Join Rob Garrott for an in-depth discussion in this video 037 Creating and animating a flower with MoGraph, part of Design in Motion.
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Hi! Rob Garrott here, and welcome to Design in Motion, the weekly series where we explore important fundamentals in the world of motion graphics. I love building things with the Cinema 4D's MoGraph toolset. What MoGraph is, is a set of objects and tags that let's you create about anything you can imagine, but it's real special to use them in repetition and repetition is exactly what you need to create the petals of a flower that can open and close. Let's take a look. So this is what we are going to build right now. Let me hit play here, and you can see that flower opens and closes beautifully.
It starts off as a little bud and then flowers open and blossoms open. Now we are not going to worry about any of the textures or lighting today, we are going to focus just on the modeling. I am going to close up the Picture Viewer. Let's start off with the cube. I am going to start off by modeling the petals and I am going to make that about 310 units high on the Y axis and I am just going to eyeball the thickness, about like that I think. Now I am going to be using a Hyper NURB modeling technique to create this petal, and start off by making he cube editable by clicking on the Make Object Editable button.
I could also hit the letter C on the keyboard. Now let's go on to Point mode, so we can manipulate the points of this cube and let's zoom in just a bit here. Now I want to have the base of the flower petal be even with the ground plane here, so I am going to first select all the points, Command+A or Ctrl+A on the PC and raise this up. Now I'm going to middle-mouse click and switch to the front view here, so I can see my points. I want them to be even with the floor, there we go! Now I can get my Knife tool out and I will right-click any place inside the Editor View here, and I'll grab the knife.
Now the Knife options that show up here, a very important one. I will raise up this window here, so it's a little easier to see. The Mode is what we are going to change, we can change it from Line to Loop. And what that does is that allows us to cut all the way around our cube, and if I hold the knife over the cube, you can see that it creates this line that travels all the way around the cube. Now I am going to make some key cuts here and one of the great things about modeling organic, natural objects is that you don't have to be super precise. So I am going to start off by making a cut about in the middle vertically and then I'm going to make I think two cuts, one here and one about here.
Now those are the sort of handles that we need to shape our flower. Now what we are going to do is to really give it the curve shape that it needs. Before I do that, I want to be able to see the result of this shape and how it's going to look smoothed out. So I am going to add a Hyper NURB to the scene. So let's add a Hyper NURB, that's this icon right here, and I'll take the cube and make it a child of the Hyper NURB. Now that gives us the sort of soft edges that we are looking for and the Hyper NURB smoothes things out. Now I don't need the Knife tool anymore right now. So I am going to switch back to the Selection tool and you notice these curved lines here, this is called Isoline Editing and I don't really like that in my preview, and you can turn that off under the Options menu, and I can go right here and turn off Isoline Editing.
That gives me the bounding box, the actual cage of the lower-poly mesh and I much prefer working like this. But if you like to work with the Isolines on, you can always come back and turn them on at any time. It really doesn't affect the behavior of the Hyper NURB, but it's just a different way of interpreting the points. So I am going to turn that off and now what I can do is get my Selection tool and select the Rectangular Selection tool, very important option here called Only Select Visible Elements. I am going to turn that off. That means that when I draw a rectangle around those points, notice that it's selected the points on the backside, as well as the front side, and that is a good thing.
Now I am going to hit the letter T on the keyboard to bring up the Scale tool and scale this down at the base, and this is going to be the base of our flower petal. I think that's pretty good. Now the middle of the flower petal is okay, but I don't want that straight line there, so I am going to bulge these points out just a bit. I just hit the spacebar to get back to the Selection tool and I select those points and I'll hit T on the keyboard again to get back to the scale, and I can just bulge that out just a bit. Now I can grab the points here at the top and I will hit the spacebar again to grab just these points and that spacebar works on both Mac and PC.
And now I want to take these points at the top and just raise them up a bit. And you see, notice when I do that, that it creates a nice little rounded look to the flower petal here. The last thing I want to do is to give a little bit of a curvature to the flower petals. So let's switch to a 4-way view. I just middle-mouse clicked to get to the 4-way view here and in the front view, I am going to zoom in a bit, so I can see all the points clearly and I'll grab just the ones running down the middle of the flower petal, and I don't want these ones at the base, I am going to leave those alone, so I'll hold down the Ctrl key and deselect those.
Now if I switch back to the Perspective view, I can take these points and just drag them on the Z axis. Notice I grabbed just the Z handle here and I just bring that back a little bit. That gives a really nice curvature to our flower petal. Now what I want to do is to position the flower petals so it's lying on the floor and instead of rotating the whole object, I am going to rotate the points. And so let's select all the points, Command+A or Ctrl+A, and now I can rotate. I'll hit R on the keyboard to bring up the Rotate tool and what I can do is grab this red band here and I can rotate that around.
I'll hold the Shift key down after I start rotating it and that constrains it to 90 degrees. Now I can switch to a 4-way view by hitting the middle-mouse button, and I can hit the letter E on the keyboard to get the Move tool, and I can position those points. You notice, I am grabbing the red handle here in the right-hand view. I am going to drag that down and put them right about here, so they are pretty much even with the ground plane; a little bit embedded in there and that's okay. I want to make sure that these points here are flush with the Y axis. So now our object is lying on the floor, more importantly when I switch back to model mode, I can see that the axis for my flower petal is pointing up on Y and that's exactly what I want.
So that's it for the modeling of the flower petal, and next thing we want to do is to add our Bend Deformers. The Bend Deformers are what's going to give the flower petal the ability to curl in that animation that you saw earlier. So I will start off by clicking and holding, these are all the deformers that we can use and I'll grab this one right here, the Bend Deformer, and I am going to start off by naming this Bend Deformer, Bend Fold, and this Bend Fold is going to be the deformer that gives the initial curl that curls it up off of the floor.
The way the Bend Deformer works is that if you adjust the strength, the Bend Deformer will curve here, and it always curves along the Y axis. So I'll zero that back out and what I want to do is get the Rotation tool, R on the keyboard and rotate this around. I will hold the Shift key down to do it exactly 90 degrees, and then what I'm going to do is switch to a 4-way view here and I'm going to eyeball the size of this Bend Deformer. So I will start up by moving it into position. The Bend Deformer always works best when it's the same size as the object it is going to be deforming.
So let's turn off the Hyper NURB here, so we can see the actual polygons of our flower petal. So let's switch here in the top view and in the top view, if I click on the Bend Deformer to get its Object properties, so bring that over just a bit, so we can see all the values. Now if I grab the Y value here, anytime you see three of these, it's always X, Y and Z. So if I grab the Y value and scrub it up, I will eyeball it into position and I will just move it just a little bit, so that it's centered on those polygons. Give it just a little bit more room here, so everything is contained inside that.
Now I can switch to each of the other views. In the right-hand view, I'll adjust the Z value and scale that down, here we go and in the front view you can see that all my polygons are contained inside that. I can see that in the top view as well. So I am pretty good here. Now the Bend Deformer works on its parent or its peer, and so what I need to do is to introduce a new Null object into the scene and so I will click on hold on these primitives here and add a new Null and I will call this one Petal. And I want to take the Petal and add the Cube to it from before and add the Bend Fold Deformer, and that Bend Fold Deformer now has an impact on the Cube.
If I select it and adjust the Strength, you can see that it bends. Now it's doing some weird things. The reason it's doing along this axis here is because of this Angle value. I am going to change that to be 90 degrees and you notice that when I do that, now the flower petal moves along that axis nicely and it folds up. I don't want it to appear stretchy, so I am going to tell it to Keep Y-Axis Link. Now when I do it, you can see that it just maintains its volume and that's perfect. Now let's get this whole thing back under the Hyper NURB, so you can see and I will turn the Hyper NURB back on and we can see that Bend Fold is really doing its job and giving us a great look and bend for our flower petal.
So let's zero out the Strength on that, now, we want to have a second deformer. The second deformer is going to give the flower petal the ability to curve, and so what I'm going to do is take the Bend Fold and I will hold down the Ctrl key and drag a copy of it and this Bend Fold is going to be changed to Bend Curl and the Bend Curl Deformer, I want to rotate it around, so that it's going across the axis like this. So the Y is pointing this way. So I'm going to go into the Coordinate Properties for the Bend Curl. So I want to be able to change the Coordinate Properties and instead of doing them numerically over here, what I'm going to do is to use a Rotate tool and eyeball it into position.
So if I hit R on the keyboard to get the Rotate tool going, I can rotate this up. I want to get the Y axis pointing this way. And so, I'm going to rotate it around like this. Now you want to be careful. I accidentally clicked away from one of the axis bands, and so I will do Command+Z or Ctrl+Z. I want to highlight the blue band and rotate it just like this, and I'll hold the Shift key down to make sure that it conforms. Now what I can do is to change the size of this deformer, so if I go to the Bend Curl, into the Object properties, I want to change the Y value and get it to be about the same size as the width of the petal, and then I think I will move it up here just a bit.
I want to have it encompass the top of the flower petals as well. So I'll bring that up right here like that. Now what I can do is when I go to the Bend Curl, I can adjust the Strength and you can see that it curves the flower petal just like that. Undo. So that is the basic modeling of the flower petal. Now what we want to do is Clone it and MoGraph is a fantastic collection of objects in C4D that allow you to create different kinds of repetition, and the main object that we are going to use is the Cloner.
And the Cloner Object basically repeats anything you put under it, and the way we're going to use the Cloner in this instance is to take the petal and drag it and make it a child of the cloner. So let's go ahead and do that, and now it instantly gives us copies. Now these copies are not in the right formation, so we have to go to the Cloner and change the mode from Linear to Radial. Now the Radial array is oriented around the wrong axis and so what I need to do is change the plane, and I want to change it to the XZ plane. So I click on that and go to XZ and now my flower petals are arranged around this XZ plane.
Before we do anything else, let's get the flower petals back underneath the Hyper NURB Objects. So let's add another Null object to the scene and we will call this one Flower and then take the Cloner and put it under the flower and then drag it underneath the Hyper NURB. Now we can see our flower petals are nice and smooth and then what we can do is to go back to the Cloner Object and adjust some settings here. We want to change the Count to 12, so we got 12 petals on our flower, and then were going to take the Radius and adjust it downwards to about 40 Units, that sounds good.
And there we go! So we now got a nice tight center on our flower petals. Now all of these lines that we are seeing here are very confusing and that's because we're seeing the visibility of the Fold and Curl deformers. So let's hide those. I am going to hold down Option key and click twice on these two gray dots here and that's going to make them invisible. It doesn't disable them, it just makes them invisible here inside of the window, and that cleans things up quite a bit. And now we are almost done with the flower. So what I am going to do next is go to the Bend Curl and adjust the strength on that, and that's going to give me a little bit less overlap. You notice how everything is overlapping here? I can curl that up and eliminate those intersections of the polygons.
Now if I go to the Bend Fold Deformer, I can now adjust that and have the flower petal close, and that's really a beautiful thing. The last thing is the center of the flower and I will just use a simple cube for that. I'll add that to the scene and then drop it underneath the Hyper NURB, underneath the flower petal, and then let's just squish it down a little bit and then raise it up into position. There we go. And that's pretty much all there is to modeling the flower. The animation of the petals happens in the Bend Deformers, and so, what we can do is set keyframes.
Let's have our flower petal open and finish opening at Frame 60. As you can see, when I adjust the Bend Fold Deformer, then it closes the flower up. So let's undo that and let's set a keyframe for the flower to be open here at Frame 60. So I'll Ctrl+Click on the word Strength here and then I will do the same Curl. I like where it's at right now and I always animate backwards like this. Let's back up in time and go to 0, and now we can close everything up. So let's go to the Bend Fold Deformer and adjust the Strength until the flower is closed and then let's Ctrl+Click.
You notice that yellow there, that is telling us that we haven't confirmed that change and so we click on that, now our keyframe is confirmed. Now you can go to Bend Curl Deformer and we can make an adjustment here and just slide that down, so that none of the polygons are intersecting, and then we can Ctrl+Click on the Strength again and then our flower will open and close. You can see it opening up and that is a beautiful thing. So that's pretty much it for the modeling of the actual flower. I have given you guys the finished file here and this is the actual flower that you saw in the animation earlier.
I've got some lights and textures and things and you can go ahead and take a look at all of those settings and break them down and examine how I did all the lighting and texturing of this flower. But that's it for the basic modeling, it really is that simple. MoGraph is just what the doctor ordered for this kind of repeating element. For a great introduction in MoGraph, check out the Cinema 4D Essential Training course here on lynda.com. That's it for this edition of Design in Motion, keep it moving and I will see you next time.
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