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Mograph Techniques: Modeling and Animating with C4D Cloners
Illustration by John Hersey
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Creating the reveal build


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Mograph Techniques: Modeling and Animating with C4D Cloners

with Ian Robinson

Video: Creating the reveal build

As you well know, cloner objects are the perfect So now you can see I have this cool fan effect that's

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Mograph Techniques: Modeling and Animating with C4D Cloners
1h 28m Intermediate Nov 13, 2013

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In this installment of Mograph Techniques, Ian Robinson shows you how to model and animate a stylized 3D flower that grows and blooms over time, using the combined power of CINEMA 4D and Adobe After Effects. You'll start by creating a single flower petal with traditional polygonal modeling techniques. Then you'll load the petal into a cloner object, and nest that cloner inside another, resulting in a complete flower with multiple levels of control for animation. The second phase is animating the cloners and refining the animation with the Step Effector. In the third and final phase, you'll bring the project into After Effects to add animated color effects, transitions, text, and shadows.

Topics include:
  • Modeling flower petals in C4D
  • Creating shaded materials in C4D
  • Building flowers with multiple cloner objects
  • Building a dynamic transition with camera animation
  • Multipass Rendering out of CINEMA 4D
  • Adding and animating color effects in After Effects
  • Refining transitions
  • Rendering the final composite
Subjects:
3D + Animation Video Motion Graphics Projects
Software:
After Effects CINEMA 4D
Author:
Ian Robinson

Creating the reveal build

As you well know, cloner objects are the perfect tool to animate multiple repeating elements in an organized fashion. And since there are multiple stages to the build of our cloners, we'll have an excellent level of control when it comes to creating the finer details in our animation. Now usually when I start animating cloners, I like to start with the topmost cloner object. So let's select our Flower cloner, and just to see how this is affecting our animation, let's go to the Object section and in there let's scrub the amount percentage.

Notice this really isn't making that much of a visual difference based on where we are in the animation currently. So, instead of starting with the topmost cloner for now, I want to actually start with our Petals cloner object. So select Petals and we're going to adjust a couple of different things, because I want our animation to work like this, I want one petal to be up here at the top. And fan out to create all of our petals and then of course we'll have our normal camera fly through and as that camera flies through, we'll animate the individual petals to create kind of a kaleidoscope effect on the back end.

So with our Petals Cloner selected let's start by animating the end angle. See, since this is a radial cloner object, I have start angle and end angle. So, at frame zero, let's change our end angle to 0. Go ahead and press Ctrl and click on the Keyframe button to add our key frame. Now, I want this fan out to take about a second. So, I'm going to move down to frame 24 and change my end angle to a value of 360. Now we can go ahead and Ctrl+click to add our second key frame. If you want to preview that, go ahead.

You can see it fans out and then of course we have our spin and our push through, so this is good, but I still want to make some other adjustments. Let's go under the Transform options for our Petal cloner. See, under Transform, we can make changes to the individual clones, just by clicking and dragging on the parameters, see? So, let me just undo those last two drags I did, and I want to change first the x value. So let's change x to a value of minus 6 and press Tab to move down to the next field.

The y value, I'm going to choose a value of 510, and this is because I've already gone through the animation and figured out what works best for what I'm going to be creating. So let's choose 510 and press Tab to move to the z parameter and change that to 181. Now things are starting to move along a little more like what I had imagined, let's add a Keyframe to the y and z values. So, I'll hold down Ctrl and just click on the Keyframe buttons next to y and z. Now let's move to frame 60. Now I want this to happen over two seconds, so let's move down to frame 48.

At frame 48, let's change our y and z values back down to 0. And then of course add Keyframes by holding Ctrl and clicking through. So now you can see I have this cool fan effect that's happening and I have a more interesting effect on the insides here. Now, I'm having a hard time seeing that because of all the geometry. So, let's go to our Display options and just change it to Quick Shading. This way we'll get a much better idea as to what things are looking like as we kind of move our petals around.

Now this looks pretty good. I think I'm set for animating our Petals cloner but, if we scrub back to the beginning, notice we have all these petals that are fanned out. Well, let's make sure we're on frame zero, and select our Flower cloner object. At frame zero, I want to go to the Objects section and make sure the amount is set to zero. This way we'll actually only have one petal. So I'll keyframe the amount, right here, under Mode. And move down the timeline to about frame 48, two seconds down the timeline, and this time we'll change the amount up to 100 and Ctrl+click.

So now, we have kind of this cool fan out in one second and then all the petals are kind of sliding towards the middle as we start spinning more quickly into our camera move. So this is looking a lot better. Now, of course, since we've animated the cloners, we can continue pushing this by animating the object that's being cloned itself. So I'm actually going to open up my hyper nerves object here and click on the polygon object. The original polygon that's being cloned to create all of this is really going to change how everything's moving within our cloner itself.

And this is going to create kind of a kaleidoscope effect. Now, again, I've gone through all the different settings to determine exactly what keyframes to set. So for now, we're just going to kind of click some buttons. With the polygon object selected, let's go to the coordinates channel. In here, I want to create some keyframes for the x position. Now, just so you can see how the x parameter is affecting our build, go ahead and just scrub through and you can see, as I'm adjusting this, it's really kind of changing how things are being built.

So, let me just undo that. So, for the first keyframe, I want a value of zero at frame zero. So, let's move back to frame 0 and add Keyframe for the x value. Just Ctrl click. Now we'll move two seconds down the timeline to frame 48. And we can change the x value up to 89. Now Ctrl+click to add a Keyframe. Notice this has created kind of a swirl change, and now we have a little bit of a vortex that's happening, I sort of like this.

Now I want these clones to stay this way for a little while. So, let's move down the timeline to about frame 90. Now here I want the x value to decrease again. So let's Ctrl+click on the x Keyframe and then move down the timeline to frame 96. At 96, let's change our x parameter all the way back down to 0. So, Ctrl+click again. So, if we scrub through, you can see we have a much more dynamic animation.

This is starting to look pretty cool. Now, I've animated the x position, let's see what happens when we animate y. Because, I'd like our end to the animation to not have these pointy petals, I want to have kind of rounded petals. So, let's start by positioning our play head on frame 90. At frame 90, let's go ahead and Ctrl+click on the y Keyframe to set a key frame value at 85. Then at frame 120, all the way at the end of our animation, let's go ahead and click and drag the y value down, drag it down to a value of about negative 24, then go ahead and Ctrl+click.

Notice as I drag that, I had a drastic change to the appearance of my petals. So, as it slide along the y axis, its actually changing the cloned object. To actually have the back of that petal, be the outside part. So, as we've created our camera move, we've animated the different cloners as well as the individual object within the cloner. This has given us the ultimate level of control and excellent finite adjustments within all of these repeated elements.

They key to working with multiple cloners and animating each one of these different sections, has to do with labeling each one of the areas. It's really important to have clear labels, so you know exactly what cloner you're working on. That way you'll know exactly what parameters you're adjusting and how it's going to affect your animation.

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