Post Production

Modeling in CINEMA 4D Lite

FOR EXERCISE #1, SEE THE PREVIOUS POST – CINEMA 4D Lite and CINEWARE – The Interface, the Workflow and Getting Started.

Download ( the file to your hard drive. It contains all the files needed to play along!

Modeling in CINEMA 4D Lite

The first step in a 3D modeling workflow is the creation of a model. Basically, a model is a collection of 3D objects arranged together in a scene. CINEMA 4D provides a set of objects to start the 3D modeling process. In this exercise you will build 3D text using a spline object and a NURB generator.

Splines are vertices (dots) connected by lines in 3D space. A spline has no three-dimensional depth, but with the combination of NURBS you can create complex 3D objects. NURBS are generators. Common types of NURBS are extrude, lathe, loft, and sweep. For this exercise, you will use an extruded NURB. An extruded NURB takes a two-dimensional spline – a letter form – and extends the shape along a path creating a solid object.

An extruded NURB takes a 2D spline and extends it along a path

Exercise #2: Creating an Extruded NURB

1. In CINEMA 4D, locate the spline icon above the viewport window (below). Click and hold the icon to reveal the pop-up palette of spline shapes. While this palette is open, left-click on the Text icon to add a text spline.

Locate the spline icon in the icon panel above the viewport.

CINEMA 4D color codes the icons for different types of objects that you can add to a scene. Icons for objects are blue. The Text spline icon is a visual shortcut for the actual menu command of selecting Create > Spline > Text from the top menu bar.

2. Make sure the Text spline is selected. The Attributes Manager displays the contextual information and properties for the selected object. Go to the Attributes Manager and make the following changes (below):

– Change the text to DIVE IN.

– Change the font to Century Gothic, or whatever typeface you prefer.

– Set the font style to Regular.

– Decrease the value of the Height property to 150 cm.

Use the Attributes Manager to modify the Text spline object.

3. Select the Extrude NURBS from the NURBS object palette above the viewport (below). In the Objects Manager, an Extrude NURBS object appears above the Text spline. Note that CINEMA 4D color codes its 3D generators green.

Add an Extrude NURB to the 3D scene.

4. Go to the Objects Manager. Click and drag the Text spline into the Extrude NURBS object. In the viewport, the 2D text becomes a 3D extruded object. The NURB automatically extends the Text spline along its Z-axis (below).

Make the Text spline a child of the Extrude NURBS to create the 3D object.

CINEMA 4D uses a parent-child method when creating and arranging 3D objects in a scene. In this exercise the Extrude NURBS is the parent and the Text spline is its child. Understanding this becomes a powerful tool for creating complex models that are easy to use in building a scene and animation.

5. Make sure the Extrude NURBS is selected in the Object Manager. Go to the Attributes Manager and increase the Z-Movement value to 50 cm.

6. Click on the Caps tab. Change the Start/End Caps to Fillet Cap to add a beveled edge, and decrease the Radius value to 2 cm (below).

Use the Attributes Manager to modify the Extruded NURBS.

7. Go to the Objects Manager and double-click on the Extrude NURBS name. Rename it 3D Text and press Return.

8. Save your CINEMA 4D file. Jump back to After Effects and you will see the 3D extruded text update in the Composition panel (below). When working between CINEMA 4D and After Effects, all you need to do is save the 3D file and it automatically updates in real time through CINEWARE in After Effects.

CINEWARE updates the saved CINEMA 4D file in the Composition panel.

9. In order to match the perspective in the video, let’s export a frame from After Effects to use in CINEMA 4D as a reference. First, turn off the visibility of the 3DText layer by clicking on its eye switch in the Timeline (below).

Turn off the visibility of the CINEMA 4D layer in the Timeline.

10. Move the Current Time Indicator (CTI) to the last frame in the Timeline.

11. Select Composition > Save Frame As > Photoshop Layers (below). In the Save dialog box, save the file in the Footage folder. Click Save.

Save the last frame of the composition as a Photoshop file.

12. Turn on the visibility of the CINEMA 4D layer by clicking on its eye switch again in the Timeline (below).

Turn of the visibility of the CINEMA 4D layer in the Timeline.

13. Save your After Effects project. Now that you have a 3D model in CINEMA 4D, the next exercise will focus on adding a material to it.

Excerpt from After Effects and Cinema 4D Lite: 3D Motion Graphics and Visual Effects Using CINEWARE by Chris Jackson © 2015 Taylor and Francis Group. All Rights Reserved.

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