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Pausing animation with curves

From: CINEMA 4D Essentials 3: Cameras, Animation, and Deformers

Video: Pausing animation with curves

One of the interesting quirks about working with the F Curve Manager in CINEMA 4D is this idea of Soft Interpolation. Soft Interpolation is what CINEMA 4D does when it creates keyframes. Is it tries to create a smooth motion between keyframes. Normally this is okay if you're just working with two keyframes, but when you want to create something like a pause in your animation the soft interpolation can become problematic. Now what I wanted to show you is an example that illustrates this idea of how problematic it can be and how you can correct it using the F Curve Manager. What I have is a simple word traveling along the Z axis, and I'll hit Play so you can see that.

Pausing animation with curves

One of the interesting quirks about working with the F Curve Manager in CINEMA 4D is this idea of Soft Interpolation. Soft Interpolation is what CINEMA 4D does when it creates keyframes. Is it tries to create a smooth motion between keyframes. Normally this is okay if you're just working with two keyframes, but when you want to create something like a pause in your animation the soft interpolation can become problematic. Now what I wanted to show you is an example that illustrates this idea of how problematic it can be and how you can correct it using the F Curve Manager. What I have is a simple word traveling along the Z axis, and I'll hit Play so you can see that.

So what I'd like to do is to create a Pause here. The first thing I need to do is create a keyframe for this moment in time and there's a great way to do that. If I hold on the Ctrl key, I can Ctrl+ Click right here in the timeline, boom! And I've just made a keyframe for that track at that moment in time. If I want to make a Pause, let's drag this keyframe back to frame 40 and let's make a nice long 10 frame Pause. Hold down the Ctrl key and I'll drag it over. Now I'll just Ctrl+Drag the copy of that keyframe. So you'll hold down the Ctrl key and drag left to right and that makes copies of keyframes.

In AfterEffects, that would be all you need to do, you can Copy and Paste the key frames and that would make your Pause. Let's see what happens in CINEMA 4D when I do this. I'll Rewind back to 0, let's hit Play. And you notice when it hits its mark, where it's supposed to pause, instead of pausing, it does this crazy yo-yo movement. And that yo-yo movement is being caused by the F Curve Manager and that smooth interpolation that we talked about. So let's switch over to the F Curve Manager to see what that looks like. I'm going to raise up my interface here, so I have little more room to work.

Down here in the Timeline, I'm going to hit the Spacebar and that switches me to the F Curve Manager. Now I can click on the word Position, I can see my movement. Let's hit the letter H on the keyboard to see what's going on. On this track, I have Z animated and because Z is the only thing animated, all the other curves are flat. So the curve that stands out is the Z curve automatically. But what I want to do is isolate this curve sometimes, so I can twirl that open and then click through these guys and look at them one at a time.

So you can see, X, Y, Z, RGB, the curves are colored on purpose. Let's click on the word Position and I'm going to hit the letter H on the keyboard. The reason that we're getting that strange yo-yoing action is because of the shape of this curve here. Remember CINEMA 4D tries to draw smooth arc between points, but the tension from this curve is combining with the tension from this curve, which is combining with the tension from this curve and creating this overshoot and undershoot. This is called an undershoot, because it travels below the previous keyframe value.

This is an overshoot, because it travels above the keyframe value. So it undershoots and then overshoots creating that yo-yo motion. The way we'd like to fix this is by adjusting these tangent handles. Now I could adjust these manually by moving these curves by hand and adjusting the flatness of them to get them to move smoothly from one to the other, or I could use a command. So let's Undo that to get it back to where it was before. There we go. I just hit the Ctrl+Z or Command+Z three times to get back to my previous selection. What I want to do is draw a rectangle around all these keyframes here and I'm going to right-click in here and I'm going to do 0 angle, 0 angle is going to flatten my curve out.

Now that it's done that, you can see that my animation pauses at that moment in time. So let's play that and see what it does. So it hits its mark and then smoothly transitions out of that mark to the next point in time. So that's probably the biggest gotcha with the smooth interpolation. Most of the time it's a very cool thing with CINEMA 4D, but when it comes to making pauses, it can be problematic. It's super easy to fix, you just have to know how to work the F Curve Manager.

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