Join Chris Meyer for an in-depth discussion in this video C4D Lite project and render settings, part of After Effects Apprentice 17: Video Walls in CINEMA 4D Lite.
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- Now that I've set up After Effects's project settings, and also, making a note of its composition settings, it's time to create our Cinema 4D project and set it up to match. With my comp selected, I'll choose Layer, New, MAXON CINEMA 4D FILE. It'll ask me to save a brand new Cinema 4D project, I'm going to call it videwall.c4d. This will create a footage item in after effects that will match this project that we're going to open in Cinema 4D. I'll save it and this will launch Cinema 4D.
It came up very quickly because I had it open earlier to update the software and to load the online help files. When you have a blank Cinema 4D project, the Attributes manager loads with the Project Settings. That's great because that's where we need to do some of our setup. First challenge is FXS. Cinema defaults to 30 frames a second. Unfortunately for those who live in North America etc., it does not support fractional frame rates like 29.97, or 23.976.
If I enter 29.97, and tabbed a new field, you'll see that it actually rounded it down to 29 frames a second. So what you want to do is pick a frame rate that is the nearest whole or integer number to your frame rate back in After Effects. At around 29.97 up to 30, 23.976 up to 24. Or 59.94 up to 60. So I use 30 frames a second. Next is setting up the duration of my project. I'm starting at zero frames. I need to end at frame number 299.
That's what will set up my Cinema 4D timeline to be 300 frames long, from zero to 299 to match the duration of my composition back in After Effects. Otherwise, it defaults to just the 90 frames you saw which is too short. As we discussed earlier, Cinema 4D defaults to a linear light work flow. And an sRGB color space. We've already set those up in After Effects, so we're good. The last thing I do, is I go into Render Settings and also change its output size to match the pixel dimensions of my After Effects composition.
960 by 540. You'll notice that we do get an error in Cinema 4D saying that's too large to render from Cinema 4D. Don't worry about that. This dialogue is all about rendering frames directly from Cinema. However, by using this 3D pipeline between After Effects and Cinema 4D, we don't have to worry about the restrictions of how many pixels can be rendered. Cinema has essentially unlimited resolution and what it can render back into an After Effects composition.
My reason for making these changes to the Render Settings, is strictly for display purposes. It will change where warning gray bars are drawn in Cinema 4D, it would warn me something was outside of my normal view. By entering the same numbers as I had in After Effects, I will see the same aspect ratio viewport inside Cinema as I'm going to get back in After Effects. But don't let this error bother you. We'll be spending some time in this dialogue later on to improve things such as our Anti-Alliasing, but we'll save that for another day. I'll close this dialogue.
Type Command or Control S to save my changes. And then I'll return to After Effects. You notice down here in the timeline panel this was the default link of my Cinema 4D project, which was only about three seconds long. But, since I edited the project settings in Cinema 4D to equal the length of my comp, I can now drag this layer bar out inside After Effects so that my Cinema 4D layer now matches my After Effects composition. Again these are setting changes you're going to need to make every time you start a new project in After Effects that uses Cinema 4D.
We have one last thing to worry about. And that's the frame rate of my Cinema 4D project. Remember it would not accept the 29.97 of my After Effects composition. I had to round it up to 30 frames a second. What you need to do is slow down your Cinema 4D footage to match you comps frame rate. To do that, you open the Interpret Footage dialogue for that Cinema 4D footage item, and you can form the frame rate to match your composition. 29.97 in my case.
It might be 23.976, or 59.94 depending on how you set up your project. This one I'll slow down the Cinema 4D footage to match what's happening in After Effects. Throughout this course, I'll be making other accomodations to make sure the frame rates match. I need to conform the frame rate of any textures in Cinema. And when it comes time to extract a camera move from Cinema and put it in After Effects, I'm going to do another frame rate change there as well. But for now we're set up and we're ready to move forward.
These courses are designed for users who are familiar with 3D space in After Effects, but who have never used CINEMA 4D. This course includes an overview of the C4D Lite user interface, as well as setup information you need to know whenever you use live C4D layers in After Effects. A bonus chapter shows how to set up a C4D Lite and After Effects scene to maximize production efficiency—and minimize render times.
Look for the upcoming courses After Effects Apprentice 18 and 19 for more C4D Lite projects.
- Setting up your After Effects and C4D Lite projects
- Creating a rectangular spline for the video wall
- Using texture and lighting presets
- Creating a simple 3D camera move
- Creating 3D text in After Effects
- Converting a parametric object to polygons
- Compositing video walls