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Refining the shape with knife cuts

From: CINEMA 4D Essentials 6: HyperNURB Modeling and Sculpting

Video: Refining the shape with knife cuts

Now that we've got our shapes connected together, and we've bridged the gaps, we can start to refine the letterforms with the Knife tool. One of the things we want to take a look at is the edging. We want to create a very clean transition from the face of the letter to the side, and right now it's a very round transition. We want to give that a nice chiseled kind of edge. And eventually we're going to be creating a chiseled bevel around the centers of each of the letterforms, and so we need some strategic knife cuts in order to do both those tasks. So let's start off by refining the edges of the letter; the transition from the face to the sides.

Refining the shape with knife cuts

Now that we've got our shapes connected together, and we've bridged the gaps, we can start to refine the letterforms with the Knife tool. One of the things we want to take a look at is the edging. We want to create a very clean transition from the face of the letter to the side, and right now it's a very round transition. We want to give that a nice chiseled kind of edge. And eventually we're going to be creating a chiseled bevel around the centers of each of the letterforms, and so we need some strategic knife cuts in order to do both those tasks. So let's start off by refining the edges of the letter; the transition from the face to the sides.

I'm going to go into Point mode, and I need the Knife tool out, so let's right-click, and get the Knife tool. If your Knife tool is not set to Loop mode already go ahead, and change it to Loop mode, and uncheck the options. As I highlight this edge, you're going to see a line draw around your object, and this is the loop of edges that travel all the way around your object. Now, you may be seeing at home an actual line; I'm only seeing dots, and that's because of a strange bug we're getting with the screen recording software. Just know that it's going to behave the same way when I click it as it will for you at home; we're just seeing a slightly different representation.

So you should be seeing lines around your model, and I'm seeing these dots, but it's going to do just the same thing. So what I want to do is to make two cuts; one right about here, and watch how the shape changes when I do that. You can see how that gives me a nice firm edge. Let's back out and see what that looks like when I render; Command+R, or Control+R on the PC. Now, we're going to have to come back and get the inside edge of the R here, but you can see how we already have a nice transition to the outer edge. Let's hit A on the keyboard to redraw the frame.

Let's go back in here, and I'm going to make another cut right about here, and that makes the transition even more firm. Then let's go in to the center of the R, and do the same thing. I'm going to make the first cut really tight right about there, and then the second cut, I'll make right about there, and I've ended up with the same sort of transition. If I back out, and do a rendering, Command+R or Control+R, you can see that I've got a really nice transition on the faces. Then on the backside, I don't want to have this rounded back corner either, so I'm going to do the same sort of thing out here.

So let's make our first cut right about there, and I think that's pretty good. Then let's go to the inside of the R, and do the same thing in there. That's going to give our shapes a little bit more structure. Now what we want to do is make a cut roughly about here in the middle. You want to try and avoid really long polygons like this. See how there is a really long arch right here? That's going to create, I think, some unfavorable shapes when we go to render, so I'm going to make a cut to break that up right there, and that also cleans up this transition here.

I'm going to make one more cut, I think, right about here, and then another cut right about here. One of the things I haven't done yet is I haven't adjusted the size of the serifs on the base of the R, and also on the top of the R as well. So let's go into Polygon mode, and deselect all the polygons, and what I want to do is get the polygons that are just on this top edge right here. Now, if you accidentally select too many of them, you hold down the Control key, and deselect.

And then I want to do the same thing; let's go down here, and orbit around, and I'm going to hold down the Shift key now, and grab those polygons there; Control key to deselect that one. And let's orbit around again, and then hold down the Shift key, and pan across that way, and hold down the Control key to deselect. Now, make sure that you don't have any polygons selected on the back side. Now, I've made a mistake here when I did my selection, and I want to do it to illustrate an important point, and that's where the modeling axis is. Now, when I grab polygons at the top of the R, and the bottom of the R, you notice that my modeling axis is here.

What I want to do is to scale down the polygons on the ends of the serifs, the same way I did on the G over here. But if I use the Scale tool right now, hit T on the keyboard, and I scale down, look what's going to happen; that's not exactly what I want, so let's undo that. I'm going to go hit the spacebar to get back to the Selection tool, so let's hold down the Control key, and deselect those polygons at the top. Now we're left with just an axis for these polygons at the bottom, and that's just what we need. So hit T on the keyboard now, and then scale those polygons down.

I'm dragging up and down to get them just the right size; I think that's pretty good. Let's compare them to the size over here; yeah, that's pretty good. Now we can take those, hit the E key to bring up the Move tool, and just drag those down until they're flat. You want to do that in the Side view; it's probably a better place to do that. Looks like I guessed correctly right there. Now let's repeat that process for the ones at the top. So I'll hit the spacebar to get back to the Selection tool, and then select those polygons, and hold down the Control key to deselect; there we go.

Now hit T on the keyboard, scale that down, looks about right, and then you can move it back up again. Hit E on the keyboard to move that back up into a straight line. Now we can focus on the center cuts that we'll need to create that internal beveling. Before I do that, that's a pretty drastic change, so I'm going to Control+drag a copy of that down into the Hider, and name that one pre center cuts. Now I can go back to this original, and make my center cuts. Let's go into Point mode, and get the Knife tool again, and let's switch back to Perspective view, and start with making our center cuts.

So the first center cut that I want to make is right down the middle of the R. And so I'm going to eyeball this one right about there. The reason I'm eyeballing it is because I want the type to feel a little bit organic, and I don't want it to be super machine-made, so eyeballing the center cut is going to be just fine. So I'm going to go right around the R that way. What that gives me now is a ridge that runs right down the center. Let's do the same thing down here on our serifs.

You might need to zoom it a bit to make sure you get the middle. I think it's pretty good right there, and now we're left with a nice ridge for that. Next one we want to make a cut for it right here in the middle; that's going to be the edge that joins the R and the G. So I want to click that one right in the middle about there; perfect. And now I can go over to the G, and get one right here, and then we'll do another one around the loop this way; just get it right about there.

And then the last, but not least, is going to be this one at the top here. Let's zoom in on that little tip, and then click right there. Now, this is a long transition right here, so let's make a cut right there to clean that up; give us a little bit more control points. I've missed this serif right here. Let's get in here and click that one too, so we have control for our serifs; there we go. So you can see that with those strategic knife cuts, I've got a nice center line running down all my letterforms, and so the next step is going to be to raise and refine that center line.

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