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Join Rob Garrott in CINEMA 4D: Designing a Promo as he demonstrates how to create a 15-second promotional video that looks and feels like a professional advertisement. Learn how to use a combination of CINEMA 4D, After Effects, Photoshop and Illustrator to go from concept to script to screen, creating sketches, adding animation, and rendering the final promo. This course focuses on real-world techniques, culminating in a finished, usable product. Exercise files accompany the course.
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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