shading.

GLOBAL/ OBJECT/ MODEL MODE – With the object mode on, the selections and actions are done to objects, not to the underlying geometrical structure.

EDIT MODE – Object’s underlying geometrical structure is modifiable. Used to change the shape of a model.

3d-SPACE – Is measured along three axis: the x axis is left and right (red), the y axis is up and down (green) and the z axis is front and back (blue).

TRANSFORM attributes – rotation, position and scaling.

MODELLING

POLYGONS – A 3d objects are constructed of polygons. A polygon at it’s simplest form is a triangle, which connects 3 vertices with three edges and creates a face between them.

MESH – When many polygons are connected to create a model it is called a mesh.

VERTEX – A point in 3d space

EDGE – A line connecting two vertices.

FACE (1 polygon) – An area that is defined by vertices and connecting edges.

SURFACE – The object created based on curves is called a surface. In many 3d applications curve based geometry is called a NURBs (Non Rational Uniform B-spline) surface.

ANIMATION

ANIMATION – the series of still images shown rapidly one after the other, producing the illusion of the actual motion. The most animations are created in 24 fps.

POSITION – The place in 3d world coordinate system. Is defined by the objects pivot.

STATE – POSE/KEYPOSITION – A state of the character at a given time. The animation is constructed by setting up different poses and creating inbetweening motion from one to another.

KEYFRAME – Recorded pose/object state.

INBETWEEN – The change of movement from one pose to another.

CONTROL RIG/ARMATURE/SKELETON – The structure used to control the character in animation. Consists of connecting bones and joints. Works quite the same way that the skeleton works in the physical world.

LIGHTING – So that anything can be seen in 3d world, it needs virtual lights. Lighting as a process is the actions taken to reach the desired mood for the project.

SURFACING/TEXTURING – Refers to the way surfaces look. Each surface have different visual properties. Gives an idea of what the forms are made of. It’s the combination between material and texture.

MATERIAL  – Involves the basic visual properties of the surface. Imitates what the surface is made of. How does the light react when it hits the surface? Is the surface reflective? Is it rough or smooth? Is it transparent?

TEXTURE – texture helps to define the way the materials properties appear across the surface.

RENDERING – The process of creating a 2d-image out of the 3d-scene. The renderer analyzes the forms in the scene, and decides which ones are visible and which are not, and how they appear in perspective from the camera’s viewpoint.

Skills required for 3D

7 Sep

Transferring Traditional Skills

Artists with skills in traditional media will find the transition to 3D computer graphics easier once they get used to working on a computer. In fact, new 3D artists should take the time to learn one or more of the following traditional art forms because they can help enhance 3D skills:

Drawing and Sketching

Drawing is a technique of representing the real world by means of lines and shapes. This skill requires the ability to observe and record the three-dimensional world. This skill can also be used to create storyboards and character sketches—great tools for developing an idea before proceeding to computer graphics. Draw as much as possible. Concentrate on getting the energy of the pose quickly with short gesture drawings.

Cel Animation

Cel animators create 2D art through motion. Cel animation includes traditional techniques such as squash and stretch, anticipation, overlapping action and follow through. Many of these 2D techniques translate very well into 3D environments. Set up a pencil tester with a cheap video camera and try to hand-draw animated bouncing balls, walking sacks of flour, and simple characters doing things. Develop a sense of timing for movement. Learn how to put some personality into a characters walking cycle. Study each frame of the cartoon with a dvd-players freeze frame function and try to copy what works and what doesn’t.

Screen Writing

By learning about screen writing you will learn about formatting, beats, scene structure, visual storytelling, and lots of other information you can use later.

Painting

Painters learn to work with color, light, shape, form and composition. On the computer, these skills help create texture maps, position lights and compose scenes.

Cinematography

Knowledge of traditional cinematography will help artists use real-world techniques when setting up CG lights and cameras. This skill is very important when working with 3D graphics that are integrated into live-action plates. Study the great directors behind tha cameras of the best films ever made. Storyboard shot by shot some films or scenes from films that you think work really well or are similar to current projects you are developing. Try to find out what the director was thinking when he composed each shot. Pay attention to the composition, contrast of lights and darks, lighting, camera movement, transitions from scene to scene, timing of shots, cuts and overall look and feel creation.

Photography

Still photography requires an understanding of lighting and camera effects such as key lights, focal length and depth of field. Photography also teaches good composition techniques that are useful for framing scenes.

Sculpture

Sculpturing with clay, stone and metal requires an intimate understanding of shape and form. Hands-on experience in shaping complex surfaces is a great asset when working with digital surfaces in Maya.

Architecture

Architects often make good 3D artists because they are trained to think in plane, section, elevation and perspective. Building models by hand is another skill they develop that makes it much easier to work in a digital environment.

Acting

Reasons to take up acting:

  • to learn about dramatic tension and three-act-structure
  • to understand the importance of giving characters clear motivations
  • to get better sense of how to make your characters to come alive in a 3D scene
  • to feel comfortable acting out your 3D characters in front of the mirror to get the motion right
  • to feel more comfortable acting out your story and the voices of your 3D characters while pitching your storyboards in front of a group

Graphic design, typography, and sacred geometry

Good animation requires a good design sense. Understanding type, layout, visual communication, and how colours work together will improve the way you design your characters and shots. Practice copying designs that appeal to your sense of style. You will gain a greater understanding of the process involved if you try to recreate nice layouts with pictures and professional type. Using the principles of Sacred Geometry will help you design sets and characters by promoting an understanding of how we relate to shapes and mathematical constructs in our visual world.

Set decoration, production design, art directing

This is the set of professions that can be found behind most visual productions. As an independent film maker/animator you have to be in control of all these aspects of the work. A set decorator is in charge of the set dressing on a film set and television set which includes the furnishings, drapery, lighting fixtures, artwork and many of the other objects that will be seen in the film. These elements are also needed in 3d scene. Set decoration is a way to implement creative ideas, which set the mood for the piece. Production designer makes the final calls on selecting the settings and style to visually tell the story. as the production designer’s lead manager carrying out designing, supervises set designers, model artists, computer designers, graphic designers, set and storyboard illustrators, and assistant art directors. Art director acts as the production designer’s lead manager carrying out designing, supervises set designers, model artists, computer designers, graphic designers, set and storyboard illustrators, and assistant art directors.

Creative Awareness

One of the goals of creating artwork in a 3D graphics application such as Cinema4d is to mimic the real world. This means that the more you are aware of the world around you, the easier it will be to recreate it on the computer. As you come into contact with people, places and objects, take a closer look and imagine that you have to model, animate and render all of the details that you see. Details such as how a person swings his or her arms while walking, or how light enters a room, offer great reference for the 3D artist to incorporate into their work. Any seasoned animator will tell you the importance of observing the world around you. You should continue this kind of awareness when you go to the movies. In many ways, your animations will have roots more in movies than in real life. While watching movies, observe camera angles, set lighting, the staging and framing of actors, and performances.  An understanding of how people, places, color, shape and form are captured on film can help you become a better animator.