Join Andy Needham for an in-depth discussion in this video Skinning geometry and splines, part of X-Particles 3 for Cinema 4D Essential Training.
- We'll now take a look at the Skinner object. The Skinner is totally awesome, and has many uses. It allows you to create geometry from particles, or from vertices, so from any object which has points. If you've used the Metaballs Object, the Skinner will be familiar, but we can do so much more with it. Let's start by looking at skinning geometry. I'll create a Skinner, and I'll bring it below what I want to skin. Just here. And you may run into issues with the Skinner, if you don't have the order of operation correct.
So, C4D is always looking down the list in the Object Manager, and so the Skinner needs to be, generally speaking, below what you want to skin, so it needs to look up to what it needs to skin. So with that said, let's add a cube into the Object Source list, and I'm just going to hide the rest of the cubes. So looking at the Skinner, current mode is set to Points, or Vertices. We can press this here, and change it to Surface. And we get a representation of the cube. Let's add in another cube.
And it's on Points, so I'll change that to Surfaces, too. And I'll drag the cube towards the first cube, and we get this effect, where they're connecting to each other, and meshing together. It's kind of like using the Boolean tool. So we could also use these flags here to cut objects out. And then that's cut out. If you want a bit more control, you could use the Surface Cut. So I'll drag in this cube into the list, and there it is, it's cut out.
We can offset that, so we can increase the radius of the cut object. And we can now smooth this, increase the Iterations, get a really smooth result. Probably wouldn't want to go too high with that. And just one thing to be aware of is the Polygon Size. If we render it now, let's have a look. We get a much smoother result, because the Render Polygon Size is set to five, so if I set the viewport Polygon Size to five, too.
Let's just bring it back so we've got the original size, and then press five. And you can see we've increased the resolution of the mesh. And with all the smoothing, we get a much smoother result here. Let's move on to using the Skinner to skin splines. I'll remove this Skinner, and enable this System that we have, and turn on the Star spline at the top. Let's look at the Emitter. It's using the Star object and a point selection.
If I select the Star, and we're in Point Mode, You can see that we've got this selection tag here, which refers to these points on the bottom. So we're emitting particles from the bottom. With a bit of gravity, they'll fall down. So we want to create a dripping plastic type look, or wax or something like that. So I'm going to add a Trail Object, and I'm going to bring the Emitter into the field, so that Trail will be using the Emitter, and now we have some drips.
I'll create a Skinner, and we can drag the Star into the Sources, and change it to Surface. We can just develop the look as we go. And then we can even add the Trail in. And change that to Surface as well. Let's see what that looks like smooth. And render that. Let's add a material on. We're getting a slightly different result.
And that's because of the Polygon Size, so quite like the one that we're getting in the viewport, so I'm going to change the Render Size now. And when we render, we're getting this dripping, waxy, melted plastic type look. Let's move on now to Skinning Particles. We've got an Emitter, and it's just being moved around by this Vibrate tag. We'll add a Skinner, and drag the Emitter into the Source field. And immediately we're going to get some particles skinned and sent into geometry.
Could add this slimy texture on. And when we render, we're going to get a different result. So we'll just make our Polygon Size match. If we want to create a more liquidy type look, we can change the Surface, there's all these different Surfaces, and these ones are particularly good for fluids. You can see then the surface of the geometry is changing again. We'll smooth it out, and we can smooth out the particles. There's lots of properties here that you can play around with. I just want to show you, let's just see, we're going to get...
let's just turn off the smoothing. Just bring this back to a different mode so we can see it. You're seeing any flickering on the mesh, it's usually because there aren't enough particles being emitted, so you can certainly increase the Birthrate, or change the mode to be maybe Per Frame, so we're getting way more per frame. And we can also use some Deformers to smooth out the result as well, so the Smoothing Deformer springs to mind. Hold down shift, and we'll add it to the Skinner.
You can see that's having an effect straight away. And you get a bit more control over just using the Skinner Smoothing settings. You could also add in a Displacer as well. If we just choose the Color Shader, we can displace the geometry using the grayscale value. You can tighten it up by bringing it down towards black. And this is looking quite cool. It's important to be aware, again, of the order of operations. We wouldn't want the Displacer after the Smoothing in this instance, because we're going to get some weird-looking results here on the mesh.
So, I'll put it before the Smoother, and there we are. For a smooth, slimy-looking mesh. So that was a quick look at the Skinner. As said, there's plenty of properties to go back and have a play with, and we can now use it as a modeling tool when creating geometry from objects. And we can also use it to create a mesh from particles.
- Working with the Emitter tabs
- Adjusting particles with modifiers
- Creating visible particles
- Using sprites
- Colliding, freezing, and lighting particles
- Caching in X-Particles
- Applying constraints
- Adjusting materials settings
- Sculpting particles
- Saving and loading presets