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CINEMA 4D R11.5 Essential Training covers all the important steps to get up and running with this easy-to-use 3D application. Designer and author Ian Robinson covers the essentials of 3D design, including modeling, animation, and integration with other design tools. Ian explores how to build objects with CINEMA 4D's basic primitives, and how to use light, shadow, and texture to give depth to a scene. He shows the proper use of the powerful animation tools, including MoGraph, to push 3D designs to the limit. Finally, Ian covers how to combine CINEMA 4D with other applications like After Effects and Motion. Exercise files accompany this course.
It's really channels that help you build your materials and here we have a scene built entirely with pre-made materials that I've found in our Content Browser. Now even though we have the same sphere in the scene, we have vastly different results, and if you notice, the center sphere doesn't have anything on it. It just has the normal Phong texture tag. So we're going to create a material to apply on the sphere, focusing on some of the more key channels used in our Material Manager. Go down to the Material Manager in the lower-left corner, click on File and choose New Material.
We could edit the texture here in the Attribute Editor, but I want to open the actual Material Editor. Double-click on your texture in the lower-left corner and take a look at this list on the left side. These are actually the channels that make up the material that we're assembling in the upper-left corner. Now just so we can see things better, right-click in the Preview up there and choose Open Window. If yours opened up a little smaller, don't sweat it. Just click and drag in the lower right-hand corner to make it large.
So in our Color Channel, let's look at some of the options. We have a typical RGB slider and you notice as I change the values, we're just changing the color. We can also adjust the brightness of that color. Notice if I take it down, it almost goes to complete darkness. So let's drag that all the way to the right. Now underneath you can actually load up a texture. There are two different kinds of textures you can create in these channels. The first kind if you click on the arrow allows you to load an image. So in the Open pop-up window, navigate to the Texture folder in your Media folder.
Let's load the Stripe.tif file. Click Open to open the file and you'll get this pop up window asking us if we want to copy this file into the search path of the document. Basically, this file would then be copied into the same place we're saving the file. This makes it very easy to organize all your textures when you go to move your project between machines, but since we're organized right now, let's go ahead and just click No. So now you notice the white with the black stripe in the center has now been loaded onto our material. Down underneath we can change whether this is an Additive mode or Subtract mode or Multiply.
Let's switch it to Add and now you notice the black stripe is allowing the color underneath to show through. If we adjust our Mix Strength here, you notice we can adjust how the texture mixes with the color. Now there is another way you can add a texture as opposed to an image. If you click on the arrow and click Clear, let's go ahead and click on arrow this time and you notice below, we can add different effects. Let's choose Gradient and I know it's kind of subtle right now but if you click the button that's titled Gradient to the right of the arrow button, we have Gradient options.
So sure enough, if you click and drag on this little color chip here, we can move how the color is mapped in the image. I am not seeing this update very brightly because we lowered the Mix. But if you notice, I'm giving the appearance of some type of indentation here just by creating such a sharp angle between the two colors. To go back to our Color channels, click the Back arrow in the upper-right corner. Now we've created a procedural texture, meaning Cinema 4D is computing this gradient to apply to the texture.
And if you don't like any of these, click on the arrow and choose Clear. So the other default option is Specular. This actually really helps accentuate the 3D nature of your models. If we go ahead and adjust the Width here, you notice we can make the object look a little more shiny, if we make it really narrow or we can make the object look a little more washed out and a little more dull in my opinion. You can adjust the Height, which is just the brightness of that highlight. Go ahead and feel free to click through all the different sliders to see the different textures that you can create in the Specular channel.
Now another channel used quite often is called Luminance. If we go ahead and select that, notice the texture washes out to complete white. This is actually controlling the brightness of your material. So if we drag that down to the left and slowly increase the brightness, here you notice it's starting to washout the image because we're creating luminance with white. If we go ahead and adjust our color, you could click in the Color window and adjust the slider this way, and just click and drag to choose a specific color.
Now that's tinted our material a little bit, but I think it looks kind of cool. If you want to move colors between channels, there is a really neat shortcut. All you do is click and drag in the Color well. So let's go ahead and drag it up to the Color channel and now when we get over the other color, we can drop it and now you notice we have the same color between our Color channel and our Luminance channel. Now just to add a little bit more detail, we're going to add two more channels. Transparency. If you go ahead and make sure that's active, you notice by default it's set to 100% Brightness.
Let's drag that down to around 36-37%. Now we can sort of see through the texture a little bit. The next option I want to look at is Reflection. Let's enable Reflection and you notice now it's giving us the simulation of reflection here, because it doesn't know the exact objects that are in the scene to simulate. So it's showing us how the reflection would actually operate on this material with the default reflection. So drag the Brightness down a little bit and if you choose Additive, I've found sometimes that really accentuates the different reflections.
Now that we have our materials set, we'll go ahead and close the Material Editor and drag and drop the material right onto our center sphere. If you go ahead and render the scene, notice now the material has been applied. And you notice with Luminance selected, the green is really starting to bounce off of the other objects that have reflection set up. It's kind of brightening up the scene. Now I know you're thinking to yourself, these other textures look pretty interesting, how do we create those? Well, it's actually pretty simple. All you do is go to the Window pull- down menu and choose Content Browser.
Now in window, you'll notice we have a bunch of Presets. Navigate to the Cinema 4D preset and you'll notice we have a folder called Materials. If you double-click the Materials folder, there will be a list of more options. Let's go ahead and open the basic folder right now and you can see here all the different materials that I use as an example in the scene. Let me scroll down here, so you can see the Wood material. Now if you'd like to add one of these materials to your project, go ahead and double-click on it and it automatically loads into the Material Manager. Another way to add the material is to literally just drag and drop it right on the Content Browser right onto the other material you'd like to replace.
Now when we render our scene, you can see we have our new material. So as you can see, materials can get pretty deep pretty quickly and we've just barely scratched the surface, but I hope you're inspired to go ahead and manipulate your own materials in the different channels of the Material Editor.
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