View C Motion
C Motion is the procedural animation component of Cinema 4D. C Motion allows you to create animation that is not linked to actual frames, but rather parameters that drive your character rig in a particular fashion. Originally intended for walk cycles, you can use C Motion wherever you see fit.
The real power in such a tool is to be able to use/reuse presets and specific actions, and change your motion characteristics with only a few options, instead of having to deal with keyframes and F-Curves editing. While it can be argued that manual animation is more desirable, imagine this as being the equivalent of a Cube object when modeling, it gives you a great building block to achieve nice, polished results fairly easily.
The process of creating a walk cycle is fairly simple and straightforward:
- Drag and drop the object you wish to animate in the Objects list
- Select an action and apply it to the object
- Edit the action parameters to fit your needs
- Add more actions if necessary
- Rinse and repeat for additional objects
C Motion is great for creating animation for crowds and background characters. While there is some initial setup work, the effort is not that different than creating a walk cycle directly. The difference with C Motion is that you can save and reuse animation in an elegant fashion, and because the animation is stored and treated as parametric data, it is not explicitly confined to timing, frame count, and so on. You can easily “retime” your C Motion to fit the needs of the character, and build upon existing C Motions to get to where you want to be faster than you would be able to do with traditional keyframe animation. Its worth the short amount of time it will take to get familiar with C Motion.