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Our dummy shark here is just about ready for swimming. We have a couple of extra steps we need to take care of before we can actually start making him move around though. I'm going to switch my Layout back to the Standard Layout. In the Standard Layout, here in the Object Manager, I'm going to do a little bit of cleanup. I'm just going to close these image planes up. We don't really need those anymore, so I'm going to hide them from view. You can see our shark here looks kind of like an aggressive goldfish cookie. With the image planes hidden from view, I can now see the shark outline for what it is.
Let's do a little rendering here. We have sort of a very aggressive swoopy shape, and that's really all we need to communicate our shark with. It doesn't have to look fancy. It just needs to be about the same size as the shark. Before we make it swim, we have to do a little bit of cleanup work here in the hierarchy. So I'm going to add a new Null object to the scene. This Null object I'm going to call shark. I'm going to take that Null object. The Null object is at the center of the world. It comes there when you add it to the scene, by default. It shows up at the center of the world. I want to take this HyperNURBS now and parent it to the shark.
When I parent it, I want to move the HyperNURBS back so that the nose of the shark is exactly at the center of the world. So, let's take it on the Z-axis only and drag it so that the tip of the shark is right at the center of the world. That's about right for our purpose here. Anytime I'm not sure, I'll always double- check things in the Orthographic views. You can see that I'm lined up pretty well there, pretty well there.
So, let's go back to the Perspective view. I've got my shark Null object here and we're going to be making this shark swim using something called a Spline Wrap object. Now, the Spline Wrap object is part of the MoGraph Module. Its icon is purple. That means it's an operator object and that it will work on either its parent or its peer. Now, I like to use the Spline Wrap object in the peer position, meaning that it has to be in the same level of the hierarchy as the object it's going to deform. So, let's add a Spline Wrap object to the scene.
Then we're going to add another Null object, and this Null object we're going to call shark wrap. I'll take the Spline Wrap and parent it to the shark wrap object. Then parent the shark to the shark wrap object. Now you can see that the shark and the Spline Wrap are peers of one another. They're at the same level of a hierarchy. So, when I activate the Spline Wrap, it's going to have an impact on the shark, the thing that's at the same level as it. The Spline Wrap needs something in order to actually start working on the shark and that's it needs a spline.
If you look at the Spline Wrap Object properties, you can see that there's a Spline field here, and this Spline field is empty. So, it's looking for a spline in order for it to actually wrap this shark around it. So, let's go to the Orthographic views. I like to draw my splines in the Orthographic view so that I get a very predictable result. Now, let's draw our spline in the top view in this case. Let's back out just a little bit. I'm going to navigate out until my shark is kind of small in the frame. Let's add something called a B-spline.
The B-spline is an amazing spline type that is not present in the normal Adobe products. It's something that I didn't really understand until I started using CINEMA 4D. The B-spline creates a very smooth path based on points. It's actually really hard to put a kink in the B-spline. That's one of the reasons it's great for making motion paths. I'm going to start here at the top of my top view and draw a series of points by clicking the mouse. I click once, click twice. The second time I clicked, I got a straight line. The third time I click, I'm going to get a nice, smooth arc.
The fourth time I click, I get another smooth arc. The B-spline creates a smooth path based on three points or more. So you can see that these three points created this arc. These next three points in succession created this arc here. So, I can keep on adding points. That's enough for now. We can always change the spline later, but that's enough for our purposes for the dummy shark model. Let's call this shark spline. Now, in the Spline Wrap, in the Object properties, there's a Spline field.
If I take the shark spline and drag it into the Spline field, something strange is going to happen. Now, let's go back to the Perspective view to see what happened. Here in the Perspective view, I'm going to hit the letter H on the keyboard. That's going to frame up my scene. So, I can see the entire scene now. My shark is looking a lot more like an eel than it is a shark. That's because the Spline Wrap, by default, does something called fitting the spline. It's taken that shark and it's stretched it along the entire length of the spline. I don't want that to happen.
I want my shark to stay its normal length. So, if I go to the Fit Spline pull- down and select Keep Length, then my shark suddenly snaps right to the end of the spline. Now, the thing you'll notice about it is that, let's zoom in on that area right there, the shark is upside down. That's normal behavior for the Spline Wrap object. It doesn't really know which way is up. So we have to tell it. In the Object properties for the Spline Wrap, I'm going to go to the Rotation field and change the Banking option to be 180.
That's going to flip my shark over exactly so that it's facing on the correct axis. The Spline Wrap is a really powerful tool. It allows us to animate objects along the spline and the setting you used to do that is something called the Offset. By setting keyframes for the Offset value, I can animate the shark and have it appear as it's swimming across the spline. So, I can input values numerically here. It's a percentage based on the length of the spline. Or I can just scrub this value. As I scrub the value, you can see my shark now swims through the scene.
Now, we don't really need to set any keyframes right now. Hit the letter H on the keyboard again to frame my scene up. All we really want to do is just get the rig built, so that it is ready for rough animation. I think we've got that set here. I just want to check the animation along the spline. The Spline Wrap is a really amazing tool and it makes something like this swimming shark incredibly easy. Our dummy shark is now ready for the cameramatic. Because we'll be building the hero shark in the same size as our dummy, we'll be able to easily swap out the dummy for the hero when we get to the final animation.
That's why it's very important to keep your sizes consistent throughout your workflow.
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