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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.
Here we are in chapter 1003.aap, and in here I have split my Cinema 4D scene into three components. I have the floor on one layer, the text on another layer and the robots on another layer. And I've done that by taking advantage of CINEWARE's support of Cinema 4D layers, enabling me to choose the layers I want to render. I have them render on separate layers in After Effects. That's very powerful, because it allows me to treat each element differently in After Effects.
There are a few little issues with that though. One thing you'll notice, is since I've done that, I've lost the shadows that are being cast from my robots onto the Floor layer. And that's because CINEWARE needs the robots to be on the same layer as the Floor layer in order to see the shadows. So that's a little bit of a problem, but there's a work around for it, which I'm going to show you. So, select the Floor layer, hit Cmd+D or Ctrl+E to open up CINEMA 4D Lite. And in here, you can see the layers, if I click on my Layers panel.
I've got my Floor layer and I can solo them by switching them on using the (UNKNOWN) in there. Now the problem as I said is in CINEMA 4D, there's no problem because the shadows will render no matter which layer the robots are on. But in After Effects, using CINEWARE, it will only render the shadows if the robots are on the same layer as the floor. So, we can't really do that, because I want to keep the robots separate. But what we can do is create instances. So, I'm going to select the robot circle, first of all, and go to here and choose Instance.
And we'll call that Robot Circle Let's just select that word there and say, Shadow Caster. We'll do the same for the main robot. So, we'll choose Instance and we'll call it Robot Shadow Catcher. Once I have both of those and I've spelled them correctly, that might take a while, then what I need to do is I need to add them to the same layer as the shadow catcher.
So I can right click and go to Add to Layer > Floor Layer, so all of those three are on the Floor layer. Now, it makes sense just to reorganize myself a bit, so I'm going to bring the shadow catcher out. I'm going to create a new null and call it Floor, and I will drag all of the elements for the floor into there. Okay. I may as well just add that to that layer as well. So, there we go Floor layer. So, we now have all of those elements in the right place.
So, let's just save that. So, I'll hit Cmd+S or Ctrl+S on Windows just to save that. Takes a minute to calculate the differences and then we'll jump over to After Effects, and see what a difference that's made to our render. Now remember before, when we were in After Effects, there were no shadows. Let's jump back to After Effects. It will take a minute or two just to update that render, and we should see in a second, the shadows. So that's fantastic, we have the shadows casting on the layer.
Only one problem. If I solid the Floor layer, we can see the robots. So, what I need to do is make those robots invisible. Now the other problem is, I am fairly short of RAM on this system. So rendering all of these instances into RAM could be problematic. So we're going to do a couple of other things. I'm going to jump back to CINMEMA 4D, and in CINMEMA 4D, I'm going to do a couple of things. First of all, I'm going to select my attributes of my instances and I'm going to say Render Instance on Each of them.
And that will save us having to use RAM for all of these instances. I can also do it to this array here, I can choose Render Instances. And that means RAM's not going to be used up to keep updating those Now, the other thing I can do is select both of these. And remember, I don't want these to appear on the Floor layer as actual elements. I just want them to have their shadows appear. So what I can do is add a compositing tag to them. So we'll go to CINMEMA 4D Tags > Compositing, and all I need to do is leave cast shadows on but take scene by camera off.
And now if I save that and then jump back to After Effects, you'll see it saves a big quicker now. And now we have the shadows without the robots. So that's how to get the shadows casting onto a layer without the elements also appearing on the layer. And keeping things operating as quickly as possible.
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