Mograph Techniques: Modeling and Animating with C4D Cloners
Illustration by John Hersey

Mograph Techniques: Modeling and Animating with C4D Cloners

with Ian Robinson

Video: Modeling repeating vines with Sweep NURBS

Any time I need to create an element that grows

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Watch the Online Video Course Mograph Techniques: Modeling and Animating with C4D Cloners
1h 29m 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
3D + Animation Video
After Effects CINEMA 4D
Ian Robinson

Modeling repeating vines with Sweep NURBS

Any time I need to create an element that grows ins a specific shape, I usually look towards sweep nurbs. Now since we've already created a pretty interesting graphic element using cloner objects, we'll integrate our new sweet nurbs elements into the scene, using those same cloner objects. So to get started, let's duplicate our cloner object. I'm going to hold down Ctrl on my keyboard and just click and drag on the flower cloner to duplicate. Now let's rename our flower cloner vines, and it's subcloner, we can call it vine, singular.

Now let's draw a lasso around all of those vines and add them to their own layer. So right-click on any of them after they're all selected, and choose Add to New Layer. Now we can jump to the layers panel and just rename that layer. Let's rename that Vines. I'm also noticing I need to add the flower and the petals back to their petal layer. So let's click on those. And then right click and choose Add to Layer. Petal. Now we can just hide any of the petals so let's turn the visibility off and the editor, the renderer and the objects pail. So now we're ready to create our vine element.

I don't need to see this pre-existing set of flowers so I'm just going to turn the visibility off. For the overarching corner object here. Now let's add our spline elements. I'm going to click and hold on my spline freehand tool here and add an arc, and go back up and add an n-side object. Let's change the n-side parameters in the Attributes tab. And in here, let's change the radius way down from 200 to two and change the sides from six to three. Now all we have to do is just add these two elements into a sweep nurbs object.

I'm going to select the spline that we'd like to actually have. The profile sweep along. That way when I hold down Option on the Mac or Alt on Windows, I can go up to my NURBs object and add a Sweep NURBS element, and arc's already going to be added. This way when I add the inside, it's automatically going to sweep along that arc. Now in order to see how this works, with the preexisting petals, I'll turn the visibility back on my Vines Cloner object, and then click and drag my Sweep NURBs element, Right on to my vine singular cloner object.

Now while this looks cool, this isn't exactly what I was looking for. I was hoping the vines would grow up out of the petal sections. So in order to fix that, I'll select my Arc element here and then go to the coordinates setting. Let's first change the pitch parameter. We can bring it up to a full 90 degrees. And while we're at it, let's go ahead and change the bearing setting to 90 degrees as well. Now while this may appear to be pretty close as I sort of reframe the scene. You can see that these spines are way too far down. Now a quick way to fix this is to literally just click on the vine's corner object.

Make sure you've got your model mode selected again and then just move the entire thing up. Now when I do that I want to see reference to the original petals. Well since some of the petals are already on this layer I'm just going to go ahead and select those petals, and press delete. Now we can go back to our layers panel and turn the visibility back on for original petals. Now when we reposition the vines, we can see how that's going to look in relation so our actual petal objects. Here, let me go ahead and orbit around here.

So here, if I select my vines, I can move them up and down. And see how they're going to look in comparison to the petal. Now, obviously these are offset a little too far, so what I'm going to do is select my vines corner object in the Attributes panel. I'll look at the individual object settings. So let's go to the object settings here, and decrease the y-parameter. I'm just going to click and drag all the way down until it's at a negative number. Now when I re-position this, I can see that it's more closely positioned within the petals themselves.

They're a little underneath, but if we go ahead and rotate over top over object and render the scene, you'll see that now the vines look like they're actually growing up out of the petals in a very organic, kind of natural fashion. This is exactly what I want. So, we've got things successfully created. Now, as I'm looking here with my vines, notice that the Sweep NURBs elements were never added to that layer. So I'm going to go ahead and draw a lasso around my Sweep NURBs, right-click, and choose Add to Layer > Vines. Now, we have all the elements set up.

And we're ready for animation. Now, I hope you can see how powerful the cloner objects are. They really give you the ability to easily create what appear to be complex graphics rather easily. But as you saw when we were making adjustments to the vines object. All of these different parameters are available as options when you go to animate. So, if I wanted to animate the appearance of these vines, I could just go ahead and just animate the end growth parameter. So, as you can see when it comes to working with cloner objects. You have all kinds of new flexibility.

Not only does it give you the ability to control your animation at any level in the hierarchy. It also gives you the ability to easily swap out the duplicated elements. So, if you've taken the time to build complicated objects You can see how those objects will change when you duplicate other elements, just by dragging and dropping the new elements into the corner object.

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