Join Adam Trachtenberg for an in-depth discussion in this video Learning the importance of working low to high, part of Hard Surface Sculpting and Retopologizing in Cinema 4D.
- One of the key principles to sculpting in CINEMA, or any sculpting program for that matter, is the rule of thumb to work from low to high. What that means is you're gonna do bigger, broader deformations at lower subdivision levels and finer, more detailed subdivisions at higher subdivision levels and I'm gonna just demonstrate briefly why that's the case, just using the spaceship model we have here. This is not gonna be for purposes of forwarding our design, (laughs) this is just to demonstrate the principle.
So let me start out by actually subdividing this a number of times. Three, four. That's 212,000 polygons, I think that's fine for now. So let's say, I'm going to go into Display and turn off lines so we can see the model. Now let's say we wanna just grab a big portion of the model and don't worry about the particular tools, I'm going to describe these later. Make a bigger brush, you know, we decided we want this to be longer, we decide we wanna drag it and it's, if you're just doing it freehand and you have this many polygons, it's easy to get these sort of bent shapes in it, just because the mesh is so dense.
Or, you know, so if I wanna move this down, well now it's very uneven and it's gonna be difficult to get the straight form back. So let's undo that a couple times and then see what happens if we do it going like all the way down to level zero and now I'm gonna bring back the lines because it's not so dense. And now if we decide we wanna move this out you can pull it out sort of gradually without getting all of those crazy dips and waves in the mesh just because there simply isn't enough resolution in the mesh to support those sort of deformations.
So that's why you would do big moves at lower subdivision levels. Now, conversely, if we go to a higher subdivision level, but not too high, let's go to Level 2.. Yeah, that's fine. Now let's say we actually want to add a circular sort of port here and the way we wanna do that, turning off lines again, is by starting out by drawing a mask, a circular mask. So I'm going to go into the Sculpt tools, Masks, Mask.
And I start out with a brush, let me just make sure my settings are appropriate. I'm using Line mode, I wanna do that Freehand. So I'm just gonna draw a mask here and I'm gonna turn off Steady Stroke and say just fill that and you can see what the issue is. Because there aren't enough points and because masks actually are a form of vertex shading, it's not giving me a smooth mask. I can alleviate that to some extent by using the blur function in the brush and that gives a nice smooth look but when I then go back to Sculpt and Masks and Invert and I actually try to move this.
Now I'm going to go from Mouse to Normal and what you're gonna see, because there's just not enough geometry to form these lines that go across the direction of the topology, it's gonna give you a pretty messy result. So let's go to Sculpt, Masks and Clear Mask. So you can see how this is, it's not terrible actually, but it's also not very good. In order to fix this, you would have to go to the Smooth tool, smooth it out and what you would end up doing is almost undoing what you just did because basically you just don't have enough geometry to support the action.
It's close here, this is actually not too far off, but let's undo that, all of that, and take it up maybe a level. 4, where we actually do have a lot of resolution and we can go back to our Mask tool and let's just try it real quick and do it again with the appropriate amount of geometry. Really, the higher the better for things like masking. Yes, you can actually slide this up. So I'm gonna Invert the mask, I'm gonna blur it anyway and you'll notice, the higher the subdivision level, the less blurring you get when you do blur the mask.
So that actually works in our favor here. So let's go back to the Grab tool, I have to move this back down, and drag this down again. Let's go the Mouse instead. In, down, and now we have a hole. Clear our mask and you can see it's cleaner but it's still kinda rough but if we go to our Smooth tool at this point, Smooth, there's enough geometry here where we can smooth it out without losing the deformation that we just created so that is a good thing.
So, general rule, work from low to high. Big deformations at low subdivision levels, finer deformations at high subdivision levels. There might be a reason to not follow the rule but make sure you have a specific reason if you do so.
In this course, modeling expert Adam Trachtenberg shows viewers how to use the sculpting tools in C4D to create a hard surface model, retopologize the sculpted model, return to sculpting mode to add fine details, and generate texture maps that approximate the illusion of detail—without the weight of polygons. He demonstrates the steps using a fantasy spaceship model, the kind you'd see in professional video games, television, or feature films. Watch and learn how to use these techniques to build your own.
- Sketching the rough form
- Building a simple polygon model
- Working with C4D's sculpting brushes and masks
- Retopologizing the sculpted model
- Creating bump, normal, and displacement maps to add fine detail