Cinema 4D has a specific set of spline creation tools that were updated in Release 17. In this video, learn how to use the various tools for creating and manipulating splines and learn how to trace a logo using the Pen and Spline Arc tools.
- [Instructor] In the previous movie, we looked at the spline primitives, which have defined parameters that allow us to work with predefined spline shapes in a nondisruptive way. Now let's look at how we'd create splines from scratch. If you're familiar with Adobe Illustrator, these tools should be fairly easy to grasp. So we're going to begin with the Pen tool, and we'll just click here to activate it, and we can just start clicking into the viewport, and if I click and drag, I'm going to create a point with handles, soft interpolation.
Now if I move along and just click, and if I click again, you can see there are no handles. We've got hard interpolation. Okay, so clicking and dragging, soft. Just clicking, hard. Now I can close up this this spline, just like so. You see where the icon changed there, and we can just come over to the spline here and verify that this spline is closed. If I click on a point, it turns orange, and it means it's selected, and I can manipulate the handles, just like so.
Get a little preview of where the spline was and where it's going to be, you see, like that, and that's very useful. Gives you an idea of what's happening to the spline. If I just want to manipulate one handle, I press Shift. I could start to break the tangent there, and I can now manipulate these handles individually. I don't need to hold down Shift anymore because this particular point's handles are broken. If I want to remove this point, I can hold down Command and hover over the point, and I'll get a preview, just as I did before, of what will happen to the spline if this point were to be deleted.
So I can now click and delete the point. If I hover with my Command key held down, or Control, and I'm in-between points, I can create points like so. So I've just created two new points there. Now, in-between, you can see I can now change the segment, and I can manipulate that, and it can give me handles. If I hold down Shift, it's only going to give me handles at the top and then hard interpolation in-between there. So that's another useful shortcut to do.
It's worth just playing around, throwing in the modifiers, like I'm just pressing Shift here, and now it's going to create a handle. It's going to be mirrored to the one I've got selected, and it's worth just having a play with these, and the tool becomes more and more intuitive as you use it. So we will use this in a practical example coming up. Let's just quickly look at the Spline Sketch tool. This is way more fluid. We can just quickly click and draw the spline out, and if we want to smooth out these points, we use the Spline Smooth tool.
There's loads of options here, not just smoothing, but I'll let you look at those in your own time, and you can just run around the spline here, smoothing off the points, and you can even do it on the one that we created with the pen tool, so you can have lot of fun with that. Now, be warned, when you're creating splines in the perspective view, the projection of the camera is going to define the plane on which the splines are created, so if I just press 3, and I can move around here, you can see that they have been created on that plane.
Now, if I were to take my Pen tool and start creating some more splines, like so, I'm just going to create a little really rough oval here, that's created on that projection. So I like to create my splines in an orthographic view so that I know which plane they're going to be created on. So we'll do that, we'll do a practical example now. So I'm going to delete these splines, switch to an orthographic view. I'm going to use the front view here, and what we can do is load in an image, so Shift + V, go to the Back tab.
In the image field, we'll just use the ellipses button here to load in this logo that we have, and this has been supplied by our client who says, "I've only got this, I don't have a vector file "or anything like that that you could potentially import," or the client doesn't know. We have to sympathize and say just, "Yes, of course "we can create this 3D logo for you," and thankfully, yes, it is possible, so we can load in the image, and now we can begin to trace it using the Pen tool, so we'll increase the transparency so we can see a bit of the grid coming through, and what we can do, we come over and make sure we've got our Pen tool activated, and what I want to do is just focus on this cloud.
We're not really worried about the text. The cloud is what we want to draw out. So we will begin by creating some points with the hard interpolation, so what I'll do is start around here, and I'm just going to click, and I will click, and I'm just going to make my way around this shape until I get to the bottom here, where I want to curve it. Now, what we can do is, there's a number of things we can do, but I want to introduce a new tool to you which is the Spline Arc Tool.
So you can see immediately that this is going to create some arcs, and what we need to do is just let it complete the spline here. So you can see the icon change. It looks like it's going to complete the spline, and we'll click, and what we can do now is manipulate various aspects of this arc. We can come in here and rescale it, but we don't want to do that. We can change these points here, and this is more what I want to do.
So now I'm just drawing, I'm making it kind of fit the curve here, and we've easily now, if we just press Escape, we've easily created that curve and described it with the Spline Arc Tool. Now there's some clean-up to do, and by that, I mean the line in-between these points here is not straight, and we'd like that to be straight, so we can certainly get them more accurate by, if we select this first point, Shift-select the second point and then look in the coordinate manager here, you can see the Y position is off.
It should be zeroed out, so we'll zero that out, and it's going to be a subtle change, but those points are now in the same Y place. So we'll do the same thing here, but on the X, and we'll zero off the X here. Same for this one, selecting those two points, I'm just using a live selection tool just to paint down and select those two points, and we'll zero out the X, and I think everything else looks good here. If you want to come in and tweak things, then by all means, do so. It might just mean that we need to bring this one down a touch, or what you could do is say, "Okay, "what's this point's Y position? "That's the correct position for me." Copy that, come over to this one, and then paste in, and now those will be on a straight line, and you could either select them both and move them up as a whole if you want to line them up with the artwork, just like so, and now we can be sure that they are in line, and let's just move on.
We'll move on and create a different part of the logo here, just to describe a different technique, so we've got the Pen tool here. I'm going to start at this point here, clicking, and just creating those hard points here, and now, what I could do is just complete this spline, and that doesn't look right, does it? We haven't got a curve here. Well, I can just click into this area, and this isn't exactly what I want to do, so I'm going to hold Shift so that I create handles for just these two endpoints.
Now, this is still not exactly what I want, but don't worry. I'm going to get this sort of roughly where I like it, like maybe one point can be correct, so something around there, okay. Now I'm going to come over to this point, and I think I can still stay in my Pen tool and just manipulate this handle so that it's in kind of the right direction. That's about right, here. Now what I want to do is probably just zoom in on the image so I can just be a bit more accurate, and it does look like it points up a bit here.
Coming down, selecting this one. This handle's obviously pointing in the wrong direction. It should be more curved inwards, like that, and probably coming down a bit. And you can see how we've quickly just described that curve there, and then again, just make sure that these points are in the same place. Now, something to be aware of is if you have a handle here, and the hard interpolation here, if you start zeroing off this, it's going to break what we did with that handle. Not very good.
So, this, let's say, is our correct X position. So we'll copy that, and, in fact, I think this is probably our correct X position, so it's very minor, so we'll copy that, and then we'll come over to this one, and we'll just paste in those values, and it will just nudge over. And now we've maintained that handle. We've also got the points in the right X coordinates, and so we'll just double check here. On the Y, we can just copy this one, and they're actually in the same place, so that's great.
So, everything is looking good here. So there's a couple of techniques to create the cloud, and what you should do now is complete the rest of the logo, and then it should look a little something like this one. Now, what I've done with this one is just thrown it into an extrude object. We're going to look into how we do this a bit later on, but you can see I've got my completed cloud, and it's looking pretty clean, and it's extruding nicely.
And so, what we've managed to do, then, is take a 2D image and use the Pen and Spline Arc tools to draw out the spline, which we can now give volume using these generators, such as the extrude. So we've turned the 2D image into a 3D object.
Here, learn key foundational concepts, such as spline modeling, lighting, and materials, which are crucial to understanding exactly how this 3D application functions. Instructor Andy Needham covers practical techniques for extruding shapes; working with MoGraph tools such as Cloners and Effectors; and adding lighting and camera views for fully realized 3D motion graphics. Plus, find out how to integrate assets from Adobe Illustrator, composite multipass renders with the After Effects and C4D workflow, and use the Takes System to try different materials and settings and export your projects in the exact sizes and resolutions you need.
- Setting up scenes
- Modeling with splines
- Using Illustrator files in C4D
- Extruding depth and detail
- Animating in the Timeline
- Creating clones
- Using Effectors
- Lighting motion graphics
- Applying materials
- Creating animated materials
- Compositing multipass renders in After Effects
- Rendering motion graphics in C4D