Cinema 4D to Element 3D Workflow: Rig Model for Animation in Element 3D

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Instructor Vic Garcia

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Rig Model for Animation in Cinema 4D.

In this final lesson, you will work with groups and anchor points to set proper rotational pivot points for the camera and cameraSwivel arm. You will also add custom controls to make it easier to animate the drone model in After Effects.



In this final lesson, we'll work on the camera and the camera swivel's anchor points so that we can properly rotate them. We will then set up a few simple controls to easily control the propeller rotation, camera rotation, and the drone positioning in After Effects. So we're going to do this. We're going to create some pivot points for the camera swivel rotation and the camera rotation. So right now, if I were to select... Let me go ahead and collapse that and open up the Drone Camera Swivel section. If I were to press E for Rotation and rotate this, this is rotating. But it's wrong, because we want this section to appear, the shocks, and these two components appear to not rotate. They're going to be stationary. We want the bottom section here to rotate, just from this bar. Let me press W, this bar here, we need the point right here and all of this section, plus the camera to rotate. So we need to create some separation for the objects here and the scene panel, for the swivel. So what we're going to do is we're going to duplicate this drone camera swivel. Let's first rename this one to... Double-click on it and call this one "Mount." Let's hide everything in here, except for the shocks. Go up, hide the arm, the dial, the attachment, and that's it. We're left with this top section, and that's what we want. So now, I want to duplicate this, Ctrl+D, and for this duplicate I'm going to go ahead and rename this one to "Camera Arm". Let me go ahead and hide the mounts and the shocks, and let's bring back the arm, the dial, and the attachment. So now, we have something we can rotate and that looks a lot better. Let me rotate around here. That's what we want. Now, the only problem is that the pivot is not in the right location. So I'm going to press on the Move tool, or W for Move. I'm going to press on this little button, which is called Axis Lock, and that's going to allow us to move the pivot point. So I'm going to move this up right to this section here. I'm going to go and move this higher. You want this right in that center section. So we can hide everything, except for this camera arm. That way, we can see what we're doing here for the pivot. I should've done that to begin with. So if we click on this little icon here and hold down Alt while clicking, it'll hide everything minus that. Then, we can go to the top view. Come in closer and just make sure that we're centered here. So I'm just going to go right there. That looks pretty good. Let's go back to Perspective, and let's click on this little icon again holding down Alt to bring everything back. Let me see what this looks like. Make sure that the Axis Lock is deselected so we can make sure that that pivot point is locked now. Let's press on the E on the keyboard for the rotation and let's make sure that that is rotating correctly, and it is. So that looks good. So I'm going to copy that rotation for that pivot that we just created. That's going to be here under Anchor Point. Just right-click and Copy. I'm going to copy that onto a new group. So I'm going to create a new group, and I'm going to call this group "Camera_Swivel_Pivot." I'm going to bring that Camera Arm object into the Camera_Swivel_Pivot. Let's copy the pivot point onto the anchor point. So I'm going to right-click and Copy. That way, that pivot point is copied onto this one. Let's make sure that it is, and I'm not seeing that it copied it. So let's make sure that we grab that again. Let's go into the camera arm, and let's right-click, Copy, Paste it. There it is. Now, it jumped. So now, we have that pivot here and it's working. Now, the reason I put it inside a group, I did that because we need the camera and this dial here on the side to be in that same group. That way, the camera rotates with that pivot point. So let's go ahead and bring the camera in there. Let's go down, and let me go ahead and collapse this group. Grab the camera, and let's bring the camera up into the group. So now, let's go ahead and grab the group, select it, and let's rotate it. Now, the camera rotates with the group and that's what we want. That's looking pretty good. Now, we have a shock in there. As you can see, it's rotating up here. That's not correct, so let's fix that. So that's going to be under the camera arm, we have this shock here, that we forgot to turn off the visibility. So let's deselect that. So if we select the camera right now and try to rotate just the camera itself... Let's go up here. If we rotate this, it's not rotating correctly. So we need to make sure that... That camera itself is going to be inside another group and it needs to be in the same group with the dial. So it is rotating correctly, but we don't have the proper rotation here. It needs to be with the dial itself. So I'm going to create another group, and that group is created inside the Camera_Swivel_Pivot group. I'll call this one "Camera_Group." I'm going to bring the camera inside the group, and I want the dial only inside the group. I need to create a duplicate of this camera arm, so we can make another copy and just isolate the dial. So let's duplicate it, Ctrl+D. Let's make sure that under this first copy that the dial is hidden. So let's go ahead and close that back up. This new object that we created, the camera arm, let's call this one "Dial." Let's hide everything but the dial. So I'm going to just Alt+click on this dial, and it'll hide everything except for the dial. So now, we should have a dial by itself with the Camera_Group in here. Let's just make sure that they are by themselves, and they are. Rotate around a little bit. There we go. Now, I'm going to jump into the left view. I'm going to go ahead and go into Wireframe for our view. I'm going to come in closer, and with the Camera_Group selected, I'm going to click on Axis Lock. Press on W on the keyboard. I'm going to move this pivot point. Let's make sure that we have Axis Lock selected. Move the pivot point down. I'm going to center it here on the dial. I'll just move in a little further back, and we can see some of those points. I'm going to use that as a reference, and let me go back to Perspective and Shaded. Now, let me go ahead and deselect Axis Lock to lock that pivot point. Now, we can rotate this camera, and then we can grab the Camera_Swivel_Pivot and rotate around. Once again, select the camera, and now we have that pivot for that. The dial is also turning too, so there we go. Let me undo the move. We're almost ready to rig this, so the last thing we need to do is we need to assign some auxiliary channels to these components, to the camera rotation, to the swivel rotation, and to the propeller rotation. So what the auxiliary channel basically is, it basically gives this transformation something to hook up. So we have position, we have rotation in there. So what we're going to do is, for the propeller, let's go down to the propeller we created earlier. For this one, I'm going to assign this one to Auxiliary Channel 1. So that's going to give us a means to hook up to the rotation of the propeller. For the Camera_Swivel_Pivot, I'm going to give this one Auxiliary Channel 2. For the Camera_Group, I'm going to give this one Auxiliary Channel 3. Then, I'm going to go ahead and press OK, and here we are inside of After Effects. I have this zoomed up to 200. I'm going to go back to 100, and let's create a new camera so we can move around this. So New, and then Camera. Press OK. I'm going to press C, and I'm going to bring this camera in a bit. Let's see what we have now. So let's go ahead and grab our Element layer, and let's go up to Group 1 in here. Let's actually bring it up down here too. So I'm going to press E on our layer. That'll bring up our Element 3D effect, and let's open Group 1 down here. So we need to create some sort of control in order to control the propellers and the rotations in an easier way, instead of digging through here. It becomes complicated when you have to rotate things and animate things. You just come in here and do all your animation while digging through these attributes. It's a headache. So what we can do is create our own custom controls. The first thing we're going to do is select our group up here, and let's go ahead and go down... Actually, let's twirl the group up and let's go down to World Transform first. In here, we're going to create a Null, a master Null that's going to control the position of the drone. It's going to give us a Null, so let's hit Create. There's our Null. Let me go ahead and rename this to "Drone_Control." Now, let me select our Move tool. We have a Null, and we can now move the drone and rotate it if we want to. So that's great. Now, with this Null selected, we can go up to Effect, Expression Controls. Let's create a slider control, and let's duplicate this two times. One, two. Let's call the first one "Propeller¬¬_Rotation," and let's call the second one "Camera_Swivel," and let's call the third one "Camera_Rotation." Let's lock this tab here, so let's click on this lock icon. Now, let's go down here to our Element plugin. Let's open at the auxiliary channels for Group 1. So I'm going to go to Group 1, Auxiliary Channels, and as I recall Channel 1 was for the propeller rotation. So if we open up Channel 1, we have Position and we have Rotation in here. So let's open up Rotation, and we want to focus on Rotation Y. So if we rotate this, down here you'll see that we have rotation. That's what we want. So that's what the auxiliary channel does. It just gives us that path, that bridge to get to some rotation on some of these components. So let's go ahead and click on the stopwatch while holding down Alt, Alt+click, and then grab this little pick whip and bring this up to the slider. So now the slider controls the rotation. We can keyframe this for animation. So that one is done. Let's open up Channel 2. For this one, this one should be the camera swivel. Let's open up Rotation for Channel 2, and it should be the Y. So this is what we're going to do. Let's rotate this one. So let's Alt+click, and then pick-whip this to camera swivel. Then, just click in here and that should accept it. Let's go ahead and rotate that up here in our new slider. That's a lot easier than digging through things, so very nice. Now, let's open up Channel 3. In this one, we should be able to rotate this one on the X. So let's confirm that, and there we go, the camera rotates. Alt+click and pick-whip, and there's our rotation. Very nice. Let me just move around this drone, so you can see what it looks like. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to create a few more controls for this, and I'll show you a quick animation. So here is the final result. I went ahead and added two additional controls. One for the top button that's right here on top, and the main button which is this cross button. So those move in and out. I set the slider... If we right-click on the slider and go to Edit Value, I set the value down really low. That way, when we do move, the slider doesn't move the buttons way out in space. So I set these to about, 0.01 or 0.02 will work. It just makes small increments, small changes for the position. Other than that, I turned on Ambient Occlusion for the Element 3D layer, came down here under Render Settings, turned on Ambient Occlusion here, and here's my settings for that. I also turned on Motion Blur. So here's the Motion Blur setting. I have this set to the comp settings, and I kind of bumped up, dialed up the blur samples up to 16. Then, I made sure that the Element 3D layer has Motion Blur on. Motion Blur is on here too, so you can preview the Motion Blur in your render preview. Here is the animation. Let me go ahead and show you that that I quickly made. Here's some nice Motion Blur on the propeller, and some nice shadow here along the bottom of the base, where the Ambient Occlusion is working. As you can see, the swivel is working and the camera is rotating too. So pretty happy with the result. As you can see, Cinema 4D makes it easy to work seamlessly with Element 3D. I had a really good time creating this series. I hope you enjoyed watching it, and I hope you learned a few tips along the way. Thank you very much.
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