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Mograph Techniques: Animating with C4D Effectors
Illustration by John Hersey

Creating a grid of cubes using the Cloner


From:

Mograph Techniques: Animating with C4D Effectors

with EJ Hassenfratz

Video: Creating a grid of cubes using the Cloner

Cloners and effectors are the main strength of CINEMA 4D, and stacking effectors is a huge timesaver when creating complex animations. Let's start by designing out the concept of our network promo bumper animation. So you'll see I have an empty scene right now. We're going to start by creating that cube grid that's in our animation. And so the first thing we need to do to create the cube grid is to get our cube. So we go up, get our cube, and we're going to change the size down to 150 in each direction here, and we're going to add a nice rounding to it.

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Mograph Techniques: Animating with C4D Effectors
1h 39m Intermediate Feb 27, 2013

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Harness the power of the CINEMA 4D MoGraph module to create complex animations with only a couple of keyframes. By stacking multiple MoGraph effectors, you can achieve nice-looking animations quickly and easily, saving you time spent keyframing moves manually. Discover how to change your text on the fly or create iterations of it, while keeping the animation intact. Author EJ Hassenfratz introduces a real-world postproduction workflow, by creating a network bumper promo. This project covers creating 3D text in CINEMA 4D, compositing, and adding final polish to the footage inside of Adobe After Effects.

Topics include:
  • Creating a cube grid with the MoGraph Cloner
  • Creating first-, second-, and third-wave animations
  • Using a null object to group and keyframe multiple effectors
  • Limiting the influence of an effector
  • Adding texture
  • Using an HDRI map for reflections
  • Lighting the scene
  • Importing a CINEMA 4D project into After Effects
  • Isolating and changing text color with object buffers
Subjects:
Video Motion Graphics Compositing Projects
Software:
After Effects CINEMA 4D
Author:
EJ Hassenfratz

Creating a grid of cubes using the Cloner

Cloners and effectors are the main strength of CINEMA 4D, and stacking effectors is a huge timesaver when creating complex animations. Let's start by designing out the concept of our network promo bumper animation. So you'll see I have an empty scene right now. We're going to start by creating that cube grid that's in our animation. And so the first thing we need to do to create the cube grid is to get our cube. So we go up, get our cube, and we're going to change the size down to 150 in each direction here, and we're going to add a nice rounding to it.

We're just going to do that by selecting Fillet--and that's a little bit too much rounding there. Let's just bring that down to 5, and a Subdivision of 5 is just fine. So now we've got our cube. Now we've got to create that grid. And we're going to do that by cloning it by using a MoGraph cloner. And if we just drag our cube into our cloner, you can see that it starts duplicating it upwards. And it's set to Linear mode, and that's not what we want.

We actually need to make a grid, so we're going to use the Grid Array. So, remember, the cube grid that's in the final animation is just one deep, and it's a very tall and wide wall of cubes basically. So we're going to need to adjust these settings. Right now our Count is 3, 3, 3. Let's change this to 21, 16, and if we change that to 1 in the Z, it's just one deep. So you can see that we now have these little handles here that we can drag and adjust how big our cube grid is.

Now, what we want to do is actually make it so these cubes are just flush up against one another. And we can do that by dragging the handles. It becomes a little bit meticulous. We can get them kind of close and then zoom in. We can get these pretty exact by actually going into our front view here and zoom in. We can actually adjust these by just adjusting the size here. So we have X, Y, Z size. Z really doesn't matter because we just have the one cube, but if we go and adjust the X size here, we can get it so we can zoom in pretty close and get really precise.

So, that looks pretty good right there. I'm a stickler for even numbers, so let's just do 3010, and let's drag this down in the Y and 2252. That looks good enough for me. Let's go back to our main perspective view here, and we've got our wall of cubes here.

So, remember, we have to have our chrome animation that has the cubes with text on them, so we actually need to get rid of, and make some holes to actually place those cube text objects. So we need to select five of these cubes because the words that we're going to use are NEXT and PIXEL, and PIXEL is five letters long, so we need to get rid of five of these cubes. So how we're going to that is by going up to MoGraph and by using a MoGraph selection tag, you can see that all these red squares pop up.

Now, if I go and I've got my cursor with this little selection circle, if I just click on one of these, you'll see that it changes from red to yellow, and you'll see on my cloner, it added a MoGraph selection tag. So what I need to do is select four more of these and if I hold down Shift and select, you can see that there's turning yellow. We got five of these selected. These selections are now stored in this MoGraph selection tag. We're going to rename this to actually what it's doing, just to keep things straight.

And what this is going to do is just get rid of the visibility of these clones from our view. So let's just rename it Cube Visibility. So now that we have these selected and it's stored in the MoGraph selection tag, now we need to get rid of them. So we can do that one of two ways. And the first way you can do this is going up to MoGraph, grabbing a Plain effector. So we have our Plain effector applied. You can see that the selection, the MoGraph selection tag, is actually already applied to this.

So you can see that that position in our parameter here suggesting the clones in the Y up 100 centimeters on just those five clones. So if we deselect that and go to Scale-- because remember Plain effectors just deal with position, scale, and rotation-- if we change the scale of these cubes to -1 in all of these parameters, or just select Uniform Scale and hit -1, this will scale it down uniformly on X, Y, and Z. You can see that that is one way to get rid of these cubes, by simply scaling them down with a Plain effector.

So I am going to delete that and show you the second way. And the second way is using an effector, but this time it's the Volume effector. And so with this applied, Scale is selected, nothing is happening right now. And we're going to unselect Scale because we don't want that. What we do want is Visibility. And if you check the Visibility, right away nothing happens, because I don't think we have it applied. So make sure you have the Volume effector applied and with it applied, you can see that you can toggle this on and off.

With the Visibility selected, it totally blows out and gets rid all of our cubes. We don't want that. We just want to get rid of those five cubes. So if we go to Effector under the Effector menu and drag our MoGraph Selection tag, Cube Visibility, and drag that into our selection, you can see that now that Volume Effector Visibility option just gets rid of those five cubes. Now all I want to do is just go ahead and rename our effector so we can keep them all sorted as we progress in this project.

So I'm just going to name this Volume effector after what it does. So it's Volume, and it's just going to have a dash, and then we're just going to add Cube Visibility, just so we have everything sorted so our effector names reflect what they do. So when we need to refer to them later or apply them to other things, we know what's what. So now we have our grid basically set up, and now we can start adding our text cubes. With the MoGraph selection tag, you have precise control over which cloned objects you want to manipulate.

Using this tag, you have the ability to exclude or include clones to be affected by effectors and in this case, have them be hidden from view.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Mograph Techniques: Animating with C4D Effectors.


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Q: I rendered a Compositing Project File (AEC) from CINEMA 4D, but I am unable to import that file into After Effects.
A: In order to import an AEC file into After Effects, you will need to have the free Cinema 4D Importer plugin for After Effects installed. The plugin can be downloaded here: http://www.maxon.net/support/updates/plugins.html

For more information on this plugin, including instructions on how to install it, refer to Cinema 4D Essentials 5: Rendering and Compositing with Rob Garrott.  The movie titled "Rendering and importing elements into After Effects" explains how to install this plugi
 
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