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Intimidated by 3D modeling packages? Dip a toe in the water with CINEMA 4D (C4D) Lite, a slimmed down version of CINEMA 4D included with After Effects CC. Motion graphics designer Angie Taylor shows you how to build a complete sequence in C4D Lite, progressing from initial object modeling, to animation, lighting, camera rigging, texturing, and final render. Plus, learn to animate text, create random movement with wiggle expressions, track cameras in live-action footage to add new 3D elements, and light your scene. Angie also round-trips the project files to After Effects for visual effects and color correction. With over 100 videos, this course allows you to explore almost every aspect of 3D motion graphics creation, within this accessible introductory tool.
In this project, I've created this little 3D scene for motion graphics project. We're in Chapter 6 start if you want to follow along. And if I RAM preview that, you'll see I've created these cogs and a little bit of camera animation with a shake on, and some text coming in over time. Now, this is using ray-traced 3D and After Effects. One downside to that is it can be slow. I'm on a new generation MacBook Pro here, and it's running reasonably well. But on some machines, it may run very slowly.
You can speed it up by doing certain things if you use Fast Draft mode to preview. It uses OpenGL to load graphics quicker and give you a faster preview. Although you're not going to see it in best quality, you'll see it's non anti-aliased, the edges are not quite right. In order to see it a little bit more correctly, you're better to go to adaptive resolution or high resolution to see it really clearly. Now, you can mess around with the material options of the layers to try and get a more metallic look and add reflection. But then, it starts to increase render time.
It's also difficult to control the surfaces of your object in terms of color and materials. So, in these situations, I much prefer to use Cinema 4D to create my text. Now, I could choose it to create the cogs as well, but the cog is a kind of secondary to the designs. I'm not to worried about them. So we're going to add a Cinema 4D layer to this. We go to Layer > New > MAXON CINEMA 4D File. And we'll call it Gears01. You have to give it a name because in the background it's creating a new cinema for the project.
So we click Save and it opens that Cinema 4D project in Cinema 4D Lite. Now, I'm just going to quickly create some text and we create text by using splines and you'll see that the text object here is in the splines. So, if I select Text, that gives me a preset for my text, and the word Text appears here in my main viewport. Now, if I go down to the Attributes Manager, in the Object tab, I can see the text highlighted within this area here.
Of course, it's got a button beside it, which means its animatable. We'll talk about that later. Now I'm just going to type in the word, Gears, and then choose a font. If you got several fonts on your system, it may take a while to load them all, but then it will show you little preview of all the fonts on your system. So you can go through and choose one that's suitable. Now, I'm just going to choose Helvetica. And I'm going to choose Bold. You may not have the same choices. So, if you don't, you can go through and choose, maybe Arial Black or something like that.
Now, you have basic options in here for alignment, height, horizontal spacing, vertical spacing. We'll have a look at those later. For now, all we're going to do is actually extrude the text. At the moment, if I try and render that by hitting Cmd + R on the Mac, Ctrl + R on Windows, you'll notice that it doesn't render anything. In order for it to render, it needs to have surfaces. So we use a NURB to do that, the Extrude NURBS. And the way it works is you drag the text onto the Extrude NURBS, arrow pointing down, and then it gives you depth.
You can then select the Extrude NURBS and adjust the properties. So I'm just giving it a little bit more depth by placing the cursors inside this text field and just using Shift + arrow keys to change the depth of the text. Now, you can also give it caps. If we render it now without caps, Cmd + R, Ctrl + R in Windows, you'll notice it's quite flat. But if we go into the Extrude NURBS, and add Fillet Cap, you'll see we get a little bit of a bevel there. Now, we don't really want to use it as a obvious bevel.
By setting off 1 or 2 will give us enough of an edge that when we render it, again, Cmd + R, Ctrl + R, we just get little bit more definition on the edge of our letters. It really makes a big difference. Okay. You can add a Fillet Cap to the back as well, so if it will be seen at the back at any point during your animation, best to put Fillet Cap on there, as well. So, there we have our text. And if we save it, Cmd + S or Ctrl + S in Windows, jump back to After Effects.
You'll notice I now have text in my After Effects project. You'll notice it's not matching with the camera and this project. In order to get it to match, all I need to do is go into my Cineware effect and go to Comp Camera. And you'll see it will jump into the same space as the other layers. Now, the moment it's offset due to the difference in coordinates between After Effects and Cinema 4D. To correct that, I'm just going to choose Centered Comp Camera, and that will place it in a more central place within my composition.
And I'm ready to start formatting it and maybe playing around with materials.
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