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CINEMA 4D: Rendering Motion Graphics for After Effects demonstrates how to take a simple logo animation in CINEMA 4D and transform it into a compelling motion graphic with After Effects, incorporating two distinct visual styles. Starting with a prebuilt animation rendered from CINEMA 4D, author Rob Garrott employs industry-standard techniques, utilizing materials, lights, and the library of effects in After Effects, to enhance the project's look and feel. Exercise files accompany the course.
Setting up the object buffers is a two-step process. In the previous movie, we set up step one, which was to list the object buffers we wanted to have in the Render Settings. In this movie we'll complete step two, which is to assign special compositing tags to the objects we would like to show up in those listed object buffers. It's very important that the numbers that we have in the object buffer tags and the numbers in the Render Settings match exactly; otherwise CINEMA 4D won't be able to correctly generate the object buffer. So what I'm going to do is bring up my Render Settings by clicking on this icon right here. When I do that, I now see my Render Settings. And I'm going to highlight the phone screen and then hold down the Shift key and click on all 7 all bg.
When I do that, that's going to list all of my object buffers and their IDs in one handy location. Now what I need to do is work my way through the scene file, applying compositing tags and adding object buffers where necessary. Now some objects here in the object manager are going to have compositing tags that don't necessarily have object buffers, so I have to be very careful about how I assign them and what object buffers I assign them to. So what I want to do in the object manager is to assign a compositing tag to the main categories of objects that I know I'm going to want to be able to turn off and on in the rendering.
For example, I know I want to be able to isolate my type and have it render without anything else being visible in the scene. That means I need to have a compositing tag on it, and I also need to have a compositing tag on all of the other major elements as well, regardless of whether or not they have an object buffer. So I'm going to assign compositing tags, and then I'm going to go back and assign the object buffer to only the ones that absolutely need it. So I'm going to start off with the Type parent, right-click, and go to CINEMA 4D Tags > Compositing. Now the Type parent does not need an object buffer because we're going to rendering that out separately, so I just want to leave the object buffer options blank at this point.
Next up is the Phone Uber null and I'm going to add a Compositing tag on the Phone Uber null, right-click CINEMA 4D Tags > Compositing. Now this one doesn't need an object buffer either, but I do need an object buffer for the screen, which is contained within the Phone Uber null. So I twirl open the Phone Uber null and I go down and identify the Screen object and I right-click on that and go to CINEMA 4D Tags > Compositing, and then I'm going to activate object buffer number 1. And when I enable that, this becomes highlighted.
Now if I change that number, it will not match the phone screen, which already has the Group ID of 1, right here in my render settings. Now I could put this group ID in any one of these fields; for convenience's sake, the programmers gave us all of these options already listed out, so we wouldn't have to type out 1 through 12 in this case. But the important thing is that the number in the buffer field here match the number here, and that's what we have in this situation. Now as I scroll down the object manager, next up in line is the Stadium Piston uber, and this contains all of the geometry of the stadium, including the platform and the pistons and the pulses and the lights, all of these elements are contained within this null.
Some of these objects are going to get their own object buffers, but I also want to be able to have everything in this group under its own object buffer as well. And that's going to be all bg. That's all the elements except for the phone and the type. So I'm going to right-click on the Stadium Piston uber, go to CINEMA 4D Tags, add a compositing tag, and in the Object Buffer option, I am going to activate object buffer number 7. Now I know that under my Group ID, I already have object buffer 7 for the all bg. If those match, I'm good to go to move on.
Now within the stadium there are some sub-elements that do need their own object buffer. So let's twirl open the Stadium Piston uber and take a look at those elements. And so first up is the Base Platform. I know I want to have this base platform as its own object buffer, so I'll right-click on that and go to CINEMA 4D Tags, and then Compositing. And then this is going to get object buffer 6 and 7. Now, it's going to get object buffer number 6 because it's going to have the base platform as its own separate object buffer. It's going to get number 7, because I also want this object to show up inside the all bg.
Now because I added a compositing tag up here, you're probably thinking, well, why do you have to double it up? That's because the sub-object compositing tag overrides its parent. So unless I tell it to show up in 7 in this compositing tag as well, then it won't show up. So I'm going to add number 6 for the base platform, and I'm going to add number 7 for all bg. So now this object will show up in two different places: one object buffer number 6 all by itself, and an object buffer 7 with everything in the stadium. Now as I scroll down a little bit more, I'm going to uncover the Stadium lights Cloner, and that's underneath the stadium null object.
And I know that I want to have the stadium lights show up in object buffer number 3. And so I'm going to right-click now on the Stadium lights Cloner, CINEMA 4D Tags > Compositing, and I'm going to add object buffer number 3. And once again, I wan it to show up inside of object number 7. I need to add it here as well. So I'm going to add 3 and 7 for the stadium lights cloner. Let's keep scrolling down now, and within the Stadium seats is my crowd object, and that's the crowd seats. And you can tell it is the crowd because it has this noisy texture on it. I'm going to right-click on that and go to CINEMA 4D Tags > Compositing, and this is going to get object buffer number 2 and 7, because I wanted the crowd to show up on object buffer number 2.
And then number 7 is going to be all of the objects in the stadium. So I'll click on that and add number 2 and number 7 right here. I'm going to twirl closed the section of the stadium seats and then scroll down just a bit and look at the Pistons. Now the Pistons are made up of several different groups. There is the Piston Cloner, which is the outside geometry of the tubes, the clear glass tubes. Then there is the Pulse Center Cloner, which is the white element that is running right up the middle of the tube.
Now the Pulse Center and the Pulse Cloner I want to show up in the same object buffer, so they're going to get the exact same compositing tag. So I am going to right-click on that, go to CINEMA 4D Tags > Compositing. Now the Pulse Center cloner is going to get object buffers 4 and 7. And so if I look at my list here, you can see that the pulses show up on number 4, but I also want them to show up, because they're part of the stadium, in that all 7 bg. So I am going to activate number 4 and activate number 7. Now here is a great little tip: Because I need the exact same object buffer here, I don't have to right-click and go through that whole process again.
I can just hold down the Ctrl key, Mac or PC, and drag a copy of that down onto the Pulse Cloner. And just to keep things uniform, I'm going to drag it to the left here. That's not necessary. I just like to have all my compositing tags line up vertically. But now you can see that I have the exact same compositing tag on both these objects. Next, I want to assign an object buffer to the Piston Cloner, so I'll right-click on that, CINEMA 4D Tags and then go to Compositing. And the piston cloner is going to get object buffers number 5 and 7.
Remember, if you look at the pistons, they show up in object buffer number 5, and then 7 is the all bg. I'm going to Shift+Click all these guys to make them visible again. So I'm going to go over here into the tag, and I'm going to go to number 5 and activate it, and number 7 and activate that. Last step, I am going to twirl the piston cloner closed, so I don't have to see any of those elements, or the Upper Tube and the giant BG tube, and if select those guys you can see what those are. These are the vertical elements that are spinning in the background of the whole scene, and there is an Upper Tube and a giant BG tube.
And I want those both to show up in the object buffer number 7, so I'll right-click on the Upper BG Tube go to CINEMA 4D Tags and go to Compositing and activate object buffer 7. Now I'll use that same Ctrl+Drag tip from Upper Tube onto the giant BG tube. Now that we've got our object buffers assigned, we want to be able to test out whether or not those object buffers are going to show up correctly. And in order to do that, I just want to do a render to picture viewer. But I don't want it to render the entire animated sequence; I only want to render a test frame. And so what I'm going to do is I'm going to go into the Output options and in the Render Settings, let's bring this window up here, so we can see the whole thing.
I'm just going to enlarge it up a bit. Now right now our Frame Range is set from 0 to 149. And what I want to do is just temporarily, I'm going to switch this over from Manual to Current Frame. And what that's going to do is it's only going to render that frame that I'm currently parked on. In this case, it's 96. Now underneath the Save option, I haven't added file names to any of these fields, so CINEMA 4D won't try to save the file in a folder somewhere, and that's very important. I don't want to waste disk space by rendering a bunch of files randomly all over the place.
I want to be very precise about where I put these things, and right now these are just test renders, and I don't want them to show up. The reason that we're doing this is that CINEMA 4D has no way to preview the object buffer unless you render it to the picture viewer. And so we need to do that here in the picture viewer, so that we can actually see our object buffers and be able to test them out. So what I'm going do is click on the Render to Picture Viewer icon, which is this guy right here. Or you can click and hold here and go to that icon right there, Render to Picture Viewer. When I do that, the picture viewer will pop up, and that's going to start rendering the scene.
Now the picture viewer has the render window over here, which shows you the rendered image, but also over here, it's got the Navigator and the History sections. Now if I click on the Layer option, it's going to show me all of my layers, and there is an Image, Single-Pass, and Multi-Pass options. We want to click on Single-Pass, and we can do this while it's rendering. And what that gives us the ability to do is to look at, individually, all of our different object buffers. And so I can click on Single-Pass, and right now the background is highlighted. And if I click on Alpha, I can see that there is my alpha channel for the whole image.
Now if I click through these guys one at a time, I can now identify whether or not the actual elements are showing up correctly in the object buffer. So if I click on Object Buffer number 1, there is the screen. And I know from our Render Setting, let's bring that Render Setting up. I'm going to activate that window and bring over here just to the left, and I'll hold my Shift key down and activate all those guys, so I can see the IDs again. So Object Buffer 1 is the screen, and I can see there is my screen. Object Buffer 2 is the stadium crowd, and I can see, there is my crowd.
Object Buffer 3 are the stadium lights. Stadium lights are showing up in their own object buffer. Perfect! Object buffer 4 are the pulses and the center pulses. That's perfect as well. Let's go down here. Object Buffer 5, those are the tubes, and you can see that--it might be a little bit hard because of the compression--these are just the pistons. And you can see there is actually a little faint area where the center pulse is not going to show up in the object buffer. That's exactly what we need as well. I'm going to click on 6 now, and there is my platform. Perfect! Object Buffer 7 should have everything in it except for the type and the phone, and that is it as well. That's perfect! We've got our object buffers just right, and I think we're ready to render.
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