Sketchup to Cinema 4D: Wrapping Up: Facetted Objects, Text Objects, and Scaling

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Instructor Mike Heighway

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As we approach the end of the series, this video reviews faceted objects in Sketchup and Cinema 4D, text objects and scaling files.

As we approach the end of the series, this video reviews faceted objects in Sketchup and Cinema 4D, text objects and scaling files. We cover how to properly facet rounded objects in Sketchup to make sure they do not appear too block-ish, how text objects work in Sketchup and why MoText or Text objects in Cinema 4D are a better choice and some complications surrounding scaling.



- To wrap up this series, we'll review a couple things quickly. One, I wanted to talk to you about faceted geometry, which we'll go over in a moment, two, I wanted to go over text objects with you, and then three, just a quick recap of why groups and layers are important. We'll use the Farnsworth House, which is an iconic piece of modernist architecture as an example. So quickly, let's go ahead into our Best Practices folder, and we'll open up Faceted Geometry. Now this file, I've basically made a cylinder out of all these different objects and the only thing that actually changes is my face count. What I mean by that is both Sketchup and Cinema 4D will rely on facets, or faces, unless you're doing nurbs modeling in Cinema. So each cylinder is made up of a varying number of faces here. So quickly, I'm going to hit C and you'll see that my default here is 128 sides. Yours might be different. But if I type in "3" and hit Return, you'll see that it brings up a triangle. So now this is just basically a cylinder made up of three faces. If I hit C again and I go 4, and hit Return, you'll see that it's a cylinder made up of four faces. Well, C again, which is mind you this tool here, if I punch in "12", you can see that the more faces I add, the more like a real cylinder this becomes and the smoother that radius or tangent is. So Cinema offers a similar function, except it's unless you bake out an objects, or rather make it an editable object, it stays live. So I can go ahead, and I'll flip over here in Display, we'll go to Gouraud Shading with Lines, I can actually start adding a number of rotational segments here with my cylinder. In doing so, you start fixing or improving the radius and the resolution of that radius. You can go way, way, way up and have a very clean, smooth curve. So this is something just to be aware of. Particularly if you're working in Sketchup, you're doing something that's curve linear, and you want it to import, you don't want necessarily these objects to come in at the default of 24. You can see that there's some edging, and you get these kind of hard angles. So if you're using Cinema 4D and you're really wanting to bring it in to get the most out of the rendering engine, that includes also having optimized geometry so that it looks compelling and good, an attractive image. So good geometry in combination with good lighting and materials will help your... [simultaneous talking] The second thing I wanted to show you is using a text object in Sketchup versus a text object in Cinema 4D. I'll go ahead and open the text object in Sketchup here. Now, in Sketchup once you use or you type in something and you set that, it's set. It is now a polygonal object that I can push and pull the faces. I could rotate things. But I can't actually change what it says. So if I go to 3D Text, I can say, "This is not live." I can place that, and I can't go back in and edit what that says and this can be kind of problematic depending on what you're doing. I'm going to go ahead and flip over to Cinema 4D, and let's open that, Command+O. I'm going to Open Text. It doesn't really matter if we put these on Layer or Hide Objects. You'll see here that this is now one solid polygon. There's no editable features about this, and that can be problematic. So my recommendation is that you save all your text if you're going to do any in 3D for Cinema 4D. You can either use the MoText instance, and I'm going to scale this down. Let's just call that "10", and let's call our depth, pull that back a bit. So you can see here that my text is adjustable. "This is MoText." I click off of that, I can paragraph align to the middle, I can change the size, I can change the extrusion, I can change the horizontal spacing, and I have a lot of editable features. I can actually even show the 3D GUI, and I can start adjusting kerning per object. So this is really handy, particularly if you have things that may change or the positioning may change, or you want to actually animate some of this text. The other option you can use if you do not have MoText, I'll go ahead and just hide that for a moment, is you can use a text object. I'm going to bring this down to 20, and this is "text object." Let's go ahead and put this on a different plane and move this actually into position here, and I will select this again and say my alignment Middle. So with the text object, then you could obviously just add an Extrude object and make the text object a child of an Extrude object, and make sure that you are doing this on the right axis. We'll go ahead and... Whoa. Let me just start over, because that's miserable. We'll go ahead and add a text object. I'm going to go ahead and make that middle-aligned and bring this down to 20, so you can see the outline here. I'm going to go ahead and hit Extrude, make text a child of that. I'm going to pull down the size, and let's just go ahead and rotate that down quickly so we can see everything. So now you can go back in and edit this, and say "Text Object". If I want, I can change my sizing this way. I'm going to go ahead and put the white material on this, so you can see it'll be better. You can change your horizontal spacing this way. If this was two lines, you can go in and change your vertical spacing. So it stays live and it's just really handy. I highly recommend waiting until you get into Cinema 4D before placing any text objects. One thing that occurred to me as I was wrapping up this tutorial series is that I should probably address scale with you. The reason why scale is important is because when you're exchanging files or objects between file formats or software, things can get wonky pretty quickly. What I mean by that is if I'm not paying attention to the units I export something in, or the units I'm modeling in, in one piece of software, and then I'm using a different set of units in the software I pull that into, for example Sketchup to Cinema 4D, I will end up with odd results that will affect the physical renderer, particularly physical light fall-off and physical cameras. Your depth of field, your aperture, all that stuff will behave incorrectly and not be truly how something in the real world would handle, so this is why scale is important. So one thing I do is I always give myself a [inaudible] and if I'm exchanging a file from Sketchup to Cinema 4D, or something like that, I like to have an object that is quantifiable. So I know that, for example, this is a 10-foot by 10-foot cube that I just made. So I'm just going to use the tape measure, 10 feet, 10 feet, and 10 feet. I'm going to save this file, and I'm just going to show you some of the complications of what happens when you use one of the export formats to exchange your model into Cinema 4D, versus just using this new feature where you can import the Sketchup file directly into Cinema 4D. So I am using an inches and feet architectural setup here in Sketchup. If I export my 3D model as a 3DS file. I'm going to overwrite this file here calling it "Scaling 3DS," and I intentionally use me incorrect units of feet instead of inches, I want to show you what happens. I've exported this. The results, don't really need to review those right now. I'm going to flip over to Cinema 4D, and what I want to show you is my project is set to centimeters. I'm going to be importing by merging this file, and incorrectly... So you'll recall that I was using feet. Now this is inches, and we're in a centimeters project. So what's happening here now is I have a 10-inch by 10-inch, by 10-inch cube. Well, that's not right. So how do we resolve that? I can go into my project settings, Command+D is the quick key to get to this, and I can scale my project. Now, I'm keeping my units in centimeters for the moment, and what I need to do is take my inches to feet, because that's a factor of 12. This cube needs to increase in size by a factor of 12, so I say, "OK". Now, this is 120-inch by 120-inch, by 120-inch cube. That is correct. But my project setting is in centimeters, so I'm going to flip this over to Inches now so that my physical camera and my physical lighting system will work properly. But you'll see now that my size of this object is now 304.8 inches. Well, that's not right, so we have to scale the project again. I hit Scale Project. This time, I'm actually going from centimeters down to inches. Excuse me, the other way around. It gets confusing. So I'm going to go from inches to centimeters, and that's a factor of 0.394. Well, that's what we need to scale this object to get it the right size. So our project scale is in inches. We're actually taking this down, this is a little misleading, from inches to centimeters, and I say "OK". Now, I have a 10-foot by 10-foot cube, by 10-foot cube. So this is 120 inches by 120 inches, by 120 inches. That is correct. If I add a default primitive, we'll see that it comes in 200 by 200 by 200 inches. That is correct as the default for Cinema. So now this file will behave properly when you're using physical camera and physical light setup. But that's a bit confusing, and that can be a pain particularly if somebody is not paying attention somewhere down the line, they give you a file exported with the wrong units. So things get pretty weird pretty quickly. So the nice thing about this new import function with Cinema 4D is that I'm in a new project. My default project scale is set to centimeters. I can just simply go to Open. I can open Scaling. I don't have to worry about my import settings here. I say "OK" here, and you can see that I have 120 by 120 by 120-inch cube. Everything is great. If I go to my project settings, you can see that it automatically reconfigures to inches and you're good to go. Everything will behave properly with your physical camera and your physical light setup. So I hope that was helpful. I realize it's a bit confusing, particularly when using a different type of exchange format. This should be a good learning experience as to why scale matters and why keeping track of that throughout the export process can be a little bit difficult, and that this new import function is super, super-handy. So I hope you found that helpful.
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