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CINEMA 4D R12 Essential Training with Rob Garrott introduces artists to the CINEMA 4D workflow, using CINEMA 4D as an important part of a toolset that includes Adobe After Effects, Photoshop, and Illustrator. The course explains the key foundational concepts, such as polygons, textures, and rays, that are crucial to understanding exactly how this 3D application functions. It also includes practical techniques for creating, selecting, and transforming objects, working with splines, polygonal modeling, and adding materials, lighting, and camera views for a fully realized 3D image. Exercise files are included with the course.
In previous movies, we've been looking at our scenes through something called the Editor Camera. It's a virtual camera that is created by the software to allow you to see what is happening in your scene. It's fine for modeling and demonstration purposes. But when it's time to actually animate, you need to be looking through a Camera object. The Camera object actually exists in your Object Manager. It can be manipulated, and more importantly, it can be keyframed. The Editor Camera cannot. So I've got a new scene here. I'm going to add a Cube to it. When I orbit around this, I'm using the Editor Camera. Once again, the Editor Camera really is just for modeling and just general use purposes.
If we want to be able to actually control our camera, so we need to add a physical Camera object to the scene. Underneath the Scene Objects is the Camera. There is also a Target Camera, we're not going to be using that. We're going to use a regular Camera object. When I let go over the Camera object, I get this green line that is now framing my object. This green line represents the camera. I'm not actually looking through my Camera object. When I back up, I'm going to use the navigation tools to back up and look at my camera. I can see that Camera object, and it came in at the same point of view that I was looking at the world through.
That's a very important thing. It's a really good rule of thumb, never add a camera unless you are in the Perspective view. The reason for that is that if I'm in the Top View, and I add a camera, I'm going to get a top camera. That's not necessarily what I want for rendering purposes. So it's always better to make sure you are in the Perspective view and then add your camera. Now that I have the camera in the scene, I want to be able to look through it. There is two ways to do that. I can go to the Cameras menu, and go to Scene Cameras, and look through the Camera. When I do, you'll see my view snap back to the camera's point of view.
Now I'm physically looking through this camera. The other way to do that is with the Active Camera icon. That's this little guy right here. You can have many, many cameras in your scene. There is no physical limit on how many cameras you can have in your scene. But how do you know which one you're looking at? This icon will tell you. You can uncheck it or check it to snap back and forth between the Editor Camera and the camera that you are looking through. Now that I'm actually looking through this camera, I can manipulate the actual Camera object. If I switch to the 4-way view, I'm going to back out in the Top, I can use the Move and Rotate tools to actually move this camera around.
You can see as I move the Camera object in the Top view, my Perspective view changes. That's because I'm moving the Camera object. I can also move the Camera object by navigating in the Perspective view. This is something you need to be really careful about when you're setting up a scene. Only do this when you're looking though the camera when you know exactly what it is that you're going to do. If I just use the regular navigation controls, just like before the one, two, and three keys, I can orbit around. I can dolly back and forth. You see that the position of the camera changes each time I do that.
I can also pan left and right. But each time I move, unlike with the Editor Camera, I'm physically moving the Camera object. It's a good idea to get into a habit of naming your cameras when you're working on a project. Like I said earlier, there'll be many times when you'll have a lot of cameras in your scene, and you want to be able to tell them apart. So they're not all just named Camera. So you can change the name of your camera and call it cube cam. You'll just notice that in the Camera menu, under Scene Cameras, it changes here as well. So I can uncheck it here and look through it, look through the Scene Camera, or I can uncheck it here and look through the Editor Camera as well using the Camera menu.
But the important thing is that the name of the camera is shows up here on this list. So I'll look back through it. The biggest advantage to using a physical Camera object is that it can actually be animated; the Editor Camera cannot. This makes it perfect for animations. So let's see what that looks like in motion. I'm going to set keyframes on the position for my cube cam and have it animate pass this cube. So if I go to the cube cam, now I'll click on the P column, and hold down the Ctrl key, and set keyframes for it at time 0. My slider is at time 0. Actually, before I set those keyframes, let's reposition the camera a little bit.
So I'm going to bring the camera so the cube is over here on the left-hand side of the frame. I'll hold down the Ctrl key, set a keyframes, and then I'll move my Time slider forward in time to frame 90. Now I'm going to move my camera to the other side. Move my cube to the other side of frame by dragging the camera on its X axis. Now I'll set another keyframe. It's really important to realize what these gray values here in the Perspective view mean. The Perspective view shows you these gray areas to indicate what will be inside the camera's field of view.
Anything showing up in this dark zone will be outside of the camera's field of view and will not render. So you want to be really careful about when you're moving your camera around to keep your object within the frame at all times, unless of course you want it to go off camera. Then you let it slide into that gray area, and you'll be good to go. When I hit Play, only the Top view is active, and that's because CINEMA 4D by default only animates the active view. I can tell this is the active view because of this white border around it. So if I click on a Perspective view that will switch the playback to the Perspective view, and I'll be able to actually see that animating and the other views will stop their animation.
So I'll just stop this playback here. The most important element here is that the Camera object gives us something tangible that we can precisely control in our animation and that's a really good thing.
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