Rendering techniques

12 Feb

Global illumination

What global illumination is?

The global illumination

Ambient Occlusion

What ambient occlusion is?

Ambient occlusion

Multipass rendering


Multipass and morphing camera in AE

Special techniques:

Depth of Field

Motion blur

Blurry reflections


Title sequence in AE and C4d

10 Feb
  1. Launch AE and create a new composition with 1080p 25 fps.
  2. Import a background image or image sequence or movie file to a layer. Make this personal and relevant to your project.
  3. Create a new Cinema 4d layer from Layer -> New -> Maxon Cinema4d File.
  4. Save the new Cinema 4d file.
  5. Cinema Lite automatically opens.
  6. Create a text spline. Write down the title of your project. Choose the font to your liking. Texture to the style of your project. You can create more lively text by using a different texture shade for the beveled edges of your text. C4d creates it’s own selection tags for extruded objects. They are named C1 and C2 for caps and R1 and R2 for bevelled/rounded edges.
  7. Extrude text. Select cap and fillet type to your liking.
  8. Save the C4d file and jump back to AE. Note that C4d file is updating in AE.
  9. Export a frame from AE to use in C4d as a reference. Select Composition -> Save Frame As -> Photoshop Layers.
  10. Save your AE file.
  11. Bring the background image to C4d and add it as a material to Background object. Background object will not render in Cineware.
  12. Create a new camera for render. Use the background image as a reference and move the camera to match the perspective of the image.
  13. Light the scene so that it matches the background it is supposed to be composited to.
  14. Animate the text with using MoGraph.
    1. Select Mograph -> Fracture and drag extruded text as an child of the Fracture object.
    2. Change the fracture objects Mode in attribute editor to Explode segments and connect.
    3. In order for the Fracture object to work, it needs to have an effector applied to it. Fracture object selected, go to Mograph -> Effector -> plain.
    4. Go to Plain effector and click on the Falloff tab. Change the falloff from infinite to linear. A wireframe box appears in the viewport and that allows you to control the fracturing.
    5. Click on the checkbox for invert.
    6. Enter -90 degrees for the heading rotation R.H
    7. Click and drag the yellow arrow inside the wireframe box left and right to see how the linear falloff affects the movement of the letters.
    8. Animate the position so that the letters animate down to their position. Animation should last 110 frames. Check the animation.
    9. When animation is ok, change the values of the plane effectors parameters as follows:
      1. y-position -225 cm
      2. z-position -900 cm
      3. Pitch (R.P) 180 degrees.
      4. Now the text should fly into the scene
  15. Change the render settings as needed, use ambient occlusion and make sure the anti-aliasing is set to best.
  16. Save the project and go back to AE.

Different animation techniques

1 Feb

You should have a good understanding of how your character is going to move in the project in order for you to make decisions on how you’re going to build and use the rig for your character.

Skeleton animation

  • Creating your own skeleton:
    • The way to have ultimate control over your character.
    • Tutorial1
  • Using a character object:
    • The way to use presets for skeleton and cmotion for using and modifying the default animation.
    • Tutorial1
    • Tutorial2


Morphing is the way to blend objects or shapes from one to another. There are numerous ways you can create and use morphs in c4d.

  • Morphing between objects.
    • It is important that the objects have a same amount of points. The best result can be achieved by changing the shape of the same objects.
    • example tutorial
    • example tutorial2
  • Morphing splines to each other. These splines can then be animated with different methods, e.g. by animating the surface generator sweep.

Pose Morph

  • Morphing different shapes of one mesh into another shape of that mesh.

Path Animation

  • You can attach an object to a spline to make it follow the spline by using a align to spline tag. Spline will become parametric, so the animation is done by keyframing its position percentage on the spline. Remember to click on tangential option on the attributes.
  • It is possible to use a spline effector in together with Mograph to create an interesting dynamic animation




Set Driven Key

  • C4d allows you to control an attribute of a one object with the other attribute of another object.




Deformer objects

29 Jan

Deformers are used to deform the geometry or to perform some deforming animation tasks. They can be used on primitive objects, generator objects, polygon objects and splines. They work on its parent objects or its piers. Multiple deformers can be assigned to objects, but note that in that case the order of deformers makes the difference on the end result. Make sure there are enough points on the object deformed.

Muokkaavat toiminnot muokkaavat objektin geometriaa tai niitä voidaan käyttää animaation tekemiseen. Niillä voidaan muokata primitiiviobjekteja, luomisobjekteja, polygoneja tai käyriä. Ne vaikuttavat hierarkiassa niitä ylempänä oleviin objekteihin sekä samalla tasolla samassa hierarkiaketjussa oleviin objekteihin. Muokkaimia voidaan käyttää useampia samalle objektille, jolloin muokkainten esiintymisjärjestyksellä on merkitystä. Tärkeää on se, että objektilla on tarpeeksi muokattavia pisteitä sulavan lopputuloksen aikaansaamiseksi.


Tutorial on using deformers in modelling: motorcycle tire





  • Narrows or widens objects towards one end.
  • Kaventaa tai leventää objektia jompaakumpaa päätä kohden mentäessä.


FFD – Free Form Deformer

  • Deforms object using grid points, which affect vertices within the original unmodified FFD-cage.
  • Muokkaa objektia käyttämällä ruudukon pisteitä hyväkseen siten, että vertex-pisteet, jotka osuvat verkon sisälle, muokkautuvat ruudukon pisteiden liikkuessa.
  • General usage tutorial

Mesh (Cage Deformer)

  • Deformer allows you to create a custom low resolution cage around the object to deform it.
  • Muokkaimella voit tehdä muutoksia objektiin lisäämällä objektin ympärille kustomoidun vähäpolygonisen häkkimallin, jonka avulla voidaan muokata objektin muotoa.
  • General usage tutorial
  • General usage 2

Squash & Stretch

  • Used to create a squash and Stretch effect in order to motion be more dynamic.
  • Käytetään animaatiossa yleisen venytys-litistys efektin aikaansaamiseksi.


  • The recipient object melts radially from the deformers origin onto the Y-plane of the deformer’s origin.
  • “Sulattaa” objektin säteittäin muokkaimen keskipisteestä siten, että objekti ikäänkuin valuu muokkaimen Y-tasolle.


  • Explodes an object into its constituent polygons from the deformer’s origin.
  • Räjäyttää objektin sen polygonirakenteen mukaisiin paloihin muokkaimen keskipisteestä.

Explosion FX






Shrink Wrap

  • Deformer allows you to shrinkwrap one source object onto another target object, even if the objects are completely different shapes and have a different number of points.
  • Muokkain antaa sinun kutistaa ja kietoa lähdeobjekti tavoitemuotoon huolimatta siitä, että ne olisivat toisistaan täysin erilaiset muodot, joissa on eri määrä pisteitä.
  • General usage tutorial





Spline Rail

Spline Wrap



  • Use this Deformer to emulate interaction between objects by deforming the mesh physically interacting with another defined object. Think of it as a soft surface being pushed or pulled when it collides with another surface.

  • Muokkaimella simuloidaan tilannetta, jossa objekti muokkautuu ollessaan kosketuksissa toisen objektin kanssa. Ajattele pehmeää pintaa, jota työnnettäisiin tai vedettäisiin sen kohdatessa toisen pinnan.
  • Snow prints, soft areas being squeezed, prints on the soft ground.
  • General usage tutorial

  • Snow trail tutorial



  • The formula deforms object wave-like according to a mathematical formulae.
  • Tuottaa aaltomaista liikettä käyttäen matemaattista kaavaa muutoksen pohjana.
  • General usage tutorial
  • Displaced water


Polygon reduction




16 Feb

What is MoGraph?

MoGraph is a procedural modeling and animation module within CINEMA 4D. What it really is though, is a collection of objects, and at the heart of those objects is something called the Cloner object. What MoGraph excels at is making copies and then repeating those copies and manipulating those copies.

What can be done using MoGraph?

Inspect the different ways to use the Mograph module in c4d by looking at the tutorials and videos made by using the tools in Mograph module.

Check out the links below for the tutorial. Complete the tutorial and use techniques you learn to create a similar animation with the logo you created by using curves.

logo/text animation with mograph 1, logo/text animation with mograph 2

The Art of Rendering

16 Feb

Rendering is the process in which the 3D scene is calculated and rendered to create a 2D image(s). The computer produces a flat picture of the view through the camera for a still image of each sequential frame of the movie. It takes into account lighting, reflections, shadows, and all the other influences of the environment. The process is often a delicate balance between the level of quality you must have and the time it takes to render the project.


Render Engine

Full Render – will use C4D or the Advanced Render engine to output a high quality render

Software Preview – the scene will render as it looks unrendered in the viewport

Hardware preview – the scene renders as it looks unrendered in OpenGL display mode

CineMan – allows access to other render engines such as Render Man



This is where you set the size of your still frames in pixels. Select the image size needed accordingly to your final output medium. (HDTV 1080 24- 1920×1080 in our case) In the viewport you can set the Render Safe borders to be on or off, so that you can see exactly which areas of your work will show up in your final render.

Check that the Frame Rate is set to 24 or 25 frames per second and that the Frame Range is set to Manual. Then you can specify the Frame range start (From) and end (To) frame yourself.


First of all, if you want to render your frames and store them, the save-tab needs to be checked on. Then you can specify the path in which folder you want your frames to render.

When rendering an animation, it is important to create a folder for the frames. Otherwise you end up doing a lot of housekeeping later on with all the frames that get splattered all around your desktop. Save your frames as preferred file format and select the naming option filename.0000.tiff.

Alpha Channel

Check on Alpha box if the image needs to store an Alpha channel for a further compositing work. The entire alpha channel is masked if you use a Sky, Floor, Foreground or Background object in your scene. Do not use any of these objects if you need the alpha channel.

Dithering is a process that adds a random pattern to colors to prevent color banding. Although dithering enhances the image quality, it also increases file size. For web graphics in particular, you may want to disable dithering to reduce image file size.

Compositing Project File

The Compositing Project File option ensures that all Multi-Pass renderings can be consolidated easily and combined with the correct layer copy mode in the project file, without having to import all assets and channels individually. Additionally enabling the Include 3D Data option will pass this information on to the target application, ensuring that cameras, lights and layers are included. Of course this option can be left disabled, if desired. In our example, our scene will be subsequently edited in After Effects CS4. Therefore, select After Effects as the Target Application.


This option is a powerful tool if you are compositing the rendered frames in After Effects later on. Multi-Pass allows you to render different artistic possibilities at one time, and then have them as separate layers in the compositing program. You can specify, which elements to include to your multipass render from the Multi-Pass menu at the top of the Render Settings window. (if you’re only interested in the multipass image, you can disable the Regular Image in the Save options) H.264 files do not support Multi-Pass.

When using multi-pass in rendering it is best to use a linear workflow to ensure the colours are shown correctly. Make sure the linear workflow continues in the compositing software you use. Here is how it works.

Tutorial on lightening up your renders.


When antialiasing is off, the corners of the pixels on the edges of the polygons can appear jagged. When you are test rendering, the setting None is fine and will save time. In the final render, set the quality to be Best.

Min Level defines the minimum number of sub-pixels that will always be rendered. The default value of 1.1 will suffice for most cases. If, however, artefacting should occur in very detailed regions, e.g. shadow elements get swallowed, higher values should be used.
Max Level is the sub-pixel dispersion that is applied to critical regions (mostly high-contrast regions, i.e. color edges or object edges behind transparencies). This value can, for example, be increased when rendering glass to ensure the rendering of finer details. In an average scene with a Threshold (Color) value of 10%, about 40% of all pixels will be affected, whereas a Threshold value of 5% will result in 90% of all pixels being affected. A value of 0% will cause all pixels of a rendered image to be antialiased – including superfluous regions. This can significally slow down your render time.

Render Tag

Note the Render tag in conjunction with the above.
This tag can be used to define antialiasing settings on object level. In the Edit Render Settings menu, set Antialiasing to Best and the Min/Max Level values each to 1×1. This reflects the least amount of antialiasing for the entire scene (i.e. none). You can, however, use Render tags to define the amount of antialiasing each object should have individually. This lets you, for example, apply a high level of antialiasing to prominent foreground objects and progressively less to objects that lie correspondingly further in the background.

In the Filter pull-down menu, choose the Animation filter for the movie project, which will result in smoother edge, which is less prone for flickering. (Allows the Softness to be controlled by a value  for a customizable effect)


Ray Treshold – Only a small precentage of the processed rays feed into the overall color and brightness of the final render. Any ray that falls under the precentage will be left out and the render times can be greatly reduced.

Ray Depth – Determines how many transparent objects, including those made transparent by the use of Alpha Channels, can be penetrated by the renderer. A low value can speed up the render. Too low value can result in transparent objects rendering black and there is a need to raise the value.

Reflection Depth – Determines the shadow depth calculated for the visible shadow rays. A value of 15 is usually suitable unless you have many transparent, reflective or refractive elements in your scene. Then you need higher value.

LOD (Level Of Detail) – can help reducing render time by lowering the subdivision level at which objects will be rendered. Can be lowered per object through using the display tag.

Bucket sequence and size – If you have a very powerfull machine, you may increase the rendering time by raising the bucket size.


Five Likely Render Hogs

  • Global Illumination
  • Ambient Occlusion
  • Anti-Aliasing
  • Blurry Reflections
  • Area Shadows

Link to a tutorial on optimizing your scene

General lighting tips

16 Feb

Choosing an Appropriate Lighting

It is important to make conscious decisions about emotions and design ahead of time , so that lighting is chosen and edited to enhance the overall goals for the scene. Here’s a partial checklist:

  1. What is the mood of the scene and what overall brightness (intensity slider) is appropriate? Which type of light will best fit the scene’s sense of time and place?
  2. How do multiple lights in a multiple light arrangement relate to each other in intensity and contrast? How will this ratio affect modelling and shadows?
  3. Should light come from one source for a hard edged, dramatic look or have multiple points of origin for a softer, more diffused feel?
  4. How rapidly will the intensity of the light fall off?
  5. Will light travel in one direction and stop or bounce from surface to surface?
  6. What colour is the light? Should the colour convey a specific mood? Can the warmth or coolness of lights be used to articulate space or establish time of the day?
  7. What kind of shadows are appropriate for the mood of the scene?
  8. Will the light be animated to move, flicker, surge, or changein intensity or colour over time? Will the light have shadow patterns moving through it?
  9. Is the light visible? Does it honor the mass of objects in its path? Is it clean or is it filled with dust?

General Tips for Lighting

  1. Name lights by the function they are performing in the scene. Names like 70 percent Main, 40 percent Fill, Backlight etc. say so much more than light1 and light2.
  2. Set up lighting in regard to the active camera.
  3. Shift-click to select multiple lights for simultaneous editing.
  4. Use Gouraud shading for feedback on how the lights are affecting the scene.
  5. Use the gray visibility switches to turn the lights on one at the time to see the effect each light is having on the model.
  6. Model for lighting. Sharp corners have no surface to catch light. Create fillets, roundings and bevels on your models to show off the highlights.
  7. If the scene calls for multiple lights, check the No Illumination check box for most of them so the dominant light still comes from one direction. Not only will too many radiating lights quickly overexpose the scene, but light from too many directions can be visually chaotic. Set up a strong basic structure of light and shadow, and then add puffs of visible colour that add interest but contribute no illumination to the scene. Think of it as painting with light.
  8. Turn off textures temporarily to see lighting effects more accurately.