Join Ian Robinson for an in-depth discussion in this video Animating type with effectors, part of After Effects Guru: Working with 3D in C4D Lite.
There are a couple different ways to animate type inside of Cinema 4D Lite. But some people make the mistake of thinking that you can't animate each individual letter separately without modeling each individual letter separately, and that's just not true. There are two really cool low graph plugins that you get when you register your copy of Cinema 4D Lite. And those are the plugins that we're actually going to use to animate our type animation. So let's get started. In looking at our project panel, you can see we have our After Effects Comp, and our Cinema 4D project.
So let's go ahead and open the Cinema 4D project by selecting it and pressing Cmd+E or Ctrl+E to open up the Cinema file. Now lets preview the animation just by pressing the play button. You can see I've got this kind of cool move for the text, and it's just primed to have each individual letter move throughout the scene. To do that we need to break up the letters. So let's look at what we've used to create this text. This extrude nurbs object at the bottom of the hierarchy in our objects panel is what we use to actually create the text.
If I click on the text object itself, you can see it's one individual word that makes up this extrude nurbs object. Well, to isolate each individual letter, what we need to do, is make sure we have our extrude nurbs object selected, and then go up to the MoGraph option here. And again, you won't see these MoGraph options unless you've registered your copy of Cinema 4D Lite. So, under MoGraph, let's choose fracture. With fracture set up, this gives us the ability to actually break up the individual elements that make up the object within the fracture object.
So, I'm going to click on my fracture object and bring it down just above my extrude nurbs. Now I'm going to drag my extrude nurbs object into the fracture object. Now with the fracture object selected, let's change the mode from straight to explode segments and connect. Now in order to see what this is doing, we need to add an effector to the scene. I'm going to add a plain effector, so let's go up under MoGraph. And choose effector, plain. Think of the plain effector much like the text selection inside of the text animation tools inside of After Effects.
I'm going to drag the plain effector down just above our fracture object just so it's closer to the scene. Now notice once we added our plain effector, the type moved up in the scene. That is a dead giveaway that it's already been applied to our fracture object. If I select the fracture object and go to the effector section, here you can see my plain effector has been applied. Now in order to get the plain effector to select each individual letter separately, I need to select the plain effector and look at its options.
Let's go to the parameter settings, and disable position for now, and just enable scale. I want to make a change that's uniform, and then I want the change to actually be a value of negative 1. Now, notice I can't see any of the letters. That's because my effector is applied across absolutely everything. Now, if I go to the Falloff section here, notice there's an area that says Infinite. So if I change the scale, notice I could change the scale of whatever parameter I set up for that effector.
And since it's infinitely applied, it's going to change all of the letters the same. So lets change that shape from infinite to linear. When we choose linear, we're going to get a box in the scene here, and I want to deselect my current camera view by clicking on this target, just so we can see the plain effector. Now, just so we can better see how it's affecting the object, I'm going to go back to my parameter settings and change this to a parameter of minus .5. That way, it's only going to be partially applied whenever it's selected to words.
In order to get this plain effector to line up to go across these words, I need to rotate its orientation. So let's select the plain effector, and go to its coordinate settings. Here, if I change its heading to a value of 90, I can click and drag, and as I drag it's going to apply to any of the areas that are selected within the plane itself. So of course I can make adjustments to the size of the plane, under the falloff section.
In here, I can change the size. So let's say I change it, along its z axis. Now it's going to be a softer transition because it's selecting a larger area of the type. This is exactly what I want. So I could keyframe this to create our animation. So lets go ahead and do that. I'm going to move my current time indicator back to the beginning of my project here, and reselect my camera view so I can see where I am. And I want to make sure that my plane is positioned all the way off to the left side over here.
And I'll go to the coordinates section and press Ctrl and click directly on the circle next to the X parameter. Now if we move down the current time indicator, let's move our plane back over to the right. I'll just click and drag and then click and drag directly on the X axis to move it across the word. Now I can add a second key frame. And I want to make sure that this is actually positioned at frame 48. So, once I moved to frame 48, notice it re-positioned my plain effector.
So I'll just have to re-position that again. There we go. And now I can press Ctrl and click to add my second key frame. And now, if we go back and preview our animation, you can see the text is actually scaling up in the scene. Now since I want this to control the visibility of the text, I'm going to go back to my parameter settings and change the scale to minus 1. And that way, when we preview our animation, you can see that the letters are going to pop into the scene as we actually move out through our animation.
So when you're animating text inside of Cinema 4D Lite, you can animate each individual letter separately. You just need to make sure to use a fracture object. Then you want to take advantage of some of the different MoGraph effectors like the plain effector. That way, you can control exactly how each individual letter moves through the scene.
Author Ian Robinson walks through the basics of using C4D Lite and moving between C4D and After Effects. Learn to match your frame rates and project settings, create 3D type and other models, apply materials, add animation, and output your project for compositing in After Effects. Covering the basic linear workflow, this course is the perfect introduction for the experienced After Effects artist who's new to the C4D workflow.
This course was created by Ian Robinson and produced by Rich Harrington. We are honored to host this content in our library.
- Matching frame rates and project settings
- Exploring the render settings and linear workflow
- Creating 3D type with Extrude NURBs
- Repeating graphics with primitives and arrays
- Refining models with deformers
- Creating and applying materials
- Adding animation
- Defining multipass layers
- Working with cameras
- Extracting the C4D data in After Effects