Sketchup to Cinema 4D: Understanding Cameras

Photo of Mike Heighway

Instructor Mike Heighway

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Camera data can be directly imported from Sketchup into Cinema 4D. Learn how to bring in a single, or multiple cameras into Cinema 4D from Sketchup.

Camera data can be directly imported from Sketchup into Cinema 4D. To pull in multiple cameras, you’ll need to understand a few tips and tricks. This video shows how to use the Sketchup import ability in Cinema 4D to bring in your active camera, and two additional methodologies for importing multiple cameras.

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Transcript

- Sketchup and Cinema 4D both have cameras in them, but they call them two different things. Sketchup calls their cameras "scenes," and Cinema 4D calls their cameras "cameras." Now depending on your workflow, you may set your scenes or cameras in Sketchup. You should know, though, that not all scenes are imported into Cinema 4D. Only the active scene gets imported. So if you want to pull in multiple cameras or scenes from Sketchup into Cinema 4D, we have to use a workaround. That is either using the 3DS Export function, or we save out multiple scene files of the Sketchup file and import those into Cinema 4D. Let's go over how we do that. First, I'd like you to get acquainted with the Sketchup file, so let's go ahead and in our Project Tutorial files, we're going to open 04 Cameras, the folder, and then the first file in that 01 Cameras. You'll see here that I have multiple scenes. I have Scene 1, Scene 2, and Scene 3. Now, those are all different cameras effectively, but the way Cinema handles this is a little bit funny. So let's flip over to Cinema and open our first Sketchup file, 01 Cameras. I'm going to make sure that in this dialog box that Camera is checked. I hit OK, and here's our file. You'll see that the camera here when I enable it is identical to Scene 2. Because when I saved this file, Scene 2 was the active camera, so these both match. That's great. But what happens if I want to bring in Scene 1 and Scene 3, so this view and this view? Well, I have a couple of options. One, I can save this file in Sketchup as "Cameras Scene 3". I'm going to save that and I'm going to say "Cameras Scene 1" when I save this next one. So I'll save that, Cameras Scene 1. Now, I'm going to flip back over to Cinema. What I want to do is because I'm going to be reimporting, or merging, these different files to capture the camera data, I'm going to have to throw away the additional geometry or objects that that scene brings in. So I'm going to go ahead and select all of these, which mind you is my building. I'm going to go ahead and Option, or Alt+G, to group that into a null. I'm going to call this "Master", and then I'm going to call camera, "Camera.2". All right. So first things first, I go to File. I'm going to say "Merge". I'm going to merge Camera to Scene 1. I'm going to make sure Camera is checked, and here we go. It's added in this additional geometry. So this is the same stuff, which I can delete, and then Camera here. This is Camera 1, or Scene 1. So I'm going to call this "Camera 1". So we have Camera 1, Camera 2, and now we're going to merge and we're going to do Camera Scene 3. Again, Camera is checked, and it brings in all the geometry in, which I'll delete, and then we have Camera 3, which I'll move down and rename "Camera.3." So you can see now Camera 1, 2, and 3, and I'm going to flip between Sketchup here. So Camera 1, identical, Camera 2, that's identical, a little bit of a shift only because my programs aren't perfectly lined up, and Camera 3. Perfect. So what happens if you want to use the 3DS export? Let's go over that. So for the 3DS import into Cinema 4D, we should know a few things. I'm going to flip over to Sketchup, and I'm going to go ahead and select Scene 2 here. So what we want to do is make sure that we're bringing in the three different cameras, but there's going to be some funny things that happen when we do that that we'll have to work around. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to go ahead and open Cinema 4D. I'm going to go ahead and open 01 Cameras. I already have it open in another project, so I'm going to say "Yes" to this, and I'm going to say "Bring in the camera." Here we go. Everything looks good, right? Well, now what we want to do is probably group all our geometry quickly. I'll just call this "Master" for good housekeeping here. What we'll do is we'll go ahead and merge our camera data from the 3DS export. I'll actually quickly flip over to Sketchup so that I can show you the 3DS export before we open this file. So what I'm going to do here is I'm going to go to File, Export, 3D Model, and we're going to say File Type is 3DS. We're going to make sure our options are selected. We want cameras, so "Generate cameras from pages" should be checked, and we should have our units appropriate. I'm in the U.S. so inches makes sense. We're going to go ahead and call this "Camera Export Example". It will take some time to write that in the appropriate format. It'll give me a summary saying "okay". I'm going to toggle back over to Cinema 4D, and let's go ahead and open the Camera Export Example file. My Studio import here, make sure I'm in inches, and we go OK. So there's a few things to notice. One, this model in the Object Manager is it's imported again the building model. I'm going to go ahead and delete that, and now we have one, two, three cameras, and each camera has a specific target. This we won't actually get into in this tutorial, but you can have cameras focus on targets which can be very helpful for a number of things. But we won't get into that here. The thing to know is that the aspect ratio changes. So remember when I imported this Sketchup file using the native importer. Camera 2, I'll just rename this as "Camera.2", because this is what it really is, and Scene 2 should be identical. But they're not, and there's something funny that happens in the 3DS import that I'm not quite sure what that is. But I can tell you verifiably that the focal length for Camera 2 is 42.817 in the Sketchup file, and we confirmed by toggling between the two that that looks correct. If I flip over to Scene 2 here, it pushes in and that's because our focal length is a bit different. So what I want to do is take Camera 2, this is the correct one, I'm going to copy this focal length, and I'm going to go head and move over to Scene 2 here, and I'm going to paste that focal length in and hit Return. Now, if I toggle between these two cameras, you'll see that they're identical. Well, I've already got Camera 2, so I'm going to go ahead and delete Scene 2 and its target. But what I want you to see is that Scene 1 and Scene 3 are pushed in. There's not that same space in Scene 3 between the top of the object and the top of the frame. There's not that same space, and that's because the focal length is off. So if I take my focal length, 42.817, and I paste that in here, you'll see that the focal length matches. So I'll go ahead and flip over to Scene 1, I've already copied it, highlight and paste, and hit Return, and Scene 1 and Scene 1 will match. So when you're doing a 3DS import just for camera data, use your master camera from your first native import and grab that focal length here, and make sure you apply it to the added cameras to the scene. That way, everything stays in a proper format and you capture the identical angle and perspective from your Sketchup file.
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