Animate a Man on Fire with Cinema 4D and X-Particles | Pete Maric | Skillshare

Animate a Man on Fire with Cinema 4D and X-Particles

Pete Maric, Designer | Cinema 4D Expert | Founder, Triplet 3D

Animate a Man on Fire with Cinema 4D and X-Particles

Pete Maric, Designer | Cinema 4D Expert | Founder, Triplet 3D

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6 Lessons (27m)
    • 1. 00 Introduction

    • 2. 01 Adobe Fuse

    • 3. 02 Mixamo

    • 4. 03 Cinema 4D and X Particles

    • 5. 04 Environment and Rendering

    • 6. 05 After Effects

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About This Class

Welcome to this course on Animating a man on fire using Cinema 4D and X-Particles.

The topics that will be covered include the following:

  1. Creating a 3D Character using Adobe Fuse
  2. Animating the character with Mixamo
  3. Importing the character animation into cinema 4D and using x-particles to add smoke and fire to the figure.
  4. Creating a seamless background, lighting, and rendering in C4D.
  5. Post-production in Adobe After Effects. 

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Pete Maric

Designer | Cinema 4D Expert | Founder, Triplet 3D


Pete Maric founded Triplet 3D in Cleveland, Ohio in 2013, with the goal of creating a 3D studio that can bring together a wide range of skill sets and experience to deliver inventive, high quality work to clients.

He graduated from The Cleveland Institute of Art before working for three of the top 50 retail design firms in the US. In 2001, he began working independently in the architectural industry and worked with brands such as Adidas, Nintendo, and Everlast. His work has been featured in the Adobe Illustrator WOW! books, Photoshop User Magazine, Architecture in Perspective, Cleveland Magazine and House Trends.

Since 2008, he's been developing his CGI expertise, and teaches modeling and 3D animation at The Cleveland Institute of Art and Tri-C Community College.

Ch... See full profile

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1. 00 Introduction: welcome to this course on animating a man on fire using cinema 40 and ex particles. Topics that will be covered include creating a greedy character using a build infused, animating the character with mix Imo, importing the character animation into cinema 40 and using X particles to add smoke and fire to the figure, creating a seamless background lighting and rendering in cinema 40 and post production in adobe after effects. Ready to learn a simple method for animating a man on fire in a cinema 40 and ex particles and roll today. 2. 01 Adobe Fuse: All right. So the first step in this project is to create a three D character. Right now, I'm using a deal beef use. In order to use the software, you will need Adobe Creative Cloud account. Otherwise, you could skip right to the next video, which is zero to mix Imo. And there's characters in there that you can use for this project. So in order to assemble this character, we're going to be in this assemble tab, and you could choose any of these head types. So let's use this male character this male head, uh, and to navigate around this head, if you like left, click and drag, you could just rotate around. If you right, click and drag up and down, it's going to allow you to zoom in and out on the model. So left, click and drag is rotate and right click and drag is zoom in and out. All right, so once we have had created, we'll pick some sort of torso. Then we could pick some legs. Uh, we could pick some arms. And once you have this, um, this model built, I can go ahead and customize the proportions of this model. So right now we're on the assembled tab, you can go to the customized tab and you'll see that the arms you can make these bigger, smaller rotate around a little bit a little bit bigger. You could play around with some of these features and sliders until you get this character looking exactly like you want. And don't worry about thes discrepancy in some of these textures. We're going to cover this character with close the face. You can go in here and play with some of these expressions if you want to jump right into the torso and see what some of these do. So just play around with these sliders. So you get these proportions looking like you want him after that will go into the clothing tab, and I will choose some clothing for this guy. So let's see here. So, for tops, I'm just gonna go ahead and pick. Maybe this one. We could go toe bottoms, and now we can add some shoes, these canvas shoes. Now I'm gonna add a mask to this guy as well. Here's our character. And the next thing I'm gonna do is I'm gonna customize some of these textures. So if I go to texture and I picked the shoes, I can come in here and just change the color of these. If I wanted automatically updates that color right there, we're just gonna pick more white type of color for this. So feel free toe play around with any of the stuff there we Oh, I'm gonna leave my character like this, and here's the character will use. So the next step is to send to mix Imo. But before I do that, I always tend to save two cc libraries that way. Always have my model in case I ever need to come back to it. But right now, I'm just gonna go ahead and send this to mix Imo, and we can name our model to say Name it, whatever you want. Male. This is for our fire tutorial. It's save. And now it's gonna export this model in the mix Imo, and it'll open up the web site in your browser 3. 02 Mixamo: mixed emotion automatically open and start to auto. Rig your character so it'll start adding joints to the knees to the elbows to the hands and all that stuff that this could take a few minutes. So just be patient. Okay, so now this character is ready to use. And as you could see, there's a little finish button done here. So let's hit finish and we'll say, Use this character. The next window that opens is this one. So let's just hit this animate tab. So now what happens is we on the left hand side here? We have all these different motion capture clips that we can use to animate this character . So if we, um if we just choose one of these now this this is, ah, character, that's a little bit I don't the left hand side. You could choose any one of these clips to animate your character. So let's go ahead and find some. Find one that's gonna work for our animation. I'm gonna search for run jump And there we go now. Architectures animated. Once we have the motion clip assigned to that model inside a mix Imo, all we need to dio is download this character and you could leave all these settings the format first for second skin and frame reduction at their defaults. And now all you have have to do is hit download, and then I'll download that file for you. So if you don't have it will be fused. What you could do is create accounts in mix Imo eyes. Just mix Imo dot com so you can go to this character's tab and you could choose your own character. Let's go ahead and choose this character, and I can go to this animations tab, and I can choose different types of animation for this character. Once you have the animation that you want, all you need to do is hit his download button that'll download the three D model with the motion capture data on it, and we'll import that into cinema. 40 4. 03 Cinema 4D and X Particles: Okay, So before we jump into Cinema four D and I'm start using X particles, I just want o quickly run through the way that I organized my folder structures. It's always a good thing. Toe. Have all of your projects in your folders nicely organized. So that way. So you don't have broken links to textures or motion capture clips inside of your three D project. Created new folder a create a three D folder, and then I'll create renders scenes. Those two are a must for this project. We're also going to create a cash folder. You might need a textures folder as well. So in my scenes, I create an additional folder called Motion Clips Motion capture Rather. And this is where I put in my motion capture clip from mix Imo. All right, So what we're gonna do now is we're gonna jump into cinema four D, and we're gonna go ahead and import our character so file open. So locate your motion capture. Clip it. Open this import settings dialog will appear just it. Okay, so now you could see inside of cinema four D that we have this character that's running and jumping. Okay, So typically, what I do is I just double click these little to doubts here to hide this rig. And they'll take the Centenary character, all these different components option G on the keyboard to group it all together. And I'll name this character. So now we could start using X particles. So I'm gonna go up to my ex particles tab to the dynamic objects and create an XP explosion FX. So one of the things that we need to do is we need to make sure that this character is within the bounding box of this explosion effects. All right, so if I go into my side view, they just scrub through the timeline right there. He's jumping out of that box, right? So we just want to move this with this up, make sure that character is inside of there, and now we can make this a little bit bigger. So we scrub through, he's in the box there, and we'll just move this box over just a little bit. All right? So now is completely in that box in the bounding box of that solver. Okay, so if we hit play right now, we're not really going to see any fire smoke from this character. We need to do a few additional things. So I'm gonna unfold my character and whichever part of your model that you want to have fire or smoke coming out of, you need to add a tag to it. So I'm gonna click this top right click X particles tags and add this XP explosion FX source. All right, so now if I rewind my play head hit play, you could see something's happening. We have a little bit of smoke and fire coming from the top of this. The jacket of this character. All right, so I wanted to come from the pants and the shoes, so I'm just gonna take this little tag, hold command. I'm on a Mac and click and drag to the bottoms, and I'm also gonna click and drag to create a do puppet on the shoes. So now if I rewind, here we go. Now we have a smoking fire coming from a shoes, pants and jacket. At this point, we can start going into the explosive effects attributes. So this vaccine size is super important. So if you start playing with this boxer size. If you bring it down, it's gonna make your smoke render a lot cleaner. If you bring it up, it's gonna It's gonna be a little bit more blurry and not as realistic. The one thing that I do want to point out, though, if you make this box will size really small your renders your render times gonna increase. So be careful with how much you push this this of actual size. I'm just gonna leave it at its default right now. We'll go into the simulation tab. So the smoke buoyancy refers Teoh, how fast the smoke rises. So if we increase this number, our smoke should start rising a little bit faster than what it did before. It's the fusion you can go into here on. This is going to smooth the appearance as well. A few minutes ago, I mentioned the box will size. So if you're going to smoke diffusion, start increasing these numbers, it's gonna start smoothing that stuff out for you. The words as burning right here. If you wanted more fire, we can increase the signature in heat. So, see, now all we're seeing this fire, right, and there's gonna be a little bit of smoke coming out of there. I want mostly smoke for the simulation, so I'm just gonna lead it, leave it at a default. I just want to point out a few of the other things here. So we have forces so we can enable wind. And we can also enable turbulence to make that smoke start blowing in the wind, curling that kind of stuff. So if I hit play now, you'll notice it's a vastly different appearance on that smoke than what I had before. So feel free to play around with some of these settings until you achieve the look that you want. Cool. There we have it, the last step that we need to do here to create our smoke because right now, if we hit play and then we try to take a render of this, we don't see any smoke or fire on this character, and the reason is that we need to create a material. So if we go new shader X particles gaseous. Now, if we drop this onto our explosive effects, well hit play one more time and let's try to render this now. So now we have something, but unfortunately, it doesn't look like it's on the model. And the reason that's happening is because we need to create a cash. All right, So if you remember, I created a cache folder within my three d file there within my three d folder. So we're gonna need to cash this animation for it to work properly. So with the way that we do that is ex particles, other objects XP cash. All right, So if you come down here and right here, where it's this folder, you're gonna want to save this. So I click these three little That's to specify a safe path. Save this to your cache folder. And now you could hit this little button called Build Cash. So then now the nice part about this is you could scrub through the timeline back and forth , and it's gonna show you a realistic representation of what this is gonna look like. So if I move forward a few frames now, when I take a render, there we go. That's exactly what we want right there. All right, so now we can go into this material and we could start editing some of these properties I'm not going to get to in depth in this material. Just want to show you this is where you would change the color of the fire of the smoke, You know, by specifying different colors here. So let's say, for instance, if we added this red color, Um, So right now it's not gonna update. And the reason it's not updating Is this because we already have a cache here. So if we want to see these updates now, we have to build a new cash, and I'm just going over right that previous one. So once that's done, we should be able to see that red color on that smoke and fire. We'll take another render suit that is looking like. So as you could see, we totally changed the appearance of that smoke and fire. Now, you know, um, obviously play around with it until you get it. Teoh looking like you wanted to look, I'm just gonna go ahead and change us back to a white. There you go. And obviously, I would need to cash this one more time to change that back 5. 04 Environment and Rendering: All right, So now that we have this ex particles working within cinema 40 the next thing we're gonna do is create an environment for this. I'm gonna create a background, and on that background, put a material so double click to create a new material. Just call this back. And for the color I'm gonna uncheck reflect INTs for the Colonel Color Channel. I'll choose some sort of radiant click this Grady int, and I'll do a circular Grady in and I'll change the orientation of this by just clicking and dragging these. And for this, I could choose some sort of dark gray. And for this white one, maybe a little bit of lighter your There you go. And I'm just gonna drop this in the background. And next thing I'm gonna do is create a plane going to make this bigger. We all we need is worn by one as faras the within the height segments t on the keyboard and scale all the way up. Let's make it really big. We just want to make sure when this character is landing on the ground that he's hitting that plane. Let's go back here. This plank Come up just a little bit. There we go. So now I'm just gonna drop this background onto this plane, and I'm gonna choose for the projection. A frontal projection on this plane. I'm gonna put a compositing tag. So cinema four D tags compositing, and I'll just check this button compositing background. No. If I scrub through and I take a render now we have this background, the neck a problem. Make this Grady in a little bit darker here, so I just choose this color just a little bit darker. G o take another quick render. Compare that to the 1st 1 That's looking good. Now I'm gonna add some lighting to this. Let's go ahead and creates in light. Source called this main light. Maybe push this over here, frontal light. And I put this off to the side. Just a little bit for this light. Maybe I'll choose some an off white color for the main light source. Something like that. And I'm going to choose some shadows for this. We could do soft shadows, rate traced hard or area shadows. Um, I used the area shadows on mine. You'll have to play around with the seat and see how long the render times are. But for this particular tutorial, we could just use soft shadows. It's totally fine. And then for the shadow color, I'll choose some sort of like dark gray, dark, bluish gray and I just reduced that density down. So let's take a quick render just to see where we're at with this. So now this character is casting some shadows on the ground. It's looking pretty good. And now we can add some feel light and a little bit of rim light. So if I just created a new light source, call this Phil. And for this one as what this character toe have a little bit of Phil on the sides, something like this. For this light again, I choose some sort of off white color. I'll take the intensity down. And for this particular light source, I'm not gonna have it cast any shadows. I just wanted to fill in some of this dark area. There you go. Maybe we can have some room light as well. So maybe I'll just take this command C Command V and I call this Rim Lights and I'll push this back behind the character a little bit could be up here slightly. And for this color, maybe I just introduce a little bit more reddish orange. Maybe you could take this intensity up just a little bit. Let's see how that affected our character. You could see its lighting the backside of this character a little bit. There we go. Now, we got some room light happening back here that's looking pretty good. So now to render this thing out before we render it out, I'm just gonna add a camera. So for this one, I'm just gonna keep it. Super Super simple kit at a camera here, Look through this camera. So it's good a frame one. It's just going to zoom in just a little bit. So he starts here, runs across the screen. Indian stops right there may be consuming just a little bit more as well. There we go for a camera. Feel free to animate this camera. If you wanted Teoh, I'm gonna add a cinema 40 protection tag to this just so I don't accidentally move that camera. So now we're ready to render the final. So if you're going to render settings output, you could specify with of 12 80 1920. Typically, I have the film aspect at ratio at 16 by nine. Uh, and then for the frame range, you want to select all frames going to goto anti alias ing tab. I'll set this from geometry to best. And then for the safe tab for the format, go ahead and choose an M. O. V file. And then I'll specify safe path. I'm going to say this to the renders folder. I'll just call this man. Fire one once you have that, all set up I need to do is hit this render button right here, and it's gonna go through, render out all your frames. 6. 05 After Effects: now we're gonna go into Adobe after effects were gonna import our final movies. So just choose these two, and you might have one. You might have more than one is gonna go ahead and drag this down. Here, Drag this one here, go to my composition Settings may be increased. This number 24 seconds. All right, So here's our character running on fire. Here's another one that I did where he is. Same process, you know, fuse mix Imo and then cinema 40 x particles. So now that I have these clips in here, all I'm gonna do is go Teoh this layer new ago to adjustment layer. And I'm gonna add a little bit of blur to this so ago animation effect. Blur added Gaussian blur. And I'll just increase this blur amount. I'll repeat these edge pixels, and right now this is way too much blur. I increase that this blurriness up pretty high for the time being, but I'm gonna turn it down later on. So what we want to do now is just rename this blur and then I'm gonna add a mask to this. So where this character is, I don't want him to be blurred out. All right, I'm going to hear and where my mass are. I'll click inverted, And they were just gonna add a little bit of feather to this. And now what I could do is I can animate where the blurriness is. So if I go to this mask path, I just check this little live this little watch right here, the stopwatch. And then if I move forward, you'll notice that this character is now blurred where this is in focus or someone and focus a little bit blurry smoke. But what I can do is I can goto scripted the timeline and start moving these little handles . So this characters and focus on I'll script. You're over here and get move these something like this. And right here at this last frame before it changes to the next clip. I'm gonna move that over here as well. All right. Pretty straightforward stuff. Now we're gonna go this next clip of this entire thing over. You could just go through and continue doing that to wherever the characters moving Teoh have him and focus the rest of the scene a little bit out of focus once you're done with that can go back in and turn down this blurriness amount. You don't need it that high. Okay, so finish that up. I'm gonna go ahead and turn that off for a second. The next thing I'm gonna do is add a little bit of glow around this character. So if I goto layer new solid, I'll just choose some sort of color that, like a creamy off white sort of yellowish color. And I'm gonna create a layer mask by clicking this Ugo, take that layer mask, put it on top of that character, unfold this mask, feather, and I'm gonna change this blend mode from normal toe overlay. So now that's going to give me some sort of like a yellowish glow. I can go into this opacity, turn that down just a little bit. And now we could do the same thing with our a mask path that we did on the last one so I could go back depressed this little stopwatch. Take this with this over this character move forward in time. So it's just given this character a nice little glow and then just continue going through moving this until it's following along exactly. And then when it gets a second clip, if you have a second clip, it just changes over to here again, you can resize this. What kind of stuff? Good. And finish that on. After I'm done with all that, What I'm gonna do is going to hear and just add another adjustment layer. I'm just gonna first and foremost rename this. I call this glow and then I'll add a new adjustment layer Say layer new adjustment layer. And I'm gonna goto effects, color correction and added herbs. So right now I'm just gonna go ahead and go into the Red Channel and I'll add a little bit more red to the mid tones overall, and I go to the Blue Channel, just kind of give it a little bit of blue lift in the shadows. Kind of gives it a nice little color correction. Who makes it look a little bit more interesting. Wants to get all that together that you just export this from here. I would go ahead and rename This is well curves. And to export this from after effects, he would just select all these composition at to render queue. You can go into these best settings. Leave it at best. Full it. Okay. And then for lossless, choose quick time format options. 8.264 Compression it. Okay. And then from here, we're going to specify a file path, and we can name this man on fire final. It saved um, and then you hit render, and then you'll have your final movie.