Cinema 3D Lite can give you the 3D look and feel you want for your animated line graph infographic. Where do you begin? How do you model the line graph in Cinema 3D Lite? In this movie, author Ian Robinson will walk you through the steps on how to model a line graph in Cinema 3D Lite for your animated infographic.
- [Voiceover] Now before we create any 3D models inside of Cinema 4D Lite, we actually need to create the Cinema 4D layer from within an After Effects project. So, I'm in my After Effects project right now. I'm going to go ahead and make sure my timeline is active, and I'll go up under layer and choose new Maxon Cinema 4D file. Now I recommend saving this file next to your After Effects project. Let's navigate in our exercise files to the 04 folder, and in there let's go ahead and save this as 04 underscore 03 underscore 3DLines.
Then click save. Cinema 4D Lite will open, and I want you to look in the lower right corner in the attributes panel. Notice it's thirty frames a second which is fine, but the maximum time for my project is only ninety frames. Here, if I slide over here. I'll go ahead and just click on that maximum time and highlight that number, and just type three hundred. When I press return I'll see something move over here, and that's this magnification slider. If I click on this right most arrow and drag to the right, notice the little timeline above will now zoom out so I can see all three hundred frames.
Now we need to go ahead and just add our illustrator file in. To do that we'll go up under the file menu. So, I'll go to file and choose merge. In here we'll navigate to the 04 folder and choose our 04 02 .ai file. Notice I'm choosing ai file that has underscore c4d just before it. That way I know this is the one that's supposed to go into Cinema 4D. When I click open I'll get an illustrator import dialogue box.
Just go ahead and leave the default settings and click okay. Now don't panic if you notice the geometry is actually offset. This draws our attention to the fact that illustrator is originally a 2D application, which means it starts counting its pixels from the upper left corner. Now a 3D application everything starts at the origin, which is 0, 0, 0. These two objects actually lined up both of their origins right next to each other.
What I need to do is actually dolly out. In this view port here I can click this double arrow and drag back and I can see I've got this huge extra square, and I have this rectangle that I need to delete. If I go to my objects manager here on the right side of the interface I can open up my null and click on path one and press delete, and then click on path two and press delete. Now if I select my null again I can press s which will quickly frame up my geometry.
Now, this button here on the top center portion will render the view. When I click that notice nothing appears because right now all I have are spline objects. In the 3D world path elements like we would know inside of After Effects are referred to as spline objects. I want to click on path sixty-two and hold down shift and click on path sixty three, and click and drag both of these up above our null object until I get that left arrow.
When I let go that means they're outside of this null. The reason I did that is I want to go ahead and create geometry from the x y parameters here. I'll click back on my null and I can go to this green object here in the upper right portion of the interface. If I click and hold I can go create what's call an extrude object. Notice it gets added to the top of our objects manager. Now I can just click on this null and drag and drop it onto my extrude object.
Notice I get that down arrow. When I let go it's placed in there. Now I can collapse my extrude object by just clicking the little minus button to the left, and when I click on the word extrude I need to come down here in the attributes panel and enable what's called hierarchical. This way it looks at everything that's underneath my extrude object to create the geometry. If I click on this circular icon here in the upper right corner of the interface this allows me to orbit around, but notice everything is still below the ground plane.
What I'm going to do is open up my extrude object here, and click on my null. Notice the null is framed up around the center of my geometry. When I click on my null I'm going to go to my coordinates channel down here in the attributes area, and I'll change the coordinates on x, y, and z. I'll just click and drag and type zero and then press tab, 0, tab, 0. Now that's all centered around the center of our scene, but notice if I collapse that paths sixty two and sixty three are both out of place.
What I need to do click on both path two and sixty three and move those up to the center of our world. If I type zero here on the x, they'll both slide on the x. But I don't need to move zero from the y because I don't want them to both move into the same place. Instead what I'll do is press s on my keyboard to kind of reframe the scene. I'll orbit around and I'll just click and drag up to move both of these elements up.
Now, to better see what's going on I'll go to my four up view here, and I can go to my front orthogonal view, and here you can see everything's slid to the left a little bit. I'll slide it back to the right, and now this looks pretty darn good. Okay, let's click in this upper right box and go back to my perspective view. If I click on my extrude object and press s, it'll frame up my view here a little more clearly.
If I render my view I still only have geometry for our axis. Let's click on path sixty-two and I want to go up here to this green object and click and hold, but instead of choosing extrude let's choose sweep. Now, I'll click on path sixty-two and drag it up into the sweep object, but no geometry will be created until I add another spline in. Right now I have a path spline showing the path of our geometry, but I have nothing for the profile.
Let's go up to our spline tools here, click on this button, and we'll choose a circle spline, or a circle primitive I should say, and this is huge. Let's go ahead and go to the object settings for the circle, and change the radius down to something like four and press return. Now when I click and drag circle right on my sweep object I now have a circular geometry that is sweeping along path sixty-two.
To quickly create one for sixty-three all I'm going to do is hold down the control key, click on the word sweep, and drag it all the way to the bottom of my hierarchy here. Then I can just click on path sixty-three and drag it just below my circle layer, and then click on path sixty-two and press delete. Now I have two separate sweep objects, and they're kind of crashing into each other. If I orbit around here you can see their intersecting, and that's never good with 3D geometry.
I'll click on this first sweep object, hover over this blue axis handle, and move it back on the z just like I would moving anything in 3D space inside of After Effects. Let's click on sweep one, and I'll move this one forward just a little bit. Now as we orbit around you can see they're both offset in z space and they're no longer crashing into each other. If I press command + s right now, this Cinema 4D file would be saved into my After Effects project.
When I jump back into After Effects there I can actually see my Cinema 4D layers set up in the scene. Now, if we look in the timeline you can see this is only three seconds long, so I just need to hover over the right side, and click and drag all the way out to make sure this lasts the full ten seconds. We've successfully created geometry from our illustrator file within our Cinema 4D layer.
- Preparing Illustrator and Photoshop charts and graphs for animation
- Separating flattened infographics into layers for animation
- Converting Illustrator files into shape layers for more detailed animation
- Animating and linking strokes with other graphic elements for more visual impact
- Converting 2D charts and graphs to 3D with CINEMA 4D Lite
- Timing animation to narration
- Using third-party tools to speed up the infographics workflow