Create a Retro City Loop in Cinema 4D & After Effects | Visualdon X Don Mupasi | Skillshare

Create a Retro City Loop in Cinema 4D & After Effects

Visualdon X Don Mupasi, Visual artist.

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16 Lessons (1h 26m)
    • 1. Introduction

      1:39
    • 2. Building The City in Cinema 4D

      8:36
    • 3. Looping & Animating the City in Cinema 4D

      8:53
    • 4. Creating the Sun & Mountains in the Background

      7:36
    • 5. Lighting the City in Cinema 4D

      4:35
    • 6. Fog Glitch/Bug and how to fix it.

      2:14
    • 7. Creating the Lights on the Buildings in Cinema 4D

      5:27
    • 8. Multi-Colored Lights Effect in Cinema 4D

      9:13
    • 9. Bonus Lesson - Creating the Floating Particles in the City

      4:34
    • 10. Basic Export / Render Settings in Cinema 4D

      5:45
    • 11. Advanced Render Settings in Cinema 4D

      9:20
    • 12. Importing Renders into After Effects

      3:12
    • 13. Finishing the Project in After Effects

      10:09
    • 14. After Effects Render Settings, Final Output

      1:50
    • 15. Best Instagram & Youtube Render Settings

      2:28
    • 16. Outro

      0:40
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About This Class

In this class, you will learn how to make a stylish retro city loop animation in Cinema 4D and After Effects. You will also learn various techniques & tools that you can use for motion graphics projects in general such as:

  • How to use the various tools in Cinema 4D to build a large city scene
  • The concept of creating a seamless loop
  • A ‘retro’ lighting and rendering style in Cinema 4D
  • Output/render settings from Cinema 4D, how to use ‘Multi Passes’ in Cinema 4D
  • Importing the rendered sequence/s into After Effects
  • Using After Effects for post effects and finishing touches
  • The best export setting in Premier Pro for Instagram and Youtube.

This class is suitable for users of all levels. Beginners who have not used the software before will be able to follow along. Intermediate to advanced users will be able to learn about or expand their knowledge of how to make looping scenes in Cinema 4D.

If you need any help use the community section and I will respond as soon as I can.

Transcripts

1. Introduction: Hi, my name is Don Mupasi, also known as Visualdon, and I am a freelance motion designer from the UK. Welcome to my Skillshare class. We're going to be recreating one of my favorite visuals. We're going to be using Cinema 4D and after effects to do this. I've been making visuals for a few years now and most of my work has been for music artists. I do a lot of stuff for music videos and then sometimes for live shows and concerts. Whenever I finished a project, I always post it to my Instagram or YouTube page. This is where I've gotten some questions about my process. That's what this class is about. It's going to be a full step-by-step guide from start to finish in Cinema 4D and after effects. Let's take a look. We are going to start by building the city in Cinema 4D, and then we'll do the animation and work out how to make it loop. Then we'll move on to their lighting, textstring and rendering. After we render our animation from Cinema 4D we'll take it into after effects for some compositing and styling off the final animation. In the last lesson will be in Premier Pro. We'll go over the best writer settings for both Instagram and YouTube. That's it. It's just a quick overview of what the class is about. I have my notes in front of me here and I'll be referring to these throughout the class just we know where we are at a stage and what we need to do next. Let's get started. 2. Building The City in Cinema 4D: This is the first lesson in Cinema 4D. We're just going to jump straight in and start building our big 3D city. To begin with, we're going to be building the basic layout of the city. This is our scene in Cinema 4D. You will be able to download this so you can follow along with exactly with what I am doing. Let me hide the larger buildings and I can do this by holding the ALT key on my keyboard and then clicking these dots until they go red, which means that this object is now hidden. The small building are all inside of this null or group object. But we can just take them out of here, just select all of them and drag them down. Let me quickly go over a set of shortcuts which I use for navigating around my scene. If I hold the one key on my keyboard, I can pan around like this. The two key zooms in and out and the three key will orbit around our scene. Just a useful set of navigation shortcuts. Let's take these short or these smaller buildings and start arranging them in a grid layout and for this we are going to use the cloner object. I am using Cinema 4D release 21. The layout might look a bit different to what version of Cinema 4D you are using. But anyway, let's go to more graph and get the cloner object and just as the name suggests, this will clone our collection of 3D models. Currently we have 10. Let's drag them under the cloner. By default, this tries to clone just in a linear upward direction. If I increase the number, you can see just stacks the buildings on top of each other. Let's change this mode from linear to grid array. Now you can see it's now going in, it's spread out direction and this is exactly what we want. I will set the mode to pass step and this is something which you get in newer versions of cinema. In old versions, you only had this other mode called endpoint, which just gave you an overall scale so you could set this to something like, let's say 15,000 centimeters. If you're using the same models I am, you want to use the same numbers I'm about to use so that we are looking at the same thing. You can see the scale is large now, which is left is huge gaps in between. What we want to do is fill them out by increasing the number of clones. Let's go for something like 35 in the x and z direction. Now you can see it closes everything up and we create this massive city layout. In the other mode, pass step, you define the gap in-between rather than the overall width. Let's say 400, which is what I used in the example. There is some repetition going on because we only have 10 original models and the cloner just takes that and arranges it in the same order over and over so you start to see a pattern form. To break this, let's go to the cloner and change the clones from iterate to random. This is going to look a bit more, I guess, less of a pattern, just a bit more convincing as a rough city layout. That's the city blocks you see in the front. Over here let's create the line of skyscrapers you see in the distance. If I unhide the large buildings, holds the ALT key on the keyboard and click the two. These are referred to as traffic lights in cinema. A gray just means it's default, green you're forcing something to be visible and red hides it. Let's make sure that the Z-axis is pointing away from us. We want to build into the Z-axis. I'm going to take the large buildings out of that null object, let's get another cloner object and place our buildings under that too and I will set the mode to grid array again. This time, let's stay in the past step mode and set the size to 600 so more spacing than we had on the smaller buildings just because these buildings are a bit larger and they're also going to be further out here in the distance. Let's have 25. I'm not just pulling these numbers out of nowhere. This is what I practiced with when I was preparing for the tutorial and that's at five in the z direction, so 25 in the x-direction, which is left to right, this red axis, and then five going back like this. The position of this is going to be 8,500. Just I like to use nice round numbers. Also I want this to be roughly 15,000 centimeters across. It's basically then now it's 14,721 which if we compare that to the set of buildings in the front you can see they just come a bit short. Let's create an extra row of clones. Let's have 36 maybe 37. Now that's roughly the same width as you can see that. Now I can just name these correctly. This is the cloner small buildings and at the back we have the cloner large buildings. I have just noticed that there is some repetition going on at the back here. I forgot to change the clones mode from iterate to random also. Now we have something like this. I can also tell that the overall height is two similar across this layout. Let's use a random effector to randomize the height of these buildings. If I go to more graph, I'm going to go to Effect and random. By default, this is going to affect the position of our clones so let's go to the random effector and under parameter, let's untick position, but we want to affect the scale and also just the y scale. If I type in one into this, you're going to start to see some variation in the height. Now that's just a bit too extreme. Let's go for maybe sometime at 0.4 perhaps. If I turn this on and off, you can see the difference before and after just more height variation across our various skyscraper models. We started with just 10 models of each kind and we've now made it look like a huge city layout by using the cloner object. Then followed that up by randomizing the height of the taller buildings. That made it look less of a pattern and a bit more random. We can go to the display options here and play with, let's say, growth shading with lines. This is going to show us the edges in black of our buildings. I think that's just a bit easier to see than just the all-white look, which we get by default. Now that we have our city laid out in Cinema 4D, we need to move to the next step which is how to do the animation. 3. Looping & Animating the City in Cinema 4D: This is lesson number two. We're going to go through the animation of our scene and going over the very important technique of making it loop seamlessly without any visible cuts. The concept of looping is something I will just have to explain and show you in this case, so you can see how it works. I have already done it for this particular scene and you can see that if I jump to the end of the animation, it simply goes back to the beginning and creates the illusion of a seamless loop. So let me show you how I set this up. If I remove everything which wasn't at the end of the previous lesson, this is what we had. So to start, I have changed my timeline length to one minute. My timeline displays in minutes and seconds because I went to ''preferences'' and under units I changed the animation unit from frames, which is the default, I changed this to SMPTE. It's easier for me to imagine the number because I don't have to imagine it, it just tells me what the length is and it too displays the frames above that anyway in this area where you scrub through left and right. I will then go to ''create,'' and let's create a null object and this is just an empty object without anything inside of it and let's go this section and take everything we've created up to this point and place it inside of this null object. So now everything will move as if it's one object because we've grouped it inside of this here. Now what I want to do is to make a copy of this whole thing and the way I'm going to do this is using the instance object in cinema 4D. So if I go to the subdivision icon, I want to find the instance object and because I had a one section null objects selected it automatically populated that instance object with our original object over here and instance just means a copy. So we now have two sections like this and you want to line this up next to each other, and because of the numbers I've been using up to this point, I know that if I set the exposition of this to 15,000 it ends up lining up nicely next to the original section. If this didn't happen automatically, this reference object link, just go to the new instance object and drag the null object into here too and it will work. The first time I actually did this, there was an awkward gap in-between the two main sections because the size of my small buildings looked like this. So there was this gap which is suddenly larger than the previous gap. So what I simply did was just bump this up slightly until it looked a bit more like it was the same, so something like this. Then to create the loop effect, I inserted a new camera into the scene. So from the camera icon up here, let's get a regular camera and then look through this camera by clicking the square next to it until it turns white, go to the coordinates of the camera down here and let's reset their rotation, the exposition. I will set the y position to 500 and the Z position to negative 7,500. If I jump out of this camera, so we have an overview of the whole scene, you can see it's just sitting on the edge of the first city block and it's looking right down the middle of that first section and because this second section over here is identical to the first section, it's an exact copy, what we want to do now is animate the camera to move from this first section to the middle of the second section. So I can do this by simply going to the coordinates, and at frame zero, which is over here, let's hold control and click on this ''X'' position. Scrub through to the end of the timeline and set that same value or that same position to 15,000 centimeters and then once again hold control to confirm that new position and key-frame it. Now what will happen is if I play this through, when it gets to the end here, it's slowing down because of the default animation curve we can fix that shortly but you can see that it jumps back to the beginning and creates the illusion of a loop. If I go to ''Window and timeline,'' we can see our camera right there, and the property which is being animated, in this case the position x. Let's select that whole track and linearize that set of key frames. So now we have a constant motion instead of the default ease in, ease out that was there initially. Now if I play this through, when we get to the end here, it jumps back to the beginning and creates the illusion of a loop. Now can see a slight glitch on the edge of the frame where some buildings suddenly appear. There's two ways to fix this. One is let's just narrow down our camera. It's happening because of our camera is seeing too much to the edge. If I exaggerate what's happening by lowering the focal length and making it wider, it was 36 now it's 24, you can see that issue gets magnified. If I do the opposite and go to, let's say 40 mils, it's going to close up that slight glitch and now the transition is more seamless. Another way to fix the issue, let's say you want to continue with a wider camera angle. So if I go back to something really extreme like 24, we can simply just make more instances and line them up side-by-side. So if I get the original instance and drag down, I will set its exposition to be another 15,000 units feather down. It's now going to be 30,000 centimeters and I will make another copy and set this one to negative 15,000 centimeters so that it appears before our camera starts moving over on this side. So now if I jump back in and play it through with a much wider camera, we still don't get that glitch happening on the edge because we have extended the size of our scene. What the camera is looking at the beginning is still the same as what it looks at the end. But of course by doing that you increase the number of objects in your scene and it can really start to slow things down. So I would suggest just trying to be as conservative as you can and optimizing for what you are working with. Another performance improvement can be gotten by going to the two cloners and it looks like I've already done this under the instance mode. This is inversion, R21. This control doesn't appear like this in earlier versions of cinema, I think in earlier versions of cinema it's a tick box where you select random instance, but by default, it's instance and what this means is that everything we have cloned is actually creating another physical copy. But if we change this to run the instance, it's only creating certain that's visible in our view-port, but actually physically isn't there and that's useful because it looks the same, it looks like there's a ton of objects but as far as the calculations in cinema 4D are concerned, It's still treating all these hundreds of clones as just the original 10 in here and the original 10 over there. So click that switch or change this to render instance to vastly improve the performance of your scene and that's it for the animation. In the next lesson, we're going to just add a few more objects and detail into the scene. 4. Creating the Sun & Mountains in the Background: The animation is finished now, and in this lesson we're going to create the sun and hills you see behind the skyscrapers. Out of those two things, let's start with the sun, and from this I used a disk object in cinema for this or so from the primitives menu, let's get the disk. I'm going to jump out of that camera, let's zoom down to where that object is. I'm going to set it's orientation to z plus, so that it's facing upright, we can make it larger. I will set the size to 10,000, and if I look through my camera again, I will set it's z position to, let's say 20,000 and then I can just grab this and move it up until it looks like it's in the correct position, we can bump up the number of rotation segments to, let's say 100. It looks more round. Let's maybe move it to 27,000, and for this to move with the camera, let's just make it a child of that, so that if we go to frame zero and play the animation, it will look as if it's far out in the distance because it has no parallax with the camera. We can just keep this here for reference in cinema 4D but actually the final version of the project, that particular element was created in after effects. For the hills that you see through the gaps between the buildings, let's jump out of our main camera, and I'm going to get the landscape object. Now in the latest version of cinema 4D, they made an update to this landscape object to where it's anchor point. The point that we should scales from, for example, it's now at the base of the object. It used to be in the middle of the object, depending on what this height was, so you will have to always move it up yourself so that it sat on the ground plane off our seed. But in this case, we just need to set the size to, let's say 10,000, and then just position it in the correct place. Let's set the y position to zero and it's already laying flat on the ground. If it's not just adjust it until it looks right and then move it back here to be somewhere under our light source over here. I will look through our main camera once again, and you can just see it through those gaps, I can make it wider if I wish, let's maybe go for 12,500 for the overall width, just so it's a bit larger and we can bring it close out here. You can see that it's not moving with our camera, so let's go back to frame zero and once again, just make it a child of the camera also. If I play this through now, we have our sun out there in the distance and the mountains that we will see through the buildings. Now, at this point, if I wanted to make some adjustments to my camera such as the angle is facing, you can see it's carrying those two objects with it. Maybe this is not an ideal setup. I will show you a nice trick which you can use to avoid this. If we get another null object and let's call this carry null, this is what I am going to animate for the position. From zero to 15,000, let's go to window and timeline, open this up and linearize that key frame or those two key frames, so we have constant speed throughout. I will then go back to frame zero and let's remove the animation on our camera. That's simply selecting those two key frames and pressing "Delete", but I will now make the camera a child of the null object. Those two are the objects, let's move them from under the camera to under the null. Now this null object is the one that is carrying our camera and the two objects out in the distance. Then this will allow me to now control this camera independently, so I could move its height, for example, let's say 400 instead of 500, and I can adjust the pitch angle of the camera without affecting the objects out in the distance. Let's do something like this, and this allows me to move this out a bit higher so we see more of the round shape of the sun out there in the distance. Another thing we can quickly fix up is this two gaps that I need to close up. One is between the buildings and basically the rest of the scene. There is no flow plane right now, just an open gap, and also out there in the distance, there's too much space in between when the camera is going past. What I will do for that is make a copy of the large buildings, so hold "Control" and just drag and click down, and let's move that new collection of buildings back, but I'm just going to have one row in the z-axis and I will move the position to, let's say, 10,000 in the z space, that's too close, let's do 15,000, so roughly about there and this will already start to close up those spaces, but not quite enough. If I go back to that cloner itself, I will change the mode to endpoint so that when I increase the number of clones, it's not going to increase the overall width, is just going to close up the spaces in between. For the final thing, we just need a big flaw plane, and for this I am going to use a plane object, just make this 15,000 by 15,000, so I have to do this over here. We can actually make it longer in the z direction just by grabbing this handle until it gets passed these buildings, or maybe go all the way back to contain everything in our scene, it can overhang over here. It's not too important what's behind the camera, and this will be placed inside of the section null object and as soon as I do this, you will see that it will automatically update the second instance object. Now if I look through our camera again, we now have the sun out in the distance, the mountains, and the flow plane. That's it for this lesson, we now have our sun and hills behind our city, in the next lesson, we're going to start the lighting process in cinema 4D. 5. Lighting the City in Cinema 4D: In this lesson, we're going to be doing the lighting of our scene in cinema 4D. Let's take a look. For the main lighting of the scene, we're going to use a physical sky, and this is found under the flow menu and physical sky. Let's go to the time and location tab and just type in zero. This would change the time to midnight, which is going to give us the darkest version of the scene. Under the basic tab, we need to change a few things. Let's start by removing the sun. We don't need any writing from that, but let's enable fog. If I just render this out quickly in earlier versions of cinema, it won't be quite like this, but it will be something similar. You can see we have the stars appearing out there in the distance. That's the same thing we have here. We've got the fog covering the buildings out in the foreground but of course, we need to make some adjustments until we have something like this here. Let's go to the details tab. We can start by increasing the number of stars that we have and this is controlled by under the show star as menu, open that up and you want to change this minimum magnitude and increase this to as high as it goes, and that happens to be 10.5. The texture preview size down here, let's change this from default to maybe 1024 by 1024 or 4k even, just so we can see a better preview. Let's go to the fog tab and we can set the color to something like a purple tone. Maybe more pink and purple. If I go to my viewport, I'm going to press the alt key and r and what this will do is enable the interactive render region or the quality slider on the side here. Let me put this slide all the way to the top and also expand this render region. Then I'm going to use this to preview the changes as I am making them over here in the settings. For the start height and will go to negative 2500, so that our fog begins lower below the ground. For the end height, I can go for may be the same, but just the positive 2500 that is too strong. I will go to the density and lower this to about 5 percent. I think about where I am is pretty close to what we have in the original example. I can continue playing with the density and the start height and so on until I get something which I think looks okay. As a preview, this is not great because the disc in the background is too dark, well, it's completely dark. Let's create a new material. Just double-click anywhere down here in the materials box. Go to our material editor and enable luminance. We can disable color and reflectance. Let's apply this to the disk. That's now going to light up. We can now see where that's going to be. Remember this is just for reference in cinema 4D. We don't have to render this part out, but it's good to have it just to see what it might look like. In the luminance channel, let's go to the texture section, open this box and add a gradient. Let's jump in here and change the type to 2D-V, which is going to be a vertical gradient. We can quickly try and do something similar to what we have in the example like this. I think we need it brighter yellow up at the top and more of a red down here. If I do a preview render of the full frame, you can see we have the general lighting finished. It's approximates what we have here. Of course, this has some compositing later in After Effects. But also this has the lights material that we see on our buildings. After setting up the lighting, our scene is now starting to develop its style and look. Lets expand on this in the following lesson. 6. Fog Glitch/Bug and how to fix it.: This is the Fog Glitch in Cinema 4D. It happens when you have a project that uses Fog and you close it and reopen it. What happens is the Fog does not render in the Fog ground. It just appears out there in the distance. This is until you go to the physical sky. This is where our Fog is contained. In the Fog tab we can change one of these values and that's going to force the Fog effect to reset and render correctly. To show you how this works, if I hold the ALT key and R to open up our interactive render region, I've put the quality slider to the top, and I've just made this wider than it usually is. The Fog is still rendering incorrectly. But if I go to the end height, for example, and change it to 2001, you will now see the Fog is working correctly. Obviously we don't want to be doing this every time we re-open a project. We want this to happen by itself. What I'm going to do is go back to frame zero and Keyframe this and height starting at 2001. Hold Control and click the circle to set a Keyframe. Then I will move forward one frame using this small arrow right here, and set this back to what it was, which is 2000 and once again, I will confirm that Keyframe. By doing this, it means that every time we reopen the project from now on, the Fog glitch will be fixed between frame zero and one. Frame zero may still render incorrectly, so we will have to remove it from our final animation, but that's not an issue because the first frame of our animation is identical to the last frame anyway. We would have had to remove at least one of them to make sure that when we put the loop on a timeline and it switches over from the end of the loop to the beginning, we don't want it to repeat that frame twice. In the long run, it's not really a big issue, it's just a weird quirk in Cinema 4D, which has been there for several versions now. Anyway, if it shows up in your own scene, now you know how to fix it. 7. Creating the Lights on the Buildings in Cinema 4D: At the moment, our buildings look completely empty because there is nothing on them. In this lesson, we're going to put some lights onto the buildings, so that our scene starts to look more like an actual city. The lights on our buildings were made using end image and this is it right here. This was generated using a free app called JSplacement. But for this lesson, you can go ahead and just download this, so you can use the same image I am using. This is what JSplacement looks like. Let's go to the main menu and under, JSplacement: dotGrid, this is the pattern type we want to generate. Let's click to set our starting point and then I'm going to make a few changes, such as bumping up the scale to about 25. The draw chance controls how much shapes we have. I'll set this at about five, just so we have a bit more. I'm going to disable all the shapes except the basic square. From this points, just click Generate a few times until we get a pattern we like. Once I get something I like, I would just save height and save this to somewhere on my hard drive. In cinema 4D, let's go back to an earlier version of the project without the lights. This is why I saved my image. I'm going to take this and drag it to the materials section in our project. Here, I can click no, open this up, and the image automatically goes into the color channel. We want to put this in luminance, so let's just drag it out of here. Go to luminance and place it in the texture box. Let's enable luminance switch off reflection and color. We are just working with the luminance channel only. Let's close this and once again, I'm going to enable my interactive render region so I can see the changes as I make them. That's Alt and R to bring this up, quality slider all the way to the top and just make this larger perhaps, so we can see everything. Let's now apply our material onto the buildings. This is onto the three cloners we have. Once it's applied onto one of them, you can hold Control and click and drag down to copy it to the next one. It still hasn't appeared yet and that's because we need to change the way this is being projected onto the buildings. If we select all three at once, let's go to a projection, change this from UV mapping to cubic. When I do that, we will now see a difference. The problem is it's just too small. Let's go to the small buildings and set the length U and V to 500 and 500 percent. That's going to make it larger and it now looks like this. We can do the same for the tall buildings in the distance, except this time I'm going to choose 1,000 percent, because they are further away. As I do that, you see the difference. It's not bright enough, so let's go to the luminance channel. Under brightness, if I double this to 200 percent, we don't see any change. That's because we need to change the mixed-mode down here from normal to multiply. When I do that and it renders through again, now you can see the lights are much brighter. You can choose a higher brightness, but I think 200 is fine for this. I can see some repetition on some of the areas, especially in the back, where the image is just applying to an entire row of models in a very similar way. We end up seeing this lines. To fix this, we need to apply that texture onto the buildings, instead of the cloners. Starting with the large buildings in the distance, let's just remove this texture from the cloner and put it onto the first building. It's going to disappear from the buildings, but you can see it's applying to that particular building several times. We just need to spread it across the rest. Hold control and once again, just copy the tag from one object to the next. Doesn't take too long, but it's maybe just a bit tedious. We can move on to the next section, once again, removing the texture from the cloner, placing it onto the first building, and then copying it to the rest by just holding Control and clicking and dragging just like this. When this refreshes the preview, I much prefer the way the texture is being applied now compared to before. At this point, if I wanted to make further changes, I can do this by selecting multiple textures at once and go into the settings and changing something. For example, I want to stretch out the lights on the front buildings so they are not square, I want them to be a bit more rectangular. If I go to length V, I will just set this to 750 percent. It's going to stretch out in a vertical direction and that's just a slightly different look to what we have in the distance. Now we have the lights on our buildings. Let's move on to the next lesson. 8. Multi-Colored Lights Effect in Cinema 4D: In this lesson, we're going to take the lights from the previous lesson and give them a multiple colored effect, so that they'll look a bit more interesting. This is perhaps going to be the most complex part of this tutorial course. But it's also optional, you don't have to create a multiple colored lights effect such as this here. If you want to just stick with one color. You can skip this lesson and move on to the final output section. If I go to the three different cloner objects, let's start by going to MoGraph, effector and shader. By default, this would just make everything larger than it should be. Let's go to the shader effector. In the parameter section let's disable scale. What we want to change is the color, or the shading, and that's why we have used the shader effector. Let's go to the shading tab, and under channel, this needs to be set to color. It's going to open up this box here where it asks us to drop a material tag. Now material tag is something like this here, which is based on an actual material over here, and the way it applies onto objects is via a material tag. We need to create a new material for this purpose of creating the multiple colored effect. Everything we do for this needs to be in the color channel, because it's looking at the color channel from a particular material tag. Let's go ahead in the color channel, in the under texture, let's create a noise map. Just a basic noise map like this, and that's all we need to do for now. We can then take this, and apply it to the shader effector. This is going to create the material tag, and if we go back to the effector, we can then drag this material tag onto here. What's now happening is the shader effector is getting information from the color channel of this material that we have dragged here. Still no difference yet. We need to do a few more things. In the material itself, the lights material. Let's go to the luminance channel and under the texture drop-down, let's take everything and place it inside of a layer. Which would move our image from the top-level to inside this layer, and it's just one of the things we can now combine to do a different effect. We're going to combine this with our color shader. Under shader, let's open this up, and MoGraph, and color shader. Now by default, everything is going to just go white. I believe if I quickly render, you can see that's what's happening. Let's bring back our interruptive render region, so we can see that live. It's all white right now because by default the cloner objects have a white base color. If I select all three cloner objects, go to the transform tab. You'll see there's a color control. We can change this to be black, and this is like setting the base color level to zero. When I do this, we can now see the effects of the shader effector. It's taking the color information, from that noise map that we created in the color channel of this material, and it's applying that as the color of our clones. Now, we need to translate these black and white and values to color values. The way to do this is to go back into our luminance setup, inside our layer. Let's take this color shader and place it inside of a colorizer. Depending on what version of Cinema 4D you are using, this may appear different by default. In older versions, I think it was like red to yellow by default. In the version I'm using, it just goes from black to white, which is already the same as what we have. But what we can do now is change these values to actual colors. Starting on the left side of the gradient, if we put blue in, what's happening is it's taking the information from our noise map. From that noise material we created, and mapping this gradient onto a black and white gradient. In this case, everything that's black becomes blue. Everything that's white is still white. But we can also change that side to be a different color. It just remaps the values based on our original noise map. This is all we can come in and put in several colors at different parts of the gradient. Now just put in something that's a bit teal, at the end your preview may start to look a bit crazy. But as you make some changes, you can see how that looks. There is too much of this pink color clearly. What I can do is just make that segment of the gradient smaller, or it's because it's almost two parts of it. This is pink, this is pink. We can actually maybe just take that one out. Because we have it twice basically. That's going to balance things out a bit more. Perhaps not quite, we need to push everything to the left side here, to take out most of that pink color. Just try and do something that looks like it's a good distribution of the colors that we have here. If that's not looking like it's working quite as well, we can go back to the noise map, and use a different seed, and see if that does anything to give us a better result. This doesn't seem to be working as well as it did before. I'm not sure why exactly. What if we start with Morphe green, and then this color. Let's go to yellow, orange, and a bit of blue. That seems to be better. What I can do is change the colorizer's blending mode from normal to color. It overlays those new hues on top of our base wide map. If I turn this off, you can see it will return to white, and if I turn it on, we get the multiple colors. We can continue adjusting this until we get something we really like. I can tell that generally there isn't enough blue. Which means that I need to push all of these colors a bit further to the left, until we introduce more blue. As I do this, it seems everything is more stacked towards the left side of our gradient. That's fine, we can just adjust accordingly. Now more blue is coming into the scene, so it's just a matter of plan around some more until you get something you like. I think here I'm going to swap green and orange, in general. If I just get this handles and put orange over there, I want more of the warmer color tones, especially in the foreground over here. A few other things you can play with, if something doesn't quite look right, is the way the noise is being projected. By default, it's set to texture. Let's go to frame 0 and just make sure that the distribution of colors here will be the same at the end. If I skip to the end, I can see the colors shifting, which means that this would break the illusion of the loop. Because the colors change, and it would just jump back to the original colors. To fix this I need to change the space of the noise map to be object. It's going to give you a different look. But more crucially, this is now the same at the end of our animation as it is if I jump back to the beginning, is the same color distribution. I would use the same settings, make sure that the space of this is set to object. Otherwise, your colors would jump when your animation goes from the end of the sequence back to the beginning. We are finished in Cinema 4D, now in terms of what we actually have to make. In the next two sections, we'll be going over how to export our animation. 9. Bonus Lesson - Creating the Floating Particles in the City: This is a bonus lesson, which I'm going to show you how to create this floating particles you see in our scene. This is just something I added for a bit more interest. The whole scene might just be too dark to see what's going on. Let's disable the sky, or rather let's just hide it so it's lighting doesn't affect what we're looking at. I'm also going to go to the display options and go to layout color. It's going to turn everything gray so that I can just see a bit easier what's going on. Let's get a cube. This will also be affected by that layer color. If I go to the layers, let's create a new layer. Just double-click. Let's make it white, so it's easy to spot in our scene. This cube is going into this layer. Then I'm going to take a cloner object, place the cube under the cloner. Once again, lets just drag that into this layer. Under the cloner's options, let's change this to grid array. I'm just eyeing this up really. I don't know the actual numbers I should be using here. Let's say something like 15 in the x axis, okay, which is going to be spaced out at 1000 centimeters apart because the performance is taking a hit. So we can maybe disable the second section for now and let's spread this out in the other direction. I don't recall exactly how I did this initially, but I'm just trying to create something that somewhat approximates what we see in the preview. Okay. So imagine particles floating like this. Let's place it at the same height as the camera, which is 500, and the thing is now they're just too large, but that's okay. We can adjust the size after we're happy with the distribution. What I would do, the camera looks low actually, yeah, it's 400. Let's go to more graph with that cloner selected, and it's going to be cloner particles. If I go to monograph effect and random, we can mess with the position, so I'm just going to put in 1000 into each of these. You can see it creates this kind of a distribution. Now everything disappears after a certain point because we turned off the second instance. Let's re-enable that and also take this cloner and random effect under the section so that it copies over this other part of the scene. Perhaps the layer color is not helping us too much here. This is actually easier to spot. I will move the particles up to actually, let's say, 1000, so they're higher, but if I go to the cube and set the size to let's say 5 by 5 by 5, you can see it's a lot smaller, almost invisible now. Some are really far out in the distance, some are closer and that's what creates this really interesting parallax effect. This is just an extra element to have running throughout your scene, which just might make it look more interesting. It's one of those things which you don't notice either way consciously anyway, but it's a nice touch, so I'll keep it at that. This is an element which will just give a basic dark material, so actually the opposite of luminance, just none of the channels turned on. When this interacts with the fog and passes in front of the sun out there, it's going to create just an extra layer of depth and interest. Anyway that's it. Just a bonus lesson for those of you who wondered how I did that particular thing. 10. Basic Export / Render Settings in Cinema 4D: We now need to export our animation from Cinema 4D, so let's see how that works. For this, let's start by setting our Render FPS. If I press Control and D, that's going to bring up the project settings over here. I want to make sure that this FPS is set to 24. Once that's set, let's go to our render settings, that's this icon out here with the cogwheel inside of it, and let's go through the various tabs. In the main output section, I can set my frame size to anything I want. Let's do just regular HD, which is 120 by 1080. Then I'm also going to match my frame rate to the project frame rate. I will set this as 24, and we want to make sure that the frame range is set to all frames and we can now move on to the next tab, which is the save tab. This is where we specify where our frames are going to render to on our computer and also the format we are going to render as. Let's start by setting the file path. You can see I already did this before just for testing. Let's call the new folder render number five. In here, I'm going to make a new folder called Main. This is where our main image sequence is going to go. The format is going to be png, and I'm going to use a 16-bit png. That's because it contains more information than 8-bit, colors will look smoother, and gradients will be smoother, and so on. The next section is anti-aliasing. I've already set some settings here, so let me reset all of these to their default. This basically just controls how smooth your render is going to look. Now, luckily, for this project, it's quite basic in its shading style. For example, we don't have any reflections or transparency or refraction effects. It's basically just the color channel and the luminance channel, and then a fog layer, and that's it. We can actually render this frame out just for reference. If I go to output, let's change to current frame only, and untick Save, so we're not writing anything to the hard drive. This is simply going to the picture viewer so we can do a couple of quick comparisons. That's with the default anti-aliasing settings. If I increase this by going to best and then going for a minimum level of, lets say, one by one, max level of two by two, and let's lower the threshold to five percent. Then I will re-render this. Let's see the difference. This should take slightly longer to render. Just a second difference actually. At a 100 percent zoom level, you won't see much of a difference. But if we go further and let's say 400 percent, this is with the default low settings, and this is with one by one, two by two, and a threshold of five percent. You can just see a few of the smaller lights start to appear because we are using finer render settings. But like I said, for this particular scene, the difference really won't be that great, and by the time this is moving as an animation and we apply effects on top and so on, it will hardly be noticeable. Generally speaking, you just want to optimize your anti-aliasing based on your scene. It's going to be different each time. Anyway, let's go back to the Save tab and re-enable it, and also in the output, let's make sure that all frames are being rendered. There are two ways to set your render going. You can simply render to picture viewer by clicking this icon up here. It's like a play button, this one, and you can see the frames render in real time. When one finishes, it just moves on to the next one and you can now see how this is going to look. But another method to output the render, which I prefer, is to use the render queue. We can stop this render, go to render, and add to render queue, and we just have to save our file before we can put this in the list. Here we just go to jobs and start rendering. If you had multiple projects and you wanted to set the motor render at the same time, you would just send them to this render queue, and when one job finishes, it moves on to the next one. This also gives you an estimated time to render. Once the first few frames start to render, you can actually click on this to see the bigger preview. That's it. That is the most basic way of outputting your render from Cinema 4D as an image sequence that we can then take into after-effects for some final touches. We have gone through the general method of exporting from Cinema 4D. In the next section, we're going to look at something a bit more advanced. 11. Advanced Render Settings in Cinema 4D: In this lesson, we're going to continue with the Render Settings, and we're going to look at a more advanced way of producing our image from Cinema 4D, so that later, when we get to After Effects, we will have more control over how our final image looks. In this section, I'm going to show you how to separate your render into different layers that you can control individually in After Effects. It's going to look something like this. Here we have a layer just containing the fog on its own. Another layer which contains the lights and the stars in the background. I have also created masks for different parts of my frame, and I can use these as luma mattes in After Effects to selectively apply effects to different parts of their image based on the black and white mask. It's a bit like how layers work in PhotoShop. You can change the Blending Mode, for example, you can change the Blending strength. Let me go to the Multi-Pass tab here so you can see the changes as I do them. This is the level of control you will have when we get to the After Effects section. Let me show you how to set that up. If we go back to a previous version of the project, one thing was said we're going to do is disable the sun. We are going to be drawing this again in After Effects anyway. So let's remove it from our scene. Just disable over here, and let's start by creating the fog layer and the lights layer separately. If I go to the Render Settings, I need to enable Multi-Pass. When I do this, you can see it creates an extra safe path under the regular image. We now also have a multi-pass image. For this we'll use the same settings. It's going to be P and G 16-bit, except we're going to create a new folder for this. So inside our Render 5 folder, under the main folder, let's create one code, multi, and open this, and save this as multi and hit "Save." Then let's specify the Multi-Pass layers we want. If I go to the Multi-Pass tab and then go to the multi-pass button down here, I can open this and it's going to show us a list of the different types of Multi-Pass layers that we can render out separately. Let's just start by adding image layers. There's a lot more than we need here. For example, we don't need refractions and there are no shadows in the scene, so we can get rid of all of these. The only ones we're going to need here are Ambient and Atmosphere. If I go back to my output, again, let's choose "Current Frame" and don't save anything, but keep multi-pass ticked. Let's render to the picture viewer. By default, you will always be looking at the History tab. Let's go to the Layer tab instead, and let's go to Single Pass. This allows us to view the two different layers separately. The Atmosphere layer is going to hold our fog, and the Ambient is going to hold anything that's inside of luminance channel from our texture. So that is all the lights on the buildings and also the stars on the sky object. That's it, it is that simple. You will be able to overlay these layers on top of each other in After Effects and blend them differently. Do things like adjust the color of the fog independently from adjusting the colors below that, so we can change this to maybe blue, and the lights below will stay exactly the same. In addition to being able to control the different layers that make up our final render, we also want to be able to control different parts of the frame that make up our render. For example, the sky here. In the final project, I was able to create a gradient which runs from this blue color to more of a purple or pink. That's different to what the original render looked like, and I was able to isolate that gradient to just appear. The way I did that was by outputting masks from Cinema 4D, which I then used to isolate different parts of my frame in After Effects. Let me show you how that works in Cinema 4D. In Cinema 4D, the code object buffers and to enable them, you need to select the objects you want to create a mask for. Right-click. In the version of Cinema 4D I'm using which is version 21, this is going to be found under Render Tags and Compositing, but in earlier versions, this menu looks different. It's actually going to be found under Compositing Tags, and then the Compositing it's somewhere further up the list. But either way, what you're looking for is this Compositing Tag. Let me select all of them at once. Go to Object Buffer, and I'm going to enable Object Buffer number 1. Then in our Render Settings, I have to set up a corresponding Multi-Pass layer to output that object buffer. So if I go to Multi-Pass, we can add an Object Buffer, and this ID by default is set to one. This matches the group that we have put these buffers into, which is group number 1. Let's do another test render. You can see we now have an extra layer being rendered out, and it's a black and white map which is a mask of just the buildings. So it's working perfectly. Let's go ahead and do the buffers. Let's say the floor, we want this to be a separate buffer on its own. I'm going to put this into ID number 2. But notice I've also left it in group number 1 because I want to group number 1 to be a combined mask that holds more than one object. So far it's going to hold the floor and all of the buildings. But the floor is also in its own group, which is number 2. I'm going to put the large buildings in group number 3 and the small buildings in group number 4. We can do the same for the landscape, which is the mountains in the distance there. This is going to be number 5 and I'm duplicating the Compositing Tag, but I could also be reinstating it from scratch. It's going to be number 5 and also in number 1. Finally, let's do the sky compositing. That's going to be in group number 6 on its own. I want to keep this in group number 1 because I want that to be separate. I guess one of the layer or mask we want is for the floating particles. That's going to be in group number 7 and our Render Settings, let's insert six other object buffer passes. It's a bit tedious, but here we go. I can select all of these by holding "Shift." Let's just make sure that this group IDs go from one through to seven. If I render another frame, all of this renders simultaneously. It does not add to the render time, which is great. You can now see the various buffers I will be able to use as masks in After Effects, and this is going to give me a lot of control when I get to that stage. At this point, we can go back to our Save tab, make sure we are saving, so re-enable that. Make sure, once again, we are doing all the frames. I can save my project, render, and add to Render Queue. Let's leave just our current job here and start rendering. We can get an estimated time of completion, and after the first frame comes through, once again, we can click this to preview what that looks like. The first frame is always going to be wrong because of the fog glitch. But any subsequent frames will be correct. With all those Multi-Pass layers and masks, that's going to give us a lot more control when we get to the After Effects section, which is next. We're going to get all those images and bring them into After Effects. 12. Importing Renders into After Effects: This is a very short lesson. We're in After Effects now and we're going to bring in our images from Cinema 4D. Now that we have finished our render, let's bring it into After Effects. This is how you import your image sequences. Just double-click anywhere over here in the project window, and simply navigate to where you rendered your frames to. Starting with our main image sequence, I would just click the first frame and make sure that PNG sequences tipped and simply import. This is going to already come in here as an animation. We need to do this for the other multi pass layers that we're going to use. Let's double-click again. This time let's go to our multi folder starting with the ambient pass. Once again, PNG sequence is selected. Even though this folder contains several multi pass sequences, we just need to click any frame for any particular sequence. Based on the names, After Effects can identify that particular sequence within that folder. This is just the ambient pass on its own. It looks like this. Moving on, double-click once again, we can perhaps change this to a list view. Let's bring in the at-most pass. Just select any of the at-most frames. Once again, it brings in that sequence automatically. We can now go through the various object buffers. They're all just mixed in and I'm just finding a single frame from each sequence and After Effects does the rest. We've got 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6, number 4 is missing and there is a frame from number 4. Bring that in, and here we are. We can, for example, get the main sequence and drag this to a new composition button and it just comes in as a single layer like this. Now, we also need to make sure that the frame rate is correct. It comes in at 30 FPS. Currently the duration is 48 seconds, it should be a minute as we set it in Cinema 4D. Let's right-click, interpret footage, go to main, and assume a frame rate of 24. When I click "Okay," you can now see the new length or duration is a minute. Right-click once again, interpret footage and remember interpretation applied to the rest of the other clips. Right-click, interpret, and apply. Now all of these are 24 FPS and a minute in length. That's it for this lesson. In the next one, we're going to finalize our animation in After Effects. 13. Finishing the Project in After Effects: This is the main After Effects section of the class. We're going to take all those layers that were brought in from Cinema 4D and start developing the final look and style of our animation. Once we have our layers imported into After Effects, we now want to bring them all together and create something similar to this. Let's start by getting the multi_ambient layer and dragging it to the new composition button. I'm just going to make sure that my composition is in 16-bit color depth, so this three colored icon. Let's go to Set Project Working Space, and under Depth, this should be set to 16 bits per channel. Let's bring the multi_atmos layer above our ambient pass, and set its blending mode to screen. If this menu isn't there, press "F4" to cycle through, and just find Screen or Add in this section. Now, we can do things like change the opacity of this layer. If I press "T" to bring that up, I can adjust the strength of the fog effect. I can also do things like change the tone of it. If I go to Color Correction and Hue and Saturation, we can use the hue slider to change the color of the fog. This is the level of control you gain by separating our render into different layers. Moving on, we said we were going to draw the sun in After Effects, so let's go ahead and do that. Let's create a new solid, and call this sun. In the Mask menu, let's get the ellipse tool. I'm holding left-click here to select the ellipse. Drawing from the center, I'm going to hold Shift and Control to draw a perfect circle outward from the middle. Then if I press V to go back to my regular selection tool, I can double-click the edge of the mask, and then press Shift again and the Up Arrow key to move this up. Let's color the sun using a gradient that's found under Effect, Generate, and Gradient Ramp. The start color is going to be a kind of desaturated pale yellow, and the end color is going to be more of a red, this sort of thing with more saturation. Click on the "Gradient" and move the top handle to be within the inside of our circle, and do the same for the lower handle. This needs to be behind our buildings, so this is where those object buffers or masks will be used. If I get object buffer number 4, this is the mask that I created in Cinema 4D for the sky. Let's bring this in above the sun layer, and in the Track Matte menu, we want to set this from none to luma matte and point to that layer above it. When I do that, now you see the sun is behind there. If the Track Matte menu is not visible, once again, just press F4, and it will come back. Next up, let's color our sky. This is going to be another solid layer. Let's call it sky color, and also going to be a gradient. At the top, it's going to be a dark blue color, and the end color is going to be somewhere around 320 degrees for the hue. Make it quiet dark, also. This is also going to be isolated to be just over the sky, so once again, using the object buffer number 4 as a track matte, and just place this under our sun object, and also behind our atmos layer actually. The atmos layer should be on top of everything. On our sky layer, let's adjust the position of the gradient. We can maybe pull this down slightly and then push this up to somewhere, maybe a third of the way up the frame. You can see the stars have now disappeared, so let's bring them back. I'm going to copy our main ambient layer, so press "Control and D". Let's put this above the sky color and its object buffer, and I will get the same buffer still. I think it's the only one we're going to actually use here. It's good we have the other ones there in case we want to use them, but for this particular project, actually we just need the sky buffer. Let's set up our luma matte, and if I solo this layer on its own, we can go to collaboration and levels. Let's create some contrast and boost the bright parts of the frame, just the stars really. Let's bring back the other layers and set the blending mode of this star's layer to screen. Now, if I turn it on and off, you can see we have brought the stars back. Next up, we want to create some glow. This is going to be on an adjustment layer, then under effect, stylize and glow. We can start by setting the radius to 200. It's too bright, so let's push the threshold all the way up to 100 percent. As I do this, you can see that it's moving to the brighter parts of the frame, and it gives us this nice glow around the sun that's very similar to what we have in the original example. Next, I want to adjust the intensity of the multiple colors effect. You can see here, it's a bit more muted compared to what I currently have. So to make that adjustment, I'm going to duplicate our main layer. Once again, go to the top one, Color Correction and Tint, and let's map white to orange around 35 degrees on the hue, and maximum saturation and brightness. Then I will simply press "T" to bring up opacity and lower this to 50 percent. Now, this is the difference, this is after and before. You can see our colors have been muted, just a touch, but there is still some variation like we have here. Let's add some glow to the lights. If I take those two layers, right-click and pre-compose both of them into a single composition. Lets call this light pre-composed. Then go to Effect, Stylize, and Glow, and I'm just going to set the radius to about 20. If I want the effect to be more extreme, I can lower the threshold. As I do this, you can see the smaller lights in the distance start to glow also. That's too much, so I'm really just going to leave it at what we had before, at 60. That's it, just a subtle glow effect. This is before, and this is after. From here, it's really just some minor adjustments. We can maybe play with the Color Correction. Let's create a new adjustment layer, and on this one, we're just going to put a curves adjustment. In the red channel, let's bring that up in the shadows to create a faded red look, maybe balance it out slightly with some blue. I can maybe fade the shadows even more if I go back to the main channels where it's all three of them combined. Just trying to get this as close to this as possible. I can see the Sun is a bit brighter in some parts, now that can be the highlights. On the sun layer itself, we can brighten up this color just a touch by desaturating it, and on our glow layer, we can play with the threshold. But I think about there is close enough, maybe make it more red down here and move the handles just a touch. Before we do the final preview, let's take everything, pre-compose, and call this main pre-composed 1. This is because I want to remove the first frame from our animation because of the way the loop is set up, the first frame is identical to the last one. When I move between the two, you don't see any difference in the movement at the front here. If this were laid out on a longer timeline with let's say two loop sediments next to each other, when it moves from one to the next, it would repeat that last and first frame. So it would make it a bit longer than it needs to be, so that's why we just need to take it out. If I go to the beginning and press "Page Down" on the keyboard to advance forward one frame, I can press "B" to mark that as the new beginning, and then right-click in Trim Comp to Work Area to completely cut that out. I'm going to press the "Spacebar" to preview this to the end. I will skip the video, and then we can check out how the loop is working. This is the final preview. As you can see here, when it gets to the end of the timeline, it's going to jump back to the beginning. There we have it. We have our loop. Now that we have finished, we're going to export our final animation in the next lesson. 14. After Effects Render Settings, Final Output: This is the last after effects section of the class. We're going to look at the best render settings for exporting our final animation. Outputting our final animation is very simple. We just need to go to composition, add to render queue. For the output module, I'm going to use a QuickTime format. Then for the format options, I'm just going to leave this as it is. Really, we just want animation and this is going to create a large file which contains a lot of color information. I do it this way because I do edits in Premiere Pro when I, for example, play the loops alongside some music, and I might want to make some further minor adjustments to the tones and the image and so on. Anyway, I would simply specify what the output path is going to. In this case, just the root folder of our city loop. Let's call it City underscore loop and hit save. I can simply render it here or queue it up in Adobe Media Encoder. Either way, let's just run this through. Either method is going to work. I have just started this particular render and you can see it's going to take about 10 minutes, okay, and the render is finished. I can open this and play it. We can go to full screen. Here we are. That's it. If you use those same settings too, you should be able to produce a very high quality render off your animation. In the next section, which is just a short video, I'm also going to go over my favorite settings in Premiere Pro, which is what I use for exporting to Instagram and YouTube. 15. Best Instagram & Youtube Render Settings: Last but not least, I'm going to show you my Render settings in Premier Pro. This is where I do my final exports for Instagram and YouTube. I'm going to bring in our new loop to the Import media section, right-click and New Sequence From Clip. Here I can make a copy and just paste it past the first clip and just join them up. If I were playing this through, you see it loops seamlessly. Usually I'd put like a track under this some music or something. For YouTube, it's very simple. I just go to File export and Media, I choose the H.264 format, which is an MP4 file type and all the way down here, I would either go for 1080p, which is the same resolution as our current project, or what I do sometimes is I will upscale the project to 4K, because a 4K upload to YouTube. I think it looks better playing it 4K than a 1080p video playing at 1080p, even if it's upscaled 4K, it just seems to be a bit better quality when you play it back. It's that simple, you choose that Preset and you output and save it to somewhere on your hard drive and you hit Export. For Instagram, I do the same thing except I will take the height, copy this, Control C, and unlink these two values together so I can change them independently from each other. I put the same height in the width. Then in the source scaling up here, I will change it from scale to fit, to scale to fill so that we have a square aspect ratio. This is what I normally do in a post to Instagram, it's a 2,160 by 2,160 video. Instagram does size it back down to, I think a maximum of 1080 by 1080, but doing this seems to help with the quality somehow. I'm actually not really sure, I've never really measured it scientifically, but I get good results this way. But that's it, those are my settings when I output my videos and share them on those two main platforms. Thanks for watching. 16. Outro: That's it. That is the end of the class. Hopefully you guys learned some new things and enjoyed all the lessons. When you finish a project, feel free to share them below, and I can give you some feedback and critique on that. If you need any help, once again, feel free to ask any questions below, and I will be able to help you out. You can keep up with me and my work on my Instagram account @visualdon. If you do post that also, you can time me and I will take a look at your work. But once again, thank you very much for watching. My name is Don, and I'll see you next time.