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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.
- We're now gonna have a look at how we can add Reflection to surfaces in Cinema 4D. Here I have my floor layer, my text layer, and my robot layer and we're in Chapter10_04_R16.aep if you want to follow along. And what I want to do is I want to make the floor reflective so as well as seeing shadows cast on to the floor we can see the robot reflected on to the floor. So what we're gonna do is we're just gonna jump over to Cinema 4D and here we have the scene in Cinema 4D and at the moment I just have this kind of default Texture Tag here which is the default material that was on my Shadow Catcher.
Now if I double-click that Tag it will open up the Material editor here where I can make changes to that Material. Now if we go into the Basic tab over the Material editor you'll see it defaults to having Color and Reflectance on. Now this is new to R16. Used to be a Reflection channel and a Specular channel. They've now been replaced by the single Reflectance channel. Which can be used to create Reflection and Specular effects but also loads of different texture effects.
It's really quite a powerful channel. Little bit trickier to use than the Reflection channel. This is how to use it. If we go into the Reflectance channel you'll notice that you've just got a general Global Reflection Brightness, which is at 100 percent. And a Global Specular Brightness which is at 100 percent. So you may think, "Well, why am I not "seeing any Reflection?" Well that's because you have to add layers of Reflectance. So you can add Reflection and Specular layers.
So if I want to add a Reflection that's similar to the old style of Reflection channel I would come down here and add Reflection Legacy and as soon as I do that you see that it's showing me that I've got a nice Reflective surface now. Now I can reduce the amount of Reflection, maybe give it about 90 percent Reflection and if I save that and jump back to After Effects you should now see this will update and we're getting some Reflection on that layer as well as the shadows being cast.
So let's jump back to Cinema 4D. Now, we could continue with that, we could add maybe a layer of Specular to that. And if I click on that you'll notice that we start to see a slight Specular highlight and it's great the way that this works. It's kind of like the Layers panel in Photoshop so you can decide whether you want that just combined on top of the other one or you want to use Add mode you can decide on the Opacity of that effect. You can also scroll down here and adjust things like the Specular strength.
You could push that right up. Maybe bring the width down and if we scroll back up you can see that updated up here. So, a really nice way of adding this kind of layer based Reflection and Specular effects. Now we could continue adjusting that ourselves but we're not going to. We're going to take advantage of another feature of Cinema 4D Lite which is the ton of free content that's available in the Content browser.
Now the Content Browser is up here near the Objects manager. And if we click on that tab and hit the up arrow 'til we get to the end you'll see that we have various different elements within the Content Browser. And the one we want to look at is Presets. If you double-click Presets you'll notice there's a Lite folder. If you double-click that you'll notice that you have free 3D Objects, Materials and Presets that you can use in your projects. Now you can continue to search in this panel but the way that I like to search through my Presets and Materials is to go to Window, Content Browser and open up the Content Browser full screen.
The reason is because then we can dial down through folders so I can open up Presets, open up Lite, open up Materials and within there I can just click on the subfolders and see the content. Now there's a little slider down here that allows me to make the previews bigger so I can really get in to detail and see the texture in all of these Materials before I apply them. I'm gonna click on Glass. I want a semi-transparent Material and I want a color that fits in with the scene so I'm gonna choose this nice blue color here and double-click that.
If I close the Content Browser now you'll see that bue Material appears here in my List. I can go back to the Object Manager and drag it from the list on to the Shadow Catcher layer. Now we're gonna delete that previous material. We don't need that Texture Tag anymore. And if we save that and jump back to After Effects we should now see we've got a semi-transparent blue floor and you can see some Reflection from the robots being cast onto that floor.
Now we've lost the shadows a little bit so we need to make an adjustment to this so that we bring back some of the shadows but keep the Reflections. So let's just jump back to Cinema 4D, double-click the Texture Tag to open it up and in there you can see we have that Reflectance channel again. With various different layers in it. Now I could adjust the Specular Strength again if I want to and maybe the inner width. Make it a little bit wider. That would be one option.
So we could go in there and adjust that Specular channel. Or I could just go to one of the other channels so maybe if I want to bring the shadows back I need to make the layer a little bit brighter or lighter. So I could go into my Color channel and just boost that to maybe about 50 percent so that we get a lighter color on the floor. And if I save that, jump back to After Effects we should now see, when it updates, that we're actually seeing the shadows being cast onto the floor and we're also seeing the Reflections of the robot being cast on to the floor.
So that's a little bit about how you can make Materials more Reflective, using the Reflectance channel in Cinema 4D R16.
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