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Connecting shapes and bridging gaps

From: CINEMA 4D Essentials 6: HyperNURB Modeling and Sculpting

Video: Connecting shapes and bridging gaps

The next step in the process of making these letters is to merge the two letters together, and then bridge and close the gaps in the letterforms. To do this, we need to take these two objects, and convert them into a single polygon object. CINEMA 4D does a great job of bridging objects, but they have to be all together under a single polygon. In the previous movie, I created copies of the pre-bridged objects, so that I could go back a step if I needed to. So I'm going to take these two objects, and draw a rectangle around them, and then right-click on any one of the letters, and then go to Connect Objects, and Delete.

Connecting shapes and bridging gaps

The next step in the process of making these letters is to merge the two letters together, and then bridge and close the gaps in the letterforms. To do this, we need to take these two objects, and convert them into a single polygon object. CINEMA 4D does a great job of bridging objects, but they have to be all together under a single polygon. In the previous movie, I created copies of the pre-bridged objects, so that I could go back a step if I needed to. So I'm going to take these two objects, and draw a rectangle around them, and then right-click on any one of the letters, and then go to Connect Objects, and Delete.

Now, if you had not already made copies, then you'd want to do just a regular Connect Objects, but since I already made my copies ahead of time, I can do a Connect Objects, and Delete. What that's going to do is merge these two objects into one, and delete the old versions. So you can see now, it looks like nothing has happened visually here, but you see in the Object Manager, I have a single object now called G.1, and I'll call this RG - merged. Let's make a copy of it; hold down the Control key, and drag it down here, and now go back and click on it here, and you can see we've got just one object now.

So that was the connection part of it. Now we're ready to bridge our gaps, so let's middle-mouse over to the Perspective view, and in the Perspective view, you notice that my objects are not the same width. So what I want to do is to make the polygons on the G the same width as the polygons on the R. So let's go into Point mode, and grab the polygons just on the R. So let's grab the Rectangular Selection tool, make sure that Only Select Visible Elements is unchecked, and then let's select all the points, or at least some of the points on the R.

Now, along the Z-axis we can see that our Z Size is 53.295. Let's make the math easy; I'm going to change this to 55. When I change that to 55, that makes this distance here 55 units. So now what we can do is grab those points to the G. And then go to the Selection menu, and do a Select Connected. That selects all of the points that are connected to the ones that we had selected earlier. Now I can make the Size on the Z-axis 55.

Now my two letters are exactly the same size along the Z-axis. That's going to make the bridging much cleaner. Zoom in on this area; we want to go into Polygon mode now. The first thing we should do before we bridge is to delete the two polygons where the objects meet up. So let's take the polygon that we have selected, and if you don't already have that one selected you can go to your Live Selection tool, and click on that guy right there, and let's hold down the Shift key, and click on that polygon right there, and then delete them.

You can see that we've opened up a hole in our object. Now we're ready to use the Bridge tool. I like to use the Bridge tool in Edge mode; I'll click on Edge mode. And the way the Bridge tool works is we're going to highlight from edge to edge to create the polygons we need around the object. So let's right-click, and go to Bridge, and then the way this works is that we have to click on an edge. And understanding where you're looking at within the scene is really important. So I want to make sure that I'm looking at the correct edges.

We're going to start off by going from this edge, and dragging across. You want to be very careful. I don't want to go to that edge there; I want to go to that edge right there. When I let go, you can see that I've created a polygon that spans that gap. You could see on that side, it's completely closed. Now I can work my way around the gap with the Bridge tool. I can go here to here, and be really careful about which one you do. And if you accidentally bridge to the wrong polygon, like I just did right there, just hit Command+Z or Control+Z to get rid of that.

Let's go here to here. There we go, and then go down here to here, and that's nice. Let's go up here and repeat the process to close up the R. And I'm going to go into Polygon mode, and then get my Selection tool. Grab that polygon, and that polygon; I'll hit the Delete key. You're probably asking a question right now; well Rob, why don't you just use the Bridge tool in Polygon mode? Let me show you why. I'll undo that delete, and if I go to the Bridge tool, and I'll click the button, and bridge it. That one worked just fine.

Sometimes, though, you'll get a crazy twisted polygon, and it would have done that down here on the G for sure. When you're connecting two objects that were previously unconnected, then the Bridge tool usually gives you a twisted polygon, so I'd normally use it in Edge mode; that way I know exactly what I'm creating. The other thing you always want to double check is if you zoom inside our object -- I'm going to go all the way inside; I want to be able to look around inside my object, and this is going to get a little bit confusing here for a second. Let's zoom up underneath, and then go into it this way.

You want to be able to see that you're seeing all the way through; that you don't have any extra polygons in there, and it looks like I'm pretty clean. When you zoom inside, you should be able to look down the letter R like a pipe, and I'll orbit around this way to double-check that. And you can see how I'm looking all the way down my object, and I can see a little tunnel down there, and I know that my join was clean. The last thing I want to do in that connection process is to make sure all my polygons are facing the right direction. If you remember from the module on polygon modeling, polygons have something called a normal axis that tells CINEMA 4D what direction the polygon is facing, and sometimes when you're using connection tools like this, you can accidentally create polygons that are facing the wrong direction, and so I want to make sure that everything lines up.

So the first thing I'd like to do is to make my Normals visible. So I'm going to go to Perspective view Options menu, and do a Configure All. And then under the Display options, I'm going to select Normals, and that's going to show me the normals for the polygons that I have selected. So I'll hit Command+A or Control+A to select everything, and you can see that the normals that I created down here are all facing the right direction; they're all pointing outward, just like all the other polygons. Just to be safe, though, I'm going to right-click in the interface, and do Align Normals, and that's going to get anything that I might have missed, and make sure that it's pointing the right way.

Now, nothing changed; that's because it looks like I got everything facing the right way. By connecting these two objects together, when it comes time to really sculpt the bevels, we're going to have a nice smooth transition between each of the letters, especially in this area here. Connecting those objects up has really set us up for success in our modeling process.

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