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By Rob Garrott | Wednesday, January 25, 2012

CINEMA 4D logo lighting and texturing basics

A lot of folks get started in motion graphics creating 3D logos and logo animations. It’s how I got started all those years ago. When I look back on that animation now, I cringe. The clients loved it, but the lighting was terrible. Luckily, I’ve learned a lot since then, and in this week’s Design in Motion, I’ll share some key logo-lighting tips with you.

First and foremost is the idea of lighting through the camera. The 3D world is based entirely on the idea of perspective, and the only valid perspective is the angle that your artwork will be viewed from. That view is your render camera. Positioning your lights from the angle of the render camera ensures that you are only adding information that your viewers will actually see. This will take all the guesswork out of the process, and make it faster and more efficient.

The second step is to create an environment for your reflective logos to help give them a textured, dynamic look that can make them feel like they’re moving even when they’re not. Remember, the standard 3D space that surrounds your logo is just black, so even if you turn the reflection up past 100 percent, if there isn’t anything there to reflect, your logos will look dull and lifeless. Use the Material Manager and the Luminance channel to start creating an environment sphere for your logo, then you can apply and edit gradients to tweak your environment to your liking. Once you have your environment surrounding your object and texturing your logo just how you want it, it’s important to remember to apply a Compositing tag, which allows you to show only the transparency, reflection, and refraction of your environment sphere to the render camera—not the environment sphere itself.

Lastly, the color of your reflections has a big impact on the look and feel of your surfaces. The default color values for reflections in CINEMA 4D are white, and that’s just fine if you’re creating something like white enamel or tiles. But, if you’re making a gold surface, then a white reflection will make your logo feel washed out. By coloring your reflections to match your surface color, your logos will have a richness and saturation that really makes them pop off the screen.

For more on how CINEMA 4D works with lights and textures, I recommend checking out chapters six and seven of myCINEMA 4D R12 Essential Training course next.

Interested in more? • The fullDesign in Motion series on lynda.com • All 3D + animation courses on lynda.com • All by Rob Garrott on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:CINEMA 4D R12 Essential TrainingCINEMA 4D: Rendering Motion Graphics for After EffectsAfter Effects CS5 Essential TrainingCINEMA 4D and After Effects Integration

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