Recreate the T1000 Prison Bar Effect from Terminator 2 with Metaballs

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Instructor Donovan Keith

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  • Duration: 08:07
  • Views: 9080
  • Made with Release: 17
  • Works with Release: 17 and greater

Use the updated Metaball object to recreate the T1000 liquid metal effect from Terminator 2.

Use the updated Metaball object to recreate the T1000 liquid metal effect from Terminator 2. Prison bars are modeled with primitives and the "lines" and "triangle" modes of the Metaball Tag. The effect of the figure being repelled by the bars is achieved with a Negative influence setting. Finally an HDRI image is loaded into the environment channel of a material in order to get a realtime reflection preview.



- Hi, I'm Donovan Keith, and in this video I'm going to get you up to speed with the new features available in the meta ball object and meta ball tag in Cinema 4D Release 17. Probably the biggest things to note are that you can now use arbitrary polygon objects to create non-spherical shapes, and I'm taking advantage of that to create this T1000 Terminator 2 style animation where we've got a sphere passing through some prison bars. I want to go over the nature of this scene and how it's been done, and then we'll go over recreating that step by step. In this scene, you see I've got two objects. One is the meta ball object and then below that is my pipes object. I'm just going to hide my meta ball object for a second and I want you to see that I'm building up these pipes using just a cube and a plane. If I go to display Gouraud shading lines and turn off this pipes object, you'll see that I've...with my plane created a series of vertical lines which are being converted into bars, and my cube here is creating that large horizontal slat. That is creating the bar effect. The meta ball object above this is our figure that is passing through the bars, and you'll notice that we also have the same pipes and cubes object, but they are being used to subtract our bars from our meta ball object. It's sort of a combination of those two effects to create this final look. I'm going to start by editing my project scale from centimeters to millimeters, and that's because I'm working with fairly small objects, a fairly small scene, and I want to ensure that my defaults are reasonable in terms of size. Let's first build those bars, and to do that I'm going to add a plane object to my scene and I'm going to change its orientation to minus z, so it's sticking straight up and down. Then, I'm going to turn on Gouraud shading lines so I can see the polygon structure, and let's change the height segments here to one. We're already starting to see this up and down sort of feeling. Let's change our width segments to five, which is going to give us six vertical slats. We've got our plane, let's drag this into a meta ball object. Add a meta ball object, put the plane inside of that, and we see something that looks like this. Doesn't really look like much. If I go to option, to level of detail, and use render LOD for editive rendering I now start to see something a bit more realistic. That tells me that my editor subdivision settings and my render subdivision settings need to be adjusted. I'm going to change editor subdivision down to something like 1.5 centimeters, which is going to give you this preview right here. I feel like I want to make this all a little bit bigger, let's change this to 200 by 200. I've now got those balls there. Let's adjust the settings of the meta balls on this plane. To do that, I right click. I choose Cinema 4D tags, and to that I'm going to add a meta ball tag. Having done that, I'm going to change my type here from sphere to line. Instead of getting meta balls on each of the points, I'm now getting them on the edges. This is looking pretty good, maybe I'll crank up the radius to something like three, and we've got a pretty good thickness on these bars now. Next, I want to create that horizontal crossbar that is more cubic in shape. I'm going to add a cube to my scene. I'm going to increase its width and decrease its height, and then drag this inside of my meta ball object. I'll just duplicate the tag that I have on my plane onto this. Looking at this, we now have what looks like rebar construction. It's not quite what I want. I want this to be solid. So I'm going to click on my tag on my cube here and I'm going to change from type line, which is sort of like edges, to triangle, which is our faces mode, which makes the object appear solid and thick. This radius property is determining how tightly it fits to these triangles. I'm just going to go with maybe a setting of two so we can get a pretty tight bevel. When I render, looking pretty good. Personally, if I was modelling this for a finished film I'd probably use subdivision surfaces and polygon modelling so I'd have a lot of control over this. Maybe some sculpting for the welds. But, for a quick mock up, I'd say this works pretty well. Let's rename this meta ball object to Bars. Let's get more descriptive with the name of our cubes. I'm going to call the cube Cross Bar. I'm going to call my plane Vertical Bars. Now that I've got my bars, I want to add in a sphere to sort of collide with these. To add the sphere to the scene and increase its size so that it's going to go through at least a couple, three, of these bars. Let's drag it into the bars object. Spheres behave just like regular old meta balls always have. It's doing a really nice job of merging with the shapes, but that's not what we want. We don't want it to merge with the existing metal, we want the existing metal to cut through it. What I'm going to do is duplicate my bars by holding down the command or control key and dragging, and I'm going to change this to figure, because that's what this sphere sort of represents. I'm going to delete the sphere in the original bars option here, so now I've got a new duplicate that's pretty much identical, except for this sphere in the center. What I want to do is adjust it so that these cubes and planes are cutting out from the sphere. I'm going to go into the meta ball tags for the crossbar and the vertical bars, and I'm going to turn on this negative influence option. We now see that the sphere is being cut into as we push it through. It's a really cool effect as it starts to sort of merge and reconnect around the bars. I just want to give it a little bit more space. I'm going to increase the radius here for both, maybe something like five so then the spheres are really pushing through like this. Let's go ahead and view this in Gouraud shading mode. I'm also going to give this a reflective material so that we can see what's going on. I'm going to create a new material, I'm going to call this Liquid Metal, and I'm going to turn on the environment channel so then I can just drag in an image here and not have to build a full environment myself. In my content browser I'm just going to search for an HDR. I'm trying to find something that can work as an interior environment. This building probe seems like it could work pretty well. Probably a little bit too much green in it for a depressing mental institution, but good enough. Let's drag this material onto our figure and our bars. Now, as we move this sphere through the bars, we're getting this real-time update. I'd say it's looking pretty good, but there's something we can do to actually improve the look. Notice there's a lot of distortion happening as this merging is taking place. Lots of little individual polygon warps. You can really see the polygon structure. If I go into both of these meta ball objects and turn on the accurate normals option, we now get something that looks nice and smooth. As I move my sphere through, everything's looking good. All right. That's pretty much it. I hope that you can see some of the power available to us now with these new meta ball options. It's not a panacea, there are still some limitations here. It's still going to get really slow when your objects get super complicated, but with a bit of planning, maybe a good use of the take system for adjusting your quality settings and your resolutions, you can get a nice looking end result. An I got to say, it's really cool being able to recreate one of my favorite shots from film and television as easily as this.
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