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Up and Running with CINEMA 4D Lite for After Effects
Illustration by John Hersey

Optimizing your CINEMA 4D scenes


From:

Up and Running with CINEMA 4D Lite for After Effects

with Angie Taylor

Video: Optimizing your CINEMA 4D scenes

When you get to this stage in a project, things can start to get pretty slow. You'll notice that now that I've added light and reflections and shadows and all those elements, things are really starting to slow down here in After Effects. I'm in chapter 11 or 9.aep. And what we're going to do is have a look at ways of optimizing our scene in Cinema 4D to help speed up our work flow. There are certain things that you can do here in After Effects with adaptive resolution. And some of the Cineware settings that we've had to look at, but what we're going to concentrate here is how to optimize a scene in Cinema 4D.
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  1. 2m 22s
    1. Welcome
      2m 22s
  2. 38m 14s
    1. What is CINEMA 4D Lite?
      4m 23s
    2. What CINEMA 4D Lite can't do
      6m 54s
    3. Opening CINEMA 4D Lite in After Effects
      2m 38s
    4. Quick interface tour
      8m 46s
    5. Navigation tips for CINEMA 4D Lite
      8m 5s
    6. CINEMA 4D Lite preferences and settings
      7m 28s
  3. 22m 34s
    1. Importing CINEMA 4D files in After Effects
      1m 5s
    2. The CINEWARE plugin settings
      4m 42s
    3. CINEMA 4D Lite render settings
      6m 15s
    4. After Effects project settings
      1m 23s
    5. After Effects previewing tips
      3m 50s
    6. Using the Picture Viewer in CINEMA 4D
      5m 19s
  4. 1h 14m
    1. Editing primitive objects
      5m 18s
    2. The Move and Scale tools
      7m 18s
    3. The Rotate tool
      4m 24s
    4. Axis limitations
      1m 46s
    5. Working cylinders
      7m 15s
    6. Linking body parts using object hierarchy
      9m 49s
    7. Spline modeling with Sweep NURBS
      7m 22s
    8. Adjusting NURBS settings
      4m 6s
    9. Using nulls as controllers
      3m 33s
    10. Creating copies with the Instance array
      6m 44s
    11. Carving shapes with the Boole array
      10m 28s
    12. Reshaping objects with deformers
      3m 14s
    13. Adding surface detail with a Relief object
      2m 55s
  5. 55m 41s
    1. Understanding coordinates
      5m 0s
    2. Understanding rotation
      2m 39s
    3. Timeline shortcuts
      3m 1s
    4. Basic keyframing of properties
      4m 31s
    5. Copying keyframes
      2m 3s
    6. Keyframe interpolation
      5m 20s
    7. Adjusting F-Curves
      5m 45s
    8. Holding values
      5m 8s
    9. Using XPresso to link properties: Part one
      4m 17s
    10. Using XPresso to link properties: Part two
      2m 27s
    11. Importing existing animations into CINEMA 4D Lite
      6m 21s
    12. Animating cameras in CINEMA 4D Lite
      4m 37s
    13. Animating using presets
      4m 32s
  6. 46m 30s
    1. Importing music and soundtracks
      4m 12s
    2. Customizing commands and shortcuts
      6m 7s
    3. Adding markers
      4m 25s
    4. Creating multiple cameras in CINEMA 4D Lite
      8m 17s
    5. Cutting between CINEMA 4D cameras with CINEWARE
      4m 23s
    6. Creating cameras in After Effects
      5m 30s
    7. Merging 3D camera data into CINEMA 4D Lite
      3m 10s
    8. Animating cameras with Stage objects
      4m 27s
    9. Extracting cameras from CINEMA 4D files
      5m 59s
  7. 43m 49s
    1. Adding CINEMA 4D text to After Effects comps
      5m 4s
    2. Formatting text in CINEMA 4D
      5m 47s
    3. Creating CINEMA 4D text or logos in Illustrator
      6m 9s
    4. Importing Illustrator text into CINEMA 4D Lite
      4m 38s
    5. Applying material presets to text
      7m 51s
    6. Merging CINEMA 4D files
      5m 51s
    7. Registering CINEMA 4D Lite for MoGraph features
      1m 8s
    8. Using MoGraph Fracture on text
      3m 25s
    9. The MoGraph Random Effector
      3m 56s
  8. 12m 8s
    1. Creating a wiggle expression
      7m 49s
    2. The Reset Position script
      4m 19s
  9. 30m 56s
    1. Applying a custom material
      6m 32s
    2. Making a metallic material
      6m 15s
    3. Adding an environment channel
      2m 20s
    4. Adding texture with shaders
      4m 21s
    5. Built-in material presets
      3m 52s
    6. Combining materials
      2m 41s
    7. Using selection sets to isolate surfaces
      4m 55s
  10. 27m 42s
    1. 3D camera tracking in After Effects
      6m 3s
    2. Creating nulls from tracking points
      2m 40s
    3. Adjusting the Shadow Catcher for CINEMA 4D
      3m 31s
    4. Importing a CINEMA 4D file into a scene
      4m 21s
    5. Exporting CINEMA 4D files from After Effects comps
      3m 42s
    6. Merging objects from CINEMA 4D files
      3m 23s
    7. Manually adjusting scenes between apps
      4m 2s
  11. 19m 18s
    1. Setting up layers in CINEMA 4D
      6m 11s
    2. Compositing CINEMA 4D layers in After Effects
      3m 28s
    3. Casting shadows on layers in CINEWARE
      4m 56s
    4. Adding reflections in CINEMA 4D
      4m 43s
  12. 36m 10s
    1. Using preset lighting setups
      6m 24s
    2. Light types in CINEMA 4D Lite
      6m 38s
    3. Creating visible lights
      7m 56s
    4. Adding ambient occlusion effects
      6m 55s
    5. Optimizing your CINEMA 4D scenes
      8m 17s
  13. 34m 39s
    1. Multipass compositing explained
      2m 28s
    2. Adding passes to render settings
      2m 8s
    3. Viewing passes in the Picture Viewer
      2m 35s
    4. Adding object buffers
      4m 51s
    5. External compositing tags in CINEMA 4D Lite
      3m 8s
    6. Previewing and experimenting with passes
      4m 30s
    7. CINEWARE multipass options
      7m 8s
    8. Adjusting reflections
      3m 2s
    9. Isolating elements with object buffers
      4m 49s
  14. 53m 2s
    1. Extracting 3D scene data
      8m 11s
    2. Adding video elements to a CINEMA 4D scene
      5m 49s
    3. Working with proxies
      10m 2s
    4. Color correction of shadows
      4m 10s
    5. Layer styles
      3m 50s
    6. Adjustment layers
      4m 58s
    7. Setting up depth of field in CINEMA 4D Lite
      3m 10s
    8. Adding depth of field with camera lens blur
      4m 4s
    9. Speed ramps with time remapping
      4m 14s
    10. Motion blur with the Pixel Motion Blur effect
      4m 34s
  15. 13m 59s
    1. Rendering with the After Effects Render Queue
      5m 39s
    2. Background rendering with Adobe Media Encoder
      4m 6s
    3. The BG Renderer script
      4m 14s

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Up and Running with CINEMA 4D Lite for After Effects
8h 31m Beginner Aug 28, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Intimidated by 3D modeling packages? Dip a toe in the water with CINEMA 4D (C4D) Lite, a slimmed down version of CINEMA 4D included with After Effects CC. Motion graphics designer Angie Taylor shows you how to build a complete sequence in C4D Lite, progressing from initial object modeling, to animation, lighting, camera rigging, texturing, and final render. Plus, learn to animate text, create random movement with wiggle expressions, track cameras in live-action footage to add new 3D elements, and light your scene. Angie also round-trips the project files to After Effects for visual effects and color correction. With over 100 videos, this course allows you to explore almost every aspect of 3D motion graphics creation, within this accessible introductory tool.

Topics include:
  • What is CINEMA 4D Lite?
  • Understanding the CINEMA 4D Lite and After Effects CC workflow
  • Editing primitive objects
  • Spline modeling with NURBS
  • Animating with keyframes
  • Using Xpresso to link properties
  • Importing music and soundtracks
  • Creating and animating cameras
  • Working with text
  • Scripting
  • Creating and applying materials and textures
  • 3D camera tracking
  • Compositing layers
  • Lighting with visible lights and ambient occlusion
  • Adding visual effects in After Effects
  • Rendering in After Effects and the Adobe Media Encoder
Subjects:
3D + Animation Video Motion Graphics Compositing video2brain
Software:
After Effects CINEMA 4D
Author:
Angie Taylor

Optimizing your CINEMA 4D scenes

When you get to this stage in a project, things can start to get pretty slow. You'll notice that now that I've added light and reflections and shadows and all those elements, things are really starting to slow down here in After Effects. I'm in chapter 11 or 9.aep. And what we're going to do is have a look at ways of optimizing our scene in Cinema 4D to help speed up our work flow. There are certain things that you can do here in After Effects with adaptive resolution. And some of the Cineware settings that we've had to look at, but what we're going to concentrate here is how to optimize a scene in Cinema 4D.

So open up chapter 11 or 9 and follow me. I'm just going to select chapter 1109 here in After Effects, if you haven't already got it open, hit command E, or contorl + E on Windows. I'm just going to jump straight to Cinema 4D 'cause I already have this file open, chapter1109.c4d. What I'm going to do here is, I'm going to have a look at various ways of optimizing the scene. But the first thing I'm going to do just to check how quick it is to render is to go to Render in the Picture Viewer.

And the shortcut for that is Shift+R to Render to Picture Viewer. And you'll notices that when I render it, it will tell me here how long it's going to take to render. Now, I've just done a test rendering it took 11 seconds to render one frame. And that's really too long for this project. You see this frame is actually taking 13 seconds, or, seems to be longer. So, how can I optimize it? Well, I can optimize it in various different ways, but one way is to use the Render Settings.

And if we have a look here at my Render Settings, I'm going to go to Render > Edit Render Settings. I just have my standard rendered settings setup here. And I've added ambient (UNKNOWN) to them so that actually makes things take a lot longer to render. Now you can adjust the settings, I could bring the maximum (UNKNOWN) say 30. And it'll take the accuracy down to 25.

We'll also adjust the minimum and maximum samples two and six. And let's see what a difference that makes so lets hit Shift + R. And we should see our scene rendering a little bit faster than before. Now I can adjust the view here. So I can see my image at 100%. So we could go down to, say 50%. But it takes 8 seconds, so that really has improved the amount of time.

That's 5 seconds we've lost. Now you'll notice that it's 63%. I can't really see my image clearly enough, so I'm going to go back up. To 100 of course I could type in 100 here. But I'm just going to keep clicking. And then what else can we change? Well, if you're going to be changing a lot, it's best to create a child of your render settings. So I'm going to create a new child, and I'm going to call it. Optimized ambient occlusion, and now when I make any changes it won't affect my original.

Now that is selected as the current one, so what I'm going to do is go into my options and another checkbox I'm going to check is limit shadows to soft. Now I'm not sure if I have any area shadows in here. But if I do, switching them to soft will really help the render time. Now that has helped the render time but it really changed the appearance of my image. So, let's go back, time that back to what it was before which was area shadows.

And then we can maybe revisit that a little bit later. If there's something that you think you want to keep, you can compare the frames here. You can say, OK, that's it without area shadows, that's it with it. It's actually a lot better with than without. Can I find other ways of reducing this? So let's try some other ways. So lets go into antialiasing and we can take the filter for antialiasing from cubic still image to Gaussian animation. Now for producing frames for animation they don't need to be as accurate as frames for a still image have to be and you'll see that softened our image a bit.

But it's acceptable. Particularly when it's moving, I think that's perfectly acceptable. Now, that hasn't really given us much time for, so let's try some other ideas. So let's go back into our options. And let me think. What could we take out here? Well, let's go and see if we can adjust that light somehow. So, we're going to go into our project, and we're going to find the lights that are causing the problem. So I'm going to type in light into my search field And I think the light that's actually causing the problem is the left eye light here which has an area setting instead of shadow map setting.

Now let's just render that quickly, Cmd+R, Ctrl+R on Windows just to see how it looks. Now I've just switched that one off so let's. Hit Shift + r, to find out if that's going to help us. And that's brought it down to a value of two, so rather than switching off at the preferences, switching the lights off individually can sometimes give you a better result. So there we are at eight seconds, there we are at two seconds, and not too much difference. And a lot better than the result we had before when we switched off the shadows through the preferences.

So what else can we do? Well, I've lost a little bit of detail, I think what I'm going to do is go into my render settings again. So let's go to render, edit render settings and what I'm going to do is just come in here To ambient occlusion, and just adjust the contrast. So let's give it 30 percent contrast. And let's go back to here, and hit Shift + r again. And that's starting to bring back a little bit of detail.

You'll see it's darkening some of the areas. Giving us the effect of having a little bit more detail in the image. And we're still at two seconds per frame. So I think that's pretty good, actually, two seconds per frame is pretty acceptable. But I have one that I've worked on a little bit further, and I'm going to open that up here for you. So, it's also in the Chapter11 folder. Chapter11_End.c4d. And you'll see here I've done even more work, and I've gone into the render settings, and actually saved an optimized render setting there.

So you can see my ambient occlusion settings in here, then in my options, I have limited the shadows, and I've done some work on the individual lights. To try and compensate for those shadows. I've also taken the sunlight out and created my own infinite light which is easier to control. And that reduces the amount of rendering because the sunlight uses area shadows as well. So by bringing in a new light that mimics sunlight, has no shadows, I can really start to optimize my file.

So if I hit Shift + R with that one, you'll notice that's down to 2 seconds, as well. So I've got now 2 or 3 images that are 2 seconds. I can go through and just decide which one I want to go with. This one's got a little bit more reflection, this one a little less. So it just depends on what you want for your individual needs. So that's a little bit about how you can optimize the frames of your animation to decrease render times. And you'll see that if I open up this second After Effects project which is the finished one.

With the optimize cinema four d file I can preview my composition a lot faster than I could before. So taking time to do a little bit of optimization is really quite useful and essential to working smoothly with after effects in cinema four d.

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