When working in CINEMA 4D there are some core concepts that are essential to understanding how the software functions. In this video, learn what forms the very foundation of this software.
- Okay, here we are in C4D. And oh my word, look at all those buttons. Oh, don't panic. Let me be clear about something. You do not need to know what every button does to get started and make something cool. There are some aspects of this program that I haven't touched because they're just not part of my process. They're not part of the way I work. I know enough to be dangerous. By the end of this course, you will too. One of the most useful features of Cinema 4D is the Help system. It's my first port of call when I don't understand something or need some clarification and it's deeply integrated into the interface.
So you can just create something. What does this do? Right click and scroll all the way down to the bottom and right there is Show Help or Command + F1. And you can just click that and you'll be jumped right to the part of the Help that shows you and tells you all you need to know about that object. C4D encourages play. So you just saw me create a cube there. You might think, if you've used the software before, I did it a different way. You know, you can just go up to here and create a cube. So there's definitely more than one way of getting to the same result.
The software doesn't force you to follow a strict set of methods. And you may see me doing things one way and then think wait, I did something like that differently, you know. So feel free to challenge my methods. I encourage you to do so because it shows you have an understanding of the underlying concepts and what we're trying to achieve. The core concepts when working in 3D software is that to produce a rendered image, like this one here, very simple, is you need to have a camera, a light, and an object in the scene. And that object must have a material on it.
If one of these components is missing, the render would just be blank, nothingness, and so Cinema 4D provides a default light, camera, and material for all objects. And that's how you see something in the viewport when you hit Render right away. Just like I just did. So an important thing to remember when working in C4D is that it has both destructive and both non-destructive workflows. So a non-destructive workflow would be like working in these parametric objects, and we'll get into all this later, you can change the size, you can change the segments.
And if we just enable a different mode to view, you can see that I've just created 15 segments there, but you can then change that and it still works. It's all live. But if I actually committed this to be a polygonal object, then all those parameters go away. So you just have to be aware that without a history of actions, like you have in Photoshop for example, you've got to be careful of the methods you use to work, and that's why I always save my work incrementally, using that function there.
So I can go back to a previous state if need be. The key thing to understanding how Cinema 4D works is hierarchy. Once you know that C4D functions as a set of procedures which follow hierarchy, you'll be well on your way to grasping how each of the tools and objects work. So here we are, you've go this star spline and an extrude object in the object manager over here. And like I said, we'll get into all this stuff in more detail, but for now, just to demonstrate the idea of a hierarchy, we take this generator, called the extrude, and it needs another object to create geometry.
It will be the parent object to the child it uses to create the geometry. So to do that, we would just take the star and take it underneath and you see the icon change. Put it underneath the extrude and watch what happens. We get some geometry generated. And now we would be able to render this. The objects in the objects manager here are evaluated from top to bottom. We can see the flow of objects here. They're stored in this kind of tree. So we have roots and branches.
You can see that the child branch is indented in the object manager, under the root. And so this little line here, from the generators icon, to the icon of the star represents this parent and child relationship. So hierarchies, very important. And they are throughout this software. Next thing just to be aware of is your project settings and the frame rate and resolution that you work at. Here we have our 30 frames per second and you can find the resolution you're working at in the Render Settings.
And I've just checked the Lock Ratio button because it's a force of habit when I see it unchecked. By having the ratio locked, you can simply change the width of your resolution and C4D calculates the height automatically and vice versa. When creating an animation, it's very important that both your project frames per second and your render frames per second match. We looked at the project panel over here and we noticed this project scale. That's just an important thing to know when you're working with dynamics and things like that.
But scale is very important in 3D and something you should be aware of and this is where you go to to change that. Cinema 4D, as we said at the top of the course, is part of a pipeline. The outcome of which could be still or animated and animations are essentially a sequence of still frames. You're almost always going to take the output and finish it elsewhere so you don't have to get everything looking perfect in 3D. It would be a waste of time. I think because in a finishing application like Photoshop or After Effects, you have way more control over the final look of the output.
And remember those programs do that kind of thing best, so, play to the software's strengths. C4D has fantastic integration with Adobe After Effects. And that's one of the reason I started using C4D many years ago, when I wanted to add 3D to my pipeline. I hope you'll take away from this that C4D encourages you to play and discover by offering more than one way to get to the same result.
- Preparing artwork
- Extruding shapes
- Animating the model and camera
- Lighting the scene
- Applying materials