Join Rob Garrott for an in-depth discussion in this video 033 Creating motion blur in Cinema 4D, part of Design in Motion.
Hi! Rob Garrott here and welcome to Design in Motion, the weekly series where we explore important fundamentals in the world of motion graphics. This week we are going to look at motion blur in Cinema 4D. Adding motion blur to your 3D animations can be a really huge hit on your render times, if you want it to look right. In general, it's a really misunderstood process, but with a few key tips, you can have just the right effect for your animations. Let's take a look. Now motion blur is an artifact that occurs when an object moves position within a frame while a camera shutter is open.
Now this effect was first visible in film cameras and modern digital cameras have been made to reproduce this artifact, because it's very pleasing to the eye. Modern animation software like After Effects and Cinema 4D, both have this ability to mimic that effect, and once again, it is something that is extremely pleasing to the eye. It makes the animation seem and feel more polished, and so it's something that you, generally speaking, always want to have in your animations. How you get it though is a little bit of formula for some people and everybody has got their own individual kind of mix that they like to do.
What I want to do is show you two different types of motion blurs in Cinema 4D and how they function, and then a third type in After Effects that I think works even better. So here in Cinema 4D, I have got a simple logo animation. I will just scrub through it real quick. You see it's a logo falling back down into position here. Let's go to Frame 2, and I am going to go Shift+R on the keyboard to render out the current frame in the Picture Viewer. Let's move that Picture Viewer smaller here and just get up like that. There we go.
And now the Picture Viewer is showing us just that single frame and I have got just the default Render settings on here. Now you see that the logo has no motion blur on it at all. Motion blur is not on by default, and that's the case for most 3D applications. That's because motion blur can be a pretty significant render hit and they want to give you the fastest render first and let you turn on all the bells and whistles. So let's do that. So there's two types of motion blur in Cinema 4D. There's Vector Motion Blur and then the motion blur associated with the physical render.
So the Vector Motion Blur, I will talk about first, and that's a two-step process. Step one is to activate the motion blur inside the Render Settings. So let's bring up the Render Settings, Command+B or Ctrl+B on the keyboard, and we want to go to Effect and then go to Vector Motion Blur and when we turn that on--let's close that for a second. And I will do a Shift+R again, and let that render. You can see that nothing happened. That's because it's a two-step process. So step one is to activate it in the Render Settings.
Step two is to tell Cinema 4D which object should have the blur on it, and that's the logo parent. So I am going to right-click on that and go to Cinema 4D Tags and then to Motion Blur, and when I do that now, and I Render, Shift+R, you see that then I get a motion blur on here, and you saw that it happened after the fact. That's because motion blur is something called a post-effect. It happens after the rendered image is complete and the blur gets applied to the image. And because it's a post-effect, it doesn't really look all that good.
It doesn't look nearly as good as the Physical Render Motion Blur. Now there are some Quality Settings that I haven't turned on yet. If I go to Command+B or Ctrl+B to bring up those Render Settings again, you can see that the Vector Motion Blur has some settings associated with it. Now the Phase and Density can be used to adjust the intensity of the Motion Blur and also where the motion blur sits on the object. Typically, I always leave that at zero. The Samples and Sample Radius control how good the motion blur looks. And so the Sample Radius, if I bring that up to, say 3, and let's do another Render, Shift+R, you can see that, that smoothed out the motion blur quite a bit.
This was the default value right here, and that is the Sample Radius, and you can see it smoothed out those pixels. If I go back to the Samples now and let's bring those up to 128 and then do another Render, Shift+R, it's going to take a little bit more time to process it, and you can see it smoothed it out quite a bit. So this was the default. That is the Sample Radius increased, and then that is the Samples increased. And it's not a bad looking motion blur, but there's a better looking motion blur, and that's in the Physical Render, which was introduced in Version 13 of Cinema 4D.
So what I am going to do is--let's bring up a new file here to start off with. So I've got another file here that we are going to use to demonstrate that motion blur. So let's close up the Picture Viewer for a second in the Render Settings and let's scrub forward in time. It's the exact same animation as before and I've just got all of the values set to zero in the default Render Settings. And so if we bring up the Render Settings, you can see it's on the Standard Renderer. Now if I do a rendering, Shift+R, you can see that the logo looks crisp and clean.
So if I go to the Renderer and turn on Physical Render and I select the Physical Render options, now there's a check box for Motion Blur. Let's turn that on and do another rendering, Shift+R. Now the first thing you will notice is that the rendering is taking a lot longer. The next thing you will notice is that the motion blur is burned into the image, and it looks pretty good. It's a much better starting point than it was with the Vector Motion Blur. The Vector Motion Blur, that's the starting point for it, this is the starting point for the Physical Render Motion Blur.
So it's already a much nicer looking motion blur. Now there's some Quality Settings in here as well. Now you can crank those quality settings up in the Sampler, and this Motion Subdivisions control how many subdivisions you should get for a really complex motion, like a helicopter blade is a great example, where you'd would want to crank up those motion subdivisions. Same thing goes for Deformation and Hair Subdivisions. You don't need to touch those values unless you have deformations or hair in your scenes. You can leave those at 1. But generally speaking, the Motion Subdivisions of 4 is going to be fine for most cases.
And I will leave the Sampler on Adaptive for now and turn up the Sampling Quality from Low to High. And then I will do another rendering. You are going to see that we are going to get a great looking motion blur, but it's take a lot longer to render. I will hit Shift+R on the keyboard and you'll see that this is going to take a significant amount of time to render. It's going to take so long, in fact, that I am going to fast forward through this to the end. So you can see that took nearly a minute and 53 seconds and that's compared to the original frame time of 8 seconds. It took a lot longer, but as you can see it looks much, much, nicer. Very clean motion blur; beautiful quality.
Those two motion blurs are great starting points in Cinema 4D. I got to tell you though, I don't normally ever render motion blur burned into my images in Cinema 4D. That's because one of the problems with motion blur in C4D is that it's burned into the image. If you don't like it, you got to go all the way back to square one and re-render your image again, and that can be really time-consuming and you don't always have that luxury to go back and do that. So what I prefer to do is use a very special plug-in in After Effects called ReelSmart motion blur. Let me show you what that looks like.
So here I am in After Effects and I am going to import a file and I have got this For-ReelSmart motion blur. Now this is just a clean rendering of that animation that you saw before and I will double-click on that. I will just scrub through this footage, and you can see that's just the rendered animation as we saw it before. So very simple, no motion blur at all. So let's drag that on to the New Comp icon and I will do a RAM Preview, and you can see there's our animation. And it's okay.
It's going to look a lot nicer with motion blur though. So I am going to select my layer down here. I am going to down to the Effects menu and do RE:Vision Plug-ins > RSMB Pro. Now I have the Pro version and it's got a couple of things that make it a lot nicer to use than the basic version. So if I select RSMB Pro, you are going to notice that I now see a motion blur on this logo and that's the magic of this. What it does is it looks at the change in values of the pixels from frame to frame, and it blurs them based on the direction of travel, and if I scrub through this animation, you can see I have got a motion blur.
There are some little artifacts though; we will talk about it in just a second. Let's do RAM Preview. So you can see the animation looks pretty good, but you'll notice that there are some spots in the animation where the logo is traveling from off-camera on the camera. We're getting some weird artifacts here and there's a really cool feature called the Track Frame. And that Track Frame feature allows you to tell the filter which way to analyze the video, and so if we go and tell it to do Previous, that's going to cleanup a lot of that artifact and let's do another RAM Preview, and sometimes you may have to go both directions to see which one looks better.
Now I have got a little bit of a scrunching issue, because I'm looking at not the full size here. After Effects has given me a little bit of chunkiness on my image, and if I go back and just make that Full Size there, 100%. I will hit RAM Preview, you can see that chunkiness goes away. So as you can see, doing the motion blur here inside of After Effects gives me a lot more control. It's faster and easier to use and if the client doesn't like it or they change their mind on something, I don't have to go all the way back to Cinema 4D to rerender it.
So this is a much better way to work, much more efficient and doing motion graphics is really all about efficiency and that's the way I like to work. Motion blur is one of the most important things you can do to your animations to make them look more realistic and less computer-generated. I always use motion blur in my work and it can make your work look more professional and polished. That's it for this edition of Design in Motion. Keep it moving and I will see you next time.
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- Using expressions to control animation
- Rendering type in a seamless environment
- Doing more with less in the After Effects render queue
- Creating bouncing animated type using dynamics
- Creating realism with Global illumination
- Working with Xrefs to simplify the workflow