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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.
The platform that the phone emerges from is really the source of all of the action in the scene. It should feel as if it's pouring out visible energy into the stadium and nothing says visible energy better than volumetric light. Part of our rendering passes from CINEMA 4D was the Beams Pass. Visible lights interacting with the phone and type. We're going to use that pass now to create an illuminated look to our scene in After Effects. So here I am inside of the MMM-001 composition and this composition is where all of our compositing is coming together. And what I want to do is create this visible light coming out of the platform.
And if I go into the Video folder in my Cinema Imports, I've got the Beams Pass. I'm going to bring-in the Beams_rgba clip and put that right above my Phone Pass Pre. When I do that now I can see these visible lights here in the scene. Right now they're just kind of stuck on top of everything and they're not really interacting with any of the imagery underneath it. So I'm going to change the blending mode and I'm going to use Add as the blending mode this time. And let's go and add Add to there. And you can see that as soon as I do that, it really kicks up how that interacts especially with the bright things that are behind it.
The look isn't very intense and we're really trying to amp up the energy in the scene and take it over to the top. So I need to have more of these beams. And so I can just duplicate this layer to give the look of much more intense feel. So let's select that Beams layer and hit Command+D or Ctrl+D on the keyboard and you can see now I do that, boom! It is really, really bright! We're going to do this one more time. We're going to be dialing this back just a bit, but before we do that I'm going to duplicate this layer and that's going to create a really intense look. That's too intense right now, but we're going to adjust this a bit.
So let's go back to the point where the beams need to really come on and that's where the phone emerges from the platform. So if I go back to the Phone marker here, at this point in time you can see how bright and intense this effect is. So what I want to do is to dial this back just a bit. If I layer these in one at a time, you can see it starts off with it sort of faint and with each successive layer it gets brighter and brighter. With all three in there it's too bright. So what I want to do is to just dial this back just a bit.
So I'm going to go to each of these layers. I'll select all three of them by holding down Shift key, hit T on the keyboard to adjust the Opacity, and then I'm going to dial them down one at a time. I am going to bring this first one down maybe to about 50% and then I'll bring the second one down to about maybe 75%. There we go! That still gives me a lot of energy coming up out of the platform but we still are able to see some definition in the image. Now this is going to be the brightest point of the energy. When I'm animating a lot of times, I like to animate backward.
So I find where the peak value is and I set my keyframes for that peak value and then I back up in time to find the lowest value. In this case the lowest value is going to be 0 because we want the beams to appear as if they're coming on when the phone emerges out. So we'll set our keyframes now for 100% or for the values that we have here for the Opacity. Then we're going to back up in time and set 0% keyframes so that the beams look like they're coming on. So I'll set my Opacity keyframes by clicking on the stopwatch for each of these three layers and then I'm going to back up in time. I use the Page Up key on the keyboard to back up about, let's call it 5 frames. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
There we go! So now, I'll set 0% keyframes for all of these layers and go 0 and I hit Tab to get through each of these fields. And now my beams are completely off. So if I scrub forward-- and actually I'll just use the Page Down key and get through these. You can see that the platform starts to look like it lights up, and as we go forward to the Camera Shake point, that's about where we want the beams to start to die down again.
So as the explosion happens and the camera leaps back from that explosion, we want to dial these beams back down to a more manageable amount. So in order to do that, I'm going to set Opacity keyframes at this point in time and all I want to do is I want to keep them at their same value, but just set keyframes. So, if I click over here on the Add or Remove Keyframe button and I'll just click on each of those three, and that sets keyframes for them at the Camera Shake point. Now, I want to go forward in time. Let's move our preview range over here just a bit.
I'm going to go scrub forward and my explosion is going to die down somewhere around frame 55 or so. So I want to take these effects and dial them down. Now, I want the opacity of the very first one to go to 0 because we're not going to need that anymore. So I'll bring that down to 0. Then I'm going to bring the second one down to about maybe 10% or so. There we go! I'll leave the first one at 100%. I think that's going to give me the look that I want. I've got a little bit of buildup in the light beams but not so much that it overwhelms the phone.
As the phone becomes more prominent player in the scene when the video comes on, I want the beams to die down even more. So I'm going to advance forward in time and adjust these keyframes one more time. So I want to have them slowly die down right after the type hits. Now this will be during the point in the animation where the flashbulbs are going off and so we really won't even notice that the beams are dying down because our eye will be so drawn to the flashbulbs. So I'll go to the Moment Hit and this is right around the time where our flashbulb start going off.
I'm going to set keyframes for these other two layers that are still visible. So I'll set keyframes for those guys at that point in time and I'm going to scrub forward into the animation and I'm going to dial this down one more time. So let's bring this one down to 0. We'll bring this other one down to about maybe 50%. There we go! So now our phone is still a prominent player in the scene and we haven't even noticed the fact that the beams have gotten dimmer because the flashbulbs will be going off in the background. So now that I've got these beams into the scene I want to start to preview their motion and get a feel for how they're actually coming on and so we're going to use the RAM preview.
Depending on the speed of your machine, this RAM preview could take a little bit of time. So I'm going to start the RAM preview and we're going to cross-dissolve to the point where the RAM preview is done and we're going to watch this animation playback. So in order to start the RAM preview, I'm going to click on the RAM Preview button, which is right here in the palette. And I'll click that and you are going to start to see the keyframes cache and there will be a green bar that's going across the Timeline. Now I can't see the green bar because I'm zoomed into my Timeline but eventually it's going to pass through this range. So as you can see, the beams really go a long way towards illuminating our phone as it emerges from the platform and they really add a lot of volume and depth to the scene.
I'm going to enlarge the Timeline here and take a look at that region. One of the nice things about it, once you've RAM previewed something, you can go back and scrub through the animation. You can see that as our platform begins to illuminate, we've got energy now pouring into it and then we have the visible result of that energy pouring into it in the form of the beams that are going to come out of that. As I scrub through that, you can see the energy of the phone just coming out of that and it's white hot in there, not a place you'd want to be without sunscreen.
This volumetric light effect really goes a long way towards adding energy and volume to our stadium and it's a great technique that you can use on a lot of different projects.
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