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Working with material layers

From: CINEMA 4D Essentials 4: Materials, Texturing, and Lights

Video: Working with material layers

BodyPaint is a full-fledged image editing application, and it works on a concept of layers just like Photoshop. In fact, you'll see a lot of the same types of commands in the menus that you would see in Photoshop, and it has full Photoshop integration. You can import your files from Photoshop right here in BodyPaint, and you can save your files out for Photoshop from inside the BodyPaint. Now, I'm in the BodyPaint 3D layout, so if you're not there, go ahead and get there already by going to the Layout menu and selecting BodyPaint 3D Layout. I've got my layer start file open.

Working with material layers

BodyPaint is a full-fledged image editing application, and it works on a concept of layers just like Photoshop. In fact, you'll see a lot of the same types of commands in the menus that you would see in Photoshop, and it has full Photoshop integration. You can import your files from Photoshop right here in BodyPaint, and you can save your files out for Photoshop from inside the BodyPaint. Now, I'm in the BodyPaint 3D layout, so if you're not there, go ahead and get there already by going to the Layout menu and selecting BodyPaint 3D Layout. I've got my layer start file open.

Let's take a look at the Layers palette. Right now, we don't have anything showing in there. That's because I need to select my material. So go to Material Manager and click on Spacedude, and this little icon right here shows us what channel we're going to be painting in. And in this case, it's the Color channel, and it's showing me the state of the Color channel, which right now is just gray. Now when we go back to the Layers menu, you can see that there's our background layer. If I click on the Texture window, I want to select my layer again. So I go back to Materials, click on that, and then it's going to show me my layer here in the Texture window.

Then I also want to show the UV mesh. Let's click on that and go show UV Mesh. Now, the UV mesh is great to have because it shows you a reference of what it is that you're going to be painting on. All of these polygons correspond to polygons on the surface of our object. Before I do anything, I'm going to create a new layer to paint on. In Photoshop, I don't normally ever paint on the background; I like to paint on layers. That gives me a lot of flexibility if I want to go backwards and adjust things, and BodyPaint is no different. Let's go to Layers palette and in the Functions menu, let's go to New Layer.

Once we've run that, you'll see we have a brand new layer. Let's call this layer Eye bar. This area of polygons right here corresponds to the face of our guy. Now, how can I tell that? If I go back to the perspective view, then I orbit around my object and select my Paintbrush tool, and I'd paint right here on his face-- just do a little squiggle there. Let's go back to the Texture menu. You can see that that squiggle drew right there on those polygons.

That's how I can tell that these polygons are associated with the face of my model. I'll undo that. Command+Z or Ctrl+Z. Now that I know where I'm going to put the pixels that I need to create, I'll zoom in on that area. I'm holding down the 2 key and dragging. And let's hold on the 1 key to pan over, and you can use the same controls that you'd use in the orthographic views. You can zoom in there. Now, I get my Rectangular Selection tool. And let's draw a rectangle, and you notice that we're in the Eye bar layer. And I'm going to draw a rectangle and rough it out.

I want to try and get it pretty close to centered up on this middle line here, and drag that selection over just a bit. Now, if you click over to the perspective view, you can see that you have marching ants here, just like you have marching ants in the texture view. Let's go back to the Texture window, and I'm going to go to the Edit menu and set it to Fill Layer. And when it does, it's going to fill layer with whatever color is here in the foreground of the color chips. If I click on that it's going to bring up the Colors palette. It was selected with white right now, and I think that's going to be okay for now.

I know I can always come back and change it, but I think let's change it to black. Our superhero is going to have a red base with yellow accents, and I think a black bar for his eyes will look pretty cool. So let's select black here and go back to Edit and then Fill Layer. And now we've got our layer filled with black, I can deselect that just by clicking anywhere. So we've got our Eye bar in place, and when we go back to the view menu, you can see there's our Eye bar in position here. Now, this is a pretty low-res preview based on the Editor window, and you should never really trust that.

So I'm going to hit Command+R or Ctrl+R, and you can see that it renders out just nicely. Let's hit A on the keyboard and redraw the frame and orbit around just a bit. Now we can go back to the Layers palette. Let's create one more layer. And this layer is going to contain the color that's going to be the base for our superhero's costume. So I'll go into the Layers palette and go to the Function menu and do a new layer and I'll call this one layer Color base. Let's drag it down below the Eye bar. Oops, not to the right. It's made that a layer mask.

I'll undo that--Command+Z or Ctrl+Z--and I want to drag it all the way down underneath. Let's make one more new layer here and call that layer Accents. And that's going to be for all the accent color, the color that's going to be on his gloves, in his boots, and his pants. Let's drag that accent color down above the color base. Oops, I put it accidentally below the color base. Let's move it up one layer. By dividing all the colors up into different layers, that gives us a lot of control when we want to go back and change those colors later on.

So you can see, BodyPaint is a full-fledged imaging application, and it gives you tons of flexibility. Now that we've got our layer set up, we're ready to paint.

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