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CINEMA 4D: Designing a Promo
Illustration by John Hersey
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Understanding the graphic animation process


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CINEMA 4D: Designing a Promo

with Rob Garrott

Video: Understanding the graphic animation process

The graphic animation process is very complex. The best way to approach this really difficult task is to break the project down into stages. The major stages are sketching and concept development, style frames and design, animatic, which gives you the timing for the overall animation and the cameramatic, which gives you the very rough animation, and then the final piece. Now, I've got all examples of all these so I am going to go out to the Finder. The animatic-Sketch.jpg files here in the Chapter 1 folder. These are covered in the previous movie and I am just going to open them up with preview and just go over them real quick again.
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  1. 5m 8s
    1. Welcome
      1m 7s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 24s
    3. Overview of the project template
      2m 37s
  2. 11m 12s
    1. Creative brief
      1m 57s
    2. Sketches and script
      3m 8s
    3. Understanding the graphic animation process
      6m 7s
  3. 25m 5s
    1. Understanding the animatic process
      2m 15s
    2. Importing sketches into After Effects
      6m 20s
    3. Timing out the animation
      10m 4s
    4. Adding onscreen timecode for reference
      6m 26s
  4. 40m 2s
    1. Creating text and logo elements in Adobe Illustrator
      6m 44s
    2. Importing Illustrator elements into Cinema 4D
      8m 24s
    3. Creating guide planes for modeling a rough shark
      6m 13s
    4. Creating a rough shark model
      12m 14s
    5. Preparing a dummy rig using a Spline Wrap object
      6m 27s
  5. 53m 17s
    1. Setting up a project file for the cameramatic
      6m 15s
    2. Animating the rough shark using the Spline Wrap object
      5m 14s
    3. Animating the camera
      6m 8s
    4. Duplicating an animated rough model to create a school of sharks
      11m 4s
    5. Creating a preview movie and importing it into After Effects
      5m 45s
    6. Assembling the cameramatic
      8m 34s
    7. Fine-tuning the cameramatic timing
      10m 17s
  6. 1h 9m
    1. Preparing for the modeling process
      6m 7s
    2. Outlining the shapes using the Knife tool
      9m 50s
    3. Creating the mouth using the Extrude tool
      10m 40s
    4. Adding eyes using the Symmetry object
      9m 57s
    5. Creating fins using the Extrude tool
      7m 11s
    6. Creating the tail and dorsal fins using the Extrude tool
      10m 38s
    7. Creating gums using the Symmetry object
      6m 45s
    8. Creating teeth and finalizing the model
      8m 6s
  7. 15m 5s
    1. Understanding the rigging process
      2m 0s
    2. Opening the shark mouth using the Morph tag
      5m 9s
    3. Using XPresso to link the jaw to the Morph animation
      7m 56s
  8. 33m 25s
    1. Using BodyPaint to prepare the model for texturing
      8m 22s
    2. Applying color to the shark using BodyPaint
      6m 45s
    3. Giving the shark character by painting in the diffusion channel
      5m 29s
    4. Roughing the surface using the bump channel
      4m 34s
    5. Texturing the eyes
      3m 51s
    6. Texturing the teeth and gums
      4m 24s
  9. 21m 24s
    1. Replacing the rough shark model in the intro shot with the finished model
      6m 47s
    2. Replacing the rough shark model in the transition shot
      3m 43s
    3. Replacing the rough shark model in the hero shot
      4m 28s
    4. Replacing the rough shark model in the end page shot
      3m 42s
    5. Updating the cameramatic with the final animation
      2m 44s
  10. 50m 27s
    1. Creating an underwater look using Global Illumination and atmosphere
      9m 47s
    2. Lighting the objects and creating shadows
      6m 54s
    3. Shading the text using materials
      6m 28s
    4. Creating a reflective floor for the underwater scene
      3m 58s
    5. Lighting shot 1: Copying and pasting a lighting setup from another project
      5m 49s
    6. Lighting shot 2: Pasting a lighting setup and making adjustments
      3m 57s
    7. Lighting shot 4: Separate elements in a shot (the shark)
      3m 13s
    8. Lighting shot 4: Separate elements in a shot (the text)
      10m 21s
  11. 22m 7s
    1. Preparing shot 1 for rendering to After Effects
      6m 20s
    2. Preparing shot 2 for rendering by saving and using render presets
      4m 45s
    3. Preparing shot 3 for rendering
      2m 37s
    4. Setting up shot 4 to render in two passes
      4m 4s
    5. Performing a preflight check to ensure clips are ready to render
      2m 9s
    6. Batch-rendering
      2m 12s
  12. 1h 13m
    1. Importing assets and setting up the After Effects project for final compositing
      6m 5s
    2. The intro shot: Using Photoshop elements and noise effects to add atmosphere
      8m 38s
    3. The intro shot: Compositing in stock video footage to add character
      4m 51s
    4. The intro shot: Adding text elements to the composite
      8m 32s
    5. The hero shot: Controlling the look using precomps
      7m 59s
    6. The hero shot: Using stock video footage to add character
      7m 19s
    7. The end page shot: Combining multiple passes to form a final composite shot
      2m 41s
    8. The end page shot: Adding text elements to the composite
      7m 44s
    9. Compositing the transition shots
      3m 47s
    10. Assembling the final composition
      9m 2s
    11. Adding the final audio to the composition and rendering
      7m 10s
  13. 21s
    1. Goodbye
      21s

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CINEMA 4D: Designing a Promo
7h 0m Intermediate Jun 30, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Join Rob Garrott in CINEMA 4D: Designing a Promo as he demonstrates how to create a 15-second promotional video that looks and feels like a professional advertisement. Learn how to use a combination of CINEMA 4D, After Effects, Photoshop and Illustrator to go from concept to script to screen, creating sketches, adding animation, and rendering the final promo. This course focuses on real-world techniques, culminating in a finished, usable product. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Project planning, covering the scripting and initial drawings
  • Using hand-drawn artwork in After Effects to time the animation
  • Creating text and logo elements
  • Animating the camera
  • Organic modeling techniques
  • Rigging models for animating
  • Fine-tuning animation timing
  • Adding realistic textures
  • Lighting and shading techniques
  • Rendering and compositing a finished animation
Subjects:
3D + Animation Video Compositing Projects Visual Effects
Software:
CINEMA 4D
Author:
Rob Garrott

Understanding the graphic animation process

The graphic animation process is very complex. The best way to approach this really difficult task is to break the project down into stages. The major stages are sketching and concept development, style frames and design, animatic, which gives you the timing for the overall animation and the cameramatic, which gives you the very rough animation, and then the final piece. Now, I've got all examples of all these so I am going to go out to the Finder. The animatic-Sketch.jpg files here in the Chapter 1 folder. These are covered in the previous movie and I am just going to open them up with preview and just go over them real quick again.

All these are 8 1/2 by 11 pages that I scanned in to the computer and I've sketched on them using blue pencil. Really, the very formative stages of my ideas about what the piece is going to look like. Pencil and paper is absolutely the best way to start your project out. Now, once I've got an idea for how things are going to look and really the sketches are just about what kinds of things I am going to have to create. They really don't tell me what they are going to look like but they are really just about what I am going to have create. I know I am going to have to create a school of sharks, I know I am going to have to create some Shark Zone type and a shark, and have an end page in there as well.

Now that I know I have that stuff, I'm going to create something called a style frame or storyboard and that style frame looks like this. These storyboards are representative now of what the final piece is going to look like. Storyboards can be loose or they can be very tight. A lot of it depends on how much time you have and what your skills are as an artist but also what the client expects to see too. These storyboards are very tight, nearly identical to what the finished piece looks like. But they give me an excellent idea of what my final animation is going to be.

So, I've got basically a frame for all the major points in the animation. So, I start off with the intro type "After 400 million years." "They're still the scariest thing in the ocean." So, there is my school of sharks and I know I am going to have those two pieces a type on screen. Then I have some frames representing the thrashing shark transition and then we are going to cut to the Shark Zone hero frame. This is the Shark Zone type with the shark swimming out from behind it. That shark is going to come to screen over the course of a few frames. Then we get to our thrashing shark transition number two.

That takes us to the end page where the Adventure Channel logo animates on the screen. Then a shark's going to swim through the frame revealing the tagline If it's out there, it's on here. So, these are the style frames that tell me what my piece is going to look like. Once, I've done that I can really begin to animate things. But I don't animate anything until I know how long things are going to take and that's where the animatic comes in. Now, the animatic looks like this. What you do to create the animatic is to take the sketches that you did by analyzing the script and sketching on paper and scanning them into the computer.

You line them up inside of After Effects or Final Cut, any kind of editing program. If your script has voiceover then you read a scratch voiceover track and you use that as your guide for placing the images in the scene. The purpose of the animatic is just to show you when things are happening. It's not intended to look good. It really only shows you when things are happening and it's a very basic part of the process. But it's crucial for understanding when things move in the animation and this is what it looks like. (Male speaker: After 400 million years, they're still the scariest thing in the ocean.) (Male speaker: Get a little closer, if you dare. Shark Zone, all week long on the Adventure Channel.) (Male speaker: If it's out there, it's on here.) So, you can see that it's just the sketches but they're timed out to the voiceover and it really gives you an idea for what the final piece is going to feel like when it is finished.

It's nothing at all like what it's going to look like but it's what it's going to feel like. That's very important differentiation to make. You can see that my timing is pretty consistent with the script and I can see my transition links. It really gives me a feel for when things are going to happen. I have timecode here in the frames. On the right-hand side I have a overall timecode and on the left-hand side I have a shot timecode that tells me how long my shots are. That's a crucial step because instead of focusing on trying to figure out how long the shots are, now I can focus on what happens inside those shots one at a time.

So, once you've got the animatic done then you move on to something called a cameramatic. The cameramatic is the next step in the process after you've created the animatic. It's not at all rendered but it does have animation in it. Sometimes, the animation can be very finalized and sometimes it can be very, very rough. This cameramatic has a little bit of closer to finished animation. It's not quite done. (Male speaker: After 400 million years they're still the scariest thing in the ocean.) (Male speaker: Get a little closer if you dare. Shark Zone, all week long on the Adventure channel.) (Male speaker: If it's out there, it's on here.) So, you can see that it's one step closer to the process.

I have sharks in the frame now and those sharks are swimming. I have rough type. I have the transition in place. So, I understand now when things are happening but I also understand what's happening within each shot. That's really the purpose of the cameramatic. Once, you have those shots timed out, you have the animation done, then you can move on to lighting and rendering with confidence. The last thing that you want have to do is have created all this animation and lid it and render it, then have the client come back to you with new drastic changes that make you go all the way back to square one. So, it's really crucial to work in stages like this so that you don't get sideswiped with a big change or a request from the client.

So, now once I've got the cameramatic done, I move on the final lighting and rendering and I get a finished piece that looks like this. What you are about to see has the final voice-over and finished mix as well. So it really sounds and looks like the actual product that goes out on the air. (Male speaker: After 400 million years they're still the scariest thing in the ocean.) (Male speaker: Get a little closer if you dare.) (Male speaker: Shark Zone on the Adventure Channel.) (Male speaker: If it's out there, it's on here.) So, now you can see that the graphic animation process can be very intimidating.

But if you break it down into those stages, the concept development, the animatic, the cameramatic, the file animation, you really are able to take something that's very complex and make it very achievable.

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