Getting Started with Cinema 4D, Part 11: Introduction to F-Curves

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Instructor eyedesyn

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In this video, you’ll be introduced to the F-Curve manager that allows you to fine tune your animation curves for total control over how your animation looks.

In this video, you’ll be introduced to the F-Curve manager that allows you to fine tune your animation curves for total control over how your animation looks as well as cover how Cinema 4D is a value graph based editor and how to view the speed graph.



There are two different ways to view and edit your animated tracks in Cinema 4D, one being the Dopesheet Mode that is the default Timeline View, but there's also the F-Curve Mode. Now, the F-Curve Mode is perfect for isolating individual tracks. Now, you can access the F-Curve Mode by either clicking this little button here or by hitting Tab to be able to toggle between the F-Curve Mode and the Dopesheet Mode. Now, the F-Curve Mode is perfect for selecting individual tracks and isolating them in your Timeline View. So this allows you to quickly select and isolate individual or multiple tracks, and it'll allow you to easily focus on the sections of your animation and control the animation curves. So, let's dive into how we can use the F-Curve Manager to make our subscope movement a little more snappy. So. let's navigate to our F-Curve Manager. So, we're going to go to Window, Timeline, F-Curve. And, here is our Timeline and you're not going to see any track yet until you untwirl one of your objects that you have keyframes added to and select on an animation track. Now, to navigate around in your F-Curve Timeline, we can utilize the same shortcut keys we used to navigate around our Viewport in the 1 key to pan, and the 2 key to zoom to kind of reframe our timeline track. We can also use the shortcut key H to actually maximize the selected track to our current view. So, you can see that our animation track is now taking up the full space of our window view, okay? So, let's go ahead and I'm just going to reorientate here a little bit, and if I wanted to say, "select all of these curves" to make our animation a little bit snappier. So, let me just go ahead and hit play. So, you can see the rotation on our subscope is just kind of twirling around. And my rule of thumb is, you never want to just have a default ease in and ease out on your keyframes. You always want to give a little bit of love to your animation curves or your Bezier Handles here. So, I just made a rectangular selection by clicking and dragging to select all of these keyframes. And, if I click on one of the Bezier Handles, you'll see that because I have all of those keyframes selected, I'm actually editing all of them. So, I could easily, you know, have a little bit of overshoot action or I could kind of have whatever kind of whacky animation I want. You can see that it's kind of going all wonky now, but let me go ahead and just cmd+Z undo that. Now, if I click on multiple curves and when I click, I actually hold down the cmd or the ctrl key. And you're going to see it's going to maintain all the visual angles of all the Bezier Handles which would be 0 degrees. And, here I can really bring out my Bezier Handles here to make this a really, really snappy animation now. You can see how quickly that rotation is on our submarine scope as it's rotating around. Now, I think this is much nicer. And, again, just by making those curves much snappier, much sharper curves, I think it actually helps the look of the animation. Now, I do want to point out that the entire time we've been working in the Timeline whether it's the F-Curve Mode or if I hit Tab and go into the Dopesheet Mode here, you can see that there's different ways to basically view your animation track and it's all value-based. You can see that the values are represented on the left here. So, our rotation in 100 degrees, 200 degrees, 300 all the way up to 500, okay? Now, if you're coming from After Effects, you'll notice that there is no speed graph, it's only value graphs inside of Cinema 4D. And, I actually enjoy using just the value graph and I've learned to work with it that way. But, for those of you who are coming from After Effects and you want to at least see the speed graph, you can actually view the speed graph by going to F-Curve and going to Show Velocity. And, if I just Tab over to the F-Curve Mode again, you can see that there is our velocity right there. There's our speed graph. Now the only downside is, is you cannot edit the actual speed graph, you can only view it. So, as you're adjusting and making changes, you can see that speed graph kind of update. And, at least it's there for visual reference so if you're kind of missing out on having that speed graph, this is one way to be able to visualize it by going to your F-Curve and, again, checking on that Show Velocity. So, the F-Curve Manager I feel, is really an animator's best friend that allows you to really be able to fine-tune all of your animations.
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