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

Mograph Techniques: Modeling and Animating with C4D Cloners

with Ian Robinson

Video: Refining transitions

Now whenever I create an animation, I kind of like to think of it like a song. Eh, maybe we do want to have it slide. There we go.

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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

Refining transitions

Now whenever I create an animation, I kind of like to think of it like a song. You know how you have an intro and verses and chorus and the conclusion? Well, in here we have an intro, and we have our transition, and we have our conclusion. So I want to focus on blending a transition in between each of these different sections. So we'll start right up at the beginning. Let's add a quick fade to our paint drops here. So select layer two, and just press Option+t on the Mac or Alt+t on Windows to create a key-frame for the opacity.

And we'll just drag that value down to zero. Let's just have this be a ten frame fade. So I'll just move ten frames down the timeline there. And scrub up to 100%. So, right off the bat, we've transitioned our start. It's sort of looks like the paint's, sort of, just flying in from the top of the screen. Now, right about here in the transition from our paint to our vortex, I want these lines to appear that we created earlier. So let's go ahead and collapse layer two. And turn the visibility on for layer three and as you can see, we've got this kind of cool graphic look that's been created, but I don't want these lines to start until our paint drips are a little closer, maybe around here.

So let's just go ahead and drag layer three over to the right and now let's scrub through and see what we've got. Eh, maybe we do want to have it slide. There we go. So, the start of layer three is going to be five frames in. So if we scrub through you can see there the lines and then when we have our vortex, they disappear. So, let's go ahead and trim the out point for layer three. Option on the Mac, Alt on Windows, and Right Bracket. It's the key just above the Return key, below the Delete key.

Alright, so there we go. Now we've got our lines and our vortex. Now I'd like to add some more colors into this vortex to make it a little bit more psychedelic in its transition. So let's do that. All we have to do is duplicate our Petals layer. So I'm just going to select layer two and press Cmd+d to duplicate. Now let's rename this new layer and I'll just call this Colors. Now, I want this layer to start mm, right about here at 02:05, so let's just Option+Left Bracket to trim the start point of this layer.

Now to add more color. Lets go up to Effect, and we'll go down to Stylize. Under here we have an option for Posterize. Now we get some cool colors. Now, i don't want to just leave this at these default settings. So, lets go ahead and change the level from seven, down to about five. Now, I know that this looks kind of jagged and it doesn't quite work with what our animation style is, so we what we need to do is blend this with the other layers a little more smoothly. So, let's start by adding a blur. We'll go up under Effect, Blur, and we'll chose Fast Blur, and let's just crank the Fast Blur up here a little bit.

I don't know, we'll set it to a value of about 12. Now the last thing we need to do is blend this with the layer below, so I'm going to click this toggle switches and Modes button, and under the mode, let's change it from normal to color. Now it's more blended with our background layers. And as we scrub through, we get more colors rotating through our different petals. So, that's looking pretty cool. But this transition is pretty quick, and I want to have two levels of this transition.

But before I start focusing on both levels, notice I have this kind of flash frame. And anytime I'm animating, moving from one application to another, sometimes these frames come up and it's fine. You know, a lot of people get frustrated when their animations aren't completely perfect. Well, in this case, yeah, it's not perfect, but we'll just trim out this flash frame. So here, I'm going to select both layer two and layer three, since they're the same source layer. And let's just press Page Up, and we'll press Shift-Cmd+d or Shift-Ctrl+d on Windows, to split those layers.

Now, I'm going to move those layers up a little bit here, and press Page Down on my keyboard to move down one frame. And we'll press Page Down one more to move down another. Now let's trim the end point of these layers, Option+Left Bracket. So now we have our transition and it's kind of rolling through. And coming back to our flower. So we have a couple frames here just white. So we can address this just by duplicating our vertex here. Now, I'm just going to duplicate my original petals.

So, let's select layer five and I'll just rename this O Petals for the original petals. Now, I'll go ahead and press Cmd+d to duplicate this layer and we'll move the duplicate down below and I want this to be offset from the previous animation. So, let's slide it down the timeline here, a few frames. So I slid it down about seven frames. Now, this is going to give us a little more time and transition between the two elements, which is exactly what I want, and it's going to cover up that little flash screen that we had before.

So this is exactly what I was looking for. Now, in order to stylize this a little bit differently from the previous layer Let's select our O Petals layer, and change the Blend mode from normal to hard light. This way, it's really going to pop as a separate element that's coming in behind our other layer. Now, I don't want this to necessarily appear until, I don't know, a few seconds later. So, let's move our current time indicator to frame 215. Then press Option+Left Bracket, and I want there to be a fade, so let's move down the timeline here, about five frames, and press Option+t to set the opacity key frame.

Now, I'll press I to move to the end point of our trimmed layer, and we can just crank the opacity down. So this will go ahead and in, and I can delete this first two opacity key frames, because we don't need these. So there we go. Now when we scroll through, we have this transition that's building, and a second one that appears. And we have our transision back towards the end. Now let's go ahead and load up a RAM preview, so we can check out our finished work. So things have definitely gotten a lot more colorful and we've addressed lagging transitions and even flash frames.

So, just taking the time to, segment your animation and focusing on the transition between the different sections. Can really help lift the quality of your animations.

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