Getting Started with Cinema 4D, Part 03: Introduction to Modeling with Primitives

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Instructor eyedesyn

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In this video, you’ll be getting introduced to the basic 3D shapes called Primitives that will help you build the basic form of the submarine.

In this video, you will be learning how you can build a submarine using Primitive Objects, which are the basic geometric 3D shapes like the Cube, Sphere, and Torus. There are many primitive objects included in C4D, and this video will only cover a few of them but give you a basic fundamental understanding of the concepts of Primitives and how they can be used.



You do not have to be amazing modeler to be able to model 3D objects and just build things in 3D space. And I'm going to prove it to you by showing you that you can build an object like a submarine using purely primitive objects. Now, remember, primitive objects are all of your basic 3D shapes. Let's go ahead, get familiar with all the primitive objects available to us in Cinema 4D, start modeling our submarines, and practice all of those shortcut keys that we learned in the last video. So, to begin building the basic form of our submarine, we're going to go back to our Primitives menu here, click and hold, and let's grab a Capsule Object. Now, this is kind know, looks like a, you know, submarine hull to some extent, but it's facing the wrong way. So, what we're going to do is reorientate this so this capsule is not facing up and down in the Y. Now, you can do one of two things. One is to go and just go ahead and rotate this object, and if I undo that, rotate this the right way, something like that, and you'll see that now our capsule is laying flat and it looks a little bit more like an actual submarine hull. But the problem with that is, and why I recommend you not rotate things unless you absolutely have to, is because all of our axes are now facing the wrong directions. So, if I wanted to move things in the Y, it's actually not the Y, it's the X. And that's kind of confusing that this is the red X axis but it's actually moving in the Y space. So, what I like to do is let's just reset this rotation in the banking to zero, because in most object privatives, if I go into my Object tab, have this Orientation field here. Now, what this allows us to do is change the orientation in which way our object is laying by choosing which direction we want it to actually lay in. So, if I go ahead and change this orientation from positive Y, which means that it's actually facing in the positive Y direction, and change it to, say, positive X, you're going to see that it's now laying on its side. And this is achieved without needing to gum up any of our rotation values here, it's just laying flat, it's just orientated in the right way to twist changing the orientation here. So, I always recommend, unless you absolutely need to rotate something, just choose the orientation here so you maintain the correct axes orientation here in line with the world axis that you can see down here and won't get confused, all right? So, let's just call this our Submarine Hull here. And what I also recommend people do is to go and rename all of your objects because how you start building out your scene, things are going to get pretty complicated and confusing if you just have a bunch of capsule objects or cubes and they don't have any descriptive names. So, to rename an object, all you need to do is simply double-click on that text of that object and that'll bring up the Edit Text field and I can just rename this Sub Hull, okay? And if I just hit Enter, that will then complete the renaming of that object and we're all set to go. So, that's our Sub Hull. What we can now do is add some nice little accents. And what I'm going to do is add some nice, vertical, little tubes, almost like the welding of the front and the back of the submarine, and how I'm going to build that is by simply using some Torus objects. So, if I go ahead and just navigate to the Torus, it's going to create this torus. And it's way too big so what I can do is hit the T Key to bring up my Scale Tool and just scale this down. What you're going to notice is that this torus is actually facing in the wrong direction. So, again, I can go into the Torus Object in the Object Manager, navigate down to the Object Properties in the Object tab in my Attributes Manager, and again change the orientation. Instead of positive Y so it's laying facing upwards, I can just change this to positive X and you'll see that, now, it is facing in the same direction as my submarine hull. If I scale this down holding the T key and clicking and dragging, you can see that I'm now scaling this down. Though this is a quite a fat little rib here for the sub, so what I'm going to do, and I could do a couple things to make this torus a little less thick, maybe make it thinner, is by either adjusting these little handles here. And if I actually click on the Torus Object, Object Properties tab, you can actually see what these little dots, these little handles, are changing on the Torus Object. So, this little inner dot, this top dot, is actually changing the ring radius, so the overall radius, okay, and then the second dot below that, radius dot, is the pipe radius dot, okay? So, I can adjust all these things right in the viewport, zoom in here hitting the 2 key, and just kind of see how that looks. And I think that's looking pretty good, okay? So, what this is going to be is like the Hull Welding, okay? So, again, double-click on that object, rename it, and hit Enter to complete that renaming. And basically, I want two of these, so I want one to be, kind of, over here. And the one thing that I am always a stickler in, and something I'm kind of OCD about, is even numbers. So, you can see as I'm moving and constraining this Torus movement on the X, you can see all these odd values. And if I go to the corner tab, you can see exactly where my Torus now is positioned on the X. It's at -39.395 centimeters. And that absolutely drives me bonkers to have all these decimal points. So, one thing I like to do is just make this a round number. So, instead of -39.395, it's -40, okay? Now, one way to be able to maintain these nice round, numbers is instead of moving things on the axis and getting these odd decimals...I'm just going to go ahead and Cmd+Z or Ctrl+Z to undo that, is to, instead of just clicking and dragging, I'm going to hold the Shift key down, okay? And if I hold the Shift key down while I click and drag, you're going to see that I'm actually incrementing the movement in increments of 10. So, we get nice, round numbers here instead of those decimals if we weren't holding the Shift key down. So, what I can also do is say, "Okay, this little welding hull, this hull welding is going to be -50 on this side. So, what if I want to have the same Torus but have it on this side and still be on the +50 so it's nice and aligned?" So, what I can do is duplicate this very easily. And I can duplicate this object two ways. So, I can either hold the Cmd key down, and you'll see that when you hold the Cmd or the Ctrl key down, your cursor will get this little icon that's like a square with a little square to the top right of it, and what that means is it's ready to duplicate an object. So, if I want to duplicate this Torus and constrain it to the X, I can just click and drag, and you'll see, voila, like a magic trick, I just pulled another Torus out of that existing Torus. And if I hold the Shift key down, I can then constrain the movement of this new Torus, this duplicated Torus, by increments of 10. Let go, and you'll see there is my second hull welding, my second Taurus object in the Object Manager. Now, another way to duplicate an object is simply inside the Object Manager itself. So, just like I held the Cmd key down in the viewport, I can also hold down the Cmd key in the Object Manager. And you're not going to actually see any change of the cursor until you click and drag. And you're going to see that if I hold in, just toggle the Cmd key, it goes from a empty box to a box with a plus. And when you have that plus in that box, and I'm holding the Cmd key down or the Ctrl key down to actually have this, let go of the mouse, and I'm actually just duplicating in the Object Manager.. And I can move this around, you'll see there's my third Torus, okay? And I actually don't need that so what I can do is just delete that, hitting the Delete key and deleting that new Torus. And if I like the positioning of these two Tori, just making sure this is nice and aligned and maybe making it so these two welding parts, two welding objects, are actually flush to my object as well. As I orbit around, you can see there's some gaps in there, so I can hold the Cmd key down or the Ctrl key, and click and add to my selection, and I can go in the Object Manager and I can actually control both of the ring radiuses of these two Tori or Toruses, okay? So, I can go in, again, round numbers, I'm going to be a stickler about it, just maybe round that down to three, and then for the ring radius, let's call that 65, and that's looking pretty good. And if we want to make it a little bit skinnier, I can also just go ahead and maybe bring down the pipe radius to 2 centimeters by just, kind of, scrubbing these little arrows here. So, click and scrub. And if I wanted to actually increment to 10s, I can hold down the Alt or Option key and scrub. You'll see that I'm actually adjusting this in increments of 10. So, you can get a little bit more fine-tuned control. But again, I like round numbers so I'm going to stick with 2 or maybe 2.5. It's about the only decimal I'm cool with is a 0.5. So, now we have our nice, little welding. Now, what I can do is add some more detail. So, what I'm going to do is go ahead and add the porthole and I'm going to start by adding a Tube object, okay? So, this tube is going to be really huge when it comes in, and again, it's going to be facing the wrong direction. What I actually want this to be orientated to is the Z. So, I'll go to the orientation on my tube and go to just positive Z. And you'll see that if I can move this forward and just scale this down, you're going to see this is going to be like the outer ring of this pothole, okay, so maybe something like that. And one thing I can do is add some rounding to this so it's not so sharp. So, maybe like a Bevel. Now, what a Bevel is, in Cinema 4D, or it's sometimes referred to as is a Fillet. So, fillet is basically a fancy way to say bevel or some rounding, okay? So, what I'm going to do is activate that fillet. And what that's going to allow me to do is change both the segments and the radius of this rounding. So, notice as I bring this rounding radius up, it's actually rounding more of the object, that bevel's getting bigger. And if I adjust the segments, that's actually adjusting how many subdivisions are present in that rounding, or that fillet, to smooth out the geometry, okay? So, to be able to see this, I can go to my Display, go to Gouraud Shading (Lines). And what this is going to allow me to do is see all the subdivisions of my geometry. Now, notice when I adjust the subdivisions here it make it really low. You're going to see that with one segment, this is going to be like a sharp chisel rather than a nice, smooth bevel. And if I up the segments here, you're going to see those subdivisions or those edges added, and you're going to see a much smoother piece of geometry. So, I just wanted to show what this looks like when you go into that lines mode. So, I'll just go back to Display, Gouraud Shading and, you know, I think this is a nice, smooth fillet, maybe make this a little bit less large. So, maybe bring the radius down to two. Again, nice round numbers and I think this is looking good so far. So now, what we can do is go ahead and add, like, the porthole glass section of this little porthole object. And again, always a good idea to rename things. So, this will be the Porthole Edge, and that's what I'm going to call that. And what I'll do is go and add a sphere for the little porthole glass section. So, you're going to see, here is our sphere, this is a new primitive for us, and it has Radius, and Segments, and Type as its object properties, okay? So, what I'm going to do is just bring the radius down, and again, I can go into my fore up view and see exactly where this sphere is, it's actually inside my capsule. So, I'm just going to move this forward again by constraining the movement to the Z. And I'll just scale this down and position this right about there. All right. So, let's go into our perspective view. So, I can make my perspective view full screen by either clicking this button here or, again, if you remember the shortcut key, it's F1. Our perspective view is now full screen. And there is, know, it's starting to look a little bit like a submarine right now. So, what I'm going to do is go ahead and add the propeller, okay? So, what I'm going to do is just add a very simple propeller and I'm going to do it by just duplicating this capsule object of our main sub hull. So, again, hold Cmd or Ctrl down and click and drag. Again, we have the little icon with the little two squares there. And then, what I'm going to do is just rename this Sub Hull 1 to Propeller Base, okay, and then just hit the T key to bring up my Scale Tool, just scale this all the way down. And again, move this constraining this to the X, zoom in here, and just have the little...just have a little propeller base for our main blades to, kind of, rotate out from. Looking good. And I can just scale this up by hitting the T key, and I think that's looking good. And again, for the actual blades, I can duplicate this capsule here, the propeller base capsule, by holding Cmd + click and drag, and I'll do this from the Object Manager, and there we go, and we'll just rename this Propeller, okay? And again, since I want to rotate this and have our propeller be up and down, instead of rotating this, I'll just change the orientation so it's facing upwards. So, I'll just change this to positive Y and I just adjust this new capsule, shrink it down, and there we go. So, that's a little crude propeller right there. Next, we're going to go ahead and add the little scope. And the base for the sub scope, that will be, you know, scoping things out. So, let's go ahead and first add the base. And what I'm going to do is create a cube and, again, scale this down, hit the T key, scale this all the way down, hit the E key for my Move Tool to move this up. And then, I can just adjust these little handles to just adjust this size to taste. And basically, there is, like, you know, the base of the submarine scope that will be popping out of the top. And I want to round this off so I'll go into the Object tab of that cube, turn on Fillet, and just like the little tube down here, we can round out the edges of our cube. And we'll just bring the radius down quite a bit, maybe 3.5. Again, I'm cool with 0.5s here, but that looks good. So, I can move this down, I can duplicate this, but first, let's go ahead and rename this cube to the Scope Base, and I'll just Cmd + click and drag. There is my second scope base. And I'll just scale this down, and basically, this will just be, you know, like, a tiered base of this sub scope. And now, we can actually get the sub scope popping out. It's a little scope with a little scope glass. So, what I'm going to do is, for that scope, I'm going to grab a cylinder, okay? I'm going to move this on up, and again, the cylinder has different object properties, its own unique object properties. Here we have Radius and Height, okay? And so, I'm just going to adjust this in the viewport by using these handles and we'll make this sub scope pretty tall so I can peek out of the little aquarium bowl. And that's looking good and I'll just rename this Scope Pole, okay, and I'll just rename this Scope. And what I'm going to do, just like I added little weld Torus objects here to get more detail, I'm going to do the same thing for the scope. So, what I'm going to do, again, is just grab a Torus, and it's already facing the correct direction it's oriented in the positive Y. So, I'll just move this up, I can hold the Shift key down to constrain this to increments of 10, hit the T key. I can also constrain scale in increments of 10 by holding the Shift key down as well. I just wanted to show that. But I can scale this all the way down, make this a pretty small weld here, okay, always making sure everything looks good in all of your views and angles here, all right? So, something small, something subtle like that, maybe not so subtle because as I zoom out, you can barely see it. So, maybe just make this a little bit bigger, and while we're at it, even help these radiuses or radii by hitting 1, and maybe we'll do 1.5, again, I'm cool with 0.5s. And for the radius, let's just do a nice, round 7, okay? So, now, I want to be able to space out a few of these little weld marks so let's go ahead and rename this to Scope Weld, okay? And basically, what I can do is just hit the Cmd key again to duplicate this object. So, holding the Cmd key down, clicking and dragging, and that will then create a new Torus, and I'll hold the Shift key down and let's just know, let's have these spaced 40 centimeters apart, okay? So, I'll let go. And again, there is my new Torus, and I'm just going to hold the Cmd key or Ctrl key down again, you can see the little icon with the two boxes so I know I'm in the duplicate mode, click and drag, and then hold the Shift key, and then go another 40 centimeters, okay? So, I know that these three, if I just hold the Shift key down as I add to my selection here by just clicking on these objects in the viewport, these are fairly aligned. Now, I can, you know, eyeball this a little bit to maybe center this up with the top of the pole, but those are looking good and I know that these are spaced evenly, okay? So, last thing I want to do is add the little top of the scope with the little scope glass part, the little magnifying or microscope glass at the very top of this. So, what I'm going to do for that is use another tube, okay? So, go to the Primitives menu, grab a tube, move this all the way up, get my Scale Tool, scale this down, place this right at the top using my little handles here, and again, add a little bit of rounding to this tube. So, I'll add some fillet and just bring this radius down again, one is a nice even number, and maybe move this up, okay? So, just like we added a sphere for the porthole glass, we're just going to go ahead and add a sphere to the top class of the scope. And actually, while I'm at it, I forgot to rename the sphere what it is. Again, it's very important to name things or, again, you're just going to have Sphere and Torus and not know what any of these objects are. So, I'll name this Porthole Glass. Okay. So, let's go ahead, grab another sphere, and we'll move this on up, scale this down, and just place this right inside the little tube object here which, again, rename. And we'll name this Scope Glass Base, there we go. And here is our Scope Glass, okay? And there we go. Now, what I want to do is add a little bit more to the top here. So, maybe I'll adjust the scope, make it a little bit taller, move it on up, and then I'll grab the scope base, the scope glass base, and the scope glass and move this up as well. So, we have a little bit more space at the top. And again, I can grab all the scope welds and I can either Cmd+click and add to my selection or I can click and drag and get a rectangular selection to grab all of these objects and just reposition these guys. Just going to eyeball that and that's looking good. Now, I know the scope should be bent, but we'll deal with that a little bit later as well as making this propeller look a little bit more like a propeller and adding a little bit more detail to this submarine. But you can see that, for now, we have a pretty good start on our submarine that's built entirely out of only primitive objects. But again, it's pretty limiting to only use primitives. So, in the next video, I'm going to show you a way in which you can create geometry based on actually drawing splines or paths to create custom 3D objects. And that way, you can actually add more detail to this submarine and build out other objects for our scene.
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