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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.
- 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.
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