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CINEMA 4D: Rendering Motion Graphics for After Effects demonstrates how to take a simple logo animation in CINEMA 4D and transform it into a compelling motion graphic with After Effects, incorporating two distinct visual styles. Starting with a prebuilt animation rendered from CINEMA 4D, author Rob Garrott employs industry-standard techniques, utilizing materials, lights, and the library of effects in After Effects, to enhance the project's look and feel. Exercise files accompany the course.
The technique of multi-pass rendering gives us tremendous control in After Effects. We've set up our object buffers in order to isolate different elements within the image, but we haven't set up our image layers yet, and that's what we're going to do right now. So here in the file, I am going to go to the Render Settings, and in the Render Settings it's opened with my multi-pass object buffers already highlighted here, and if they haven't, that's okay. Right now we're going to be adding some stuff to it, so it doesn't really matter what's highlighted here at all. What I want to do is go down to the Multi-Pass option though, and click on that. And these are all the different passes that we have the ability to render inside of the render engine.
And we don't need all of these right now; all we need are a few of them. And so in order to figure out which ones we need, we're going to start off by adding all the image layers. Now, we won't be using the material layers at all; those are for a completely different process. And so we want to add just the image layers right now, so we're going to add image layers. And I am going to scroll down, so I can see all those image layers. You can see that each one of those guys shows up in our list, and if I click on them one at a time, you can see they don't really have any options associated with them. And that's because these are just flat passes that are going to be used inside of After Effects to composite together to make our final rendered image.
And so, like I said before, some of these we won't need, some of them we do. We're going to be testing out that theory in just a second. Before we do that though, let's add in a couple of extra passes that aren't on this list right now. If I go down to the Multi-Pass, the list has gotten a lot shorter, and the reason it's gotten shorter is because it removes the options that we've already added in here to this list, and so the one thing I do know we need is the RGBA Image. That's the final rendered, composited image that is not made up of the multi-passes and so we need that for sure, so I want to add that in. And then I am going to click one more time on this, and I am going to add in the depth pass, which is going to give us a grayscale map that allows After Effects to figure out where things are in Z Space inside of the rendered image, and so we are going to add a depth map.
And then I am going to click one more time, and we're going to add motion vectors. Now, some of these passes I may end up not even using, but I like to have them anyway just in case. Remember, all of the setup that we're going to do here in CINEMA 4D is all about not having to come back here again when we get to After Effects. And it's much cheaper, from a drive-space standpoint, to have an extra movie that I don't need than it would be to have to come back and re-render it if I did need it. So I always air on the side of caution and add stuff in that isn't necessarily likely to be used, but I'd rather have it just in case.
So I am going to add this motion vector in. And a motion vector gives the After Effects an indication of what direction pixels are traveling within a moving image, and it can be used by a variety of different plug-ins. But once again, we're going to add this in just in case we need it. So now as I look at this list, I've got a whole bunch of options here, and some of them I know I don't need; for example, we are not rendering Global Illumination. I know I don't need that, so I can click on that and delete it. Caustics, I know we don't have any caustic reflections in our scene either, so I know I can delete that.
Now, the other ones I am not so sure about and so I want to verify that they are being used in the rendered image, and so in order to do that, I'm going to do a test render again. And so I am going to verify that I'm not accidentally rendering out an entire movie. And so if I click on the Output option and look at my Frame Range, you can see that it's set for Current Frame right now, which is just what I want. And so now if I click on the Render to Picture Viewer icon, which is this button right here, I just click one time on that, and that's going to render out the scene. And if I enlarge this window, you can see that my list of layers has gotten a lot longer.
And in case you are not seeing this, if you click on Image, that's what you'll normally be seeing, unless you've previously clicked on the Single-Pass option. And so the great part is I don't have to wait for the rendering to finish. I can click on Single-Pass, and then I can start to scrub down through my images and see what's going on here. So, the Atmosphere pass, that contains the visible light, so I'll go ahead and leave that in the scene. Atmosphere (Multiply), that's not doing anything \ so I know I can delete that. So I'll go over here to the Render Settings and I'll go down and find Atmosphere (Multiply), and then I'll delete that, boom! And then Refraction, we do have transparency in the scene, go back to the Image Pass.
That's in the form of these tubes down here, but they're not refracting anything so I know I don't need that effect either, so I can delete the Refraction from the scene. Now let's go back to Reflection. Now Reflection, if I highlight Single-Pass, is actually giving me some information. I want to keep that. Ambient Inclusion is giving me some information as well. I want to keep that. The Ambient Pass, same thing there. We're going to keep that. The Shadow Pass though, no information there. That's because the lighting that I have in the scene doesn't actually have Shadows turned, so I am going to go ahead and turn that off and delete it from the Render Settings, so I click on the Shadow and delete.
And I'll click on Specular now, Specular information, there is something there, so I'll leave that in the render. Diffuse is base color value and that is giving me information, so I'll leave that in as well. The Motion Vector pass is giving me the pixel direction information, and that's expressed in a very special color set of color values, and so I can see that that's okay as well. Now I'm going to scrub down here and look at my object buffers, and I've verified the object buffers already. The only thing I'm really concerned about is the Depth pass and if I click on that, you can see now I have a grayscale value set for Depth, and that's showing me that things that are white are going to be blurred out heavily; things that are black are going to be sharp.
And you can see that I have a little gradient layer that's traveling into the distance. And everything that's showing up black here is going to be sharpened and focused, and that's crucial. So that's it for the multi-pass render set up. What this is going to give us in After Effects is a list of composited layers that all add up to our final image, and this gives us tremendous control and flexibility without having to come back to CINEMA 4D.
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