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Online Chapter CINEMA 4D Basics

From the corner of your eye, you see your boss approaching, grinning from ear to ear: “This is the newest thing on the market! Very easy to use! You as a Photoshop whiz will have no problem learning this software and can certainly show the customer a few layouts the day after tomorrow!” Isn’t it nice to have a boss with so much confidence in your abilities? Don’t panic! The following pages will bring you up to speed for the task of working daily with three-dimensional projects, even with just a little or no prior knowledge of the software. Seasoned users of the program will also benefit and will get an overview of the most important new features before we dive into the workshops.

important new features before we dive into the workshops. A.1 File Formats CINEMA 4D is a

A.1 File Formats

CINEMA 4D is a complex program that can be used to create, texture, animate and calculate (or render) 3D objects. The program uses polygons as a basic element to build these objects. Polygons are flat planes that have at least three corner points. All surfaces have to consist of this basic element.

This is a major difference when compared to the common CAD programs typically used for ar- chitectural or product design. CAD programs generate planes from curves calculated by mathe- matical formulas, so-called NURBS planes, or by using volu- metric shapes. These two systems are not compatible. If CAD files need to be used, for example, in a print campaign or an animation in CINEMA 4D, they first must be converted.

Depending on the kind of CIN- EMA 4D package you have, it might be possible to import cer- tain CAD formats directly, such as IGES or DWG files. An easier and safer way is to use external conversion software such as

An easier and safer way is to use external conversion software such as Figure A.2 The

Figure A.2 The standard layout of CINEMA 4D

Okino Polytrans, which is already a part of the engineering edition of CINEMA 4D. However, this software is only available for Windows PC users. There are also inexpensive CAD programs like Punch Via Cad 2D/3D, which run on a Macintosh, that are able to export all common CAD formats to polygon formats.

Besides the CINEMA 4D file format, the software can also import the following 3D file formats without a problem: COLLADA, FBX, STL, VRML, 3DS, OBJ, and DXF. It should be possible to receive at least one of these file formats. When working with clients it is advisable to agree on at least one of these formats in the beginning. At the very least, be sure to test different CAD programs to see if there are any problems with converting the customer’s CAD files.

Once that is done, opening readable files shouldn’t be a problem. Just use the OPEN command of CINEMA 4D in the FILE menu as shown in Figure A.3. The program recognizes the file type automatically. The file can then be saved as a native CINEMA 4D file with the SAVE AS… command in the same menu or be exported with the command FILE > EXPORT into another 3D format. It is not pos- sible to reverse the converted file back into a CAD file format because of the fun- damentally different way the objects are calculated. Generally, objects created with CINEMA 4D cannot be used again in CAD programs.

with CINEMA 4D cannot be us ed again in CAD programs. Figure A.3 The Open command

Figure A.3 The Open command opens external files as well as the native CINEMA 4D scenes.

A.2 Navigating

It takes a while to get used to working in a 3D environment if you have never used such a program before. Normally, you will work with different views of the imported or created objects. These vary by way of show- ing different kinds of perspective. The so-called PERSPECTIVE view shows the view through a virtual camera and is helpful in finding, for example, a good camera angle of the objects for the fi- nal rendering. Since this view shows perspective effects such as a vanishing point, it is not suitable for reliable con- struction of objects. Furthermore, this modeling method would force you to constantly move the virtual camera around the object in order to evaluate and work on it.

around the object in order to evaluate and work on it. Figure A.4 Different viewport views

Figure A.4 Different viewport views

Therefore, there are additional stan- dard views such as the front view, side view, and a view from above, as can be seen in Figure A.4. These view- points conform to the axis system of the three-dimensional space in which we move around in CINEMA 4D. In every viewport there are several navi- gation icons located in the upper right corner. From left to right, these icons

represent moving, scaling, and rotating within the viewport. As an alternative, you can use the keys 1 to 3 together with the mouse to navigate the viewports. In addition, the scroll wheel on the mouse can also be used for scaling.

The last icon represents the viewport window and enlarges the viewport. Clicking on the icon again brings back the four viewport views with the perspective and the three standard views. The label in the upper left corner of the viewport indicates the view currently displayed.

A.3 Selecting and Sorting Objects

Generally, you aren’t dealing with just one object but sev- eral, which have to be placed in their proper locations and in the right proportion to each other. The OBJECT MAN- AGER, which helps with this task, shows, among other things, a hierarchical listing of all objects in your 3D scene. It gives you an overview of all existing objects even if the viewport shows only a part of the scene and the objects it contains. Figure A.5 shows a view of the OBJECT MAN-

AGER.

With a click on the object name in the list, the object can be selected in order to edit it with tools or move it to a differ- ent place within the 3D space. When the Shift key is held, all the objects between two mouse clicks are selected. Clicking on the objects while holding the Ctrl key allows the additive selection of several objects. An alternative method is to draw a selection frame with the mouse around several object names. A double click on the object’s name makes it editable so the scene can be structured with more meaningful names.

By using the common COPY/PASTE commands, which can be found in the EDIT menu of the OBJECT MANAGER, se- lected objects can be multiplied. An alternative method is to click on the object name and, while holding down the mouse button and pressing the Ctrl key, drag the duplicate. The deletion of selected objects can be done by using the Delete or Backspace key.

By dragging and dropping a selected object onto the name of another object, it can be subordinated under that object. In this way, complex hierarchies can be created. Since every branch of such a hierarchy can be collapsed or ex- panded by clicking on the symbol of the superordinate (child) object, complex models containing several objects can be shown in a more simple way. This also makes it easier to manipulate the hierarchy, since only the highest object has to be moved or rotated. All child objects will follow automatically.

A.3.1 Clarifying the Structure

Complex scenes can easily contain several hundred or even thousands of objects. CINEMA 4D offers several useful functions for turning objects on and off. In every viewport

functions for turning objects on and off. In every viewport Figure A.5 The Object Manager Figure

Figure A.5 The Object Manager

on and off. In every viewport Figure A.5 The Object Manager Figure A.5b Copyright by Peter

Figure A.5b Copyright by Peter Hoffman, www.pexel.de

Figure A.7 The two small points behind the objects control their visibility separately within the

Figure A.7 The two small points behind the objects control their visibility separately within the viewport and renderer.

there is a FILTER menu available. There, certain object categories like light sources or the grid of the virtual floor in 3D space can be made invisible. The same function is also available as an icon in the top icon bar of CINEMA 4D.

The two gray points, behind the object name in the OBJECT MAN- AGER, control the visibility of individual objects. The upper of the two points represents the visibility within the viewports. With multiple clicks on this point, its color can be changed from gray to green to red. Green represents absolute visibility, even if the parent object is invisible. The red point indicates that the object is

invisible in the viewports. The gray point represents a neutral state. The object then takes on the visibility setting of the parent object. Figure A.7 shows an example of the

use of these points.

The lower of these two points works the same way but controls the visibility of the object in the renderer. Make sure the correct point is used so all objects will appear in the final render.

A.3.1.1 ORGANIZING OBJECTS IN LAYERS Objects can also be sorted in layers independent from their hierarchical structure. For example, imagine logical groups in engineering or architecture, such as floors of a building or parts of a machine, that are organized in a similar manner. With a click on the larger circle immediately behind the object name, objects can be moved to a new or already existing layer. This action doesn’t change the visibility or the hierarchical structure in the OB-

JECT MANAGER.

The affiliation to these layers is indicated by the color of the previously gray circle. The properties of the ob- jects within such a layer can be controlled in the LAYER BROWSER. It can be opened through the WINDOW menu of CINEMA 4D or directly by clicking on the layer point behind any object. Figure A.8 shows the avail- able commands for defining layers and their settings in the LAYER BROWSER.

layers and their settings in the L AYER B ROWSER . Figure A.8 Adding objects to

Figure A.8 Adding objects to planes and defining their attributes in the Layer Browser.

In the LAYER BROWSER, besides the editable names of the created layers, there are also several icons that con- trol the properties of the objects within the layers. From left to right, these icons represent the following:

Solo mode—only the elements of this layer will be shown in the OBJECT MANAGER and the viewports. Display mode—defines the visibility in the viewports.

Render mode—controls whether the objects will be shown in the final render. Manager mode—toggles the visibility within the OBJECT MANAGER. Locking mode—locks out the layer and protects it from accidental changes. Animation mode—activates or deactivates existing animations of the objects in this layer. Generators mode—activates or deactivates the calculation of parametric objects. These can be identified in the OBJECT MANAGER by the green checkmark behind the name. Deformers state—controls whether the object deformation will be calculated or not. Expressions state—turns on or off the existing expression and programs that control the behavior of objects during animations.

The LAYER BROWSER can also be used to add selected objects, to select objects in a layer, or to delete layers. The commands can be found in the FILE and EDIT menus of the LAYER BROWSER.

A.4 Manipulating Objects

Regardless of whether you load a single object with the OPEN function in CINEMA 4D or a complex scene from different files with the MERGE… command in the FILE menu, you will generally want to place the objects individually within 3D space and perhaps scale them as well. This requires several steps that always follow the same scheme.

First, the object that is going to be manipulated has to be selected. This is done by clicking on the object’s name in the OBJECT MANAGER or by selecting it directly in one of the viewports, as long as the USE MODEL TOOL mode is activated. We will talk about this in a moment.

The next step defines which element of the object will be manipulated. With objects made out of polygons, this could be points, edges, or polygons. These elements have a close relationship to each other. Points are usually connected by edges and frame the separate polygon planes. The corresponding modes USE POINT TOOLS, USE EDGE TOOL, and USE POLYGON TOOL are available in the right icon palette or in the TOOL menu of CINEMA 4D. Figure A.9 shows how the icons are integrated in the standard layout of CINEMA 4D.

If you would like to change the individual points, edges, or faces of an object, then, after selecting the object and choosing the fitting mode, you need to select the ele- ments to be changed.

Figure A.9 Shown from top to bottom are the modes for editing the object, the object axis, and the points, edges, and poly- gons.

A.4.1 Selection Tools

You have the choice of four different selection tools within an icon group or within the SELEC- TION menu of CINEMA 4D, which could look familiar if you have used other graphics pro- grams. These are the LIVE SELECTION tool, with which everything within an adjustable radius around the mouse pointer can be se- lected, the RECTANGLE, the LASSO, and the POLYGON selection.

the R ECTANGLE , the L ASSO , and the P OLYGON selection. Figure A.10 Different

Figure A.10 Different selection methods and their properties in the Attribute Manager.

Depending upon the tool, there are additional options in the so-called ATTRIBUTE MANAGER. This window can be found beneath the OBJECT MANAGER. It displays the available options and parameters of selected objects and tools. In the case of the selection tools I would like to point out the ONLY SELECT VISIBLE ELEMENTS option.

We move around inside a three-dimensional space where objects generally have a front and a back. This op- tion gives us the choice of selecting only the visible elements within the viewport, or also the elements that are currently hidden by the front of the object. Figure A.10 shows the icons for the different selection methods and their parameters in the ATTRIBUTE MANAGER.

methods and their parameters in the A TTRIBUTE M ANAGER . Figure A.11 Copyright by Dave

Figure A.11 Copyright by Dave Davidson, www.max3d.org

A.4.2 Moving, Rotating, Scaling

In the last step, the tool for the desired manipulation is chosen. The basic functions, moving, scaling, and rotating, are available as icons. Alternatively, the keys E for mov- ing, R for rotating, and T for scaling can be used. Figure A.12 shows the icons for these actions.

can be used. Figure A.12 shows the icons for these actions. Figure A.12 The tools for

Figure A.12 The tools for moving, rotating, and scaling

All this works not only for the parts of a surface but also for the whole object. Just activate the USE MODEL TOOL after selecting the object. Now the whole object can be moved, rotated, and scaled. All of the children of the selected object are automatically affected as well.

Figure A.13 The Coordinate Manager Figure A.14 Buttons for limiting the mobility along the X,

Figure A.13 The Coordinate Manager

Figure A.13 The Coordinate Manager Figure A.14 Buttons for limiting the mobility along the X, Y,

Figure A.14 Buttons for limiting the mobility along the X, Y, or Z axis and for switching between the world and object system

A.4.2.1 THE COORDINATE MANAGER

The COORDINATE MANAGER is used when the placement or angle of objects has to be exact. This manager acts as an information window for the current state of an object and for the selection of points or polygons, as well as a direct input window. A new angle or position can be entered directly in this window and applied to the object by clicking the APPLY button. The choice

of the coordinate system is important when using this window. Figure A.13

shows a view of the COORDINATE MANAGER, which is located at the bottom part of the layout.

A.4.2.2 THE COORDINATE SYSTEMS

A coordinate system is a point in space from where measurements originate.

One system is the stationary world system, which determines the zero point within the 3D space of CINEMA 4D. Besides that system, every object has its own coordinate system that can be used to place an object in a certain spot re- lated to another object. This so-called object system can be used when a subor- dinated (child) object is to be manipulated.

Switching between these two systems is accomplished by selecting WORLD or OBJECT in the menu of the COORDI- NATE MANAGER. If an object is to be edited manually and not by entering a value into the COORDINATE MANAGER, then switching between the two different systems can be done with a toggle switch icon, as seen in Figure A.14. That way it can be determined whether an object can be moved along the X axis of a parent object or along the X axis of the stationary world system.

object or along the X axis of the stationary world system. Figure A.15 A direct click

Figure A.15 A direct click on the end of an axis limits the manipulation of an object to this direction.

Figure A.16 Mode for manipulating the object axis system

A.4.2.2.1 The Axes of the Coordinate Systems Often, a rotation, movement, or scaling has to be re- stricted and should only occur along a certain direction. For these cases, the X, Y, and Z icons are used. They can be activated in any possible combination by clicking on

them, and can be seen in Figure A.14. The corresponding keys can be used as well. For example, when only the X icon is active, then only movements in the X direction or rotation around the X axis is possible. The coordi- nate system used in these restrictions can be chosen with the previously mentioned world/object icon.

Since this function of restricting the manipulation will be used frequently, the mak- ers of CINEMA 4D also made it possible to click directly on the axis handles of the object coordinate system in order to restrict the action to a certain axis. When an object is selected, as shown in Figure A.15, the USE MODEL TOOL icon becomes active. When the mouse is clicked and held at the handle of the object’s X axis, the

object can be moved and scaled along this axis only or rotated around it. Be sure to click just once on the axis; a double click would lock it permanently, turning the end

of the axis yellow. This lock can be turned off again with another double click on

the end of the axis.

A.4.2.2.2 Moving Coordinate Systems In some situations it makes sense to be able to individually move or rotate the object coordinate system. Just imagine a door that rotates at the hinge. Since the local axis system—as the object coordinate system is also called—also acts as the pivot point of every rotation and scaling, it would have to be moved to the hinge of the 3D door first before the door could be rotated.

This can be done after the USE OBJECT AXIS TOOL has been activated, as shown in Figure A.16. When this tool is active, the object coordinate system of the selected object can be manipulated with common move or rotate tools. The position and rotation of the system are completely independent from the location of the points and planes of the object. The local coordinate system can therefore also be placed completely outside the ac- tual object geometry. It is also possible with STRUCTURE > AXIS CENTER > CENTER AXIS TO to reset the sys- tem to the mathematical center of the object.

reset the sys- tem to the mathematical center of the object. Figure A.17 Settings of the

Figure A.17 Settings of the Modeling Axis

By entering the value 0 into the three fields for the angle values in the COORDINATE MANAGER, the axis system can again be aligned with the world coordinate system or the parent object’s coordinate system, depending on which coordinate system is active in the COORDINATE MAN-

AGER.

A.4.2.2.3 The Modeling Axis There is a similar system available for manipulating se- lected points, edges, or polygons. It is called MODELING

AXIS and can be edited after the activation of the move, rotate, or scale tool in the ATTRIBUTE MANAGER, as shown in Figure A.17. Depending upon the type of set- tings for the axis and direction, the position and direction of the modeling axis can be determined. This option is especially interesting because the position of the axis can be changed by using the three sliders within a se- lection. For example, selected points can be precisely rotated around a certain position in space. The RETAIN CHANGES option should also be used to prevent the modeling axis from being reset to its previous posi- tion.

modeling axis from being re set to its previous posi- tion. Figure A.18 A selection of

Figure A.18 A selection of typical primitives

After returning to the USE MODEL TOOL mode, the object coordinate system is back at its original posi- tion. The modeling axis is only active during the use of selected points, edges, and planes.

A.5 Modeling Objects Yourself A.5.1 Parametric Objects

So far we have talked only about imported objects. CINEMA 4D also enables us to construct almost any kind of shape with a variety of functions. The sim- plest are so-called primitives, also called parametric objects, as shown in Figure A.18. These objects can be found in a separate icon menu or in the OBJECTS menu of CINEMA 4D under the entry PRIMITIVE. Here you can find a cube, sphere, cylinder, and ring,

but also more exotic shapes, such as a virtual land- scape. You will quickly realize that complex-looking shapes can be broken down into simple basic shapes.

Many common objects can be quickly created by simply combining multiple primitives. All of these shapes

can be edited by moving the handler inside the viewports. These are the orange-colored spheres on the objects that are used to interactively control the size of the objects or the size of the fillet.

For a more exact way of editing, the ATTRIBUTE MANAGER can be used to enter numerical values to set a spe- cific edge length for a cube. There are also options, for example, for showing a slice of a cylinder or for smoothing the edges of a cube. This is the big advantage of parametric objects over polygon objects. Paramet- ric objects can be selected anytime and the values can be changed in the ATTRIBUTE MANAGER without having to manually move points or faces on the object.

having to manually move points or faces on the object. Figure A.19 On the left is

Figure A.19 On the left is a parametric landscape; on the right, the converted primitive.

Moving the points wouldn’t be possible anyway, as the USE POINT TOOL shows. Parametric objects don’t al- low the option of individually manipulating single surfaces by moving single points. It is only possible to edit the preset parameters in the ATTRIBUTE MANAGER.

A.5.1.1 CONVERTING PRIMITIVES In order to gain full access to all the elements of a parametric object, it has to be converted into a polygon ob- ject. This can be achieved simply by clicking on the corresponding icon, by selecting FUNCTIONS > MAKE ED- ITABLE, or by pressing the (C) key on the keyboard. But by doing this you lose the ability to set the parameter in the ATTRIBUTE MANAGER, and adjusting the fillet is then no longer possible. Therefore, you should be cer- tain you want to convert the parametric object, since this step can only be reversed by using the UNDO com- mand in the EDIT menu of CINEMA 4D.

Figure A.20 The different kinds of interpolations and spline primitives

com- mand in the E DIT menu of CINEMA 4D. Figure A.20 The different kinds of

A.5.1.2 SPLINE OBJECTS Spline objects should be used when more elaborate shapes are needed. These are basically identical to the curves and paths of common 2D programs. Spline objects, or just splines, consist of points that are connected by a curve. Their advantage is the ability to create complex curves with just a few points. These splines can be used to generate three-dimensional surfaces or to define a position track during an animation.

A.5.1.2.1 Spline Types Splines can be created in two ways. You can either use a spline preset, such as a rectangle, circle, or even text, whose parameters can then be controlled in the ATTRIBUTE MANAGER, or create a custom-shaped spline by setting the points manually. In order to create a custom spline you first have to select the sort of spline you want to create from the icon menu. You can choose from the following types of splines, as seen in Figure

A.20:

Freehand spline—This spline is generated as a continuous line as long as the mouse button is held. This type can be useful when, for example, a sketch is to be traced on a graphics tablet. Bezier spline—This type produces the most exact spline since additional tangents make it possible to con- trol the shape of the curves between points. B-spline—This is the only spline in which the generated curve does not necessarily run through the points. This generates a softer curve with organic transitions at sharp turns. Akima spline—This kind of interpolation results in a curve with small radii at sharp turns. Cubic spline—In this spline, direction changes are made with wide radii. Linear spline—In this spline, the set points are connected with straight lines.

Don’t worry if you aren’t sure which type of spline to use for the shape you want to create. The type of inter- polation can be changed afterwards in the TYPE menu of the ATTRIBUTE MANAGER, as shown in Figure A.21.

A.5.1.2.2 Creating Splines Manually After the type of spline is chosen, it can be cre- ated by simply clicking in the viewport and set- ting multiple points. Choosing the right viewport is important since splines don’t necessarily run in only one dimension, but can be created in three dimensions. Generally speaking, the new splines should be created in the front view. This ensures that the spline is generated in the XY plane of the world coordinate system. This method of align- ment is the best way to use the spline with some NURBS objects, which will be discussed later.

The method for creating a spline depends upon the spline type The freehand spline is not created by making several mouse clicks, but instead by pull- ing the mouse while holding down the button. The level of precision can be set in the ATTRIBUTE MANAGER after selecting the freehand spline.

The Bezier spline can be drawn by setting points with mouse clicks. In addition, the mouse button can be held after the click and, by pulling the

button can be held after the click and, by pulling the Figure A.21 Settings for manually

Figure A.21 Settings for manually generated spline curves

Figure A.21 Settings for manually ge nerated spline curves Figure A.23 Part of the context menu

Figure A.23 Part of the context menu for selected spline points

mouse, a tangent can be created. These tangents can still be created and controlled after the Bezier spline has been drawn. Finish the drawing of the spline by using the Esc key or by switching to the move tool. Then se- lect a point along the spline and right click in the viewport. As shown in Figure A.23, the context menu that appears includes all the common commands for editing the spline.

There are the commands HARD INTERPOLATION and SOFT INTERPOLATION. In this context hard means that the tangents of the selected spline are reduced to a length of 0. The curve then reacts like it would with a linear interpolation. SOFT INTERPOLATION works in the opposite way, generating tangents that will soften the curve at the point. An existing tangent can be individually scaled and rotated by moving the handles at its ends. By holding the Shift key, the tangents can be moved separately from each other. This is called breaking a tangent.

These broken tangents can be reset again to symmetrical tangents by using the commands EQUAL TANGENT

LENGTH and EQUAL TANGENT DIRECTION.

E QUAL T ANGENT L ENGTH and E QUAL T ANGENT D IRECTION . Figure A.22

Figure A.22 Copyright by Dave Davidson, www.max3d.org

Figure A.24 Otherwise identical spline objects with different settings for intermediate points All splines can

Figure A.24 Otherwise identical spline objects with different settings for intermediate points

All splines can be given the option of closing a curve by placing a checkmark at CLOSE SPLINE in the ATTRIBUTE MANAGER. This closes the gap be- tween the first and last point of the curve. In case this option is not displayed, click on the name of the spline in the OBJECT MANAGER again to update the spline parameter displayed in the ATTRIBUTE MANAGER. The type of spline and the number of intermediate points can be changed there anytime. A.5.1.2.3 Intermediate Points Since surfaces in CINEMA 4D consist exclusively of points and planes, it isn’t possible to transform a curve directly into a surface. The trick is that the spline curve is actually made of small, straight lines that are separated by intermediate points. The more intermediate points used, the smoother the curve and the later generated surface will appear. Since additional subdivision or faces put a strain on the memory, it should be our goal to generate only

as many faces as necessary. Accordingly, the num- ber of intermediate points can be controlled. The following modes are available and are also shown from left to

right in Figure A.24:

None—No intermediate points are used in the curve. This automatically generates a curve like the linear interpolation mode even if the curve is of organic nature. Natural—A fixed number of intermediate points per spline point can be set at the NUMBER value. The natural distribution causes the majority of intermediate points to be crowded around the spline points. If not enough interme- diate points are used, the curve may not pass through all the spline points. Uniform—Here, too, a fixed number of intermediate points per spline point can be set at the NUMBER value. But here the spaces between the intermediate points are equal, which means that the spline is separated by lines of equal length. This method also does not guarantee that the curve will pass through all the spline points. Adaptive—Here, the number of intermediate points is not preset, but instead is determined by the curvature of the spline in con- nection with the ANGLE value. Every time the curve bends more than the preset angle, an additional intermediate point is created. This generates an exact depiction of the curved seg- ments by adding many intermediate points where needed. Straight segments, though, don’t receive additional intermedi- ate points. This mode generates very precise curves and guaran- tees the passing of the curve through all the spline points. Subdivided—This is basically the same as the uniform mode. In addition, the length between the spline points is measured and

the length between the spline points is measured and compared to the value for M AXIMUM

compared to the value for MAXIMUM LENGTH. When the gaps are larger than the set value, additional intermediate points are added. This interpolation works very well when surfaces gen- erated with this spline are supposed to be deformed. It creates a

Figure A.25 Many common objects can be created from primitives and NURBS objects.

good compromise between a moderate amount of intermediate points and a fairly precise subdivided curve.

rmediate points and a fa irly precise subdivided curve. Figure A.26 View of a golf course

Figure A.26 View of a golf course modeled with several Extrude NURBS objects

A.5.1.3 NURBS OBJECTS The abbreviation NURBS stands for non-uniform rational B-spline and describes mathematically defined sur- faces that are commonly generated in CAD programs. CINEMA 4D uses this concept but at the same time converts the shapes generated by the splines to polygons. NURBS objects—with the exception of Hyper- NURBS objects—need splines in order to work. The spline object has to be subordinated under the NURBS object in the OBJECT MANAGER. The NURBS object then uses the spline by rotating it or moving the curve along a second spline to generate a surface.

In this manner many objects can be created that otherwise would have to be built in a more complex way by using basic objects. Another big advantage is the fact that the splines remain intact and editable. That way, the shape of the NURBS object can be easily changed by moving just a few spline points. The following NURBS objects are available.

A.5.1.3.1 Extrude NURBS Three MOVEMENT values in the ATTRIBUTE MANAGER define the amount and direction of the three- dimensional movement of the subordinate spline curve. The three values represent, from left to right, the X, Y,

Figure A.27 A classic example for the use of an Ex trude NURBS object: 3D

Figure A.27 A classic example for the use of an Extrude NURBS object: 3D logos or text

for the use of an Ex trude NURBS object: 3D logos or text Figure A.28 By

Figure A.28 By rotating a cross section of a bottle, a solid object is created.

and Z direction of the desired movement. The gap between the original and new position of the curve is then filled with polygons.

That way, massive objects can be created in a short amount of time from just a cross section, as shown in Fig- ure A.27. Typical examples are 3D text or a straight pipe. With the HIERARCHICAL option activated, several

Figure A.29 A text spline inside a Lathe NURBS subordinated spline object s can be

Figure A.29 A text spline inside a Lathe NURBS

subordinated spline objects can be used at the same time. In that case the MOVEMENT vector is not based on the coordinate system of the NURBS object, but instead on the individual object coordi- nate systems of the subordinated splines. The ex- trusion of splines with different rotation angles then works without any problems.

A.5.1.3.2 Lathe NURBS The Lathe NURBS object works great for the rota- tion of symmetrical objects such as vases, bottles, glasses, pie charts, and cork screws. Figure A.28 shows an example. The subordinate spline cross section is rotated around the Y axis of the Lathe NURBS. It is the green axis in the local coordinate system of the Lathe NURBS. The angle values in the ATTRIBUTE MANAGER also allow values

greater than or less than a complete 360° rotation. In connection with the MOVEMENT value it is possible to model, for example, a snail shell or the railing of a spiral staircase. In addition, the SCALING of the spline cross section can be varied. Figure A.29 demonstrates the use of SCALING at a text spline.

A.5.1.3.3 Loft NURBS This NURBS object can work with an indefinite number of splines. The shape is generated by the order of where the separate splines are placed as children of the Loft NURBS in the OBJECT MANAGER, as shown in Figure A.30. This NURBS object works well for reconstructing objects with multiple known cross sections. Branching out, however, is not possible. For instance, you can model a forearm from several splines but not the branching out of the fingers. In addition to the order of the splines, their direction and the location of the first spline point are also of importance.

direction and the location of the first spline point are also of importance. Figure A.30 Example

Figure A.30 Example of the Loft NURBS

Figure A.31 Example of a Sweep NURBS The direction of the spline is indicated by

Figure A.31 Example of a Sweep NURBS

The direction of the spline is indicated by the col- ored gradient in the viewport. The first spline point is white and the last one is blue. The splines have to be placed in a uniform direction in order to get a clean model. A spline facing in the opposite direc- tion can be corrected simply by selecting it and choosing REVERSE SEQUENCE from the context menu, which opens after a right click in the view- port. The starting point can also be moved easily when the spline is closed. Just select the new start- ing point and click on SET FIRST POINT in the con- text menu after a right click in the viewport. These commands can also be found under STRUCTURE > EDIT SPLINE. The Loft NURBS differs from all the other NURBS objects by not taking the intermedi- ate points into account when it generates the sur- face. The number of faces is controlled exclusively by the values MESH SUBDIVISION U and MESH

SUBDIVISION V. The U subdivisions follow the di- rection of the splines from start to end. The V subdivisions control the number of polygons between the

splines.

A.5.1.3.4 Sweep NURBS The Sweep NURBS object needs at least two subordinated child splines. The order of the splines in the OB- JECT MANAGER is important as well. The first spline, the contour spline, defines the cross section, while the second spline is used as the path. When extruding the cross section along a path, it is easy to create such things as cables or hoses. Figure A.31 shows an example of this object.

The GROWTH values in the ATTRIBUTE MANAGER define the part of the path being used in the calculation. GROWTH START 50% means that the structure will begin halfway down the path. These percentages are based on the direction of the path spline. The values for SCALE and ROTATION manipulate the direction and size of the contour spline along the path. Make sure that the points are evenly distributed along the path spline. That way the rotation of the cross section is calculated evenly along the path. Go back and read the section about the intermediate points again if this part is not clear.

In addition, scale and ro- tation can be controlled with two additional curves that are located under the DETAIL flag in

the ATTRIBUTE MAN-

AGER. By clicking on these two function graphs, new spline points can be generated or deleted by pulling the points beyond the graph window. With these curves, the SCALE and ROTATION values can be controlled along the

S CALE and R OTATION values can be controlled along the Figure A.32 Four examples of

Figure A.32 Four examples of different ways of rounding the cap

course of the path spline. Another way to control the scale and rotation is to subordinate two additional splines under the NURBS object. These additional splines are called Rail splines and can be activated by using the corresponding options in the ATTRIB- UTE MANAGER. In most cases, though, it should be enough to use the two graphs in the ATTRIBUTE

MANAGER.

A.5.1.3.5 Caps All NURBS objects mentioned so far are also capa- ble of closing the first and last spline with caps. The available options are the same for all these NURBS objects. The parameter can be found in the ATTRIB- UTE MANAGER under the CAPS tab after the NURBS object is selected, as shown in Figure A.33.

the NURBS object is selected, as shown in Figure A.33. Figure A.33 Parameter of the NURBS

Figure A.33 Parameter of the NURBS caps

These parameters define separately for START and END whether the NURBS object will have caps, caps with additional rounded edges, rounded edges without caps, or no caps at all. In addition, Figure A.32 shows some possible types of roundings for caps. The STEPS and RADIUS values control the number of polygons used and the radius of the rounding when this option is ac- tivated. The higher the value is for STEPS, the more faces are generated and the more exact the rendering of the rounding will be for such things as close-ups. The FILLET type itself can be determined in a separate menu, as shown in Figure A.32.

The cap itself is made out of polygons that lie in a plane. The TYPE menu offers several options, depending upon what will be done with the NURBS object. Here it can be determined whether the caps should contain triangles, quads, or n-gons. N-gons are faces that can have multiple corner points. They look cleaner since there are no edges crossing the surface between the corner points. This choice will become important when the NURBS object is converted for further editing in USE POINT TOOL mode. The conversion of a NURBS object is technically identical to the conversion of a primitive. In both cases the (C) key can be used. However, just like with the primitive, all parametric settings in the ATTRIBUTE MANAGER and the splines used to create the NURBS object are lost.

and the splines used to create the NURBS object are lost. Figure A.34 Converted splines can

Figure A.34 Converted splines can be combined into one spline.

The type of cap should be set to triangle or quad and should be combined with the option REGULAR GRID be- fore the NURBS object is converted. This generates additional points in a predetermined WIDTH from each other at the caps, which makes further manipulation possible. In addition, the intermediate points should be set to uniform or adaptive at the cross section splines of the NURBS object before conversion. The objects used for further manipulation of the object will be discussed at a later point in the book.

When no conversion is planned, it should be your goal to reduce unnecessary faces wherever possible. The even subdivision of the caps is then rather counterproductive.

A.5.1.3.6 Special Shapes Created by Splines with Several Segments Besides the ability to depict open and closed paths, splines can also consist of several independent segments. Take the letter O, for example, which is made out of two spline curves defining the shape inside and out. In order to build such shapes, the splines first have to be created separately. Whether you use a parametric spline object or a manually built spline doesn’t matter. What is important is that both splines have to be located on the same plane. This is another reason to create splines exclusively in the XY viewport and to move them later to the desired location. Figure A.34 shows several circular splines placed inside a rec- tangle.

several circular sp lines placed inside a rec- tangle. Figure A.35 A combined spline inside an

Figure A.35 A combined spline inside an Extrude NURBS with a concave rounding of the caps

In the next step you have to make sure that the curves don’t overlap. It must be obvious which spline is outside and which is located on the inside. Also, all spline primitives have to be converted to editable splines so their points can be accessed. For instance, when a circular parametric spline is used, it first has to be converted by using the make edit- able icon or the (C) key. In addition, the splines should be closed if they will be used to build a shape with an inner and outer surface. The necessary option can be found in the ATTRIBUTE MANAGER when the spline object is selected.

A TTRIBUTE M ANAGER when the spline object is selected. Figure A.36 Display of points in

Figure A.36 Display of points in a Bezier spline in the Structure Manager

Then select all splines that are in- tended to be part of the shape with Ctrl or by shift clicking in the OB- JECT MANAGER and selecting FUNC- TIONS > CONNECT. A new spline object will appear on top of the OB- JECT MANAGER that contains all of the previously selected splines. The advantage of combining the splines

is that, for example, several curves can be extruded with a Sweep NURBS along a path. A more interesting fact is that holes can be put into other- wise solid NURBS objects. The spline objects located on the inside are automatically used as cavities or holes, as shown in Figure A.35. By using special commands like JOIN SEGMENT or BREAK SEGMENT, which can be

found in STRUCTURE > EDIT SPLINE or in the previously mentioned context menu, neighboring elements can

be merged or segmented splines can be split into separate splines. To connect spline segments you just have to select the points of the segments that are supposed to be connected.

A.5.1.3.7 Edit Splines Just like polygon objects, splines can be edited by moving points. We already talked about the additional con- trol of the Bezier spline by using tangents. It might be necessary to add more points to the curve or to extend a spline using additional points. In that case, select the spline, activate the USE POINT TOOL mode and hold down the Ctrl or Strg key. Now click on the spline wherever a point should be added.

Clicking outside of the spline will create a point that is connected to the end of the spline. The end of the spline is indicated by a blue point. When points need to be added to the beginning of the spline, the order of the spline points has to be reversed by using REVERSE SEQUENCE at STRUCTURE > EDIT SPLINE. Points can be de- leted from the spline by selecting the point and using the Delete or Backspace key.

A.5.1.3.8 The Structure Manager When it is necessary to precisely place the points of a spline, you can use the COORDINATE MANAGER or the

STRUCTURE MANAGER. The STRUCTURE MANAGER tab is located next to the OBJECT MANAGER or can be

found in the WINDOW menu of CINEMA 4D.

The STRUCTURE MANAGER contains a tabular list of all points or faces of a selected object. The type of data in the list can be chosen in the MODE menu of the STRUCTURE MANAGER. When POINT mode is active, all local point coordinates are shown. After a double click on a row they can be edited.

Bezier splines have additional fields that show the position of the tangent ends and allow the tangent to be placed in a different position. For example, by setting the Y position to zero, the tangent can be put into a hori- zontal position. Figure A.36 shows such a list of points and spline tangents.

A.36 shows such a list of points and spline tangents. Figure A.37 The Array object makes

Figure A.37 The Array object makes it easy to arrange object copies in a circular fashion.

Figure A.38 Copyright by Peter Hofmann, www.pexel.de A.5.1.4 HELP OBJECTS Often it is necessary to

Figure A.38 Copyright by Peter Hofmann, www.pexel.de

A.5.1.4 HELP OBJECTS Often it is necessary to group multiple objects together or to get them to interact with each other in order to create the desired shape. This can be achieved by using a selection of help objects that can be found in a sepa- rate icon menu or under OBJECTS > MODELING.

A.5.1.4.1 The Array Object The ARRAY object is used when an object is to be duplicated and, at the same time, arranged in a circle. Subor- dinate any object under the ARRAY object and it will be duplicated based on the settings in the ATTRIBUTE MANAGER. The COPIES will then be arranged in a circle around the Y axis of the ARRAY object. The RADIUS of this circle is controlled by a value in the ATTRIBUTE MANAGER, as can be seen in Figure A.37. The local axes of the copies are also aligned to the axis system of the ARRAY object. The alignment of the local system of the subordinated object might have to be corrected in USE OBJECT AXIS TOOL mode to align the object cop- ies correctly.

Further options in the ATTRIBUTE MANAGER, depending on the entered value of the frequency, cause an up and down movement of the object copies similar to a sinus wave. By entering an AMPLITUDE value of 0 these movements are turned off.

A.5.1.4.2 Boole Object Complex mechanical shapes can often be created by combining multiple basic shapes. This can be done either through an intersection or by subtracting an object from another shape. The BOOLE object takes care of these kinds of combinations. The objects being used are subordinated under the BOOLE object in the OBJECT MAN- AGER. The type of calculation is controlled by the BOOLEAN TYPE menu in the ATTRIBUTE MANAGER. The names of modes like A SUBTRACT B or A WITHOUT B give a hint as to the type of calculations used. The letters

A and B represent the first (A) and second (B) subordinated object under the BOOLE object in the OBJECT

MANAGER. Figure A.39 shows the practical use of the BOOLE object. It demonstrates the creation of eye sock- ets by subtracting spheres from the head model.

Because the BOOLE object calculates volumes, the objects used have to be closed, for example, a sphere, cube,

or any NURBS shape with caps. Several options in the ATTRIBUTE MANAGER allow further manipulations of

the calculation. The option HIGH QUALITY, for example, activates a new algorithm and, most of the time, im- proves the quality of the results. Sometimes, though, the deactivation of this option generates a cleaner end

result.

deactivation of this option generates a cleaner end result. Figure A.39 Two small spheres are subtracted

Figure A.39 Two small spheres are subtracted from a big sphere by a Boole object to model the head of a comic character.

Areas where two objects meet and new surfaces are created need special attention. These new faces can be combined and converted to n-gons by the option HIDE NEW EDGES. N-gons are faces that are able to contain more than corner points and sometimes result in a cleaner look. In order to optimize the resulting object’s sur- face, you can use CREATE SINGLE OBJECT in combination with the distance value OPTIMIZE POINTS. All new points that are positioned within this value are merged to one point. This will also be of importance when sur- face attributes are applied. When the two objects remain separate, two different colors can be applied. A single object would take on the same color overall.

Both subordinated original objects remain editable and exchangeable. This fact makes this particular help ob- ject interesting to use in, for example, an animation in which a drill is making a hole in another object. In addi- tion, multiple BOOLE objects can be combined. For example, the result of two BOOLE objects can be added to a third BOOLE object and then subtracted again from another BOOLE object.

Just like all the parametric objects, the BOOLE object can be converted with MAKE EDITABLE in order to gain access to the elements of the geometry. As a result, all parametric properties are then lost.

As a re sult, all parametric properties are then lost. Figure A.40 By using the Symmetry

Figure A.40 By using the Symmetry object, only one half of the head has to be modeled.

A.5.1.4.3 Symmetry Object Many objects are symmetrical. Therefore, we can save ourselves some work by modeling just half of such an object and adding the missing half with a symmetry object. The local axis system of the SYMMETRY object acts like a mirror. Which plane of the axis system is intended to be used to mirror the subordinated object is defined in the MIRROR PLANE menu in the ATTRIBUTE MANAGER. In order to directly merge the points located on this mirror plane, the option WELD POINTS can be activated and fine-tuned by altering the tolerance value.

This object is very helpful when modeling not only a face or whole bodies, but also many mechanical objects like a car where the left and right side are identical. Figure A.40 shows an example of a head where only one side was modeled and the other side was automatically generated by the SYMMETRY object.

A.5.1.4.4 The Null Object The last object of the group is the NULL object which, all by itself, is an empty object and doesn’t have a func- tion. It is however very useful for grouping objects. NULL objects can be used to subordinate multiple objects, to scale object groups or to rotate groups around a certain point in space. Therefore, move the NULL object first to the location in space and then subordinate the objects.

Such groupings can be created directly by selecting the objects to be grouped, and then to use OBJECTS > GROUP OBJECTS in the OBJECT MANAGER. The keyboard shortcut is (Alt) G or Option G on a Mac.

A.6 Deformation Objects

For modeling and especially for animations, deformations are very useful. The points of an object are moved automatically to create, for example, a bend or rotation. Especially with objects containing many points it is a relief, because moving all of these points individu- ally would be too time consuming and not precise enough. In addition, the deformers have the advan- tage that they can be corrected, animated, and com- pletely reversed while the original object remains intact. The different deformers can be found under the icon in the top icon palette of CINEMA 4D and also at OBJECTS > DEFORMATION. Figure A.41 shows an overview of all available deformers. The deformers can be roughly categorized into pure de- formation or special effects. Deformers need to be

subordinated under the object to take effect. If multi-

ple objects are to be deformed at the same time, then these objects have to be subordinated under a NULL object that then has to be subordinated, together with the deformer, under another NULL object, as shown in Figure A.42. In this example, a slim cube is being twisted to look like a thread.

a slim cube is being twisted to look like a thread. Figure A.41 List of deformation

Figure A.41 List of deformation objects

A.6.1 Deformations

In this section I’ll group together what are probably the most used deformers: the BEND object and the TWIST object. Both of these objects are shaped like a cube with one handler at the end of the positive Y direction. By moving this handler, the direction and amount of the deformation can be controlled.

First, it is important to rotate the deformer in the right direction for the deformation. The deformation is always calculated along or around the Y axis of the deformer object. There are also several modes that determine how far the object is affected by the deformation. These modes, together with the strength and direction of the ef- fect, can be set in the ATTRIBUTE MANAGER.

Figure A.42 A simple thread can be create d by twisting a slim cube. Figure

Figure A.42 A simple thread can be created by twisting a slim cube.

A.42 A simple thread can be create d by twisting a slim cube. Figure A.43 Copyright

Figure A.43 Copyright by Dave Davidson, www.max3d.org

A.6.1.1 LIMITED This mode lets the deformation start on the side of the cube opposite the handler. The deforma- tion, based on the settings for strength and direc- tion, is then transferred to the parent object up to the handler. The parts above the handler are de- formed to create a natural-looking transition to the deformed area.

A.6.1.2 WITHIN BOX This mode works like the limited mode but does not influence the geometry outside the deforma- tion cube. This can result in unattractive transi- tions between deformed and unaffected parts.

A.6.1.3 UNLIMITED Here all parts of the object are deformed regard- less of the location of the deformer. The defor- mation does not depend on the dimensions of the deformer.

A.6.1.4 BEND DEFORMER: RETAIN Y LENGTH With this option activated, the distance between the deformed points is corrected so the propor- tions remain accurate. Without this option, the object geometry could be extremely elongated within the deformed area. This effect might be desired if the part is supposed to be made of rub- ber. A bent iron pipe, though, should retain its original length.

A.6.1.5 LIMITING DEFORMATIONS Often it is necessary to restrict a deformation to a certain area of the object. There are two methods of deforming limited areas of polygon objects.

two methods of deforming limited areas of polygon objects. Figure A.44 Formula deformation of a disk

Figure A.44 Formula deformation of a disk with and without restrictions to the point selection

A.6.1.5.1 Restriction to a Point Selection Figure A.44 shows an example of a highly subdi- vided disk being deformed by a FORMULA object. In order to restrict the area of deformation, select the points and then use SET SELECTION in the SELEC- TION menu of CINEMA 4D. A new symbol appears behind the object in the OBJECT MANAGER. Such additional symbols are called TAGS and can control certain properties or save data. In this case, the cur- rent point selection of the object was saved and can be activated again anytime by a double click on the tag. There are additional functions available in the

ATTRIBUTE MANAGER when the SELECTION tag is

clicked once, and there is also a name field where

the S ELECTION tag is clicked once, and there is also a name field where Figure

Figure A.45 Restricted to the point selection

the selection can be named. This helps keep the scene organized when multiple selections are saved. It can also work with polygon and edge selections.

If

you want to save several point selections as tags, make sure that the last tag is deselected. Otherwise, instead

of

creating a new tag, the active one would simply be overwritten.

In

order to allow the deformer object access to the data of a point selection tag, we need to manually add a RE-

STRICTION tag to the deformer. Right click in the OBJECT MANAGER on the name of the deformer and select in the context menu the entry CINEMA 4D TAGS > RESTRICTION.

In the section TAG PROPERTIES in the ATTRIBUTE MANAGER there are several name fields. Put in the name of

your point selection in the uppermost of these fields, or simply pull the selection tag from the OBJECT MAN- AGER into the name field, as shown in Figure A.45. The deformation tag now only affects the points saved in that tag.

A.6.1.5.2 Restriction to a Vertex Map The restriction of the deformation to a vertex map works in a similar manner. A vertex map, also called weighting points, sets a percentage value for every point of an object. A deformation then affects the object depending on the percentage of weighting. Because the weighting is calculated in percentages, it is possible to achieve soft transitions between deformed and unaffected areas.

There are several ways to create such a vertex map. Just like the previous restriction method, start with a point selection on the object and convert it with SELECTION > SET VERTEX WEIGHT… into a vertex map. A dialog window will request that you to enter the percentage value that should be applied to the points. However, this makes it difficult to achieve a soft transition between points of different weighting strengths.

A soft transition is easier to accomplish with the live selection (SELECTION > LIVE SELECTION), which can be

switched to VERTEX PAINTING in the ATTRIBUTE MANAGER. The STRENGTH slider determines the percentage that then can be painted onto the object with the mouse.

It is even easier to use the BRUSH tool in the STRUCTURE MANAGER, as shown in Figure A.46. It can be set to

PAINT in the ATTRIBUTE MANAGER. The RADIUS

value determines the size of the area around the mouse pointer that will be painted. The STRENGTH VALUE, in connection with the reduction function, sets the percentage value, and the WIDTH value de- termines the decline toward the edge. When the ob-

ject is highly subdivided and contains many points, it

ob- ject is highly subdivided and contains many points, it is possible to paint soft tr

is possible to paint soft transitions of the weightings

directly with the mouse. It is also possible to create a transition between weightings later.

Set the brush to BLUR. Depending on the STRENGTH, the repainted points are compared with the neighbor- ing points and the point values are then blended.

Figure A.46 Creating a vertex map with the brush tool

In order to make such a vertex map usable for a de-

former, a RESTRICTION tag must be used again. The next steps are similar to the previous point selection since a vertex map tag can receive an individual name in the ATTRIBUTE MANAGER as well. Just enter the name into the restriction tag. The deformation is applied de-

pending on the values of the weighting. Figure A.47 shows how it is possible to achieve softer transitions on the edges of deformed regions.

softer transitions on the edges of deformed regions. Figure A.47 Restriction of the defo rmation to

Figure A.47 Restriction of the deformation to a vertex map

A.6.1.6 BONE DEFORMER The bone objects take on a special role within the deformers. They are stiff and only become active in a hierar- chical structure in combination with other bone objects. The actual deformation happens in the area between two bordering bones where, by rotation, a kind of joint is created. The Bone object has this name because these objects are often used for character animation where complex objects are to be realistically animated. These deformers can of course be used for the bending of other objects.

The course of action is to first add a BONE object and to subordinate it under the model to be deformed. Based on a 3D character the bone could be placed in the thigh or in the upper arm, at places where bones exist in real- ity. Figure A.48 shows an example.

Align the tip of the bone object so it is placed at a spot where a joint is supposed to be created. If necessary, change the LENGTH of the bone by changing the value in the ATTRIBUTE MANAGER. When you pull on the handler of the bone while holding the (Ctrl) or (Strg) key, a second bone is created that is automatically subor- dinated under the first bone in the OBJECT MANAGER. This way you can generate bone hierarchies of any length and complexity. Just make sure that the bones remain inside the geometry to be deformed.

A.6.1.6.1 Binding Bone Objects In order to deform objects, the bones have to be bound to the object. Select the uppermost bone of the hierar- chy and choose SOFT IK/BONES > FIX BONES from the CHARACTER menu of CINEMA 4D. A dialog box will

Figure A.48 Bone objects for deforming a human arm Figure A.49 By using hierarchies, deformers

Figure A.48 Bone objects for deforming a human arm

Figure A.48 Bone objects for deforming a human arm Figure A.49 By using hierarchies, deformers can

Figure A.49 By using hierarchies, deformers can be used to deform all kinds of objects.

then ask whether subordinated bones should be fixed as well. The majority of the time your answer will be yes, and the actual length, position, and directions of the subordinated bones will be saved, too. Only in this way can a deformation be calculated from the difference between the original and the changed bone position.

A.6.1.6.2 The Effective Range of the Bones The effective range of the bones results either through the individual RESTRICTION tag or exclusively through the distance between the bone and the surrounding geometry. In the latter case, the setting for the FUNCTION in the parameter of the top level bone of a hierarchy is important. This function defines how much the attractive force of all bones declines with increasing distance. The FUNCTION 1/R causes a much slower decline of the force than it would with FUNCTION 1/R^10. Also, the effective range of the bones can be controlled by radii as

long as the option LIMIT RANGE is active. The values for MINIMUM and MAXIMUM define the area in which the force of the bone declines, until it reaches 0% at the outer radius.

In practice, vertex maps are used more often since the deformation of complex objects can be controlled more precisely. Then the options SMART BONE and ABSOLUTE VERTEX MAP should be activated as well. ABSOLUTE VERTEX MAP adds all vertex maps of the object together. When any point receives a weighting above 0%, the remaining percentage up to 100% is automatically added. If a point has weightings in several vertex maps that together don’t reach 100%, then the missing percentages are divided between all affected vertex maps. Only that way can we be sure that when the whole bone hierarchy is moved, all points will follow as well. This is also common practice when using the FBX format for exporting, as used by the software Autodesk Motion- Builder.

A.6.2 Special Effects

Besides pure deformation, there are deformers that are primarily used not only for special effects like melting or the explosion of an object, but also for polygon reduction. The basic way of working stays the same. Here, too, the deformer has to be subordinated under the object. Several han- dlers and parameters in the ATTRIBUTE MANAGER control the effect. For a closer look I’m going to use the polygon reduction object, which can be helpful after the import of highly subdivided CAD files. Figure A.50 shows the general function of this tool.

files. Figure A.50 shows the general function of this tool. Figure A.50 Function and dialog of

Figure A.50 Function and dialog of the polygon reduction object

A.6.2.1 THE POLYGON REDUCTION OBJECT The goal of this object is to remove as many polygons from the object as possible without changing the look too much. The amount of the desired reduction is controlled by the REDUCTION STRENGTH value. A value of 50% means that half of the polygons are removed. The value for the MESH QUALITY FACTOR controls a follow-up check of the ge- ometry after the polygon reduction. This should prevent faces from overlapping or penetrating each other. High values are used with origi- nally complex geometries that are to be greatly reduced. Simple ge- ometries can use smaller values.

reduced. Simple ge- ometries can use smaller values. Figure A.51 Example of the reduction of polygons

Figure A.51 Example of the reduction of polygons. On the left is the original; on the right is the reduced version.

The CO-PLANAR OPTIMIZATION checks the original object for polygons that are positioned in the same space prior to the reduction. Such polygons can be combined without changing the shape of the object or causing any problems. This option should always be active.

The BOUNDARY CURVE PRESERVATION forces the algorithm to keep open object edges. It allows objects such as a plane or a polygon disk to retain their shape after the reduction. With closed shapes like a sphere this op- tion has no effect.

POLYGON QUALITY PRESERVATION prevents the creation of small, acute-angled triangles within the reduced object and assures an even subdivision. If this type of polygon already exists in the original object, then it is not removed.

A.6.2.2 CONVERTING DEFORMATIONS As the example with the useful POLYGON REDUCTION object shows, deformers can be used for modeling as well. In order to edit the deformed or reduced geometry with the usual tools, such as the moving of points on the surface, the deformation has to be made permanent. Therefore, select the deformed object and choose CUR- RENT STATE TO OBJECT from the FUNCTIONS menu. A new polygon object appears in the OBJECT MANAGER that has all the properties of the deformed or reduced original.

A.7 The Material System

Generally, all objects are displayed in a plastic-looking shade of gray. Each object can have its own color to ease the visibility in the viewport window. Click on the object and change to the BASIC settings in the ATTRIB- UTE MANAGER, as shown in Figure A.52. Here we can find several previously mentioned settings such as the visibility in the viewports or renderer, the af- filiation to a layer, and the name of the object.

the af- filiation to a layer, and the name of the object. Figure A.52 Basic settings

Figure A.52 Basic settings for the color of objects in the viewports

A.7.1 Viewport Colors

The USE COLOR menu in conjunction with the DIS- PLAY COLOR field allows the definition of any color value. If and how this color is used are determined by the USE COLOR menu. The setting OFF deacti- vates any individual coloring and activates the stan- dard gray again. At AUTOMATIC the set color value is used as long as the object doesn’t have a material applied to it. ALWAYS suppresses applied materials and always uses the set color value. Lastly, the color of the LAYER the object is on can be used as well.

color of the L AYER the object is on can be used as well. Figure A.53

Figure A.53 The Material Manager with several material presets

A.7.2 Creating a Material

Using a material is more useful than the simple application of color since it allows much more control over the surface properties. It needs to be created for the rendering later on anyway.

The MATERIAL MANAGER is used for the creation and possible grouping of materials, as shown in Figure A.53. Through its FILE menu new materials can be created, material presets can be loaded, or materials used in other CINEMA 4D scenes can be merged into the current scene.

When a standard material has been created with FILE > NEW MATERIAL, it appears as a gray sphere in the MA- TERIAL MANAGER. A click on this sphere opens the settings for this material in the ATTRIBUTE MANAGER. It is more practical, though, to double click the material preview because this opens a separate MATERIAL EDITOR that can be placed and scaled separately.

A.7.3 The Material Channels

In CINEMA 4D the appearance of a surface is created by a variety of single properties or effects. For example, there is the color of the surface, the reflection, and the transparency. These and other properties are sorted into so-called channels and can be individually activated and precisely controlled by parameters. The list of channels can be seen on the left of the opened MATERIAL EDITOR. The properties of the material can be selected by check- marks. Generally, only a few channels will be used. Fig- ure A.54 shows an example of a material in the MATE-

RIAL EDITOR.

an example of a material in the M ATE- RIAL E DITOR . Many channels offer

Many channels offer identical settings that contain a color chooser and a texture field underneath. In the texture field, for example, an image can be loaded or a Shader selected. These are small programs that create effects or patterns from mathematical calculations. This is helpful for simple structures because we don’t have to find suit- able images in order to create an effect. Also, the shaders are mostly independent from the render resolution and won’t lose their sharpness in close-ups, as is the case with images.

Figure A.54 The Material Editor

In the channels, color and shader/image are placed on top

of each other like layers. Therefore, the MIX STRENGTH slider often comes in handy to allow the color to shine through a loaded image. There are also several MIX MODES available to, for example, multiply the image with the color. Let us look at the properties of the avail- able channels.

A.7.3.1 COLOR Here a color value is defined, or a picture or pattern is created with a loaded image or shader, which interacts with the 3D light sources when the scene is rendered. That means that the colors can be seen only where the object is lit later on.

A.7.3.2 DIFFUSION To make surfaces look more realistic, small errors or irregularities should be added. The DIFFUSION channel can help by darkening a surface and therefore making it appear more dirty and used. This channel can also be used in combination with special shaders to give the surface a natural shady look with Ambient Occlusion. We will talk more about this in the section about shaders.

The DIFFUSION channel itself only works with brightness values. Loaded images and shaders are evaluated by their brightness and not by their color values. Areas that are light in the shader/image retain their original value and others are darkened. Additional options such as AFFECT LUMINANCE or AFFECT REFLECTIONS can apply the weakening effect of this channel to other channels. The influence on the COLOR channel is always active.

A.7.3.3 LUMINANCE This channel works like the COLOR channel, with the only difference being that colors set here are visible re- gardless of the lighting of the object. Thus colors of low intensity are used here. More often a special shader that can limit the effect to certain areas of an object is used. An example is the use of the SUBSURFACE SCAT- TERING shader (SSS), which controls the penetration and the scattering of light in an object. We will hear more about this in the shader section. An illuminating material, in combination with radiosity calculations, can even be used to illuminate neighboring objects, as shown in Figure A.55. The material of the flame has illuminating properties and therefore illuminates the scene during the global illumination calculation. The intensity of the illumination is then interpreted as the brightness of the scene. Generally, though, an overly strong illumination causes a loss of three-dimensional depth since the shading of the surfaces is being suppressed.

since the shading of the surfaces is being suppressed. Figure A.55 The luminance part of the

Figure A.55 The luminance part of the flame material illuminates the scene by global illumination.

A.7.3.4 TRANSPARENCY Materials like glass or water are almost entirely defined by their transparency. This property is defined in this channel by the brightness of the set color or the brightness of the loaded image/shader. The brighter the color, the more transparent the object will be when the image is rendered. When an object shouldn’t be transparent overall, an image or shader can be loaded into the TEXTURE field. Bright areas are then calculated stronger than darker areas.

Figure A.56 Variations of the transparency settings. Top left, without additional options; next to it,

Figure A.56 Variations of the transparency settings. Top left, without additional options; next to it, with total inner and outer reflections; bottom left, with an absorption color.

Transparent materials also have refraction properties that can be set with the REFRACTION value. Tables used in the field of optical physics list typical values for many crystals or liquids. These values can be directly used in CINEMA 4D. For example, the value for air with average temperature is 1.0, water has a value of 1.333, and glass a value between 1.5 and 1.6. Generally, the refraction indexes of real materials are close together. Special effects can use much higher values or even values below 1.

A.7.3.4.1 Reflections Many transparent materials are also reflective. As a result, the amount of transparency is reduced by the view- ing angle while the reflection strength increases. A typical example is a store window, which, when viewed at a normal angle, is almost invisible. But when you look at the glass from a narrow viewing angle, the window suddenly appears like a mirror. This effect can be simulated with the so-called Fresnel calculation. The value of the FRESNEL REFLECTIVITY controls the strength of the effect.

The options TOTAL INTERNAL REFLECTION and EXIT REFLECTIONS control, depending on the angle between the calculation ray and the surface, where additional reflections have to be calculated. The reflection is based either on the area of the surface where the ray enters the air or enters another object with a different refraction index, or on the rays that are being reflected internally by the refraction of the glass.

A.7.3.4.2 Absorption The thicker the glass or the deeper the lake, the more the light is scattered and weakened. This effect is con- trolled with the ABSORPTION DISTANCE. After a refraction ray has passed this distance within the material, it will completely take on the ABSORPTION COLOR. In conjunction with the transparency color used evenly throughout the object, realistic materials can be simulated down to the finest details.

A.7.3.4.3 Blurriness Effect The settings of the BLURRINESS group simulate structured or rough surfaces that don’t allow transparency. The larger the value for the blurriness effect, the more translucent the material appears, as can be seen in Figure A.57. The two SAMPLES values define the accuracy of the calculation since multiple samples have to be sent for every pixel. Depending on the shape of the surface to be calculated, CINEMA 4D picks a certain number of samples between the set values MIN SAM- PLES and MAX SAMPLES. The ACCURACY value acts like a selection criteria for the number of samples. The higher this value, the closer we get to the maxi- mum number of samples. As you might expect, the more samples are used, the longer it takes to calcu- late. Therefore, you have to find a compromise be- tween accuracy and calculation time if the material has to have a scattered transparency.

time if the material has to have a scattered transparency. A.7.3.5 REFLECTION This channel is basically

A.7.3.5 REFLECTION This channel is basically identical to the settings of the TRANSPARENCY channel. The brightness of the color or image/shader controls the strength of the channel effect, in this case, the strength of the reflec- tion. The BLURRINESS effect follows the same princi- ple in this channel and causes a sandblasted or matte look, as shown in Figure A.58. Remember that when a transparency including fresnel and reflection ef- fects is applied, the material has reflective properties even if the reflection channel is inactive. Often, users forget that it takes more than a reflective material to make an object look highly reflective, such as being covered with chrome. The objects that are supposed to be mirrored on the surface must be in the vicinity of the object, too. Otherwise, nothing can be seen in the reflection.

Figure A.58 From left to right, 0%, 30% and 60% matte reflection

A.7.3.6 ENVIRONMENT This problem can be solved with the ENVIRONMENT channel. Generally, an image is loaded into the channel and then projected onto the surface as an image of the environment. That way, complex environments can be simulated even though they exist only as an image. With the TILES value you can control the number of image repetitions in both the horizontal and vertical directions. With an activated EXCLUSIVE option, the loaded im- age is only visible where a 3D object is not reflected onto the object. This way, the reflection of a 3D house will cover the loaded image of a sky on the object and thus create a more realistic reflection. This option can be deactivated if real and simulated reflections should be superimposed.

Figure A.57 From left to right, 0%, 10% and 20% translucent effect

and simulate d reflections should be superimposed. Figure A.57 From left to right, 0%, 10% and

A.7.3.7 FOG This channel is often used alone because it fills the 3D object with a virtual fog. The density of the fog is con- trolled by the DISTANCE value. The smaller the value, the thicker the fog appears. Since this value depends on the size of the object, it is often necessary to create test renderings in order to get the desired result. This kind of material is useful when a fog or cloud is to be simulated that is restricted by an object. Some pos- sibilities include creating fogginess close to the horizon or a fog bank in a ditch.

fogginess close to the horizon or a fog bank in a ditch. Figure A.59 Different bump

Figure A.59 Different bump patterns

A.7.3.8 BUMP Often, surfaces are not perfectly smooth or polished. Generally, these details are too small or insignificant to add as part of the object geometry. Imagine the tracks of a record, rough wallpaper, or the pores in skin.

Such fine irregularities can be simulated with the BUMP channel by using a grayscale image or shader. Bright areas then seem to protrude and darker areas recede. The strength of the effect is controlled by the STRENGTH slider and can also be reversed by using negative values. But don’t overdo it. This channel is only meant for minor irregularities. Values that are

too strong appear too unrealistic since the surface of the object isn’t being changed. The effect is created entirely by a variation of the shading values. Examples can be seen in Figure A.59.

A.7.3.9 NORMAL The effect of this channel is basically identical to the BUMP channel, but the results are much more precise and more realistic, with fine details. The only disadvantage is that not every grayscale image can be used. The structure of the surface has to be in a certain format, which is generated from another object by using complex calculations. This calculation analyzes the surface tilt of a finely modeled object and encodes this information into a bitmap. This bitmap can then be loaded into the NORMAL channel of the roughly modeled object to add the missing details. An example of this process is shown in Figure A.60. On the left is the original high- resolution object. With the BAKE TEXTURE tag, the NORMAL map can be extracted. The rendered image can be

the N ORMAL map can be extracted. The rendered image can be Figure A.60 On the

Figure A.60 On the left is the original object, in the center the baked normal map, and on the right a simple sphere with the normal map applied as a material.

seen in the center. When this bitmap is applied to a low-resolution object, in this case a sphere, its surface ap- pears very complex.

This technique is commonly used in the computer games industry, where, for example, characters and walls show many details and react correctly to light changes despite the low polygon count. This technique has been well established in the area of character modeling, as seen in the programs Autodesk Mudbox and Pixologic ZBrush. These programs can export NORMAL maps in a format that CINEMA 4D is able to read.

These normal images can also be calculated within CINEMA 4D. We will talk about this in the section on bak- ing textures. For the average material, though, this channel with its involved preparations is not practical.

cha nnel with its involved preparations is not practical. Figure A.61 Several shapes can be cut

Figure A.61 Several shapes can be cut out with alpha masks.

A.7.3.10 ALPHA Many of you are already familiar with the term alpha from the subject of image editing and the extraction of image parts. The way the alpha channel works is identical. The brightness of a loaded image or shader is ana- lyzed. White areas remain visible and dark areas are turned off. When necessary, this behavior can also be re- versed by using the INVERT option, which can be seen in Figure A.56. On the left, a plane had a dot pattern applied in the ALPHA channel. This way, grates, perforated sheets, nets, or fences can be easily made without having to stress the memory with elaborate geometry. On the right, the start logo of CINEMA 4D was loaded into the ALPHA channel and applied to a deformed plane. As you can see, the objects farther back are visible through the cutout areas of the plane.

When an image with an integrated alpha channel is used, the channel is automatically recognized when the IM- AGE ALPHA option is activated. This option has to be deactivated when a SURFACE shader is used, in order to show the desired result. The SOFT option creates a fading of the material based on the brightness values of the image. As an alternative this option can be deactivated, and a masking color, which can be determined in the COLOR and DELTA fields, is then taken from the image. The DELTA color value defines the allowed maximum deviation that still is recognized as a mask. This is only suitable for black-and-white images, however, and those without an alpha mask. Contrary to the function of the TRANSPARENCY channel, the ALPHA channel af- fects all channels. For example, the highlight or reflection remains visible at a 100% transparent area, while at the invisible areas of the ALPHA channel these effects are not shown.

A.7.3.11 SPECULAR The highlight properties and the color of the surface are probably the two most important parts of the material. Thus these two channels are active by default in every material. The highlight gives an indication of the quality of the surface and the kind of material. Metals show a different highlight than plastics, which also look differ- ent from skin or fabric.

Figure A.62 On the left are different highlight heights; on the right are differe nt

Figure A.62 On the left are different highlight heights; on the right are different highlight widths.

Generally, the more intense and smaller the highlight, the more polished and wetter the surface appears. Large and weak highlights indicate a rough or dry surface. The intensity of the highlight is controlled by the HEIGHT value. The WIDTH slider defines the size of the highlight. Remember, highlights appear only in places where light rays hit the surface in the correct angle. Thus how the material will appear depends mainly on the light- ing. Figure A.62 shows an example of the effects of different intensities and sizes of highlights.

The values for FALLOFF and INNER WIDTH regulate the transition from the center of the highlight to the fading edges. The graphical depiction in the upper part of the channel shows the settings.

The intensity of the highlight can be raised manually above 100% in the HEIGHT field if the highlight should be more intense in dimmed light situations.

There are several modes available for the calculation of the highlight, as shown in Figure A.63. You will rarely change from the plastic mode to another, though. The METAL mode strongly reduces the brightness of the mate- rial, which makes it necessary to greatly increase the height of the specular to generate an intense highlight. This behavior is supposed to simulate the look of metal, which mainly gets its look through reflection and glossi- ness. The COLORED mode is similar to the PLASTIC mode but in addition the color of the surface is multiplied with the highlight.

A.7.3.12 SPECULAR COLOR As its name suggests, this material channel colors the highlight. Without this channel, the highlight takes on the color of the light source responsible for its existence. Be- sides coloring, the other purpose of this channel is to con- trol the intensity of the gloss on the surface. Therefore, an image or shader is loaded into the channel that then is analyzed based on its brightness and multiplied with the

is analyzed based on its brightness and multiplied with the Figure A.63 From left to right,

Figure A.63 From left to right, the modes plastic, metal, and colored

From left to right, the m odes plastic, metal, and colored Figure A.64 Different structures for

Figure A.64 Different structures for the highlight color

highlight. Wet and dry areas or smooth and rough areas can be created within the same material, as seen in Figure

A.64.

A.7.3.13 GLOW This is a so-called POST EFFECT. Post because the glow effect is calculated two-dimensionally and then put on top of the rendered image. In many cases this is useful be- cause the effect is calculated very quickly. The disadvan- tage is that the effect is not visible in reflections or be- hind transparent objects.

visible in reflections or be- hind transparent objects. The S TRENGTH and the R ADIUS of

The STRENGTH and the RADIUS of the glow effect can be controlled with parameters. Additionally, the RANDOM

and FREQUENCY values allow a variation of the glow dur- ing an animation. The glow can have a different color or take on the color of the surface. Figure A.65 shows several variations of this effect.

Figure A.65 Glow effects with different intensities and colors

A.7.3.14 DISPLACEMENT This channel has multiple uses since the surface of an object is actually deformed by this channel. Depending on the method, either the points of the object are used (traditional displacement) or new points are created on the surface and then moved (option for sub-polygon displacement). In addition, these new points can be used to smooth the surface. The purpose of this chan- nel is similar to that of the BUMP channel. It can generate structures on the surface that otherwise would take too much time to model. The main difference from the BUMP channel is that the surface is actually deformed. This allows for much more dramatic changes, as seen in the ex- ample of Figure A.66.

dramatic changes, as seen in the ex- ample of Figure A.66. Figure A.66 On the left

Figure A.66 On the left is normal displacement; next to it is a sub- polygon displacement with different subdivision levels.

A.7.3.14.1 Direction of Movement Just like the bump channel, brightness values are extracted from the loaded image or shader and multiplied with the values for HEIGHT and STRENGTH. The TYPE menu defines which brightness leaves the surface unchanged. The mode INTENSITY (CENTERED) starts its base brightness at 50%. Darker pixels cause dents,

while lighter ones cause a move outward. The mode INTENSITY uses black as the base that makes the surface move outward only by following the brightness of the pixel.

As an alternative, color information can be used as well. In RED / GREEN mode, the red colors are used to cal- culate the movement inward and the green colors the movement outward. It gets even more complex with the possible assignment of different directions for the displacement movement in RGB modes. Here, the red, green, and blue parts of the colors are assigned to the X, Y, and Z directions of the local object coordinate sys- tem or the world coordinate system, depending on the mode.

A.7.3.14.2 Additional Options for the Sub-Polygon Displacement As previously mentioned, the precision of the deformation can be increased by adding more points. Figure A.67 shows the settings for the sub-polygon displacement. The object remains in its original state for model-

Figure A.67 Settings of the displacement channel ing. Only during rendering will it be subdivided.

Figure A.67 Settings of the displacement channel

ing. Only during rendering will it be subdivided. The number of additional points can be set at the SUBDI- VISION LEVEL. The number of faces quadruples with each level up, so be careful with this setting. Values between 3 and 5 are often enough, especially when the object already contains a large number of real points.

The additional points can be used not only for the deformation but also for smoothing of the object shape. For that purpose, activate the ROUND GEOME- TRY option. The additional option ROUND CONTOUR includes open edges into the rounding process. In an extreme case, a plane can turn into a circular disk.

A.7.3.14.3 Texture Projection Because the shape of the object is sometimes se- verely changed by the displacement, there are sev- eral options available that clarify the application of the material to the object. The option MAP ROUNDED

GEOMETRY applies the material after the calculation of a geometry rounding. This takes a bit of rendering time, but the result will look more natural. Without this option the material is applied to the object and then the object is rounded. This can cause distortion in the material, for example, when an image is used in the color channel.

MAP RESULTING GEOMETRY works in a similar manner but doesn’t round the geometry. It affects the actual displacement deformation. When this option is active, the material is applied after the displacement deforma- tion is completed.

KEEP ORIGINAL EDGES retains hard edges even after the displacement. The rounding of the geometry cancels out this option, though. The BEST DISTRIBUTION option ensures that the newly moved points are closely ori- ented to the tilt of the original faces. The deformed surfaces then move more smoothly, for example, across hard edges.

A.7.3.15 EDITOR This setting defines the calculation of the material for display in the viewports. When the EDITOR DISPLAY menu is set to COMBINED, the eye symbols can be used to decide which channels are going to be used for the display. The quality of the display also depends strongly on the capabilities of the graphics card. The best qual- ity and resolution are achieved with extended OpenGL. Its availability can be tested in the preferences of CIN- EMA 4D.

To do this, open the PREFERENCES… menu in the EDIT menu of CINEMA 4D and activate the VIEWPORT sec- tion in the list on the left. On the right side you can now find the button for SHOW OPENGL CAPABILITIES, as can be seen in Figure A.69 in the RENDER SETTINGS. This function lists the capabilities of your graphics card together with the minimum requirements for OpenGL acceleration. When all the requirements have been met, then you can activate OPENGL SHADING in the VIEWPORT options. This will allocate the display of objects and lighting effects to the graphics card and will greatly speed up the display in the viewports. In addition, go to the DISPLAY menu and activate the ENHANCED OPENGL option. More options for TRANSPARENCY, SHADOWS, POST EFFECTS, or NOISE shader complete this option.

Figure A.68 Copyright by Dave Davidson, www.max3d.org Figure A.69 Testing the OpenGL capab ilities of

Figure A.68 Copyright by Dave Davidson, www.max3d.org

Figure A.68 Copyright by Dave Davidson, www.max3d.org Figure A.69 Testing the OpenGL capab ilities of your

Figure A.69 Testing the OpenGL capabilities of your graphics card

Figure A.70 Settings for the editor display of materials In the E DITOR channel of

Figure A.70 Settings for the editor display of materials

In the EDITOR channel of this material, which can also be seen in Figure A.70, adjustments can be made for each material in your scene. When, for ex- ample, only the color is of importance, then just set the EDITOR DISPLAY to COLOR. The options with the eye symbols then automatically lose their functional- ity. They are only used when the option COMBINED is activated.

Also helpful is the setting of TEXTURE PREVIEW SIZE. When an image is used in one of the material channels, this setting defines the resolution limit of the images that are displayed in the editor. The lar- ger this value, the more memory is used for display in the editor. This has no influence on the quality of

the material when being rendered. In addition, the ANIMATE PREVIEW option activates the display of animated shaders or movies in the editor, since channels can also contain these two types of animated materials.

A.7.3.16 CUSTOM CHANNELS Almost every object, tag, or material can have so-called user data applied to it in CINEMA 4D. These are cus- tom parameters that have nothing to do with the actual function of the object or material. The material or ob- ject is only used as a kind of vessel that can have other data attached to it.

This additional data can be requested by an XPresso expression and become a kind of individual dialog through which expressions can be controlled and used. In materials these additional values are called Channels since they look like additional material channels. With an active material you can find an ADD CUSTOM CHAN- NEL button in the basic section of the ATTRIBUTE MANAGER. Multiple channels can be created and filled with images, shaders, or objects in the MATERIAL MANAGER. Right clicking on the name of these additional chan- nels opens a context menu where you can select EDIT ENTRY. A new dialog box will open in which you can change the name of the custom channel and its interface depending on whether you need a link field or a shader field. The options in the DETAILS section define the display of the user data in the MATERIAL EDITOR. Custom channels are especially interesting when exporting to game engines since additional information about objects can be added, such as collision calculation or the placement of vegetation in a landscape. The bitmaps in the custom channels can be edited directly in BodyPaint 3D, CINEMA 4D’s own paint mode.

A.7.3.17 ILLUMINATION In this channel you can define the shading method to be used and the behavior of the material when the scene is rendered with caustics or global illumination. When global illumination is used with the advanced renderer, the GENERATE GI and RECEIVE GI values define the STRENGTH and SATURATION of the light being received or emitted through the surface.

A.7.3.17.1 GI Settings When a material is transparent and meant to represent something like an outside window, the option GI POR- TAL can be activated so that indirect light can enter the room and not be blocked by the window glass. This also accelerates the GI calculation of this material. The preconditions are that only the transparency channel can be active within the material and its strength must be set to 100%. The setting of the SAMPLE MODE also defines the sampling of the material, as long as the material becomes a light source itself when global illumina- tion is used. The values for MAXIMUM SAMPLES and ACCURACY define the maximum number of calculation steps in QMC SAMPLING and PER-PIXEL QMC SAMPLING mode. The basic principle is similar to the matte ef- fect in the TRANSPARENCY or REFLECTIONS channel.

Figure A.71 Copyright by Peter Hoffman, www.pexel.de With the use of illuminating materials in scenes

Figure A.71 Copyright by Peter Hoffman, www.pexel.de

With the use of illuminating materials in scenes with global illumination, it is important to set the SAMPLING MODE of these materials at least to OVERSAMPLING so the OVERSAMPLING settings in the RENDER SETTINGS can be used. We will hear more about this mode later in the section about global illumination.

A.7.3.17.2 Caustics The activation of the calculation of caustics in RENDER SETTINGS and in the lights of the scene makes it possi- ble to turn on or off the generation and reception of caustics in the next group of settings in the ILLUMINATION channel. In addition, the strength of the received and generated properties of the material can be controlled by percentage. The precision of the calculation is controlled by SAMPLES and RADIUS.

A.7.3.17.3 Shading Models The brightness and its path on the surface are mainly influenced by the selected shading model. The preset PHONG model delivers a balanced relationship between the directly lit area and the transition to the shadow. With BLINN, the brightness of the directly lit area is emphasized. The highlight is automati- cally brighter and larger. The object appears slightly rough in the shaded areas with the OREN-NAYAR mode. This effect can be con- trolled with the ROUGHNESS value.

The DIFFUSE FALLOFF moves the brightness of the surface in all three modes closer to the tran- sitional zone between lit and unlit areas. Nega- tive values are also possible, resulting in light that is then concentrated more around the area of the highlight. In the OREN NAYAR mode there is a value for DIFFUSE STRENGTH, which influences the brightness of the whole material. Figure A.72 shows three examples of shading settings.

Figure A.72 shows three examples of shading settings. Figure A.72 From left to right are exampl

Figure A.72 From left to right are examples of the settings for Phong, Blinn, and Oren-Nayer with otherwise identical materials.

A.7.3.18 ASSIGNMENT At the very least, the ASSIGNMENT category of a material informs us which object has the material assigned to it. A right click on the objects listed there allows us, for example, to remove the material from all or from just the clicked object, or to show the clicked object in the OBJECT MANAGER.

A.7.3.18.1 The Texture Tag In order to apply the material to a certain object, just pull the object from the OBJECT MANAGER into the ASSIGNMENT list. As an alternative, pull the preview sphere of the material from the MATERIAL MAN- AGER onto the object in the OBJECT MANAGER or directly onto the object in one of the viewports. A new symbol, the so-called TEXTURE tag, will appear behind the object in the OBJECT MANAGER. It de- fines from what direction and how many times the material is put onto the object. The dialog of the TEXTURE tag can be seen in Figure A.73.

The dialog of the T EXTURE tag can be seen in Figure A.73. Figure A.73 Settings

Figure A.73 Settings of the texture tag

The settings of this tag become important when the

material contains images or shaders. The direction and size of this material matter when it is applied to an object. When you want to define only the gloss, color, or generally the transparency or reflective properties of the surface, you don’t have to do anything else with the

TEXTURE tag. Otherwise, the direction and shape of the material projection on the object’s surface are set in the PROJECTION menu.

The FLAT projection shines the material onto the object like a projector. The SPHERE projection wraps the ma- terial around the object. Besides these projections, which follow the contours of geometric basic objects, there is UVW mapping. It uses the UV coordinates of the object. Basic objects and NURBS objects have UV coor- dinates automatically applied, resulting in materials adjusting pretty well to bent surfaces. Generally, though, UV coordinates have to be created or edited with BODYPAINT 3D, the CINEMA 4D integrated paint tool.

A.7.3.18.2 UV Coordinates The big advantage of using UV coordinates is, since every pixel can have a certain coordinate of the object assigned to it, that structures and images can be placed over bends or edges. This assignment also fixates the material onto the surface even if the surface is deformed. Thus the use of UV coordinates is mandatory for character animation. You will get to know more about UV coordinates when we talk about BodyPaint 3D.

A.7.3.18.3 Adjusting the Projection After selecting the kind of projection, such as sphere, cube, or plane, it can be adjusted visually in the editor viewports. Therefore, turn on USE TEXTURE TOOL. When the object and the TEXTURE tag are active, after clicking on the object in the OBJECT MANAGER you can see a yellow-colored representation of the projection shape in the viewports. As an example, Figure A.74 shows a cylindrical projection on the left. This shape can be edited with the common move, rotate, and scale tools and can be adjusted to the object. That way you can, for example, pull a logo to a certain location. In addition, there are functions available in the TAGS menu of the OBJECT MANAGER, like the automatic adjustment of the projection size to the size of the object.

of the projection size to the size of the object. Figure A.74 Cylinder projection of a

Figure A.74 Cylinder projection of a marble material for the horizontal column

Two alternatives are available if a material is not supposed to wrap the entire object. One is that you can use a projection smaller than the object and deactivate the TILE option in the TEXTURE tag. If this option is turned on, then the material is repeated indefinitely in all directions and the whole object is covered. In addition, the SEAMLESS option alternates the mirroring of the material tile so materials containing images do not create harsh edges. The second possibility of restricting the material to certain areas is to create and assign a polygon selection. Select the surface part to be textured and then save this selection with the SET SELECTION command in the SELECTION menu of CINEMA 4D. We already know this procedure from the section about the restric- tion of deformations. This saved selection can be assigned by drag and drop from the OBJECT MANAGER di- rectly into the SELECTION field of the TEXTURE tag. From now on this texture will only be visible within this saved part of the surface.

A.7.3.18.4 The Side of the Projection Materials can be put on either the inside or the outside of a polygon. This only works, though, when the object has multiple materials applied. With BOTH selected in the SIDE setting, the polygon is textured on both sides. Another applied material then has the option of selecting BACK or FRONT. The first material is then covered by the second material on the selected side.

A.7.3.18.5 Texture Layers Generally speaking, working with multiple materials is comparable with layers in a graphics program. The or- der of the TEXTURE tag behind an object works the same way as a layer system. A TEXTURE tag located farther

to the right is higher in the hierarchy and covers the materials to its left. Materials with ALPHA channels let

materials in lower layers shine through. The order of the tags can be changed in the OBJECT MANAGER by drag and drop. In a projection smaller than the object, the material can be moved within the projection area by changing the OFFSET X and OFFSET Y values. This can be helpful during an animation when the structure of the material is supposed to move over the object. The

number of repetitions within the projection area is de- fined either by the LENGTH

X and LENGTH Y value or

by the TILES X and TILES Y setting.

L ENGTH Y value or by the T ILES X and T ILES Y setting. Figure

Figure A.75 From left to right, the ChanLum shader, backlight shader, and subsurface scattering

shader, backlight shader, and subsurface scattering Figure A.76 From left to right are the gradien t,

Figure A.76 From left to right are the gradient, wood, tiles, and marble shaders.

A.7.4 The Shader

A high-resolution image is

certainly the best choice in order to reproduce real ma- terials or properties. That is not always possible, though. There are, for example, highlight properties or roughness that can’t be re- corded in an image. In these cases, shaders are helpful to simulate realistic or abstract structures and effects.

A list of the installed shad-

ers can be found with a click on the triangle in the TEXTURE area of the mate- rial channels. Further up on

the list are simple, but often used, shaders like the GRA- DIENT, the FRESNEL effect,

or the NOISE shader. This

last one can create a variety

of noise patterns and is used

often in the BUMP channel. Other shaders are grouped into effects shaders and sur- face shaders like CHANLUM,

BACKLIGHT, or SUBSURFACE SCATTERING, which simulates the scattering of light within objects, or TILES, WOOD, MARBLE, and WATER, which help to simulate the more common materials. Figures A.75 and A.76 show several examples of available shaders. In order to load an image instead of a shader, you can use the but- ton with the three dots instead of the triangular one.

All shaders are controlled by their own parameters, which are shown after clicking on the preview image of the shader. When the shader offers textured areas, images and other shaders can be loaded, too. That way, a quite complex shader hierarchy within the material can be created. The LAYER shader, which is similar to the layer system of Adobe Photoshop, is used to load and mix multiple images and shaders.

A.7.4.1 VOLUMETRIC SHADER Besides the so-called chan- nel shader, the shader that can be loaded into the mate- rial channels, there are also independent shader materi- als. They can be found in the FILE menu of the MATE-

RIAL MANAGER under

SHADER and include BANJI,

a glass material, BANZI, a

wood shader, CHEEN, an effect shader that, for exam- ple, simulates high- resolution microscope im- ages, DANEL, a metal shader, and MABEL, a shader for the creation of marble. NUKEI is similar to DANEL but has the ability to layer different parameters. Figures A.77 and A.78 give an overview of these kinds of shaders.

A.7.4.2 FOG, FIRE, SMOKE The FOG shader can be used

for creating special effects.

It

takes any object and fills

it

with virtual fog that can

realistically interact with light when the option VOLU- METRIC is activated. The quality of this shader is much better than the fog property within the material channels.

better than the fog property within the material channels. Figure A.77 From left to right, the

Figure A.77 From left to right, the volumetric shaders Danel, Cheen, Banzi, and Banji

the vo lumetric shaders Danel, Cheen, Banzi, and Banji Figure A.78 From left to right, the

Figure A.78 From left to right, the volumetric shaders Nukei, Fog, Mabel, and Environment

An even more advanced shader, because of its flexibility in working with animations, is the PYROCLUSTER shader. It only works together with the PYROCLUSTER – VOLUME TRACER material, which can also be found in

the list of shaders. Figure A.79 shows the general use of this shader. The VOLUME TRACER defines the preci- sion of the generated volume of the PyroCluster material. First, we have to create an ENVIRONMENT object, which is located at SCENE OBJECTS in the OBJECTS menu of CINEMA 4D, and then assign the VOLUME TRACER material to it.

The PYROCLUSTER shader defines different effects like smoke, clouds, flames, and lava through its parameter. Common effects can be selected in the section GLOBAL and then modified to your needs. This material can then be assigned to an emitter object that can be found at OBJECTS > PARTICLE > EMITTER. An example is to visualize a column of smoke. Figure A.80 shows a few of the editable presets of PyroCluster.

A.80 shows a few of the edita ble presets of PyroCluster. Figure A.79 Settings of the

Figure A.79 Settings of the PyroCluster—Volume Tracer

Figure A.79 Settings of the PyroCluster—Volume Tracer Figure A.80 Some of the presets of PyroCl uster

Figure A.80 Some of the presets of PyroCluster for smoke, clouds, and fire

A.8 Lights

In addition to the shape of an object and the look of the surface, the lighting finalizes the look of a 3D scene. Only by using lights to generate highlights, shading, and shadows can virtual objects be given a realistic look.

Light objects can be found at the OBJECT menu of CINEMA 4D under the SCENE objects. Generally, it doesn’t matter which kind of light is chosen, since they can be switched later on. Only the TARGET light is dif- ferent since it uses a target that directs the light auto- matically toward another object, for example, a light cone that is supposed to follow another object. But even this function can be added later with the use of

a TARGET tag from the CINEMA 4D TAGS group in

the OBJECT MANAGER.

4D T AGS group in the O BJECT M A N A G E R .

Figure A.81 General settings of a light source

A.8.1 General Settings

After creating a light source, it appears as a new ob- ject in the OBJECT MANAGER and can be edited through the ATTRIBUTE MANAGER. The dialog box is shown in Figure A.81. Otherwise, a light object is not much different from other objects, such as a cube. Lights can also be moved or rotated. It is im-

portant to know that the light direction of spot and area lights is based on the direction of their Z axis. It is also possible to limit the calculation of the shadow to a cone around the Z direction of the light. This reduces the render time and saves valuable memory space. Thus

it is advisable to generally rotate the Z axis toward the location of the objects to be lit.

A.8.1.1 THE EFFECT OF LIGHTS IN THE EDITOR Correctly positioning and setting lights is often a time-consuming procedure. It helps to use the display modes of CIN- EMA 4D, which give a preview of the lighting of the objects without having to test render the scene. You can find several options in the DISPLAY menu of every viewport, as shown in Figure A.82. Espe- cially helpful is the GOURAUD SHADING, which shows objects the way they will look in the final rendering. Only some material properties like reflection and transparency are not displayed.

A.8.1.1.1 Display Modes The display modes QUICK SHADING,

CONSTANT SHADING, HIDDEN LINES, and

LINES show less and less detailed shad- ows until only the edges of the objects are shown. These modes are also useful since they allow a speedy display of complex

shown. These modes are also useful since they allow a speedy display of complex Figure A.82

Figure A.82 Display menu in the viewport

objects and make it possible to see points and surfaces that are otherwise hidden from view, such as the inside of an object.

All display modes that carry the word Lines can be shown with the additional modes WIREFRAME, ISOPARMS, BOX, and SKELETON. These can be found in the DISPLAY menu of the viewports as well. Depending on the mode, only the edges of polygons, a representative number of edges like in NURBS objects, a cube in the size of the object, or even just the centers of the objects are shown.

A.8.1.1.2 The Display Tag These settings can be set globally for all objects in the DISPLAY menu or individually for each object with the DISPLAY tag. The tag is assigned by right clicking on the object in the OBJECT MANAGER and then by selecting CINEMA 4D TAGS > DISPLAY from the context menu. There, the SHADING MODE can be activated and set in a menu, including the settings for the STYLE of the lines. Even the previously discussed OpenGL acceleration can be controlled with this tag. A feature more often used in animations is the VISIBILITY value, which is able to turn an object on or off over a period of time.

A.8.1.1.3 The Interactive Renderer When a better preview of the expected result is needed, for example, when the location of the shadow needs to be exact, the INTERACTIVE RENDER REGION can be used. It can be found in the RENDER menu of CINEMA 4D. This interactive renderer appears as a simple frame within the currently selected viewport. The position and size of the frame can be adjusted to the area of interest with the handler at the edge. An arrowhead-shaped slider on the right controls the display quality of the preview and, with more complex scenes, the necessary time to render the preview. A right click on the slider opens a context menu that shows separate settings for the render preview. The quality of this preview is very close to the final render result since all lighting parameters and material properties are calculated. To close this preview, use the keyboard shortcut (Alt) (R) or click again on INTERACTIVE RENDER REGION in the RENDER menu. Figure A.83 shows an overview of the functionality of the interactive render area.

A.83 shows an overv iew of the functionality of the interactive render area. Figure A.83 The

Figure A.83 The interactive render area

A.8.1.2 COLOR AND BRIGHTNESS OF LIGHT The most basic settings of light concern the color and brightness. These are controlled by the COLOR setting and the INTENSITY slider. Both values work together, which means that a dark color will result in a dark light source without much illumination.

Besides these obvious possibilities to color lights, materials can be used to tint lights, as long as they contain transparency. The material then works like a slide that colors the light. With this feature it’s no problem to cre- ate light patterns produced by, for example, church windows or the sunlit leafy canopy of a forest.

A.8.1.3 THE TYPE OF LIGHT The type of light defines mainly the direction the light shines and how the beams are angled. An OMNI LIGHT emits light evenly all around and can be compared with a light bulb. The SPOT LIGHT emits the light only within a cone along its Z axis and allows for the targeted lighting of objects. The opening angle of the SPOT LIGHT is defined in the DETAILS settings of the light source. There the INNER ANGLE defines the area of con- stant brightness and the OUTER ANGLE controls the reduction of brightness toward the edge of the light cone.

The INFINITE LIGHT simulates the light emitted by a far away light source. The position of this light is not as important as the direction of the Z axis. This defines the direction of the rays, which shine parallel to each

the direction of the rays, which shine parallel to each Figure A.84 Top left shows lighting

Figure A.84 Top left shows lighting with an omni light, and next to it is a spot light. Bottom left is an infinite light, and bottom right is an area light.

other with this type of light. This light source is ideal for simulating sunlight or when the location of the light source shouldn’t be obvious.

The AREA LIGHT creates, contrary to the other lights, a surface that emits light and is therefore the best choice for simulating realistic light sources. The price for this realism is much longer render times. Besides its stan- dard rectangular shape, it has other shapes and sizes that can be set on the DETAILS page of the dialog. Also, the assignment of a spline curve or polygon object is possible as long as they are converted, and access to the points and faces is possible. Figure A.84 shows the characteristic lighting properties of these four different light sources.

Contrary to the other light sources, the AREA LIGHTS can be rendered as physical objects or shown in reflec- tions. The option SHOW IN RENDER and SHOW IN REFLECTION control this behavior. In addition, a VISIBILITY MULTIPLIER value regulates the strength of the reflection. The main direction of the area light depends on the normals of the shape, which is the direction perpendicular from a face. The value for FALLOFF ANGLE defines the fanning of the light around this direction. At 180° the light is emitted almost parallel to the face. Smaller angles focus the light, while at an angle of 0° a special mode is activated in which the light is emitted in all di- rections, just like with a radial light source.

A.8.1.3.1 Reduction of the Light Intensity There are two ways to reduce the light intensity. With spot lights the outer angle defines the area where no light is emitted. Spot and point lights also allow CLIPPING, the hard cutoff of light rays at a certain distance. This cut can be set in NEAR CLIP and FAR CLIP in the DETAILS section separately, for two different distance

in the D ETAILS section separately, for two different distance Figure A.85 Copyright by Dave Davidson,

Figure A.85 Copyright by Dave Davidson, www.max3d.org

intervals. For example, this might be used when a light source is placed inside an object and where light begins to emit outside the object.

All light sources can reduce the intensity of light emitted with increasing distance. The controls are in the FAL- LOFF settings of the DETAILS section. There are several mathematical models available that, in connection with the values for INNER DISTANCE and OUTER DISTANCE, steadily reduce the light intensity. The area of the inner distance defines the distance based from the light source, where the light intensity remains constant. From there on the light intensity is reduced