Join Ian Robinson for an in-depth discussion in this video Repeating graphics with primitives and arrays, part of After Effects Guru: Working with 3D in C4D Lite.
Of course, as motion graphics designers, we want to create 3D elements that repeat, and fly around the scene. Cinema 4D Lite makes this extraordinarily easy by using array objects. Let's jump into our project, and create an array object that'll fly around our warning text. If you look in the Project panel, we have our composition, and our Cinema 4D layer, so i want these bars to fly around in in 3d space around our warning text. So, we need to open the Cinema 4d Project. With the repeating graphics dot c4d selected, press command E on mac, or control E on Windows to edit the original file.
Now to turn off the visibility of our word warning, we can go to the extrude nerve object and just click not once but twice on this top button. That would turn the visibility of that extrude nerves off, but it doesn't actually disable the render function. But if I go up to my render button, you can see that the text still exists inside the project, and it will render out. Now let's click back on the objects panel. I want to start by creating 1 bar that we could then repeat with an array object.
So, to do that, I'm going to go to my create tools and click and hold on my cube object. I want you to take a look at all the different objects you can create. As 3D objects. Very quickly and easily just by choosing one in this pull out menu. Now, it just so happens I want to create a cube so let's go ahead and choose the cube object. With the cube object selected in attributes panel, notice we can change the size settings or the number of segments. The segments correspond to the actual 3D geometry. If you want to see those segments when you're modelling, you need to go to the display section and change your project from group shading to group shading lines.
Now just so you can see what these segments look like, let's increase the number of segments on the Y axis. Just be aware as you add geometry to different objects, it is going to slow down the render process if you add an exorbitant amount of extra geometry. For low settings like this we're perfectly fine. With this object created in 4 segment setup, I want this to be a long straight bar that goes from the top of the scene all the way to the bottom. So let's increase the height. On the Y-axis. So we'll go to the size setting for Y and change it from 200 to 1200.
Now it's going to be plenty high enough. I want to rotate this in the scene but before I do, I want to actually get a better idea as to what this object looks like in 3D space. To do that, I need to go to the upper-right corner of my view port. If I click on this button, I can now see a top view, a front view, a right view, and a perspective view. I want this to be a thin bar so we need to change the size on the z-axis. Let's bring that down to a setting around 20. Now we have a nice thin bar.
As a general practice when I'm trading 3 dimensional objects, I like to add a fill it onto my object, even if I want it to be a sharp object. Let's go ahead and click on this upper right corner box in the Perspective window to open up the Perspective view, and I'm just going to zoom in. And rotate around here. Just so you could see the edge of my shape. Notice the default setting for the Fillet Radius has made a very rounded shape. kind of, like the edge of an iPod Nano. What I want to do is decrease the Fillet Radius.
Let's bring it down to a setting of around 3. And since this is a little more narrow, we don't need 5 subdivisions so let's change that to a setting of around 3. Adding a slight bevel like this will actually allow your 3D object to catch accent highlights so it gives it a little bit more dimensionality when you create the scene. Now that we have this object built the way that we'd like it to appear on our project, we need to replicate this or create duplicates of the project.
To do that, we need to go to the array object. Just like we made the text, the child of the extrude nerve, we need to make the cube the child of the array object. Now just so you can see what's going on, lets go back to our fore upview. Notice now we have a nice circle around our text. Let's go ahead and turn the text back on, so we can see the relationship between these 2 objects. Now with the array object selected, let's increase the radius just by clicking and dragging on these arrows.
I want to increase the radius so it's plenty wide enough. Keep clicking and dragging until it pops past the camera. That's going to give us a nice wide circle. And just so we can see that circle, let's zoom out here in the top view. I want to increase the number of copies. We can click on the arrows to increase the number. And they will move accordingly. In the array object, if I go to the coordinates section, I can make adjustments to the rotation so let's go ahead and click on the rotation and notice this is going to make adjustments for the overall array itself.
Well, what if I want to make an adjustment just to the object itself. Well, I could select the cube object here, and then go to its coordinates and change its rotation or let's say, its pitch. But notice it's not updating in the scene. This is because the array object is just going to replicate the base of this object and I need to create something in between the cube in the array so that it processes the way that I think it should be functioning. Let's create a null object.
This very much like a null object you'd create inside of after effects. So let's go back up to our cube objects and click and hold and choose null. Add the cube to the null, and notice now the cube has rotated. Well, let's reset the cube settings back to 0, 0. Now when we add our null into the array, it's going to appear the same way that it did before. But now if I select the cube and then adjust it's pitch, it's going to allow me to adjust that individual element, and then the array will duplicate that adjustment accordingly.
Adding a null object into your array gives you another level of control, kind of like adding nulls to add more control inside of After Effects. So, as you can see, when it comes time to build repeating objects, you definitely want to use arrays. But you'll probably also want to make sure to use null objects. So you have, yet, one more level of control.
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