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CINEMA 4D: Designing a Promo
Illustration by John Hersey

Outlining the shapes using the Knife tool


From:

CINEMA 4D: Designing a Promo

with Rob Garrott

Video: Outlining the shapes using the Knife tool

The polygonal modeling process is incredibly powerful. Starting from a simple cube, you can create just about any kind of shape you can imagine. For a symmetrical object like the shark, it's really important to look at your object from all sides during the modeling process and make sure that you haven't gone off-track somewhere. We're going to be roughing in the shape of this shark from the side view mostly. I have my dummy shark in there and really it was there for position to make sure that things lined up correctly. I really don't need that anymore. I'm going to start off from scratch again. I'm going to leave my HyperNURBS in the scene, but delete this original shark cube.
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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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CINEMA 4D: Designing a Promo
7h 0m Intermediate Jun 30, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Project planning, covering the scripting and initial drawings
  • Using hand-drawn artwork in After Effects to time the animation
  • Creating text and logo elements
  • Animating the camera
  • Organic modeling techniques
  • Rigging models for animating
  • Fine-tuning animation timing
  • Adding realistic textures
  • Lighting and shading techniques
  • Rendering and compositing a finished animation
Subjects:
3D + Animation Video Compositing Projects Visual Effects
Software:
CINEMA 4D
Author:
Rob Garrott

Outlining the shapes using the Knife tool

The polygonal modeling process is incredibly powerful. Starting from a simple cube, you can create just about any kind of shape you can imagine. For a symmetrical object like the shark, it's really important to look at your object from all sides during the modeling process and make sure that you haven't gone off-track somewhere. We're going to be roughing in the shape of this shark from the side view mostly. I have my dummy shark in there and really it was there for position to make sure that things lined up correctly. I really don't need that anymore. I'm going to start off from scratch again. I'm going to leave my HyperNURBS in the scene, but delete this original shark cube.

Let's add a new cube to the scene, and this is going to become the first step in the process. So I'll add that to the HyperNURBS and you can see that makes it into a sphere. This cube, I want to make the cube the same size as the shark model. So if I go to the Object properties for the cube, and I go along the X-axis and stretch it out, let's check the side view real quick. I'm going to make this cube the same size on the X as the image plane behind it. Don't worry that the gray outline of the shark body is not touching everything.

We're going to be fixing that as we go. Then the top of the object, I want to make the tops and bottom of the cube, I want to make them the same size as the body, not the fins, but the body element itself. So the bottom of the stomach here and the top of the back here, so I can just rough that in and I think that's close enough for now. CINEMA 4D does not have a construction history, and I've sort of developed my own construction history over the years of modeling. The way I do that is with something called a hider object. I'm going to add a Null object to the scene, and I'm going to name this Null object hider.

Now, I move the hider object down to the very bottom of the scene, below everything else in the hierarchy, and I make both of its status dots red. I held down the Option key to make them both red at the same time. What I do is anytime I'm about to make a drastic change in an object, a major cut or making something editable, I will take a copy of that and put it underneath the hider. This gives me an out. If I mess something up and don't like the direction the model is heading, I can always go back a step and reposition that object by grabbing the old one out of the hider and starting over from that last step.

So it's a really great way to sort of cover yourself and make sure that you don't actually get off-track and can't go back to a better state. I'm about to make a drastic change in this cube. So I'll take the cube down and drag it underneath the hider object and double-click on the name for that and call it 001, as in step one. Now, the drastic change I'm going to make in this cube is to make it editable. So let's go to our Perspective view and I want to access the points that make up this cube, and I will make that cube editable and now I can see the points that make up the cube.

Just in case, you guys may be seeing something in here called Isoline Editing mode. If you are seeing something on the surface of your cube that looks like this where you have curved lines on there, go to the Tools menu and uncheck Use Isoline Editing. When you turn that off, that's going to make those curved lines on the surface go away and you'll just be left with the blue outline of the low polygon mesh. One more change I want to make is under the Perspective view, Edit menu, I'm going to go to Configure All, and make the points larger.

You can see the point objects down here in the Editor view, they're very small and not easy to see. I want to make those much larger so I can see them. I go to the View options and let's raise that up just a bit, and I want to do the Point Handle Size to be 9, and I tab over and do the Select Point Handle Size to be 9 as well. You can see that when I did that, my points got much, much larger. That makes it a lot easier to see things as you're moving around and editing points. I've got my points visible and now I can switch over to the side view and start to make some cuts in the object.

The first step in this process is to create a series of cuts along the length of the shark that are going to allow us to move these points around and reshape this HyperNURBS object so that it feels more like the shark body. I'm in Point mode, by the way, so that I can actually see and manipulate those points. I'm going to right-click in the Editor window and grab the Knife tool. The Knife tool has a mode and yours may be defaulted to Line mode, and that's the default orientation for the Knife tool. I want to make sure and set it to Loop and then uncheck all the options.

That's going to allow me to make a cut all the way around my object without having to worry about messing up one side or the other. I want to keep my object symmetrical all through the modeling process and this will allow me to do it. Now, I'm going to make a series of cuts. I'm going to start with the nose and make a cut right about here, and the reason I make it there is that this cut lines up with a major surface detail of the shark where the nose kind of dips in like that. I'll make another cut right about here, and then another cut right about here at the peak of the back, and then another cut just before the fin, and another cut just after the fin.

So you can see I'm outlining the major surface details, and make another cut here. Any place I want to have extra control, that's where I make those cuts. And as I cut that object, it changes the shape of the HyperNURBS and gives me a little bit more control for modeling. So now I've got a series of cuts there. I might need more later on. For now, this is a good start. I'm about to make another drastic change by pushing and pulling these points around. So let's take this cube and Ctrl+Drag a copy of it underneath the hider and call this 002.

Then I go back to the original cube and start to push and pull those points. Let's switch to the Rectangular Selection tool and then this is very important, make sure that Only Select Visible Elements is unchecked. That means that when I select this point and I switch back to the Perspective view, I can see that even though I selected the point in the side view, I actually selected two points there, the one that was in front, and the one that was in back. That means that now when I move these around, I'll be able to move both points at once without having to worry about it.

Let's switch back to the right-hand view which shows us the side of our shark. Now, I can move these points around. Now, this is a technique I like to use. I'm going to select the points with the Selection tool and then hit E on the keyboard to grab the Move tool. Now, when you're using the Move tool, you don't have to click right on the actual points. I can click-and-drag any place in the Editor window and my points will move around. Even if I click up here for example, I can still move those points around easily. Now, if I use the Spacebar, the Spacebar takes me back-and-forth.

If you notice up here, I can Spacebar back-and-forth between the Move tool, and the Selection tool, and that makes it really easy to move these points around and quick too. So I can work through my model. I'm going zoom-in just on the head area and quickly work down the length of my shark, grab a point, switch to the Move tool, put it in position. Grab a point, switch to the Move tool, put it in position, and repeat that process over and over again, and just work my way down the length of the model. You notice I'm lining up not the blue line, but the gray line with the outline of my shark.

The most important thing to remember about this process is that you're sort of roughing in the shape. It's a lot like sketching. You start with a very loose outline of your object, then gradually add detail to it. So that's what I'm doing as I'm modeling the shape. I'm roughing in the points. I'll grab both of those at the same time and I'm going to add detail to it. So I've gotten the shark just about as close in outline as I can, but I need to make a few more cuts just to get things a little more precise. So let's zoom-in on the head area in particular, and I need to have a little more detail in here.

Every time I make a cut, I'm adding detail to the model. So I'll right-click and add the Knife tool again and you can see it's still in Loop mode. So I can make my cut here right about where the end of the jaw is, and I'll make another cut about here. The reason I'm making a cut is that I need more control on a particular area. You can see that by making that cut, it gives me the ability to flex this area a little bit more, and tighten that up just a bit to the mouth itself.

As I move that down, I want to avoid straight lines, and I'll make one more cut in this fin area here. So I'll right-click and get the Knife tool and make a cut right about there. And then take these two points, move them back just a bit, and then the sharks always have this little gut down in this area here, and I like to make sure, and stay faithful to that shape by adding that stomach in there. Maybe they just got done eating a diver or something like that, and so you want to have that little bulge in their stomach.

As we move that down, I see a couple more opportunities for cuts. We want to try and avoid little pinch zones like this where things come together and try and space them out as evenly as possible. I think that's pretty good. Got one more there, and one there. You can see I'm creating openings for the major fin elements, and the tail as well.

I think that's pretty good. So that's a great stopping point for this part of the modeling process, because the goal of the modeling process is to break a really complex task down into manageable chunks. This part of the process was to outline the actual shape of the shark without getting too much detail in the fin area, and I think we've been able to do that really nicely.

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