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Learn Cinema 4D Lite: Go With The Flow 2.0 (Tutorial)


Let's make this wavy animation in 3D! Learn to create simple objects, apply materials, and animate a wave effect. This is for Cinema 4D Lite first-timers and takes 10 minutes. 

Before you get started, you'll need:

Set up your first Cinema 4D scene

  1. Open Cinema 4D
    • In After Effects, go to File ⇢ New ⇢ MAXON Cinema 4D File...
      • If you're using the retail version of Cinema 4D, skip this step.
    • Choose a save location and Cinema 4D will open.
  2. (Optional) Open the reference for this lesson
    • In Cinema 4D, go to Window ⇢ Picture Viewer.
    • Open the reference image for this lesson. (Get it here!)
    • Click and drag to dock the Picture Viewer in the layout.
      • Use this as a guide for framing things up. You can also grab colors from the swatches!

Create a capsule object

  1. Create a new Capsule object
    • Create a new capsule object from the Primitives panel.
      • Height 2000cm
      • Radius 150cm
    • Hit O to frame the selection.
  2. Create a material
    • Double-click in the Materials manager to create a new material.
    • Click and drag to apply to the capsule.
  3. Edit the material
    • Double-click the material to open the Material Editor.
    • Turn these channels off:
      • Color Uncheck
      • Reflectance Uncheck
    • And turn this channel on:
      • Luminance Check
  4. Create a gradient texture
    • Add a Gradient texture to the Luminance channel and edit it.
    • For each gradient stop, use the eyedropper tool to sample (or choose your own):
      • Color 1 #5076a6
      • Color 2 #ff637e
      • Color 3 #f1e9e6
    • Change the orientation of the texture.
      • Type 2D - V

Create a background object

  1. Create a background object
    • Create a new Background object from the Environment panel.
    • Create a new material for it.
    • Drag the new material to the Object Manager and apply to the Background.
  2. Edit the material
    • Edit the new material.
    • Turn on the Luminance channel and turn off everything else.
    • In the Luminance channel, use the eyedropper tool to sample (or choose your own):
      • Color #3f2d50

Animate with the wind object

  1. Create a Wind object
    • Create a new Wind object from the Deformers panel.
    • Make it a child of the capsule object.
    • Change the object attributes:
      • Amplitude 150
      • Size 100cm
      • Frequency 1
      • Turbulence 0%
      • fx 1.05
      • fy 1
      • Flag Uncheck
    • Change the coordinates:
      • Rotate H
      • Rotate P 20°
      • Rotate B 90°
  2. Give the capsule more subdivisions
    • In the Viewport, Display ⇢ Gouraud Shading (Lines)
      • Turns on a wireframe view. Now we can see subdivisions.
    • Select the capsule object and change the properties:
      • Height Segments 50
      • More subdivisions will give us a smoother object.
    • Change the coordinates:
      • Rotate H -90°
      • Rotate P -30°
      • Rotate B -80°
  3. Press the play button
    • Click the Play button in the Timeline panel. SWEET JOY OF JOYS. IT'S ALREADY ANIMATED. YOU ARE ANIMATOR. 😍
    • Adjust the attributes in the wind object. 
      • PLAY TIME! Try changing up the attributes and see what happens.
      • Amplitude Taller Curves
      • Size Wider Curves
      • Frequency Animation Speed
      • Turbulence Randomness
      • fx More Horizontal Animation
      • fy More Vertical Animation

Export from After Effects

  1. Get ready to render
    • Open Render Settings (⌘B / Ctrl B).
      • Width 1080
      • Height 1080
      • Frame Range All Frames
  2. Frame up your scene
    • Frame the object in the render area.
      • Those dark areas on the sides of the viewport won't render. The square will! 🙌🏼
    • Hold down 1 and click-and-drag to pan.
    • Hold down 2 and click-and-drag to zoom. 
  3. Create a composition from your scene in After Effects
    • Save your Cinema 4D file (File ⇢ Save or ⌘S / Ctrl S).
    • Go back to After Effects.
    • Right-click the .c4d file and go to Interpret Footage ⇢ Main. Change the settings:
      •  Alpha Check Ignore
    • Right-click again and go to New Comp from Selection.
    • In the CINEWARE panel, change the renderer type:
      • Renderer Standard (Final)
  4. (Optional) Export a still frame
    • Go to Composition ⇢ Save Frame As... ⇢ File to add a still frame to your Render Queue.
    • (Optional) Click Output Module to change the default Photoshop to PNG or JPG.
    • Click Render to save.
  5. (Optional) Export a video
    • Go to Composition ⇢ Add to Render Queue (⌘M / Ctrl M) to add a video to your Render Queue.
    • (Optional) Click Output Module to change the output settings.
    • Click Render to save.

Dang. DANG. You just did a quick slay on that animation, huh?

You're just getting started and I'm already impressed! I want to see what you've been getting into, so don't forget to show me on Twitter or tag me on Instagram.

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