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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.
Just like after effects, Cinema 4D allows you to work with layers. Now many people are unaware of the fact that Cinema 4D supports layers. But I really recommend using layers as part of your work flow in Cinema 4D. It's a really useful way of separating elements and can also help to just manage your work flow and make it a little bit simpler. So we're going to have a look at it now. I'm in Chapter10_Start.aep and in here, with my Chapter10_Start.c4d file selected, I can open up my effect controls and see that there's a grayed out element here saying CINEMA 4D Layers.
Now, this CINEMA 4D file doesn't contain any layers. So I'm unable to select that. But what we're going to do is open up this file in Cinema 4D Lite and create some layers. So select chapter ten start c4d in the timeline. Hit command D or Ctrl + D on Windows to open up the project in Cinema 4D Lite using edit original. And here you'll see all the elements from my scene. Well what I want to do here is I want to separate the text. The robots and the floor.
So what we're going to do is, first of all, choose a layers-based work float to do that. So the layer manager is in the same panel as the attributes manager and I can click on the tab here to open it. Currently, we have no layers so we need to start by creating layers. So we can go to File > New Layer. And let's just rename it. Double-click for name to rename it Robot Layer. Okay, and then we'll create another new layer and we'll call this one Text Layer.
Now we could put both text elements on individual layers but we don't really need to do that here. I will do another new layer, and let's rename this one Floor Layer. And that's for our shadow catcher. So it's very easy just to drag elements from the objects manager Onto the layers in the Layers Manager. And you'll see that when I do that I get this little label here indicating that my main robot is on the robot layer.
Now I also want my array to be on the same layer, because that is my array of little dancing robots and people. I can drag it, or I can right-click on it. And, go to Add to Layer, Robot Layer, and that will add it as well, so a couple of ways of doing that. I'm then going to open up my, 3D camera tracker, okay which contains the nulls and the text. So I've got the back building now, I'm just going to take a minute to rename that, okay, because I've spelt that wrong.
So I've got the back building null which contains the text and the front building null which contains the text. So those I'm going to select and just drag onto the text layer. And then the only other thing is the shadow catcher will go on the floor layer. Once I've done that I can just save the file. It just takes a minute to save those changes. Once those changes are saved we can just jump back to after effects and you should see once Cinema 4D just takes a minute to update that file and we suddenly have access to our Cinema 4D layers.
And if I click on this button here. I can then go to set layers and you'll see that it gives me a choice between those three layers I created in Cinema 4D. So I'm going to switch off the floor layer and the text layer and just keep the robot layer selected and click OK and you'll notice that now the floor and the text will disappear leaving me with only my robots. But notice the text is still there. So I've done something wrong here.
So let's just jump back to Cinema 4D and see what the issue is. Now one quick way of finding out is to solo the robot layer so that we only have the robot layer selected. And you'll see that when I solo it, I'm not really having an issue except for there are a few weird things happening. The main robot should be in there, but you'll notice that it's not showing up. And that's because all we've done is put the null into the layer. We haven't put the whole robot in. So I'm going to take soloing off and what I'm going to do is select the main robot and go to Edit > Select Children.
Very important when you add elements to a layer that you select all of the children before you add them to the layer. So I'm going to go to Add to Layer > Robot Layer. And now I can be sure, when I solo that layer That all the robot elements are correctly in there. So we fixed that one. What about the text layer? Now if I solo that, you'll see that only the nulls are contained and actually the children within the nulls aren't in there at all. So again. I need to go edit> select children.
So very important step when you're adding elements to layers to make sure that you add all the elements in there. So edit add to layer, text layer and now these show up correctly. Let's switch off the solo button. And let's see how that's looking now. So, if I switch off my floor layer, the floor layer disappears. If I switch off the text layer, text now disappears. Switch off the robot layer, the robot layer disappears. So, using the Solo buttons, you can make sure that all the elements are correctly on the right layers.
So, if you're not getting things behaving as you'd expect, make sure that not only the null that contains the elements. Is on the layer but also all of the elements within and all its children. So now if I save that and jump back to After Effects and go into my layers and just select the robot layer again. We should find that when that updates, it takes a minute or two to update, what Cineware thinks about the changes. And now we have only the robots on that layer.
So that's how to set up the layers in Cinema 4D. In the next lesson I'll show you how you can composite those layers back in After Effects.
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