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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.
So let's take a look at the interface of Cinema 4D. Of course, we need to start in After Effects, so we're in Chapter 01NAEP, and I want you to click on the Chapter 01NC4D file. Add that in the project panel or in the timeline. And then go to Edit > Edit Original. And that will open up the original file in Cinema 4D. And you'll see the applications are now linked together. Now when I first opened Cinema 4D big and AfterEffects user, I was quite confused by the interphase.
The first thing that confused me was the fact that there are various different menus. I have my main menu here, which has all the main commands, that you would expect to find within a software application. But I also have menus within each of the other panels. And you'll notice over here in the Object manager I also have a file object. But this is a File menu that is specific to objects, and allows you to do things, with specific objects. Whereas this is the main menu, for the whole file.
So you will get used to that as you work through CINEMA 4D, and as you become familiar, with the different panels. Now you'll notice that there are various different panels that make up the application. And many of these are called managers. Over here you can see the Object manager and here I have my cube within the Object manager. Now you'll notice down here we also have the Attributes manager and the attributes will tell you the attributes of whatever is active at the moment. And the project is active, so it's showing me the project attributes.
So things like the frames per second, start and end frame, level of detail, project time, all of those things are available for me down here in the attributes manager. But watch what happens when I click on the cube up here. It changes the Attributes manager is context sensitive, so it will show me the attributes of whatever I click on within the interface. Now within each of these managers, there are different tabs. So, the Object manager sits within a panel which also contains.
The content browser, which allows you to find files that you're looking for. And also, it will show you, once you've developed your project, the structure of the project. So these are all tabs within the panel that contains the Object manager. And down here, where you see the Attributes manager. Within this panel you also have the Layers Manager. Again, we have no layers at the moment, so you can't see any layers. But that's where they will appear. But the default view is to have the Objects Manager and Attributes Manager facing forwards.
And then down here we have the Coordinates Manager. And you'll notice that if I move this cube, that it's actually telling me the amount that I've moved it by. Now you may notice something strange. If you're from an After Effects background, you would expect that number to go into negative values. But actually, Cinema 4D uses a positive value to move something upwards on the y axis. So it's the opposite to how After Effects would measure the y axis. Similarly, the z axis works in an opposite way.
As you move towards the camera, it goes into negative values. As you move away from the camera it goes into positive values. So, that's something to bear in mind. Now, when you're working between the applications, you don't need to worry about that. But, you'll notice that if I save this file. So, I just go to File > Save, and then, jump back to After Effects, you'll notice that the changes updated. So After Effects and CINEMA 4D will work out that coordinate difference for you, but just in case you get confused, there is a difference between them.
Now, I can zero those back to zero and then click Apply just to make my object jump right back to the beginning. Now, next to the Coordinate Manager we have the animation toolbar. And this allows you to set your frame range. At the moment it's going between zero and 90 frames, and here you can see my timeline above that, where I can drag my time marker through time. Now at the moment we haven't got any animation, so you're not seeing anything change. Then we have all the usual buttons for Transport controls so you can go to the start, or the end of the animation by clicking on these buttons.
You can move forwards or backwards per key frame by using these buttons. And you'll notice that the keyboard shortcut is also displayed as you hover over. And go to next frame, go to previous frame, and of course the play button. Then we have buttons for recording keyframes, and for moving, scaling, and repositioning elements. Now, if you have a look at the top, we also have some of those buttons up at the top. In this what's called an icon bar or a toolbar. It's referred to as an icon bar because it contains icons that refer to commands in these menus like you will notice here if you go to the Object menu, and I click on Hold on that.
We have access to all the different primitive objects that we can Add to our scene. If I go to the Create menu, I also have access to those same objects, so these are just really shortcuts for what's available in the main application menus. And then down the side here, we have modes. So this is modes for whether you want to work in Polygon mode, or Edges mode. Or points mode, and these are really used when you start editing the basic shapes that you start to use for building objects within Cinema 4D.
Now down here at the bottom, we have The Material manager. At the moment, we don't have any materials in here. But this is where you create materials and textures for your objects. And we'll have a look at those a little bit later. And then the next thing to look at would be the view here. This is called the View port, or the View panel. And this is where you view your object. And you can view it from various different angles. The first thing we want to do, is have a look at the different camera angles that are available, and we have fixed, orthographic views, like we have in After Effects, to see things from the right, front, top, bottom.
In this case it's a cube, so they all look pretty much the same, but you'll see that you can lift it from the different camera angles there. Now, if you want to see a four-up display, you can go to the panel menu, and you can choose to see one view, or all views, of your scene, or you can choose individual views. Now a nice little shortcut for doing that, for jumping between views, is to use the middle mouse button. And you can use the middle mouse button just to click, and Maximize the view that you want to work on.
So I can move to top view, click once to maximize it, click once again to go back to the four-way panel view. Middle mouse click on Perspective, if I want to maximize that and then middle mouse click again to go back to my four-way view. Now one last thing to show you, you'll notice that up here in the Layout menu you have lots of different layouts. And these are for different jobs if you like, in cinema four D. So if you're working on animation, you would choose the animation layout, and that would open up the timeline, give you a bit more detail in the timeline.
If we go to BP Three D paint that would open up our paint work space. Okay, the standard workspace has all of the panels that we spoke about earlier, and then, you can make your own user menus as well. You can assign your own user menus. And you can do that by dragging these panels around, and just docking them in different places within the interface. And saving that as a new layout. But for most of the time we're going to work in this standard set-up and by going up to the Layout menu and going back to layout standard, you can just reset your panels back to where they were.
So if at any point you get lost, just use this to go back to your standard setup. That's a little bit about the interface. Only other thing to point out is that everything has little tips coming up as you roll over them. If you roll over the buttons themselves, they have little tool tips coming up. But you'll also notice down at the bottom, there is a Help bar. Now, if I move my cursor down to the bottom, this is the Help bar. But you'll notice that as I move over elements, it comes up with a little tips. It's telling me there.
That to move something I click and drag, and it's giving me a few other tips which are appropriate to that panel. So that's a little tour of the interface, and next we'll have a look at navigation.
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