Up and Running with CINEMA 4D Lite for After Effects
Illustration by John Hersey

Compositing CINEMA 4D layers in After Effects


Up and Running with CINEMA 4D Lite for After Effects

with Angie Taylor

Start your free trial now, and begin learning software, business and creative skills—anytime, anywhere—with video instruction from recognized industry experts.

Start Your Free Trial Now

Video: Compositing CINEMA 4D layers in After Effects

- So here we're gonna have look at how Cineware interprets layers from Cinema 4D. Now we're working with Cinema 4D Lite R16 and Cineware 2 and that's why I've opened up Chapter10_02_R16.aep, and in here you'll see I also have the corresponding Chapter10_02_R16 Cinema 4D file. I'm gonna open up the Cineware Effect in the Effect Control Panel just by double clicking it here, and you'll notice in here we have a section saying Cinema 4D Layers.
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 2m 22s
    1. Welcome
      2m 22s
  2. 54m 9s
    1. What is CINEMA 4D Lite?
      4m 23s
    2. What CINEMA 4D Lite can't do
      6m 54s
    3. Opening CINEMA 4D Lite in After Effects
      2m 38s
    4. Quick interface tour
      8m 46s
    5. Navigation tips for CINEMA 4D Lite
      8m 5s
    6. CINEMA 4D Lite preferences and settings
      7m 28s
    7. Checking out the new CINEWARE features with After Effects CC 2014.1
      15m 55s
  3. 22m 34s
    1. Importing CINEMA 4D files in After Effects
      1m 5s
    2. The CINEWARE plugin settings
      4m 42s
    3. CINEMA 4D Lite render settings
      6m 15s
    4. After Effects project settings
      1m 23s
    5. After Effects previewing tips
      3m 50s
    6. Using the Picture Viewer in CINEMA 4D
      5m 19s
  4. 1h 14m
    1. Editing primitive objects
      5m 18s
    2. The Move and Scale tools
      7m 18s
    3. The Rotate tool
      4m 24s
    4. Axis limitations
      1m 46s
    5. Working cylinders
      7m 15s
    6. Linking body parts using object hierarchy
      9m 49s
    7. Spline modeling with Sweep NURBS
      7m 22s
    8. Adjusting NURBS settings
      4m 6s
    9. Using nulls as controllers
      3m 33s
    10. Creating copies with the Instance array
      6m 44s
    11. Carving shapes with the Boole array
      10m 28s
    12. Reshaping objects with deformers
      3m 14s
    13. Adding surface detail with a Relief object
      2m 55s
  5. 55m 41s
    1. Understanding coordinates
      5m 0s
    2. Understanding rotation
      2m 39s
    3. Timeline shortcuts
      3m 1s
    4. Basic keyframing of properties
      4m 31s
    5. Copying keyframes
      2m 3s
    6. Keyframe interpolation
      5m 20s
    7. Adjusting F-Curves
      5m 45s
    8. Holding values
      5m 8s
    9. Using XPresso to link properties: Part one
      4m 17s
    10. Using XPresso to link properties: Part two
      2m 27s
    11. Importing existing animations into CINEMA 4D Lite
      6m 21s
    12. Animating cameras in CINEMA 4D Lite
      4m 37s
    13. Animating using presets
      4m 32s
  6. 46m 57s
    1. Importing music and soundtracks
      4m 12s
    2. Customizing commands and shortcuts
      6m 7s
    3. Adding markers
      4m 25s
    4. Creating multiple cameras in CINEMA 4D Lite
      8m 17s
    5. Cutting between CINEMA 4D cameras with CINEWARE
      5m 43s
    6. Creating cameras in After Effects
      4m 37s
    7. Merging 3D camera data into CINEMA 4D Lite
      3m 10s
    8. Animating cameras with Stage objects
      4m 27s
    9. Extracting cameras from CINEMA 4D files
      5m 59s
  7. 43m 49s
    1. Adding CINEMA 4D text to After Effects comps
      5m 4s
    2. Formatting text in CINEMA 4D
      5m 47s
    3. Creating CINEMA 4D text or logos in Illustrator
      6m 9s
    4. Importing Illustrator text into CINEMA 4D Lite
      4m 38s
    5. Applying material presets to text
      7m 51s
    6. Merging CINEMA 4D files
      5m 51s
    7. Registering CINEMA 4D Lite for MoGraph features
      1m 8s
    8. Using MoGraph Fracture on text
      3m 25s
    9. The MoGraph Random Effector
      3m 56s
  8. 12m 8s
    1. Creating a wiggle expression
      7m 49s
    2. The Reset Position script
      4m 19s
  9. 30m 56s
    1. Applying a custom material
      6m 32s
    2. Making a metallic material
      6m 15s
    3. Adding an environment channel
      2m 20s
    4. Adding texture with shaders
      4m 21s
    5. Built-in material presets
      3m 52s
    6. Combining materials
      2m 41s
    7. Using selection sets to isolate surfaces
      4m 55s
  10. 27m 42s
    1. 3D camera tracking in After Effects
      6m 3s
    2. Creating nulls from tracking points
      2m 40s
    3. Adjusting the Shadow Catcher for CINEMA 4D
      3m 31s
    4. Importing a CINEMA 4D file into a scene
      4m 21s
    5. Exporting CINEMA 4D files from After Effects comps
      3m 42s
    6. Merging objects from CINEMA 4D files
      3m 23s
    7. Manually adjusting scenes between apps
      4m 2s
  11. 24m 26s
    1. Setting up layers in CINEMA 4D
      5m 48s
    2. Compositing CINEMA 4D layers in After Effects
      6m 52s
    3. Casting shadows on layers in CINEWARE
      5m 18s
    4. Adding reflections in CINEMA 4D
      6m 28s
  12. 36m 10s
    1. Using preset lighting setups
      6m 24s
    2. Light types in CINEMA 4D Lite
      6m 38s
    3. Creating visible lights
      7m 56s
    4. Adding ambient occlusion effects
      6m 55s
    5. Optimizing your CINEMA 4D scenes
      8m 17s
  13. 38m 54s
    1. Multipass compositing explained
      2m 28s
    2. Adding passes to render settings
      2m 8s
    3. Viewing passes in the Picture Viewer
      2m 35s
    4. Adding object buffers
      4m 51s
    5. External compositing tags in CINEMA 4D Lite
      3m 8s
    6. Previewing and experimenting with passes
      4m 30s
    7. CINEWARE multipass options
      9m 2s
    8. Adjusting reflections
      5m 23s
    9. Isolating elements with object buffers
      4m 49s
  14. 53m 2s
    1. Extracting 3D scene data
      8m 11s
    2. Adding video elements to a CINEMA 4D scene
      5m 49s
    3. Working with proxies
      10m 2s
    4. Color correction of shadows
      4m 10s
    5. Layer styles
      3m 50s
    6. Adjustment layers
      4m 58s
    7. Setting up depth of field in CINEMA 4D Lite
      3m 10s
    8. Adding depth of field with camera lens blur
      4m 4s
    9. Speed ramps with time remapping
      4m 14s
    10. Motion blur with the Pixel Motion Blur effect
      4m 34s
  15. 13m 59s
    1. Rendering with the After Effects Render Queue
      5m 39s
    2. Background rendering with Adobe Media Encoder
      4m 6s
    3. The BG Renderer script
      4m 14s

please wait ...
Watch the Online Video Course Up and Running with CINEMA 4D Lite for After Effects
8h 57m Beginner Aug 28, 2013 Updated Jan 15, 2015

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • What is CINEMA 4D Lite?
  • Understanding the CINEMA 4D Lite and After Effects CC workflow
  • Editing primitive objects
  • Spline modeling with NURBS
  • Animating with keyframes
  • Using Xpresso to link properties
  • Importing music and soundtracks
  • Creating and animating cameras
  • Working with text
  • Scripting
  • Creating and applying materials and textures
  • 3D camera tracking
  • Compositing layers
  • Lighting with visible lights and ambient occlusion
  • Adding visual effects in After Effects
  • Rendering in After Effects and the Adobe Media Encoder
3D + Animation Video video2brain
After Effects CINEMA 4D
Angie Taylor

Compositing CINEMA 4D layers in After Effects

- So here we're gonna have look at how Cineware interprets layers from Cinema 4D. Now we're working with Cinema 4D Lite R16 and Cineware 2 and that's why I've opened up Chapter10_02_R16.aep, and in here you'll see I also have the corresponding Chapter10_02_R16 Cinema 4D file. I'm gonna open up the Cineware Effect in the Effect Control Panel just by double clicking it here, and you'll notice in here we have a section saying Cinema 4D Layers.

If you have a Cinema 4D file that has layers in it you can click in this check box to access those layers. Now if I click on Set Layers you'll notice that the Cinema 4D Layers dialogue box appears, and here I can choose which layers I want to render in Cinema 4D. Now this can be a bit confusing. It's slightly different from previous versions. In previous versions you would've had three layers, Robots, Texts, and Floor. In this version, version two of Cineware, we also have what's called the Default Layer.

Now the Default Layer is bit of a contentious layer. Basically the Default Layer contains everything that hasn't been put by the user on a User Defined Layer but that layer is actually exists in Cinema 4D. If we go back to Cinema 4D and we have a look at this element, so if I cancel this, if I select this and it cmd + e and go to Cinema 4D you'll see we don't have a Default Layer as such. We just have Robots, Texts, and Floor but if we look up here you can see what's contained in Robots, Texts, and Floors layers here but you'll also notice there are all these elements that aren't in the layer.

You can tell they're not in a layer because there's an empty swatch here. Okay, that's telling me that these are not in one of the User Defined Layers. So there is a kind of hidden Default Layer in Cinema 4D where these elements exist. Now if we go back to After Effects why is that important here? Well if we click on Select Layers in previous versions if you selected, say, the Robots Layer it would've automatically put also the elements that were on the default layer into that composite.

In this version if I click on OK and only select the Robots it just puts the Robot elements in and doesn't include the lights that were on the Default Layers. You'll notice that if I go back to Set Layers and put the Default Layer on and click OK that we actually get a very different result. So it gives you more control being able to isolate the elements that are on the Default Layer. My kind of problem with it is partly to do with the naming. If it's called Layer there should be a physical Layer somewhere.

Really I think this should say something like "Non-Layer Elements" or "Elements Without a Layer", or "Other Elements" or something like that. Or in Cinema 4D they should actually make a Default Layer. That would be even better because then we could isolate elements that aren't on any of these layers. Be really nice to be able to do that. Currently the only way to do that is by switching off every other Layer except the elements. Now that's fine if you've got elements that are visible within this view, but if you've got things that aren't visible or things that are visible somewhere else in your scene then this is really not giving you what you need.

So I'd like to see the Default Layer as something that's selectable and again maybe not called a layer but called something else. Okay, anyway, that's my little moan over with. So we've got our Robots and our Default Layer because we want the Robot Elements around the layer and also any of the lights, cameras, things like that that will affect that layer. So we've isolated the Robots. How do we isolate the other elements? Well what I'm going to do is I'm going to select this layer. Now I want you to watch what happens up here in the next step.

If I go to Edit, Duplicate, or hit cmd + e something up here's called Synchronize Layer. Now Synchronize Layer is another new feature of Cineware 2 and it's very useful if you're using something like Multi-Pass Compositing and there are times where it's handy when you're using layers as well. In this situation it's a bit counterproductive 'cause what I want to do here is I want to have my Text on a separate layer from my Robots. Now if I do that and go to Set Layers, Choose Text, get rid of Robots, click OK, the Robots completely disappear and that's because the layers are synchronizing, okay? When you've got multiple layers or multiple elements that are all based on the same Cinema 4D file, Synchronize Layers makes sure that older layers pertaining to that individual item are synchronized.

So when you change the settings for one all the others update. Very handy in some situations, not good in this situation, and it took me ages to figure out what was going wrong with this. So in this situation we're gonna turn Synchronize Layer Off and we also need to turn it off for the other layers. So we turn it off for both the Cinema 4D layers. Okay, now we've got the Text on one layer. What we're gonna do is select this layer and change it so that it so that it's now Robots. So now I can change this without it affecting the other layer.

Okay, so finally I've got my Robots on one layer, my Texts on another layer. The other thing I want to do is create my Floor Layer. So I'm gonna duplicate it again. Now at this point it makes good sense to rename these layers so I'm gonna rename this one. That's my Robots, so hit return on the keyboard and rename it Robots. This one must be the Text Layer. We'll just double check. Okay, no it's not so let's just check what's on there.

Text Layer, yes, so, yeah that's our Text Layer. So we rename that and then this will be our Floor Layer. So call it Floor, okay. So for this one I'm gonna go to Set Layers and choose Floor, and click OK. So now we've successfully isolated the elements. We've got the floor on one layer, Texts on another layer, and Robots on another layer. So fantastic way of working, being able to isolate those individual elements in After Effects, and treat them differently.

Just opens up more creative possibilities and more compositing possibilities too.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Up and Running with CINEMA 4D Lite for After Effects .

Expand all | Collapse all
please wait ...
Q: This course was updated on 01/15/2015. What changed?
A: We updated movies in chapter 5, 10, and 12, and added a new set of exercise files to make the course compatible with the latest versions of After Effects CC (2014.1) and CINEWARE. Watch the "Checking out the new CINEWARE features with After Effects CC 2014.1" movie for an overview of the changes.
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.

Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now Already a member? Log in

* Estimated file size

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.

Mark all as unwatched Cancel


You have completed Up and Running with CINEMA 4D Lite for After Effects.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.

Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member ?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferences from the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Learn more, save more. Upgrade today!

Get our Annual Premium Membership at our best savings yet.

Upgrade to our Annual Premium Membership today and get even more value from your lynda.com subscription:

“In a way, I feel like you are rooting for me. Like you are really invested in my experience, and want me to get as much out of these courses as possible this is the best place to start on your journey to learning new material.”— Nadine H.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.