Join EJ Hassenfratz for an in-depth discussion in this video Create vinyl toy textures in Cinema 4D, part of Motion Graphics Weekly.
- [EJ] Welcome to yet another Motion Graphics Weekly, where you can up your MoGraph knowledge one week at a time. I'm EJ Hassenfratz. Let's get our learn on. Now I don't know many motion graphics artists that don't have a ton of vinyl toys littered all over their work desk. In today's video, we're gonna cover just how we can create a nice vinyl toy texture in Cinema 4D. So even if you don't have any vinyl toys on your desk, at least you can know how to create your own in Cinema 4D.
So vinyl toys have a very blurred reflection to give it that sort of matte finish, and that's what we're gonna try to recreate inside of Cinema 4D. So I have my little yeti character here and I have all of his colored materials laid out. We just need to add some nice reflection to our materials, so let's just double-click on our blue texture here, and let's go into Interactive Render Region so we can see how our scene will look as we're changing things.
We can get a live update, and see how this will render. So here we go, we get our blue texture. It's just the color channel, and I do have a few lights in my scene as well. A main light, a rim light, and then just a little ambient light as well. So let's go ahead and go into our Reflectance channel, turn it on, and let's add some reflections. So theses first two are two type of reflections that we can use. The first, Beckmann is typically what I most of the time.
GGX adds a little bit more grain to a reflection so it almost looks like glittery paint chip kind of feel. So I'm going to stick with Beckmann, and you're gonna see that now our yeti looks all metallic, and we need to make a lot of changes here, because that's just not looking correct. It's not looking like a vinyl toy. It looks like he should be in a Terminator movie, so let's go ahead and to actually make this reflection channel add on top of our color channel, we'll just change this blending mode from Normal to Add.
And we also need to change our Attenuation from Average to Additive as well, and now you can see our color channel coming through there. So the next thing I want to do is remove our specular strength. We're not gonna actually use any specular at all, because actually specular in the CG world is actually just a fake reflection that tries to reflect and show illumination sources in our scene. We can do that like real life by just using the reflection channel.
Let's add some blurriness or roughness to our reflection so we can try to recreate that somewhat matte finish that vinyl toys typically have. So let's just adjust our roughness here, and you can see that's making a really rough blurred out reflection, and let me just demonstrate the difference between Beckmann and GGX. Remember GGX kind of adds even more grain to our scene, so you can definitely tell that, so it's all personal preference. Whatever kind of look you're going for. I'm gonna stick with Beckmann.
Right now our reflection is way too hot, so let's bring this down. A little bit of reflection goes a long way, and you can see that with just six percent reflection strength, and a lot of blurriness or a lot of roughness, we have a nice matte finish already that looks pretty good, but let's actually go a little bit further into our reflection settings here. We can of course give it a color, so we can give this like a blueish tint if we'd like. So now it's a little bit more blue tinted.
So one important thing when using reflections is that you want to have something in your scene, objects in your scene, or an environment map, or an HDRI, to actually have reflect on to your object. You'll notice that I already have a sky in here with an HDR image that I'm using, and let's just see what happens when I just take that away. You're gonna see that our scene totally changes, and the only reflection you're gonna see is the object reflecting onto itself.
So, this is a very important step, so I'm gonna just recreate my HDRI sky from scratch. Remember, HDRI skies, they're just an image, so I just got a studio HDR here. You can find them all across the internet if you just Google for HDRI images, and to apply an HDR image to your scene, we're just gonna go ahead, grab a sky object, and then we're just gonna apply this HDRI material to that sky, and again immediately you can see all these really nice highlights, and our object is now picking up all that environment information, and it's adding all these really nice details in the reflection.
So, we actually want to hide this image from render, so to do that it's very easy. Just gonna right-click our sky object, go to CINEMA 4D Tags, go to Compositing Tag, and we're just gonna hide this from being seen by camera, so we'll just check this off, and it will still be seen by the rays, be seen by global illumination, refraction, reflection, all that good stuff, so that's all set and ready to go. And now we can start messing around even more with our reflection.
So we can give it a little bit more strength. One thing that we can do to make this a little bit more realistic is first adding some fresnel. So fresnel helps the reflection react as it would in real life, and this allows for less reflections as the object is facing the camera head-on, and more reflection as the object surface faces away from the camera, so let's just demonstrate that. I'm gonna choose a Dielectric type of fresnel, and you're gonna see that a lot of our reflection goes away.
Let's actually bump the strength up and let's bring the roughness down because I just want to demonstrate what the fresnel does. Let's just really crank up the strength. So you can see points in which our object is facing straight towards the camera like the arms, and little bits of the face, that the reflection is actually less visible. Now, let's see what this looks like without any fresnel. I'm just gonna turn this off, and you're gonna see that that fresnel actually helps a lot.
You can see how much reflection is actually coming through now. So, fresnel helps to make our reflection a little bit more physically accurate. You can see this looks like a very shiny vinyl toy, and we have all these material presets here to help us recreate the type of fresnel for different surfaces. So, PET is kind of like a plastic kind of preset, so I'll use that, and you'll see a little bit changes there, and we can also adjust the strength of that fresnel as well.
So fresnel helps this reflection look a little bit more realistic. Let's bring down our reflection strength, and bring our blur back up. We can just kind of tweak these to try to achieve that nice vinyl toy kind of look. So I think that's looking pretty good. Now a second thing we can do to make our scene look more realistic is by going to our Render Settings here, and changing the Renderer from Standard to Physical, which will allow our reflections to look more physically accurate.
You can see a little bit of a change there. With changing this to Physical Renderer, we can go into our Physical settings, and adjust the sampling details or quality on a lot of these options here. So, we can go ahead and up the blurriness subdivisions, which will help smooth out our reflection blurriness by just upping this number. Typically I just like to use a Medium preset, and just leave everything else alone. I think everything else is looking pretty good. If we wanted to, we can up our blurriness subdivision to help smooth out our reflections, because we do have a lot of blurry reflections here.
I'll just leave that low for now, and the next thing I want to do is actually have our HDR image help light our scene. So to be able to do that, we can apply some global illumination to our scene, and you're gonna see right away that our scene brightens up quite a bit. So what's going on here is that our HDRI is being treated as a light source, so wherever there's dark areas, or bright spots in our HDR material, it's gonna either light it less or light it more, so on the bright spots of this image here, these are gonna be treated as sources of illumination.
Everything black is gonna be no light source whatsoever. So you can see that our object is gonna be lit from the top of the sky, not so much from the bottom. So we can go ahead and we can actually turn off all the lights in our scene, and just have the HDRI illuminate our scene. So you can see exactly what I'm talking about is that without Global Illumination on, or any lights, let me just turn off Global Illumination, we just have default light right now.
Turn on Global Illumination, and now we have some really nice reflections going on, some really nice light sources. We can actually control a lot of settings here. Typically I like to choose one of these presets and just for render purposes, I'm gonna choose this Interior Preview preset, and I think this is looking pretty good. We got a nice vinyl toy look. One of the final touches I want to put on this is to add some ambient occlusion to add some more realistic shading, and you're gonna see a big difference when I turn on Ambient Occlusion.
So you're gonna see all this nice little shading in all the nooks and crannies of this object. I think the ambient occlusion is a little bit too blurred out, so we can just adjust that Ray Length to a lower centimeter or lower distance, so that ambient occlusion won't spread so much, so it's a little bit more subtle. So by creating a material with a little bit of blurred reflection, some fresnel, an HDRI, global illumination, and some ambient occlusion, we created a pretty cool vinyl toy that's fit for any motion graphics artist's desk.
Don't want to wait until next week to learn something new? No problem. Here are other ways to feed your creative brain to keep you busy in the meantime. You can check out my other courses in the library, visit my website, eyedesyn.com, for more tutorials. Subscribe to my YouTube channel to be alerted when I post a new video, join my Facebook page for daily MoGraph inspiration, and keep up to date on all my latest MoGraph creations on Instagram. Thanks for watching, and I'll see you here again next week.