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CINEMA 4D: Designing a Promo
Illustration by John Hersey

Using XPresso to link the jaw to the Morph animation


From:

CINEMA 4D: Designing a Promo

with Rob Garrott

Video: Using XPresso to link the jaw to the Morph animation

In order to get our shark's jaws and mouth to move together, we need to establish a relationship between the Morph slider and the rotation of the lower jaw. The rotation of the lower jaw is going to be driven by the Morph slider. Now in order to do that we're going to use something called XPresso. XPresso is the node-based language for creating expressions inside of CINEMA 4D. An expression is really just a relationship that's been established between two or more parameters. Now the shark file that we have here has the Morph tag on it. I'm going to click on the Morph tag and just adjust this slider open and closed.
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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

Using XPresso to link the jaw to the Morph animation

In order to get our shark's jaws and mouth to move together, we need to establish a relationship between the Morph slider and the rotation of the lower jaw. The rotation of the lower jaw is going to be driven by the Morph slider. Now in order to do that we're going to use something called XPresso. XPresso is the node-based language for creating expressions inside of CINEMA 4D. An expression is really just a relationship that's been established between two or more parameters. Now the shark file that we have here has the Morph tag on it. I'm going to click on the Morph tag and just adjust this slider open and closed.

You can se that we already have that morph working pretty well. Now what I want to do is create relationship between this open slider here and the rotation of the lower gum object. So let's move the Morph slider to the open position and select the gum object for the lower jaw. Then I'm going to use the Rotate tool and just rotate it around the z-axis. As I rotate it open here, you can see that it doesn't quite rotate into the position that I'd like. So I'm going to modify the rotation axis for this gum symmetry object.

So in order to do that let's undo and get our rotation back to the starting point. Then I'm going to switch to Axis mode. Let's move to the four way view and then using the Move tool, I'm going to drag this only on the x-axis here in the Front view. As I move that back, I'm going to move it back to a point where I think that the jaw ought to rotate from and we'll probably have to do this couple of times, just to the see if we got it right. So I'll move it back to about there, then I'll switch out of Axis mode. That's very important. And grab the Rotation tool. Now in that Front view, I'm going to click outside the yellow band, just to rotate it down.

You can se that my jaw now rotates from a very different position. It rotates in a more natural way for a shark, and then I can move it back and forth here and it really looks convincing from a directions standpoint. Let's rotate it down and kind of tuck it into the geometry here. Now let's look at that from the Perspective view. And I think that's okay from a rotation standpoint. The next in the process is to establish relationship between the Morph slider and the rotation of that jaw. So right-click on the gums lower Symmetry object and add something called an XPresso tag.

And in the XPresso Editor here that pops up when I add the XPresso tag, you can see the XPresso tag looks like kind of a flowchart here. When you double-click on that it brings you to the XPresso Editor. Now the XPresso Editor wants to have some nodes in it and so we're going to need a node for the Morph tag. So I'd grab the Morph tag drag it right into the XPresso Editor. Then we're going have to have a node for the gums lower Symmetry object, so I drag that object into the XPresso Editors as well and I get another node. Now the blue side represents the input side; the red side represents the output side.

Now I want have the open slider for the morph drive the rotation for the lower Symmetry object. So let's start by clicking on the red side and going to tag Properties and finding the word open. This word open relates to that open slider that we have in there. The next thing we need to do is to get the rotation parameter for the lower Symmetry object. So I'm going to click on the blue area here and go to Coordinates > Rotation > Rotation Bank. Now I know what's the bank, because it's the blue band on my jaw object and you can see its going to rotate around the z-axis and I know that's rotation bank.

So now I've got these two parameters here and what I'd like to do is to create a relationship between this slider and this rotation. But the slider value is expressed in percentages. The rotation of the lower jaw object, the gum Symmetry object, is expressed in degrees. So what we have to do is create a translator between the percentage values of the slider and the rotation degree values of the lower symmetry object. So the node that you used to do that is something called Range Mapper. I'll right-click here in the XPresso Editor and add a new node, XPresso, and then under Calculate > Range Mapper.

In a Range Mapper when you click on the node here, you see the parameters for the Range Mapper show up in the Attribute Manager. Under the Node property, we're going to specify what types of values we're going to be using in this. So the Input Range is the value that's going to come in from the Morph tag and so that's percentages. So I move that, pull down to Percent. The Output Range is the value we'd like to send out to the lower symmetry object. So I'm going to click on that one and go Degrees. So we're going to convert percentages into degrees. The Parameter option is the actual values that are going to be contained in this node.

So the input value here is going to get controlled by this relationship between these two red and blue dots. Now the Input Lower and Upper are the ranges that you'd like the values to react to. So this is the range of the slider that's going to be coming in. So our Morph tag slider, if I click on that, it goes from 0 to 100%. So on my Range Mapper node, I want to have the Input Upper and Lower set to 0 and 100% and they already are by default. Now the Rotation value that I would like to have come out of this node are the values that will affect the gum lower symmetry object.

So the Output Lower is the state that I'd like the rotation object to be when the slider is at 0% and so when the mouth is closed, I'd like my symmetry object to be at 0 degrees. If I move the slider to zero and rotate my symmetry object bank to zero, you see that the mouth looks closed. So on my Range Mapper the Output Lower at 0 degrees is just fine. Now the Output Upper is what I'd like the rotation of the gums lower Symmetry object to be when the slider is at 100%. So let's move the slider to 100% and then rotate the bank on our gums lower Symmetry object.

Now I'm just going to scrub that value, I'm clicking and dragging up on the scrubber. And rotate it down until it just intersects the geometry. I think that's pretty good. That's about 40 degrees. So now, I go back to my Range Mapper and I put in the Output Upper 40. Now I'm ready to establish my relationship between these objects. The relationship has not been established yet and in order to do that I have to drag a little line from the red dot to the blue dot. So you just click on the red dot and drag across to the blue and you see a little green line form. That indicates it's okay to let go.

When I let go, I now have a red line that connects these two nodes. I'll click on the red dot from the output of the Range Mapper to the input of the Rotation _ B and now I have a line that connects those nodes. Now when I go to the slider on the shark, when I drag that slider left and right, you see the shark mouth rotates open and closed. Now the next step in this process is going to be to tweak the morph a little bit. Sometimes when you create this morph relationship, you need to make some adjustments. As I open the slider, open and closed, you can see that my jaw and when it's open is not quite lined up with the lips on the shark morph.

And so rather than move the jaw element I'm going to adjust the morph. So if I go above from Morph tag and click on Edit mode and select the open slider, I can just take the points that make up the geometry. I click on the actual shark body object and take these points and just move them and tuck them in just little bit and here we go. I'll take the other points on the outside here and bring those in just a bit. Let's say I go to the Side view, grab those points there, and then I just use the Scale tool, T on the keyboard, and just scale those in just a bit and you can see by making those scale adjustments, you can easily tweak the morph.

Now when I go back to the slider and switch on the Animate mode. That gives me a much better relationship between the teeth. Now those guys are actually moving outside the morph. That's a normal behavior. The morph when it moves from position to position does not rotate. It moves in a straight line and so you have to tweak your tag repeatedly just to make sure that things aren't passing in and out of one another. So the process is really straightforward and simple but it takes a little bit of fine-tuning to get it right. Our shark can now open and close its mouth. The model is really looking great and it's ready for animation.

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