Getting Started with Cinema 4D, Part 13: Creating Basic Glass Materials

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Instructor eyedesyn

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In this video, you’ll be introduced to the Transparency Channel and how you can easily create a glass material for the fishbowl.

In this video, you’ll get an overview of the Transparency Channel and how you can easily create a glass material for the fishbowl while covering topics like Refraction and how to utilize the index of refraction presets.

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In the last video, we learned how to create basic shiny plastic materials for most of the objects in our scene. Now, all that's left is our glass fishbowl. So in this video, we're going to learn how we can create transparent materials and how we can easily create our glass fishbowl material in Cinema 4D. So let's first create our new material for our glass fishbowl. So I'll double-click in the Material Manager, double-click that New Material to bring up the Material Editor. And I'll just rename this Glass Bowl. Okay. And for the color, we can uncheck that since we're not going to be dealing with that. But the main thing we're going to be concerned with is the Transparency Channel. Now, if you check on the Transparency Channel, you'll see in the Material Preview that everything just kind of ghosted, and the only thing you can really see is the little cloudy, hazy, specular hit that's on the Preview. And again, we don't want any Default Specular, so I'm just going to remove that. Okay. And we'll go back into our Specular. And now you'll see, we can see right through our Material Preview. You can no longer even see that sphere. So what's going on is that our object's basically invisible, it's fully transparent. Now, where you start getting glass-like effects is where you choose a bit of Refraction. Now, if we choose something like the Glass Preset, again, another great list of presets available for you to try out as a good starting point with your materials. And once I choose Glass, you're going to see we have this Refraction Index, that with and any number other than one, you see this kind of refraction. And refraction is basically how light rays bend through the surface of the object and kind of distort. So the higher the Refraction amount, say, I put two, you're going to see even more distortion. You can even see in this little background grid how it's being distorted by the Refraction in this Sphere Preview. So let's go ahead and let's bring this back to that Glass Preset and let's just apply this glass material to our fishbowl. So I can either drag and drop it onto our fishbowl here or the fishbowl in our Object Manager. So I'll just do that. And you'll see that we can see through our object. We're not really getting a good representation of what this object will look like when it's rendered. So for that, we're going to go into our Interactive Render Region. And you can access that by going to this Render Menu, clicking and holding and going down to Interactive Render Region. And what that will do is bring up a nice bounding box, showing you what the actual final render will look like. And you can see this tiny little triangle here, this is our quality slider if we click and drag. If you bring it all the way to the top, that will mean that it will be 100%. Now, you can already see that we're getting some weird distortions and we're really not making out any of the glass bowl at all. So let's go back into our Material Editor for our Glass Bowl, and let's bring down the refraction so it's not distorting our images much or distorting our submarine and all of our little elements inside it as much. So I've found that a good value is a lower value of say, 1.15. And you can see that we lost a lot of that distortion. You can still see a little distortion on the rim of the fishbowl, but I still think it looks pretty good. Okay. So with this refraction value, especially for more stylized looks, it's okay that we're not actually going for super realistic Glass Refraction Presets. We can kind of fudge the details a little bit to get whatever stylized look that we want. So what we can do now is put in a background so we can actually see what this glass looks like because right now we don't have any background, our fishbowl is just kind of floating in space. So I'll close out of my Material Editor and I'll deactivate my Interactive Render Region by clicking this button. You can also deactivate or activate the Interactive Render Region by hitting OPT+R. Okay. So OPT+R will toggle the Interactive Render Region on and off. So to create our background, we're going to go and create a Plane Object. I'm just going to move this down. And if I go to my 4 Up View, I can make sure that this Plane Object is right on the base of our fishbowl, and from this point, I can just scale this up. So I utilize my 4 Up View, scale everything up. And now that it's big enough, I can then bend this Plane Object so I have like a nice background cyc that's typically used in photography. So I'll grab a Bend Deformer here. And to have this added as a child, all I need to do is before I let go of my mouse, I'm going to hold down the Shift key. And when I let go when holding the Shift key down, you'll see that will automatically make that bend former a child of that Plane Object. So we kind of skip a step. And alternatively, if you choose the Alt button when you let go, it will make that object a parent of the existing object you had selected. So Shift+sel or Alt/Option+sel, different methods of adding an object either as the parent of your selected object or as a child of your selected object. All right. So let's go ahead and adjust this size of the Bend Deformer. And one thing that's kind of nice as well in most instances is that when you do that, Shift+Click to add the object, it automatically does the Fit to Parent command. So that kind of works in some situations. For us, I don't necessarily need that to fit to parent, so I'm just going to make these options a little smaller and then just scale this back up. And let's just add the strength and see what direction we are bending. And you'll see we're bending in the wrong direction so I'm just going to rotate this. Negative 90 degrees there, negative 90 degrees in the banking. So just negative 90 in the H in the heading and then the rotation B for banking. And you'll see now we have this nice curved background cyc. So what I can do now is just adjust the overall size of my Plane Object and let's make this bend a nice, round 90 degrees. So we make a nice 90-degree angle, and you're going to see that our plane is a little bit chunky and that's because we need to add more segments. If I go into my Display Shading Lines, you can see that we're lacking in segments in the height. So if I just bring up the height segments, we'll smooth out that background. I can actually get rid of all of the width segments aside from the one because we're not bending or distorting that way. And we'll have this nice, smooth backdrop. Cool. So now let's see what this looks like when we have this actual background cyc in here. So now you can see we have this nice distorted refraction happening as the background cyc is refracting and reflecting off of our transparent glass material. Okay. So one last step. Let's go and create a new blue background material here. So I'll just Cmd+click and drag to duplicate the existing blue material. I'll make this the blue background material by just double-clicking and entering in New Type. And then I'll double-click to open this Material Manager. Let's apply this blue background material on our backdrop. And for this if we turn on our Interactive Render Region, you can see how blurry our background is. So, let's maybe pull back on the overall reflection, maybe just give a very subtle reflection there, maybe 2% reflection. And let's go into our Color Channel and let's choose a different darker, kind of cooler blue to give it some amount of contrast. So I think I'm liking that. So, again, our reflections still don't look like much because we have so few objects populating our scene that our objects can reflect. And the big thing that's missing is there are no lights, but that's something we're going to take care of in the next video.
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