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Creating an underwater look using Global Illumination and atmosphere

From: CINEMA 4D: Designing a Promo

Video: Creating an underwater look using Global Illumination and atmosphere

For setting up our lights we are going to start with shot003, the hero shot. We are doing this because since it's the iconic shot that will really be defining the viewer's perception of the programming block, we want this shot to drive the look and feel of all the other shots. We are going to be using Global Illumination to render this. Global Illumination combined with Environment Fog is a great way to give us the underwater look we need to make the sharks look very realistic. Let's move over to CINEMA 4D and I am going to go to the File menu and do an open and navigate to my Chapter 9 Exercise Files.

Creating an underwater look using Global Illumination and atmosphere

For setting up our lights we are going to start with shot003, the hero shot. We are doing this because since it's the iconic shot that will really be defining the viewer's perception of the programming block, we want this shot to drive the look and feel of all the other shots. We are going to be using Global Illumination to render this. Global Illumination combined with Environment Fog is a great way to give us the underwater look we need to make the sharks look very realistic. Let's move over to CINEMA 4D and I am going to go to the File menu and do an open and navigate to my Chapter 9 Exercise Files.

Let's start off with shot003. Now this is the final animation file that we created in the previous chapter and it has our shark moving through the scene and our Shark Zone type at the center of the world to kind of flush with the ground plane. This scene if I render it, Command+R, really doesn't look very interesting. So what we want to try and do is create an underwater feel for it. There is several techniques to do this. But the one that I'd like to use in this case is something called Global Illumination and it's going to be combined with Environment Fog to really give us a lack of depth in the scene.

Typically when you are shooting underwater with a camera, the particle matter in the water, plankton and dirt and all kinds of other stuff that's floating around in the water, that obscures your vision so that you don't see very far back into the water. So Environment Fog is a great way to simulate that lack of vision in the water. So let's start off by adding Global Illumination to the scene. I am going to go to the Render Settings, click on the Render Settings option, and under the Effects I am going to add Global Illumination. Global Illumination is a render setting that's part of the Advanced Render module in CINEMA 4D.

Now there are several different modes and the mode I am going to be using is IR+QMC combined with Still Image. You might be thinking, well, why won't you use full animation or camera animation because we are moving the camera and we have animated objects in the scene? But this technique gives a much faster render than those two options and because we have very few objects coming in close proximity between one another, this will give us the look we need without flicker and without the extra render time. So it's a better way to work. I am going to add IR+QMC into the image. I am going to change the Diffuse Depth.

The Diffuse Depth controls how many times the light calculation is bounced in the scene. A calculation depth of 1 doesn't give us enough bounce and when you set it to 2, it's going to give us one more level of bounce, which brightens up the shadow areas in the scene a little bit more. So I am going to change that to 2. Let's close up the Render Settings for now and take a look at what our render looks like now. When I hit Command+R, it's going to go through this process of-- first it analyzes the scene and then it renders it. My scene is black and you are probably thinking that really doesn't look very cool.

Why is that? The reason that my scene is black is that Global Illumination does not provide any lights in the scene. There is normally something called an Auto Light that's on. As soon as you activate Global Illumination, the Auto Light turns off. So what we need now is a way to illuminate our scene. So I am going to use something called an HDRI image to light our scene with. An HDRI image is a High Dynamic Range image and that's created using a combination of photography techniques. I don't want to get into it too deep right now. But there are some really great HDRI image presets inside the Content Browser.

So I clicked on this icon, it looks like a globe here. This is the Content Browser. Underneath the Presets, I'll twirl all these close so you can see how I got here. I opened up Presets and then CINEMA 4D, and then I opened up Materials and in the Materials is an HDRI folder. When I click on this folder, I see the contents of it over here on the right, and I can make these icons larger if I want. The HDRI we are going to use today is HDRI 002. You can see that this is a cityscape and it's got a bright sky above and dark concrete down below, which is very similar light layout to an underwater scene where you have light coming in from above the water but no light at all down below.

So this gives us a great starting point. So I am going to double-click on this to add it to the scene. Global Illumination has the ability to use the light information in an image to illuminate your scene. So what we need to do is get this HDRI to surround our scene. So I am going to add a new sphere to the scene. I am going to call this envirosphere. The envirosphere needs to surround our scene. You can see it's very small at the center of the world right now.

I want to make it enormous so that it encompasses everything inside my scene. So I am going to go to the envirosphere and make the Radius 25000. How large you make the environment sphere really depends on the type of scene that you are creating. But in this case, 25000 should be just fine. I might need to double-check it in some of the other scenes to make it a little larger. But for this scene it will work just fine. So I am going to take the HDRI object and add it to the envirosphere. When I do you can see the HDRI image now on the environmentsphere in the scene and when I render, Command+R, look what happens to my scene now.

It's going to use the light and dark values of that image to light our scene. It looks like our Shark Zone type is now floating in a parking lot. You can see that not only does it light the scene, but it adds color to it as well and that's another reason I chose this image, because it has some subtle blue values to it that really give it a more water-like feel. We don't to be able to see our image in the background and also we don't really want it to be quite so sharp and focused either because the sharpness of this image adds to the lighting effect. We want to kind of soften this up, so the lightning feels a little bit more diffused.

So the first thing I will do is in the HDRI Material, I am going to adjust the Blur Offset and change that to about 50%. You can see that that blurs out the image and when I render it again, it really feels a lot softer. The light has a much more diffused look to it and you can see also in the surrounding image it actually looks really nice back there. We are going to be hiding this from view next. In order to hide this from view I am going to use something called a Compositing Tag, [00:05:5882] and a Compositing tag is accessed by right-clicking on the environmentsphere and going to CINEMA 4D tags and going Compositing.

When I add that to the scene I want to turn off Seen by Camera. That's going to make my envirosphere still affect the object in the scene, but now it won't show up in the render. So when I do another render, you can see I see my Shark Zone type and I see my shark and they are lit very well. But I now have a black background. Now that we have our light looking pretty good, I am going to add the fog effect that I spoke about earlier. So the way you do that is underneath the Scene Objects is something called an Environment and the Environment object is used to generate the fog that's seen by the camera.

If you select Environment object and go to the Object properties, there is an Environment Color and the Environment Fog. When I enable Fog, turning it on, look what happens. Now my scene turns immediately white, and when I render that it's going to be blown out, because the Environment Fog has an impact on the lighting in the scene. What I want to do is change the color of the fog to something a little more blue. So I am going to click on the color swatch here and move this over to the blue range of the Color Spectrum and just kind of eyeball in something that has a more deep watery blue. Not too deep blue because I still want it to be light.

So now when I render this, you will see that the shark and the Shark Zone now will take on the blue light of the water and it feels a little more tropical. I want to make this feel a more North Atlantic. So I am going to darken that down just a bit. Then I also want to adjust how far the fog extends into the scene. The Environment object has a distance associated with it and that distance controls how deep the fog is in the scene. As I scrub this value, I am going to scrub it down so the fog gets closer to the camera.

When I let go of this fog, you are going to see the shark become obscured. It becomes obscured in the Editor window. The closer the fog gets to the scene, and I'm going to dragging this down. You can see it's a very subtle effect here in the window, but you can see now my shark is becoming more-and-more obscured. I don't want to do it too much. I just want to have a little bit of fog in the scene. So I am at 4900 roughly on the units for the distance and I will do a test render. that might be too much. There we go and I think that is just a little bit too much.

Let's back it up to about 6000, and then do a test render. You can see it evaluates the lighting first and then it renders the fog along with the lighting. I think that's looking pretty nice. My shark is back in the scene. The scene feels a little bit brightly lit. I am going to adjust the intensity of the HDRI first before I call it done. In the Luminance channel for the HDRI material, I am going to dial down the Intensity. I'll start by adjusting the Brightness slider for the color to about 50% or so and then the Mix Strength Brightness I am going to adjust down to about 70%.

And that's going to darken up my material. That has the effective dialing down the exposure on the entire scene. I will do another test render, Command+R. Remember, Global Illumination, when it uses the lighting, it evaluates the intensity of the light from the image on the environmentsphere and uses that to illuminate your objects. Our scene is looking pretty good. I think we are done with the Global Illumination part of it. So before we move on, let's do a File > Save as, and I am going to call this shot-003-lighting, and I am saving it into the Chapter 9 files folder.

There we go. Global Illumination combined with Fog really make our scene feel like it's underwater. The next step in the process is going to be to create some lights in the scene that give our objects a little bit of separation.

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This video is part of

Image for CINEMA 4D: Designing a Promo
CINEMA 4D: Designing a Promo

70 video lessons · 13493 viewers

Rob Garrott
Author

 
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  1. 5m 8s
    1. Welcome
      1m 7s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 24s
    3. Overview of the project template
      2m 37s
  2. 11m 12s
    1. Creative brief
      1m 57s
    2. Sketches and script
      3m 8s
    3. Understanding the graphic animation process
      6m 7s
  3. 25m 5s
    1. Understanding the animatic process
      2m 15s
    2. Importing sketches into After Effects
      6m 20s
    3. Timing out the animation
      10m 4s
    4. Adding onscreen timecode for reference
      6m 26s
  4. 40m 2s
    1. Creating text and logo elements in Adobe Illustrator
      6m 44s
    2. Importing Illustrator elements into Cinema 4D
      8m 24s
    3. Creating guide planes for modeling a rough shark
      6m 13s
    4. Creating a rough shark model
      12m 14s
    5. Preparing a dummy rig using a Spline Wrap object
      6m 27s
  5. 53m 17s
    1. Setting up a project file for the cameramatic
      6m 15s
    2. Animating the rough shark using the Spline Wrap object
      5m 14s
    3. Animating the camera
      6m 8s
    4. Duplicating an animated rough model to create a school of sharks
      11m 4s
    5. Creating a preview movie and importing it into After Effects
      5m 45s
    6. Assembling the cameramatic
      8m 34s
    7. Fine-tuning the cameramatic timing
      10m 17s
  6. 1h 9m
    1. Preparing for the modeling process
      6m 7s
    2. Outlining the shapes using the Knife tool
      9m 50s
    3. Creating the mouth using the Extrude tool
      10m 40s
    4. Adding eyes using the Symmetry object
      9m 57s
    5. Creating fins using the Extrude tool
      7m 11s
    6. Creating the tail and dorsal fins using the Extrude tool
      10m 38s
    7. Creating gums using the Symmetry object
      6m 45s
    8. Creating teeth and finalizing the model
      8m 6s
  7. 15m 5s
    1. Understanding the rigging process
      2m 0s
    2. Opening the shark mouth using the Morph tag
      5m 9s
    3. Using XPresso to link the jaw to the Morph animation
      7m 56s
  8. 33m 25s
    1. Using BodyPaint to prepare the model for texturing
      8m 22s
    2. Applying color to the shark using BodyPaint
      6m 45s
    3. Giving the shark character by painting in the diffusion channel
      5m 29s
    4. Roughing the surface using the bump channel
      4m 34s
    5. Texturing the eyes
      3m 51s
    6. Texturing the teeth and gums
      4m 24s
  9. 21m 24s
    1. Replacing the rough shark model in the intro shot with the finished model
      6m 47s
    2. Replacing the rough shark model in the transition shot
      3m 43s
    3. Replacing the rough shark model in the hero shot
      4m 28s
    4. Replacing the rough shark model in the end page shot
      3m 42s
    5. Updating the cameramatic with the final animation
      2m 44s
  10. 50m 27s
    1. Creating an underwater look using Global Illumination and atmosphere
      9m 47s
    2. Lighting the objects and creating shadows
      6m 54s
    3. Shading the text using materials
      6m 28s
    4. Creating a reflective floor for the underwater scene
      3m 58s
    5. Lighting shot 1: Copying and pasting a lighting setup from another project
      5m 49s
    6. Lighting shot 2: Pasting a lighting setup and making adjustments
      3m 57s
    7. Lighting shot 4: Separate elements in a shot (the shark)
      3m 13s
    8. Lighting shot 4: Separate elements in a shot (the text)
      10m 21s
  11. 22m 7s
    1. Preparing shot 1 for rendering to After Effects
      6m 20s
    2. Preparing shot 2 for rendering by saving and using render presets
      4m 45s
    3. Preparing shot 3 for rendering
      2m 37s
    4. Setting up shot 4 to render in two passes
      4m 4s
    5. Performing a preflight check to ensure clips are ready to render
      2m 9s
    6. Batch-rendering
      2m 12s
  12. 1h 13m
    1. Importing assets and setting up the After Effects project for final compositing
      6m 5s
    2. The intro shot: Using Photoshop elements and noise effects to add atmosphere
      8m 38s
    3. The intro shot: Compositing in stock video footage to add character
      4m 51s
    4. The intro shot: Adding text elements to the composite
      8m 32s
    5. The hero shot: Controlling the look using precomps
      7m 59s
    6. The hero shot: Using stock video footage to add character
      7m 19s
    7. The end page shot: Combining multiple passes to form a final composite shot
      2m 41s
    8. The end page shot: Adding text elements to the composite
      7m 44s
    9. Compositing the transition shots
      3m 47s
    10. Assembling the final composition
      9m 2s
    11. Adding the final audio to the composition and rendering
      7m 10s
  13. 21s
    1. Goodbye
      21s

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