How it’s Made: May 2014 Calendar – A Cinema4D Text Effect Tutorial

pi-cinema4d-may-tutorial
  • 16 Read Time(minutes)
  • 2/5 Difficulty
  • 3D Application

Hey guys and welcome to this very special tutorial where I’m going to take you behind the scenes of creating this month’s wallpaper calendar. That’s right, with the help of my buddy László Magyar, today we’ll teach you how to use Cinema4D’s Cloner tool along with some of the the basic tools needed to create simple but engaging 3D models.

What you’ll need:

Step 1 – Text

Fire up Maxon Cinema4D Studio, and let’s get started! The first thing we’ll need is a text to put our objects in. Long-click on the Freehand dropdown icon in the Toolbar and choose Text.

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In the Attributes panel, click inside the text box under Object Properties and change the default text to “MAY” or anything you like. You can also set the font family, font weight and alignment here. I’ll be using Myriad Pro Bold in this tutorial.

A word of advice: the longer your text, the more computer resources you’ll need.

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Now, let’s add dimension to the text by clicking on the Extrude (or Extrude NURBS) button under the Subdivision Surface in the Toolbar. After that, set a bigger offset of 40px in the Attributes panel.

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Now we have two objects in the list, let’s put them together and therefore apply the extrusion on the text object. Go to the Objects panel, and start dragging the Text object over the Extrude object, until a downwards pointing arrow appears. This is when you let go, and you can see the result.

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The text layer is now ready, one more quick thing to do is to hide this layer for a while. You can do that by clicking the two little dots 2 times each in the Objects panel, so they’ll turn red.

The top button hides the selected object from the view, the bottom one hides it from the render.

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Step 2 – Cherry

In this step, we’re going to import the cherry object into the scene.

If you haven’t downloaded the cherry object in the beginning of the tutorial, you can grab it from here.

Go to the File menu, choose “Merge…”, and find the downloaded Cherry.c4d file. Once it’s in, you’ll see 3 objects in the Objects panel:

  • cherry1
  • cherry2
  • cherrystem

Select all three objects by Shift-clicking on them in the Objects panel, then hit Alt+G to group them. This creates a Null object, which you can rename to “Cherry” by double-clicking the objects’ name in the list.

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Step 3 – Color and Texture

In this step, we’ll add colors to the cherry object.

To create a new texture, double-click inside the empty area in the Textures panel below the canvas.

Double-clicking the newly created texture will bring up the Material Editor window.

Cherry Color

Let’s create the cherry’s main color first. We’ll use 4 layers for this material.

1. Color

Simple, just set the R, G and B values either by adjusting the sliders or by typing the numbers yourself.

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2. Diffusion

For Diffusion, first, click the tiny button with the right arrow on it, and choose Noise from the list.

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Then, click on “Noise” in the long button right next to it. This will bring up the Shader Properties of this effect. Set Color 1 to RGB(163,163,163), Global Scale to 500% and Delta to 500%.

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3. Reflection

At Texture, select Freshnel from the list, and reduce the Brightness to 5%, and Mix Strength to 45%.

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4. Specular

For Specular, all you need to do is select Color from the Texture list.

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And this is the texture for the cherry, now let’s look at the cherry stem’s colors.

Cherry Stem

We’ll use 3 layers for the cherry stem.

1. Color

Set the Color to RGB(55,222,0).

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2. Reflection

Select Freshnel again from the list, and reduce the Brightness to 8%.

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3. Bump

Select Noise from the Texture list, and set the Strength to 8%.

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Then click on the “Noise” long button to bring up the Shader Properties. Set Noise to VL Noise and Global Scale to 300.

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Don’t forget to uncheck Specular, as we won’t need that one for the cherry stems.

Now, we have two materials ready to be used, let’s apply them to the cherry object.

There are two ways we can apply our materials. One is to drag the material from the list on one of the objects on the canvas, or we can drag them on the objects in the Objects panel. Both ways achieve the same result.

This is how it should look (note that reflections don’t appear on the canvas, but they will when rendering).

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Step 4 – Cloning

In this step, we’re going to use the Cloner Object to multiply the cherry in order to fill the text.

Find the MoGraph menu, and select the Cloner from the dropdown list. This creates a Cloner object in the Objects panel.

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Now, grab the Cherry (Null) object in the Objects panel, and drag it onto the Cloner. This creates 3 cherries on the canvas. Let’s make it a thousand now.

Click on the Cloner object in the Objects panel, and in the Attributes panel, set the Mode from Linear to Object. You shouldn’t see anything on the canvas now. Because we set the Mode to Object, we now need to specify an actual object to clone the cherries into.

It’s a bit tricky, so watch close:

1.

Click on the Cloner object in the Objects panel. You’ll see the Object field in the Attributes panel now (in yellow).

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2.

Without clicking once on the Extrude (or Extrude NURBS) object, we have to drag it instead into the Object field in the Attributes panel. So we get this:

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3.

After this, a little below in the Attributes panel, set the Distribution to Volume, and the Count to 1000.

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This is what we should see after setting up the Cloner object.

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Whenever your computer starts to become laggy because of the object count on the canvas, feel free to hide the Cloner object, and unhide the Extrude object from the view.

Step 5 – Randomizing

Now that we have a thousand cherries on our canvas, let’s use the Random Object to rotate them in a random angle.

Select the Cloner object in the list, then click on the MoGraph menu, choose the Effector and select Random. This creates a Random object in the Objects panel, and applies the default random effect to our canvas.

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Now, in the Attributes panel, click on the Parameter tab, under Transform, uncheck Position and check Rotation.

Set the following values:

  • R. H: 30°
  • R. P: 100°
  • R. B: 200°
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And this is the result of using the Random Object.

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Step 6 – Background

In this step, we’ll explore some basic usage of the Background, Sky and Plane objects.

Plane

We’ll use the Plane object to do some basic lighting. We could use the generic Light object, but we can get more sophisticated results with this clever technique.

Create a new Plane by clicking the Plane icon under the Cube dropdown menu.

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You can try rotating it to a good position where it’s in front of the text but a little offset to the side and moved a bit above… or you can use our exact values:

You can set these numbers below the canvas, to the right of the materials panel.

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Now, let’s add a material to the plane so it will emit light. Double-click in the empty area in the Materials panel to add a new material, then double-click it to edit.

Uncheck Color and Specular, and check Luminance, then click on it and set the following values:

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This way, our plane will actually glow and set some light on the text. Make sure you drag and drop your newly created material to the Plane object.

Sky

Next up is the Sky object. Put an instance to the canvas by clicking on the Sky icon under the Floor dropdown in the Toolbar. Notice how the background turns to a darker blue color.

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Create a new material, as we’ve learnt before, and go into the Material Editor. Uncheck Specular. For Color, click the browse (…) button, and look for the HDRI.hdr file you downloaded in the beginning of the tutorial.

If you didn’t get the chance to download it, you can get it here.

Select this file and add it to the Texture of the Color layer of the material.

When a popup window appears telling you that the image is not in the project search path, just click the “Yes” button to create a copy of the image there.

Add this material to the Sky object as we’ve learnt it before. Then, right-click on the Sky object, select Cinema 4D Tags and choose Compositing. Look below to the Attributes panel, and uncheck Seen by Camera.

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Background

Lastly, we’ll add a background into the scene. Select it from the appropriate menu in the Toolbar, then go ahead and create a new material.

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Uncheck Specular, and click on Color. From the Texture dropdown menu, select Gradient. Click on the default black-to-white gradient box to bring up the properties.

Choose “2D – Circular” as the Type, then set these colors as the end points of the gradient:

  • Left: RGB(250,145,140)
  • Right: RGB(186,33,33)
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Don’t forget to add this material to the Background object as we’ve learnt it earlier.

Step 7 – Camera

In the last step, we’ll add the Camera Object. Click on it in the Toolbar to add it to the Objects list.

Let’s first set our render resolution, as it affects the camera settings.

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I’ll set 1920×1080 as my end resolution, you can set it to lower or higher.

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Now, we have to set it as the active camera. We can do this by clicking the little black square-like icon on the Camera object in the Objects panel. When it’s the active camera, it turns white.

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Now we are in “first person mode”. We have to position the camera object in front of the text, or however you like. Try zooming, panning, or even tilting to get your perfect angle.

Here are my values that I used (yes, I like to round numbers, so they look nice :), just for reference. If you are using a different font or a different text, my values are not going to work.

  • Position: X = 200cm, Y = 150cm, Z = -800cm.
  • Rotation: H = 0°, P = -5°, B = 0°.

Notice when you click the square icon again next to the Camera object, you can toggle between the default camera and normal views.

Step 8 – Rendering

Let’s see probably the most important thing in 3D modelling, the render settings. Click on the “Edit Render Settings…” icon in the Toolbar to open up the Render Settings window.

Output

We’ve already set the Width and Height here, but you can also set the Resolution if you want to print your artwork.

Save

Here we can set the format of our final render. Let’s change it to JPEG for the purpose of this tutorial. We also have to specify a destination where the file will be saved, by clicking on the browse (…) button

Multi-Pass

Make sure it’s checked. Yields better results, but takes more time for the render to finish. Tick Shadow Correction when you are experiencing problems with shadows in your artwork.

Anti-Aliasing

Select Best instead of Geometry, then you can fine-tune your AA level. We’ll leave it at 4×4 for now.

These are the effects that are already added to the renderer. But, of course, we can add more by clicking on the “Effect…” button. Add Ambient Occlusion, and Global Illumination.

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We can leave them as they are, however, if you are experiencing very slow rendering speed, you can lower the caches for Global Illumination.

Sit Rep

Just so we are on the same page, this is what I can see before rendering.

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And this is my objects list. Notice what’s hidden and what isn’t.

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Rendering the Artwork

You can finally render the artwork by clicking on the Render to Picture Viewer button in the Toolbar.

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It is a good time to leave your computer alone while it’s rendering the artwork. Rendering is a very CPU heavy process, and depending on your computer, it can take several hours to finish!

GIF

The Final Result

Took my computer 39 minutes to render this in 1920x1080x24, 4x AA, Best Quality. Quite some time, but nevertheless, the end result is stunning!

(Right click, “Open image in a new tab” to see it in full size!)

Final Render

(I took another try with 2×2 AA and low cache settings, and it cut the rendering time in half!)

Some more samples from LaczaDesign

Here are a few more renders created by Lacza from LaczaDesign, using mostly the same techniques (Cloner tool and Random effect)

SAMPLE 1 SAMPLE 2 SAMPLE 3 SAMPLE 4

Conclusion

In this tutorial we have taken a look at how we could use Maxon Cinema4D Studio’s basic features and tools to create a cool 3D text effect. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to reach us in the Comments!

Thank you for reading this Cinema4D text effect  tutorial, we hope you enjoyed it.

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Web designer, web developer, UI/UX designer 9-5. Energy drink consumer, video game addict, avid blogger 5-9. Owner of Szaboka.com.

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