Cinema 4D is a 3G graphics editor produced by MAXON Computer GmbH that is capable of both polygonal and procedural modeling. In includes the ability to allow the user to render and animate 3D graphics and incorpor
ate advanced texturing and lighting effects into the 3D scenes. The What You See is What You Get (WYSIWYG) e
ditor has made the application popular with both beginning modelers as well as the motion graphic and film industry.
Cinema 4D Modules
The Cinema 4D program supports add-on programs referred to as “modules” which expand the core capability of the modeling software. These modules are used primarily by advanced users of the software program who are
creating production quality 3D work. Some of the more popular modules for Cinema 4D include: Advanced Render, BodyPaint 3D (included in the core program since release version 10), Dynamics, Hair, MOCCA, MoGraph, NET Render, PyroCluster, Sketch and Tune, and Thinking Particles.
How to Add Primitives in Cinema 4D
The basic building blocks in Cinema 4D for building 3D graphics are called primitives. They are the foundation of all graphics created with the software and the most important to learn how to manipulate when learning to use Cinema 4D.
Step 1 – Start the Cinema 4D program by double clicking the program icon on your computer’s desktop or selecting from the “Program Files” sub menu.
Step 2 – Select the hold the “Primitives” button the Cinema 4D quick access toolbar.
Step 3 – Choose the “Cube” primitive and then release the mouse button. A cube primitive will now be visible in the 3D scene. By default, the program will place the primitive at the center of the x, y, z axis at coordinates (0,0,0).
Step 4 – Move the cube by clicking and holding the “green arrow” located inside of the cube. Move the mouse up until you observe the cube being moved upwards along the “Y” axis of the 3D scene. This is the quickest method to move a primitive but is not the most precise. You can alternatively enter the desired coordinates into the coordinate manager with the primitive selected.
Step 5 – Change the size of the cube by clicking on one of the three yellow dots located next to the directional arrows on the internal part of the cube. Move your computer’s mouse to change the shape of the cube. You can alternatively enter a change in size in the coordinate manager similar to how you changed the position of the cube.
Step 6 – Experiment with adding additional primitives to the scene to include a cone, pyramid, or sphere.
How to Add Materials in Cinema 4D
Materials, textures, and shaders are used in Cinema 4d to make 3D scenes appear more realistic. The material in a scene can be thought of as the skin wrapped around a primitive.
Step 1 – Open the Material Manager in Cinema 4D by pressing the “Shift + F2” keys simultaneously. You can then load the default materials in the manager that are included with Cinema 4D.
Step 2 – Select a material visible in the manager and then drag it onto the object added to the scene earlier in the tutorial. The material will now be applied to the object.
Step 3 – If you have created a complex scene, the material can also be dragged onto the desired object in the “Object Manager” to ensure you apply it to the desired structure in the 3D scene.
Step 4 – Download additional materials from Cinema 4D resources such as c4dtextures.com, c4dexchange.com, or Deviantart Cinema 4D materials. Once saved to your computer, select the “File” and “New Material” menu options in the material manager to load them into the available materials library on your Cinema 4D program to be available for future use in your modeling efforts.
Creating Advanced Models
After you have gained experience creating combinations of shapes in Cinema 4D, you will want to start to create more advanced models using the program. One of the advanced tools that you can leverage with the application is the bone deformer which lets you make organic animations using everyday objects. Other advanced modeling techniques with Cinema 4D such as using blueprints and animation are not included in this tutorial.
Step 1 – Create a new project in Cinema 4D and then choose the “Primitive Objects” menu button followed by selecting a “Cylinder.”
Step 2 – Select the “Attributes Manager” located in the bottom, right-hand corner of the screen and then choose the cylinder.
Step 3 – Change the cylinder attributes to have three height and rotation segments and then select the cylinder in the Object Manager followed by clicking the “C” key to make the shape editable.
Step 4 – With Polygon mode enabled, select the top third of the object using the “Live Selection” tool to choose the top third of the object.
Step 5 – Choose the “Selection” menu and then click “Set Vertex Weight” and enter 100 followed by
changing the mode to “Set” and click the “OK” menu button. The top part of the cylinder will now appear yellow with the bottom red. The yellow color indicates the section that the bone deformer will change the shape.
Step 6 – Select the “Bone Deformer” menu option from the top of the screen which will make a bone on the Z axis of the shape. You will then change the alignment of the shape to the “Y” axis by selecting the “Coordinates” menu in the Attributes Manager and input “90” for the “RP” value.
Step 7 – Choose the “Bone” option in the Objects Manager and then select the Attributes Manager to modify the length of the bone. The bone will need to fill the entire length of the yellow section of the cylinder.
Step 8 – Combine the bone and the cylinder by dragging the bone over the cylinder in the Object Manager and then choose “Bone” and “Fixation” in the Attribute Manager.
Step 9 – Right click the “Bone” option in the Object Manager and select the “Cinema 4D tags” menu option followed by the “Restriction” menu choice.
Step 10 – Select the vertex map in the Object Manager which will ensure the bone only interacts with the vertex weight of the yellow section of the cylinder.
Step 11 – Choose the “Bone” menu option again in the Object Manager and use the Cinema 4D tool to rotate it to achieve the desired look and feel.