Getting Started with Cinema 4D, Part 10: Introduction to Animation

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Instructor eyedesyn

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In this video, you’ll start to animate the submarine object by being introduced to some basic animation workflows inside of Cinema 4D, including how to set keyframes and navigate around the timeline.

In this video, you’ll be introduced to the animation workflow inside of Cinema 4D including how to set keyframes to animate the submarine and use the Timeline to fine tune your animation tracks. You’ll also learn how to generate procedural looping animation using a Vibrate Tag.



In addition to animating objects procedurally by using animatable deformers, like the wind deformer, and using the MoGraph modules random effector, we can actually go the more traditional keyframing route and utilize Cinema 4D's robust animation workflow. All right. So let's animate the rotation of this propeller to start. So let's go in, navigate to our propeller, and there it is. And I know we want to rotate and keyframe this rotation P or rotation in the pitch. So I'll go ahead and let's go to the beginning of our animation. So I'll click on this Go to Start, and we'll go to frame zero. And I'm going to set a keyframe by hovering over this little gray dot, have it highlighted and just click, okay? And when you click, it'll then fill in red, indicating that you have set a keyframe on this frame. And you'll see the little rectangle there also indicating that there is a key there. And what I'll do at that point is go to the end of my animation by clicking this Go to the End of Animation button, and you'll see that that little circle that was filled in red is now just an outline of red. And this just indicates that there is a keyframe currently somewhere on this track, but no keyframe on the actual frame that we're currently on. So what I can do now is let's just add in a different value. So maybe we want to go 3,600, okay? And you'll see that that outline color changed from red to yellow, indicating that we changed the value on this key but have not set a keyframe yet. So I'll just set a new keyframe and let's just hit Play in our little playhead here. And you'll see that we have a nice propeller spin. And you'll also notice that we have a little bit of an ease in and ease out. And this is just the default behavior when you set a keyframe. Just like inside of After Effects, it defaults to a smooth interpolation. So let's just stop that animation from playing, and let's go into our Timeline view to actually see what's going on. So we're going to go to Window, Timeline, Dopesheet mode, okay? And once I reveal that, you'll see there's the object we set those rotation keyframes. If I twirl down this little option a few times, you'll actually see the rotation folder and then the actual rotation pitch that we set those two keyframes on. Now, if I hover over until I get the arrow with the bar going through it and click and drag, you'll see that I'll be able to get myself more viewable room to see my animation track. And you'll see this is an animation track just like in any other piece of software. And you'll see that we have these nice bezier handles that are creating the nice, smooth ease in and ease out. But again, we want to remove the ease in and ease out. So I'm going to click and drag to select both of these keyframes. And I'm going to go into the interpolation of those two keyframes and change it from a spline to linear. And I can also change it here with this little icon as well. So here was the spline interpolation. And I can also click here to go to linear. And what you'll see is that I'll remove the ease in and ease out and we'll basically have a constant rotation going on at all times. So I'll go ahead, close out of my timeline, hit Play, and you'll now see we have a nice continuous rotation there, and no ease in and ease out happening anymore. Okay. So let's go ahead and animate the little scope, maybe rotating around like this, okay? So I'll undo that. And let's just set a keyframe at, say, frame 10. So I'll set a keyframe there, maybe move five frames. And let's just have this maybe animate to, you know, 65 degrees, something like that, and I'll set a new keyframe. And then I'll go to frame 30, set another keyframe, go to frame 35, and this is where it'll rotate to, say, 130 degrees and I'll set a new keyframe. And then, basically, have a few frames for it to just kind of stay at that value. So I'll set another keyframe and then go down five more frames and just have it rotate to, say, 135. And we'll have it stay there for a while, set a new keyframe, and then we'll have it go back to a full 360. So it's basically back in its original rotation and set another keyframe. And I can also click on a keyframe to move it anywhere in my timeline. So I can hit Play and just see how this looks. So we just have this nice rotational movement there. Let's go back to the Scope Group and adjust this key, this last key right here. I can also click and drag to select multiple keys, and maybe move them down, and hit Play. So not only can you adjust keys in this little power slider here, but you can also go and get more fine-tune control by going into your timeline. And again, the one and two keys actually help in the navigation of the timeline. So one, holding down the one key helps to pan, and then the two key helps to zoom. And you'll see there's my Scope Group, there's my rotation, and there's the rotation in the H. I can click and drag to give this more room here. And there you go. There's all of our keyframes that we just added to our Scope Group. So now, we have our scope animated, we have our propeller animating. Let's go ahead and animate our submarine here, okay? And how we're going to animate this submarine is not via keyframes, but by using the Cinema 4D equivalent of After Effects wiggle expression. Now, if you animate in After Effects, you know that the wiggle expression is super handy and allows you to procedurally animate kind of looping motion. And what it's called in Cinema 4D is the vibrate tag. And it comes as a tag expression. So to bring up our vibrate tag, we're going to apply it to our submarine group. So I'll right-click, go to Cinema 4D tags. and go to Vibrate, okay? And here's where you can enable the vibration or the wiggle on any parameter here. So position, scale, rotation. Let's go ahead and enable the position. And if I hit Play, you'll see that the amplitude is going in the X direction. So this is X, Y, and Z. So if we want a bobbing motion, we'll zero out the amplitude in the X, and maybe add a subtle amplitude in the Y. And you'll see that the frequency is basically how fast this is going. You're seeing this nice vibration going on, and it's fairly random, but if we want to have this looping, what we'll want to activate is this regular pulse. And it'll just bob up and down very predictably and removes a lot of that random vibration that was occurring. So we can adjust the frequency here. And basically, if you have a value of one in the frequency, it means it's going to go through a full bob up and bob down every 30 frames or every second. So if we wanted to slow this down even further, we can divide this by a value of three, okay? And if you see, I have it at 0.33. Now it'll do a full loop every three seconds, But if I wanted to double that and have it do a full loop every, say, second and a half, I can go and just multiply that by two. And now, you'll see we just sped that up a little bit faster, okay? So now, we can go ahead and add some rotation. So H, P, and B, and I believe we'll need the animation in the banking, so I'll just turn that on. And again. let's go ahead and maybe choose 0.333. So what that will allow is a full loop, a full regular pulse loop of rotation every three seconds, okay? So now, we have this nice subtle loop. And if we think that the amplitude is a little bit too much in the position, we can just easily bring that down. And I think that's looking pretty good. We have some nice procedural animation all coming from the vibrate expression tag. So you can see that no matter if you are doing traditional keyframed animation or procedural animation, like using the vibrate tag, animation inside of Cinema 4D is super easy. And if you're used to animating in any other kind of app, like After Effects, that knowledge will perfectly translate over into animating on the world of 3D.
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