Cinema 4D: Keyframes and Animation

Today our Cinema 4D tutorial was all about Keyframes and animation- animating objects.

Firstly we created a cube with the intention of touching upon how to do a basic movement animation using keyframes.  To do this I would press control/command on the button in the object position coordinates so you can animate the direction in which it moves accordingly. By doing this it creates a key on the timeline. Then I would move the cursor on the timeline to establish the time scale in which I want my object to animate.  You then finish the basic animation by selecting the coordinates button again.

With the basic animation function covered, we then intended on creating a scene for object animation, but in order to do this,  you need to set up Cinema 4d in a certain way so that when rendering at the end everything will be correct. This was done by going onto mode>project, then changing the default 30 frames per second to 25.  The basic way in which Cinema 4D animates is very much like After Effects, it just goes about it in a different way. We also changed the frames of the timeline to 100, so that more can work within the animation and for a longer duration.

With the project set up correct, it is a good habit to ensure that the render settings are now correct, before starting the actual project. Now to begin we wanted to set up a simple scene by adding a few objects.  I created a basic cube, sphere and cone and placed them with spacing in between in the scene. To colour the objects we double click on the bottom material window to create a new material, or colour.  Then you simply choose you colour with the swatches and place it onto your shapes with a drag and drop method.

With the Objects complete, we needed a floor in which they can stand upon, therefore we used the floor tool.  Instantly it creates a floor and most likely will be positioned over your shapes, therefore you can move either the floor or your shapes so that they are positioned just on top of the floor.  We then created a white material and dragged it onto the floor to make it white.  Before moving on, it is a good idea to see how it looks in the rendered preview.

The next thing to do was to animate our objects.  This used the basic animation function with the keyframes touched upon at the beginning of the project, where you use the coordinates button and the timeline to show where you want the object to move to. I made my cube animate so that it moved up and down and changed the size so that the height started off low, giving the impression that it is rising from the floor.  To do this you repeat your method in the timeline, doing the reverse on your initial movement animation. I then animated the cone by rotating it in a 360 degree motion, again this was using the coordinates and manually putting in the 360 rotation. I then animated the sphere to simply make it to go from one place to the other and go back to its original position, much like the first attempt at the beginning of the tutorial.

This creates the basic animation of each object animate together on the timeline when played. The default on Cinema 4D is that the animated object ease in; however to get a better effect, you can change this.  To do this, you go onto window>timeline which surprisingly opens up the timeline window.  This allows you to alter the way in which each animated object moves.  It is much a case of trial and error in adjusting the curve to get your desired effect. We changed our movement to “linear” which just tends to make the object movement look thorough and constant.

The next thing we wanted to do was for  to animate the viewing perspective of the objects- so that it moves around the objects in a circular motion, whilst they themselves are moving.  This sounds a lot more complicated than it actually was.  We did this by creating a camera, thus creating a view point which is adjustable.

Then we created a null object in the top view port and dragged the camera into that null.  We did this so that if you animate the null object, it therefore effects the camera.  So, this enabled us to do a rotation animation from the centre perspective of the objects, so that the camera moved around in a circular motion. At first I struggled to get the desired effect as my null and camera weren’t working properly together.  However when I tried again I managed for the camera to move around the objects so that they were always in sight.

The next step was rendering our finished key framed animation, following the certain rendering settings.  The main influence was to ensure that all frames were selected rather than just the current frame otherwise it would not show the together animation.  I found this tutorial very useful.  The key framed animation process I found to be very straight forward, it was simply the camera perspective that I found a little more challenging.

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