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CINEMA 4D Essentials 8: Character Rigging and Xpresso
Illustration by John Hersey

Understanding the character animation workflow


From:

CINEMA 4D Essentials 8: Character Rigging and Xpresso

with Rob Garrott

Video: Understanding the character animation workflow

The process for creating character animation can be as complex as the movie Toy Story, or as simple as bouncing a cube around the floor. And no matter what approach you're taking, the steps that you go through to create your character are going to be pretty much the same. You're going to need to have a character, that involves designing it, modeling it, and texturing it. Then you're going to have to build controls for that, called a rig. Then you'll have to bind that rig to the character, and then you'll need to animate and render and composite. This chapter is all about taking a look at the controls in CINEMA 4D for generating the character rig and binding it to your character, and also some other uses for the character controls in C4D.

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CINEMA 4D Essentials 8: Character Rigging and Xpresso
1h 8m Beginner Sep 28, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

CINEMA 4D Essentials with Rob Garrott is a graduated introduction to this complex 3D modeling, rendering, and animation program, which breaks down into installments that can be completed within 2 hours. Start this installment with a look at Xpresso, a scripting tool that allows you to speed up your workflow by automating control of rigs, animations, and menu commands. This course also covers the basics of character rigging, from binding joints and geometry to adding movement with CMotion.

Topics include:
  • Linking objects to points in Xpresso
  • Creating a data slider to control a spline wrap
  • Controlling multiple objects with a single slider
  • Understanding the traditional character animation workflow
  • Using the Character object for building and applying rigs
Subjects:
3D + Animation Video Motion Graphics Character Animation
Software:
CINEMA 4D
Author:
Rob Garrott

Understanding the character animation workflow

The process for creating character animation can be as complex as the movie Toy Story, or as simple as bouncing a cube around the floor. And no matter what approach you're taking, the steps that you go through to create your character are going to be pretty much the same. You're going to need to have a character, that involves designing it, modeling it, and texturing it. Then you're going to have to build controls for that, called a rig. Then you'll have to bind that rig to the character, and then you'll need to animate and render and composite. This chapter is all about taking a look at the controls in CINEMA 4D for generating the character rig and binding it to your character, and also some other uses for the character controls in C4D.

I've got a very simple character here and these colored boxes that you see are the actual controls for the rig. And if I click on that, you can see that it's named L Arm and it's got (L_IK_Arm ) after that. That tells me that this is the controller object for his left arm, and if I click on it, and I can drag it around, you can see that that allows his arm to move. I can also click on his torso and have him squat up and down. I can move it back and forth. I can also rotate it.

I'll hit R on the keyboard to bring up the Rotation Tool and you can see I can rotate it and have him twist. Now I'm getting some issues with the side of his face here. That's based on the binding of the rig, and talk about that process later on in the chapter. CINEMA 4D has some special controls that allow for a much easier process in generating your character rig and binding it to your mesh. However, the character animation process can be pretty intense. The key is to have a clear image in your head what it is you're trying to accomplish and then making the controls do what it is that you need to do. And that's always the trick.

There are some handy tools in C4D, like CMotion, which allows you to add motion to a character. Let's click on this little checkbox right here next to the CMotion object and activate it. And you'll see that when I do that my character disappeared, that's because I'm at Frame 81 on the timeline and I've already add animation, and he's walked past the camera. Let's rewind back again and then hit Play on the keyboard. And you'll see that our character walks back. Now, the motion on the character and his arm is going through there, and that's because of me moving the character before I added the CMotion.

If I go back and undo a few steps and then turn on the CMotion, now you can see that that fixes it. And this is part of the troubleshooting process that you'll go through when you make your characters. Creating rigs is an intensive and rewarding process, but it involves a lot of deep thought and troubleshooting along the way. Sometimes your rigs are going to be very simple and will go together quickly, and other times your rigs are going to take a lot of effort. I can't stress enough how important it is to have a clear picture in your head when you start the character animation process. If you go in with a clear picture, on paper, in your head, then you'll have a much better time with the process.

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