Cinema 4D - Basic Course Vol.1

How to realize a 3D animated video using Cinema4D.
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  • Lectures 40
  • Length 3.5 hours
  • Skill Level Beginner Level
  • Languages English, captions
  • Includes Lifetime access
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    Available on iOS and Android
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About This Course

Published 4/2016 English Closed captions available

Course Description

This course is about 3D graphics with the aim to realize an animated video for the motion graphics field by using Cinema4D

Into it 2 rolling dices are took as instance to pass through the main production phases starting from scratch. So will be possible for beginners to know how to move into the 3D graphics field.

You don't have to be expert into the terminology: into the course there are specific command with really specific names, but the course is focused more on the workflows than the single command or the single software version, so you'll be able to apply all the acquired knowledge on any likewise contexts.

The course is organized by videos and are available to download the textures used into the project.

To end the course, it is needed 1 week.

The course is divided in 2 main areas: the first show how to realize a static rendering, the second how to animate objects and build a video.

So the starting topics are related to modeling and texturing, to pass in time at rigging, animation curves and rendering of animated sequences.

The softwares used are:

- Cinema4D: modeling, lighting, cameras, materials and animation.
- Photoshop, Mudbox: texturing
- After Effects, Premiere: Compositing and editing.

This course will explain to you everything you need to create a 3D animation and, moreover, in the simplest way possible. So the final result is guarantee 100% and what you see, you'll get.

What are the requirements?

  • The softwares needed are: Cinema4D mainly. Anyway along the course we'll put hands on Photoshop, Mudbox, After Effects and Premiere as well. Knowing some basics of them would be helpful, but anyway we'll use really the simplest tools and procedures, so if you don't know them, that's not a problem.
  • Because the course is mainly focused on workflows, you can use different softwares from those proposed if you like.

What am I going to get from this course?

  • To pass throught all the main production phases to realize an animated video in 3D graphics.
  • To create from scratch simple objects, animate them and make a final rendering.
  • To build a motion graphics product by using different softwares together, acquiring so the typical production workflows.

Who is the target audience?

  • This course is for beginner interested in 3D graphics for motion graphics. The topics illustrated here are the basics to understand clearly the needed steps to realize a 3D graphics video.
  • It is counselled to professionals as well: some tips showed along the course could be useful.

What you get with this course?

Not for you? No problem.
30 day money back guarantee.

Forever yours.
Lifetime access.

Learn on the go.
Desktop, iOS and Android.

Get rewarded.
Certificate of completion.


Section 1: Introduction

Course presentation just to know who's behind and what's ahead.

Section 2: First tools

First commands, objects and tools to survive into this new environment. As you could see, the interface is really similar to all other interfaces of the countless 3D graphics softwares you can find around. But it has its rules and its specific commands. Anyway, it's time to make new friendships.


First objects and how to select them using the various selections commands available.
It is possible make selections directly into the working view or by the object list.


Translate, Rotate, Scale objects. Some basic transformations but fundamentals to manage objects into the space. These commands can be applied directly over the object into the scene or by numeric panels you find into the object's parameters.

Section 3: Modeling

What's behind a 3D surface ? Vertices, edges and polygons. These are the fundamental elements of a 3D object. To know how they works make you ready to deal with polygonal modeling.


How to round hard edges. It seems something of poor value, but it is a fundamental operation instead. To round edges means to make possible shininess appears on them and make objects more realistic.


To round surfaces we don't have to do it manually: it exists automatic methods that make all the works. Such us the Subdivision Surface.
Anyway, we've to distribute over the surface segments following some rules, so to control the adherence of rounded surface over the original model.

Section 4: Texturing

Before to enter the magic world of texturing, we've to be ready by setting the starting textures. We'll use them to paint over the objects. So, the first step will be essentially to work in 2D. But don't worry: we'll come back to 3D soon !


How to create a material and assign it to an object.

A material it isn't only a color:  it's a set of characteristics to apply over a surface. Such as color certainly, but specularity, roughness, transparency, reflections and so on as well.

At the moment we'll stay just on the color. We'll see later other material channels.


To apply a material over a surface we can't just throw it over. Otherwise textures will splat horribly over the object. So, before to apply any material, we need to set over the surface the so called 'mapping coordinates'. For friends: the UV maps.

They represent the rules that indicates to textures how to distribute over a surface. Without them, you can't paint over the objects.


Mudbox is a software external to Cinema 4D specialized to texture painting.

With it, you can paint textures directly over 3D objects. Export the objects from Cinema, paint in Mudbox and export from it the final textures you'll apply into the Cinema 4D materials.

In this section will get hands over the Mudbox interface. We'll see right now that Mudbox can be considered a kind of Photoshop for 3D surfaces.


Inside Mudbox it is possible to paint directly over 3D object directly. You can use freehand methods or project textures by using stencils.

While you paint textures are automatically placed over the UV space, and at the end, you'll have your texture ready to be applied.

Section 5: Rendering

Create cameras to take the good shots of the scene. You can set a complete recording studio without need of a single cameraman !

Here we'll use the simplest kind of cameras available and we'll see how the Field Of View change modifying the camera lenses.


To transform the 3D scene into the final image require to set all the rendering parameters well. Such as resolution , FPS and time interval to render. In particular, to set the resolution will give us the Safe Frame into the view, so you can see what are the areas of the scene cut by the rendering, and what areas are


To light a scene means to place a primary source light as first step, and secondary lights around as well so to simulate the diffuse light by surfaces. In this way shadows and shadings will be more realistic.


A fundamental characteristic of materials is shininess. That is that fraction of diffuse light that travel directly into the Camera. It is visible on rounded surfaces mainly, that's why has been so important to apply a Bevel to hard edges.


Relieves are really useful to add detaile to a surface the otherwise wouls stay boringly flat.

It is enough to create a grayscale mask and automatically will be possible to make extrusions based on its brightness.

Section 6: Animation

When you've to animate an object, the worst thing you can do is to animate it. The best way to proceed, before to animate, is to set around the object some "helpers" that make simplier to define and manage the wanted animation.


To animate an object, the fundamental element used is called "keyframe". It is a marker that contain 2 essential information: the value of the animated parameter and the frame where it is placed along the timeline.

Between frames is generated an animation curve, that is an interpolation that smooth the passage from one keyframe to the next.


When you've to repeat in time an animation, it is possible to copy on the timeline. In this way it is possible to control animated loops just editing the starting cycle.


Add others controller on the fly, and you'll be able to add more detail to the basic animation.

In this case, we'll separate the rotation by axes, so to make independent the oscillations from the main vertical rotation.


Sometimes it is handy to animate an object along a curve. That's exactly what the Motion Path process do.

Create a line representing the trajectory, then link to it the object, and just animating a parameter you'll be able to run on rollercoasters if you want.


It is possible to clone static objects, but animated as well.

In this case you bring along all the keyframes and animation curves. So with little editing you can have a completely different animation without starting from scratch.


Once defined a basic animation it is possible to overlay new animations by layer, and control in time their strenght. The combined effect will give you a final animation with more details.


You can place into the scene more cameras so to take different shots. In this way you'll set the basis to render different animated sequences, that will be edited together so to have the final video.


While into the working view all goes well, when renderng you could have some issues on the object outlines. That's the Displacement we've added earlier into the materials. Let's fix it so to have a right result into the rendering too.


To set lights for a static scene is a way. To set it for an animated one is another. This time we'll see how to set an Ambient Occlusion effect over the whole scene, so to have a lighting not constrained to a specific source's position and orientation.

Section 7: Dynamics

To add trails behind the rolling dices, we need particles. And we can create them by using the Thinking Particles tool.
In this first part we'll see how to set a Thinking Particles emitter by the XPresso tag.


The particles are emitted. Good. It's time now to assign to them some properties, starting from the shape.


Let's make the particles feel gravity. And let's make them bouncing over the floor. These force fields and constraints can be applied simply by the XPresso panel, adding logic nodes where required.


Particles have properties we've added inside the XPresso panel. We can refine the particle's behaviour by adding more nodes even if they aren't strictly related to the Thinking Particles system.
Or by animating directly the node's parameters.


Once you've set a particle system you can duplicate it just setting a new emitter and cloning the nodes defining the behavior inside XPresso.

Section 8: Rendering and Compositing

A moving object when it's shot from a camera in reality generate the classic motion blur effect. That is a blurring around given by its speed.
It's possible to reproduce this effect by the Motion Blur tag and rendering parameter.


The magic channel material Glow allows you to make objects luminescent. They don't become source lights, but have a good halo around.


To render a whole scene with a single render it's a really bad thing to do. The best way to proceed it's to divide it by layers, so to make possible divide the renderings too.


Cinema4D files can be imported directly under After Effects as layers. So every editing you do inside Cinema's scene is automatically updated inside the After Effects layer.
In this way you can set the Composition without rendering first the 3D sequence, but working on a preview.


Passes are always layers, but this time instead to have a piece of scene to render, you get a component of the whole scene. Such as all the color inside the scene, or all the reflections, or all the shadows and so on.


When working with layers it could arise the need to use some masks directly inside the 3D scene of Cinema. In this case you can assign the Compositing tag to an object and transform it in a mask.


To export the final video, we can work directly in After Effects. It will do 2 renderings: its own and that needed for the 3D layers, recalling automatically the Cinema4D rendering engine.

Section 9: Final Verification

Final Test.
If you fail, you die.

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Instructor Biography

Francesco Ugolini, Ethic 3D Graphics Designer

I'm  born in Rome, but actually I'm located in the countryside near Viterbo: I hate cities.

Having lost in time any form of social life, an internet connection is the only way to communicate with other human beings. Plants and animals, instead, are directly approached.

I committed to 3D graphics as a self-taught in a time where  it didn't existed in Italy. And in time I become  an ACI (Autodesk Certified Instructor).

Considering the work instability, the untrustworthy clients and the crazy changing speed of the entertainment market, the fields of application have been the most different : Architectural 3D, Design Visualization, Character Animation, Motion graphics, VFX,  Game programming...

And so the context too: architectural projects,  documentaries, advertising spots, short films, games...

Ad so the softwares too: 3DSMax, Maya, Cinema4D, Mudbox, V-Ray, Unity, Mari, Nuke...

The nervous breakdown isn't here yet, but it's really, really near.

Thanks  to the years of experience acquired (they stay even if clients don't pay you !), in time the activity on educational field has increased, working on the major institutes of Rome.

In 2012 I founded the Ecosystem3D. A no-profit association committed to production of multimedia projects about sustainable development.

See you soon, and good polygons.

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