Create an Ocean Loop in Cinema 4D and After Effects | Visualdon X Don Mupasi | Skillshare

Create an Ocean Loop in Cinema 4D and After Effects

Visualdon X Don Mupasi, Visual artist.

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

      1:48
    • 2. How I Come Up With My Ideas

      2:11
    • 3. Tip & Tricks For Working Faster In Cinema 4D

      2:59
    • 4. Creating The Ocean

      6:57
    • 5. Creating The Sky

      4:05
    • 6. Camera Animation

      8:11
    • 7. Creating The Sun

      8:13
    • 8. Fog & Atmospheric Effects

      5:39
    • 9. Creating Different Skies

      7:49
    • 10. Floating Object On Top Of Ocean

      9:00
    • 11. Cinema 4D Render Output Settings

      6:39
    • 12. Finishing The Project In After Effects

      8:02
    • 13. Youtube & Instagram Settings

      2:52
    • 14. Final Thoughts

      1:27
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About This Class

In this class, you will learn how to make a cinematic ocean loop animation in Cinema 4D and After Effects. In addition to the technical process, you will also learn techniques for coming up new ideas or expanding your existing ideas.

You will learn various techniques & tools that you can use for motion graphics projects in general such as:

  • Creating on ocean simulation using a free plugin for Cinema 4D called Hot4D
  • Camera animation in Cinema 4D
  • Creating a scene & animation that loops seamlessly
  • A cinematic lighting and rendering style in Cinema 4D using only reflections.
  • Atmospheric and fog effects in Cinema 4D
  • Output/render settings from Cinema 4D. Optimizing for both Quality & Speed
  • Importing the rendered sequence/s into After Effects
  • Using After Effects for finishing touches, applying glow and color adjustments.
  • 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. Remember to add screenshots!

Transcripts

1. Introduction: Hi, my name is Don Mupasi, also known as VISUALDON and I'm a freelance artist from the UK. Today we're going to be creating an ocean scene in cinema 4D and after effects. Some of my work has been for music artists for their own videos or live shows, but most of it has actually just been personal projects that I do for fun and one of them is this ocean of animation which I created a while ago and that's what we're going to recreate today. We will do this in cinema 4D using a free plugin code, hot4D. It's a very easy to use plugin, which allows us to create these ocean simulations with just a few settings. The lessons are broken up into various steps. It's going to be very easy to follow along as we go through. We are going to start by building our ocean in cinema 4D and then we'll move on to creating the sky and background elements. Then we'll do that camera animation, which will be followed up by the fog and atmosphere effects. Then when that's finished, we will export our animation from cinema 4D so we can take it into After Effects for the finishing touches and final color adjustments. In addition to the technical process, we will also go over some creative decisions that we can make throughout the project in order to create something that's different and unique. I'm very excited to get started. Let's jump into Cinema 4D and start building. 2. How I Come Up With My Ideas: I have been making visuals for some years now and during that time, I have used various methods for coming up with ideas, and one of these methods is to simply use existing artworks as inspiration for my own work, but then I transform that into something different. So when I need to make a new project, I will often start by making a mood board full of images and examples, and then I use those as inspiration when I'm building my own scenes, and I will be referencing things like colors, composition, and sometimes just wanting to find out what elements to actually put into the scene. Other ideas developed from general themes and genres rather than from any one particular source. If you follow my work, you will have noted that my visuals fall into just a few related categories and this tends to be space, sci-fi and fantasy, and then some retro staff as well. That's because those are my favorite styles to working. This ocean loop is based on the theme of water. I was browsing Tumblr one evening and I stumbled across a piece called the phenomena of floating, and around the same time I had just been listening to a song on Spotify, called Low Tide Explorations, and these two things together sparked an idea in my head to try a visual with water, and once I worked out the technical process for creating water simulations in Cinema 4D, I continued with the idea for a few days, and this is where I ended up. That's it. Just a quick look into part of my creative process, the general idea is that you can take inspiration from just about anywhere, as long as you are able to transform that into something that's different and unique. 3. Tip & Tricks For Working Faster In Cinema 4D: In this lesson, I will quickly go over some keyboard shortcuts and some tips and tricks for working in Cinema 4D. This is important because it allows us to work faster and speed up our workflow. If you press the number one key and click anywhere on the screen, this is going to pan around the viewport. If you press the number two key and then left-click again, and then move left and right, this is going to zoom in and out. And then if you press the number three, this is going to orbit around wherever you click. So if we say in this corner over here or down here somewhere, wherever you click, that's where you're going to be orbiting around, and the same goes for the zoom. So if you click there with the number two key on the keyboard pressed down, you'll be zooming in to those specific areas. You can also select any object over here, press T, this is going to bring up the scaling. So now we can just click anywhere and scale up any object that we have selected. And then pressing R, brings up the rotation, so you can manipulate the object in that way. And when you are done, you can press the Space bar to jump back to the normal selection tool which is used to move our objects. We can also copy objects very easily in Cinema 4D. If I zero out the rotation there with the object selected, if I press Control and then pick one of these arrows, the different axes, I can then just make a copy. Just hold control, click and drag, and you are making a copy in a specific direction. We can also do this in the object list over here by holding Control and same thing, you just drag down to create a copy. That's quite straight forward. Let's say you are working in a scene and you pan away from the object and you lose it, you can press Shift Control and Z to jump back to the previous camera position. So Shift Control Z only undoes the camera movement and leaves everything else intact. So it's a quick way to jump back to where you were looking at previously. You can also click the object in the object list over here. And if you hover over the viewport and press S, It's going to jump you back to where that object is located and you can find it again. So that's it. Because we'll perform these various actions many times throughout the project. If we know the keyboard shortcuts, it will allow us to work much faster and more efficiently. Let's move on to the next lesson and start building our ocean. 4. Creating The Ocean: We're now going to create our ocean simulation in Cinema 4D. Go ahead and download the plugin from the class files. We're going to start by just quickly going over the installation process, and then start building the ocean. In a Cinema 4D, we're going to start with a plane, which is from up here. Let's go to display with lines, Gouraud Shading with lines, so I can see the segments. This is going to be 5 thousand units or centimeters by 5 thousand centimeters. It's going to have 250 segments in both the width and the height. Then we're going to bring in our HOT4D plugin. This is what's going to be used to simulate an ocean. Place this under the plane, and if I hit play by default, we have this right here. This is our free plugin and it's going to be included in the class files, and I will also include a link to the original creator, so you can check that out as well. To install it, you want to go to Edit and Preferences, and you want to open up this Preferences folder, and in here you will find plugins. You can see this is where I have installed my HOT4D plugin. If I open this up, it looks like this inside that folder, so that's what you want to do as well. Place this folder in this location which you access by going to the preferences folder. In addition, you want to go to wherever your Cinema 4D is installed. There are some additional files which will be included with the plugin, they need to be in this location next to the actual executable Cinema 4D file. Anyway, when you've done all of that, you restart Cinema 4D, and the next time you go to extensions, the HOT4D plugin will be there. Let's continue, we can see that our waves here are just too small and move a bit too quickly. Whereas in this example, the waves are much larger and they move much slower, which gives the scene a sense of scale, and it feels very large as opposed to what we currently have. So we need to change some settings in the plugin. Before we jump to that, let's just extend our timeline. Currently it's only three seconds. Let's make this 18. Also, I'm going to press "Control D" to open up my project settings and I want to change the FPS down from 30 to 24, which is the film standard FPS and it's what I use for most of my projects. Let's go to the plugin, in the settings we want to start by increasing the ocean size from 400-3 thousand. Then let's go to the wind speed and set that to 120. This is going to widen the waves, but we need them to be taller, so the approximate wave height, is going to be set to 100. Let's disable the lines for a moment. It's still moving too quickly here. I'm going to go to the time scale and drop this down to 0.2. Now it's moving much slower a bit like we have in the original example. If I just skip forward to the end here, you're going to see a slight jump as it goes back to the beginning. That's because this time loop frame control is not matched up to the frames in our animation, we have a total of 432 frames. That's 18 times 24 FPS, which gives us 432, let's match that up to the number of frames we have in the animation. Time loop frame is now 432, which means that if I play this through, at the end here, it jumps back to the beginning and it's a seamless loop animation. When I was doing some tests, I found that a time scale value of 0.175, worked the best, that gave me this nice slow movement. We can check out some other settings, such as the wind direction, that's quite self-explanatory. This is basically the direction the waves are moving in, in terms of degrees. If I were to, let's say 180, the waves are going to be moving in a completely different direction, but I'm going to leave it at 120 because I want the waves to be moving away and slightly to the right. Another control is the [inaudible] , which if you push way up, it creates this effect where it pinches the top of the waves. But if you zoom in, we start to see the waves fold over themselves, and that's not going to look great, so I want to push this too high, maybe leave it at about one maximum. This actually isn't that higher resolution, this ocean simulation. We can push this even further, let's go for the width and height segments on our geometry. I'm going to push this up to a thousand by a thousand, and you can see the level of detail increase. Then also in the plugin itself; let's go to the ocean resolution, put this up to, let's say 1024, and once again, the level of detail will be increased quite a lot. But now if I try to play this back, you can see that it's very slow and unresponsive because of all that extra detail, so my computer just cannot handle this amount of detail. That's a limitation I had to work with when I was creating the original scene, I had to use some fairly low settings, but it didn't matter too much because I still liked how it looked, and I wasn't trying to create a hyper-realistic rendering of the ocean. It was quite stylized and I was happy with how it turned out anyway. I would recommend using the same settings, but you do have the option to push that as far as you are able to, and that might look even better. That's it, as you can see that it's a very easy to use plugin, which allows us to create an ocean very quickly with just a few settings. In the next lesson, we'll create our sky in the background. 5. Creating The Sky: All of the color in our scene comes from the sky and the background, and the reflections that it casts onto the surface of our ocean. So let's take a look at how that works. The lighting style in the scene here is based entirely on reflections. There are no actual real lights in the scene. Just a reflective material on the ocean and a background plane with an image of the sky. Here are some examples of the type of images which are going to work best. Generally, you want something with a lot of color and with a light source somewhere in the center of the frame like pictures of sunsets. You could even do something a bit more fantastic like this. Some space or galaxy pictures. Here is another sunset and so on, you get the idea. In the original example, this is the image which I used and you can see that the sun is missing. That's because that's something I created separately in cinema 4D. We'll get to that at some point. Let's just bring this in here to start with and make it a material. Let's open it up. We're going to go to the color channel and drag this image out of here into the luminance channel. If I turn that on and turn off color and reflectance. We need to attach this to something that's going to be a plane. Set the orientation to Z plus. We need to set this to be the correct ratio, which is the same as the image. If we open this up, we can see the resolution is 1920 by 1080. So let's do the same for the width and height, 1920 and 1080, and then place this onto the plane. We can see it's upside down. So let's go to the orientation and set this to negative Z. Now it's facing the correct way up. I'm just going to move it to where the ocean ends. This is into the blue axis, the Z axis, which is the back of our scene. Then, we need to scale it up to be as wide as our ocean. I'm going to get a camera, but I won't change anything here. I'm just going to look through it. Let's zero out the rotation, the pitch, and the position. So all of it, just zero everything out. If we look out of the camera, we can see that it's in the center of the scene. Now we want to move it back to the opposite side of the sky so we can be looking through as much ocean as possible. So let's jump back in again. At various points here the camera will be immersed under the water. We'll fix that in the next lesson. For now, let's just quickly create a material for our ocean. So double-click anywhere down here. Then open up this material. Let's go to the color and just make this black. In reflectance, we're going to remove the default specular and then add a reflection legacy. The roughness is going to be set to zero and the specular is also going to be zero percent. We just want basically, a mirror material. So just a 100% reflective and the attenuation here should be set to additive, but not much else. Just apply this to our ocean. If I do a quick render, this is what we have. So this is the first step to the lighting style of this scene, using a sky image as a background and then just a reflective material for the ocean. That's it for our sky and background. In the next lesson, we'll do our camera animation. 6. Camera Animation: So far our scene looks very still, to fix this we're going to animate our camera. Right now. If we look through our camera and just play the animation, we can see that at several points the camera ends up under water, and also the camera is completely still because it doesn't have any animation yet. We want to address both of those things. We want to keep the camera above the water at all times and also give it some animation. If you look at the original here, the camera is moving up and down slowly and also rotating side-to-side, that's what we're going to do now. Let's just minimize this for a moment and look out of our camera. If I go to Display or rather Options, let's enable layer color. This is going to give us this gray preview of all the objects in the scene, and I'm going to go to display with lines just so I can actually see a bit better what's going on. Looking through our camera, what we want to do is pitch the rotation of the waves up. If I press "R" for the rotation and just pull down this angle here, we can see the waves in the distance get higher in the frame and the ones closer to the camera get lower. We don't want to do this too much because we don't want to be able to see where the waves break into the horizon. We do just want to have a bit of tilt. I'm going to set the pitch to 2.5 degrees. That's the rotation pitch, and also tilting up like this helps to sell the effect that this is a large ocean surface. We want to make it seem as if the ocean just disappears into the horizon. Let's also go to the camera itself and just pitch it up by about two degrees just to keep everything as close to the center as possible. Of course, this now means we have to just go back to this mode for a moment, push up our sky there so that it's contained within the frame. Scrub through just to make sure that it doesn't dip past the horizon point. We don't want to have it too high where you see the original horizon. Keep that in mind as you're making some changes, and each time you just want to scrub through and check. Right here I can see that the horizon is visible there. The quality of that image is not high enough for preview. Let's go to editor in the material and set the texture preview size to, let's say 1024. Now we can just see a bit better what's going on there, and when I enlarge it, just a touch and then move it down slightly. Next up we want to animate the camera. Let's click on this and go to the coordinates and in the y-position at frame zero. Let's see how far we can move it down before we would touch the surface of the water. I won't go too far. Let's just go to negative 100 to start with. Hold "CTRL" and set that key frame, and then let's move forward three seconds. If I just type in here three, and this time we're moving up. Let's just go to, let's say zero and key frame that move forward to six seconds. I am just moving in three second increments each time. Let's go down to about negative 20. The water is much closer this time so we can't go too low, and moving forward once again to nine seconds. This time let's say 40 centimeters. I'm just eyeing this up each time, and depending on the wave distribution of your scene, you may end up using some different numbers. This time let's go to negative 40. Select the key frame, I think I've keyed x-position there by accident. This is supposed to be about 40. Let's continue once again to 15 seconds, and I'm just alternating between going up and moving back down again. Let's go to negative 50 this time. Set that key frame, and of course the last key frame needs to be negative 100, which is the same as where we started. That's important because we want this animation to be looping still. Let's go to Window and Timeline so we can see that animation. We have just created those key frames, the position y. I accidentally animated position x, let's just delete that. This key frame actually went lower than the previous ones, we actually want to bring this up so that we maintain this up and down motion. But now we see the camera moving up and down slowly with the motion of the ocean. In addition to moving up and down, the camera should also be rotating side-to-side, so I will just repeat a similar process, but with the rotation banking. That's this last one right here. We want to be doing this tilting left to right. Not by a lot. I'm just going to be doing this by one degree each time. Starting at one, let's set a key frame. Move forward to three seconds, and put in negative one, and set that key frame let's say six seconds. We could continue doing this in this preview Window, or we can go to Timeline. Let's look at those first two key frames, and if I select both of them using this bar at the top, I can hold CTRL and just copy this across, and I'm just following the same three second increments. You can see it creates this seesaw effect. I think for the last one we are just copying the one frame to the end right there. As long as the first frame is the same value as the last one, we will once again maintain our loop animation. Now the camera is moving up and down and also rotating side-to-side. Now, the rotation there is synchronized to the up and down motion. Let's actually make a slight change there. I'm going to delete the last pair of key frames here and then select this entire track, and then just expand it to fill out the entire timeline. Now it won't match up to the up and down movement of the camera. It's just going to be slightly offset, and I would say this result is a bit more organic, before it may have looked a bit too uniform. But anyway, that would be it for the animation we can just preview a new frame here to see how it looks and just check some other frames. Generally you want to avoid waves which come too close to the camera because that might look a bit too weird. But I would say, what we have right now looks fine. All right, and with our camera animation finished, we can move on and create the other elements in our scene. 7. Creating The Sun: In this lesson, I'm going to show you how I created the sun in the distance, and how I blended it on top of the original sky image. So when I was creating the original project and I got to this stage, I quite liked how it looked overall with this image as the background and the way it reflected off the ocean surface. But I felt like I could add something to just make it a bit better. And that idea was just to put a sunlight there. Now if you are already using an image with a sun in it, or let's say something completely different. Maybe one of these space type images, then this is not going to apply to your project. But in the interest of just showing you how I ended up with this look right here. I am including this lesson in the class just to show you exactly how I ended up with something like this. So let's go to our scene here, and I'm going to insert a disc shape. Let's set the orientation to Z Plus and then just move it to the back, right by our sky plane. So roughly about there as close as possible, but not completely in the same location. Let's look through the camera and I'm going to press T to bring up a scaling just so we can size this up a touch. And then lets just move it up. I'm going to enable my interactive render-er. If I press ALT and R it opens up this window, which I can then use to preview just a specific part of the frame. When I make changes to the scene, it will automatically update. Let's extend the size of this window and the quality slider is all the way at the top here, so we get a high-quality preview. I'm going to double-click here to create a new material for the sun. You can see I already started before. So let's go back to the beginning. In this one we're going to go to luminance and turn that on, and then shutoff reflectance and color. Let's place this material onto the sun or the disk shape and in the luminance channel we are going to build a custom shade-r. So let's go to texture. Just put in a gradient here. Let's go to the type of the gradient and change this from 2D-U to 2D-V so that it's vertical. And the top color, which is on the left side here is going to be lets say, more of an orange. Maybe about 60% saturation. And then the lower color is going to be, more of a red. A bit desaturated also. Let's go to the brightness. this is at, in the luminance channel at the main level. The brightness of this, let's set it to 250. And the mix-mode is going to be set to multiply. So that it actually changes the brightness when we change it up here. So let's say 150. We get this kind of thing. 250 is even brighter. So making it this bright, may make it appear as if it's just completely blown out. But it does put in a bit more color into the highlights we get on the ocean there. If this were just pure white, we don't get some of those tones starting to bleed into our colors. So that's why I put in this gradient there. Anyway, let's go to the alpha channel because right now, if we look at this, it's just completely hard edged. Whereas over here, the edges a bit softer and we've also blended it in with the original sky image. So this is going to take place in the alpha channel. Let's start by creating another gradient. And this time it's going to be a 2D-Circular gradient. And you can see what's going on here. The black parts of the gradient make that part of the shaded disappear. And then the white is where the pixels are still there. So this is just a black and white. So what we want to do is invert this so that the inside is completely opaque. But then using the gradient handles here, we want to create a soft edge around our sun. And if you space them out further, that's going to create a softer transition or a softer edge. Let's take all of this and place it inside of a layer. And as soon as I do this, you see that it's no longer working. That's because we have to untick this image alpha. It works fine if we just create a single shade-r at this level. But inside of a layer with multiple shade-rs, you then have to come back and just untick the switch in order for it to continue working. Anyway, inside the layer lets just clip this to jump in. And under shade-r, we are going to get another gradient. And this time it's also going to be 2D-V. Because I want to use this to fade the sun in from the bottom here. So if I invert this gradient, you can see what that's doing to the sun. Let's combine the two shade-rs and set this blending mode on the top one to multiply. It's actually inverted in our preview here, but that's because the disc shape is set to Z plus. If it was Z minus, we could build this the right way up, but we're just working upside down. It's not really a big issue. So now the sun is fading in a bit, but I want to lower the strength of that effect to about 70%. So it's not completely faded in. And next up I'm going to create a noise shade-r. So that's just found under shade-r and noise. And let's jump in here. We want to set the relative scale. We've got X, Y, and Z here. The X scale should be 1000. It's going to stretch out the noise pattern, like we see here, but it's too small. So the space here, let's change that from texture to UV-2D. And that's going to create a larger noise pattern. Maybe it's not too clear what's happening right there. So if I go down to low clip and high clip. I want to create more contrast in this noise pattern. If I increase the low clip to about 20%. It makes the darker parts of the noise even darker, which creates more contrast. So now we see the streaks of our sun. And I thought that was a nice way of simulating clouds moving in front of the sun. So this is just slightly behind these clouds. Now it doesn't look very realistic, I'm sure. But just from a style point of view, I preferred this than just having a solid sun there. Instead. Let's just multiply that layer as well and just to blend in everything together. Okay. And that's it for the sun. So using various types of shade-rs in the Cinema 4D and the layering system in the alpha channel. I was able to blend the sun over the original image. For your own scene of course, it might be different. You may already be using an image with a sun in it. So this won't apply. But you know the technique and it can be applied elsewhere differently in other projects. Anyway, moving on. We're going to now create our atmospheric effects. 8. Fog & Atmospheric Effects: We are now going to add some fog and atmosphere to our scene and this should help with just adding extra depth and dimension to what we have so far. When we put fog into the scene, it's going to serve two purposes. One, obviously, the fog effect itself. We have the slide haze in the distance. Secondly, there are parts of our image which are rendering completely black. You see over here, that's going to help to bring out some of that detail by having something else to reflect as well. Let's just build this. We bring in a physical sky. Let's once again enable our interactive renderer. In the physical sky, we're going to turn off the sky itself and the sun. Then we want to turn on the fog. Let's go to the fog settings and under color, I'm going to just temporarily disable this up here and then pick a color from our image. So one of these warmer colors, maybe make it more pink with a saturation of about maybe halfway, 50 percent. Now, depending on what image you have used in the background, you want to pick a fog color that goes with it. This is just for this example. It's too dense, so let's set the density down to, let's say about 20 percent. I'm going to set the start height to be negative 2,000, which is going to be below the floor level. The height is going to be the opposite, positive 2,000. This is going to make the effect stronger or appear stronger. Let's once again go to that density and then drop it down to maybe half. Let's say 10 percent. Very quickly we have created our fog and atmosphere effect. This is the difference with and without, and our sunlight here as also lowered in intensity. That's because we are looking at it through a layer of fog. We have to make it brighter to compensate for that. If I open this up and go to luminance, let's set the brightness to 300 percent. Just a bit higher, and we can do the same for our sky image. Let's go to the brightness and maybe bump it up to only about 120, not a huge difference, but the mixed-mode should also be searched to multiply for this to work and that's the difference there. Because we are using the fog effect in Cinema 4D, I'm going to show you a glitch which is going to occur anytime you use fog. Let's render this one frame to our picture viewer for comparison. If I go to the render settings over here, and in the output section, let's set the width to 120 and the height to 1080. The frame range is set to current frame only and I'm going to antique save because we don't want to save this to anywhere. We just want to output it to the picture viewer. Let's minimize this for a moment. I'm going to save the project and close it. File, Close. Without changing anything lets just reopen the project and render the same frame to the picture viewer. Frame 96. When we first look at the SIP might look similar enough but if I compare it to the previous frame, you can see that on the original frame the fog rendered correctly but on the new one the fog has almost disappeared. This will happen every time you use fog in Cinema 4D and close a project and reopen it again. Cinema 4D does not reinitialize what the fog is supposed to look like by default, so we have to force Cinema 4D to do this. The best way is to animate one of these values. Let's say the stat height at frame zero, I'm going to just set this to negative 1,999. Set the key-frame, move forward one frame to frame one, and then set this to what it's supposed to be, which is negative 2,000, and then key-frame that. By making that slight change between frame zero and one, this is going to force Cinema 4D to render the fog correctly from that frame and the rest of the animation. It means we may still lose that first frame but since this is a loop, the first frame from our animation is identical to the last one. We're always going to be taking out the first frame from the final render anyway. If it renders incorrectly, it doesn't matter because it's going to be removed from the final sequence. Anyway, that's the fog glitch in Cinema 4D. It's just a weird quirk in the App, which has been there for years and it still hasn't been fixed. Until it gets fixed, it's something I have to mention just so everyone's project render correctly. Okay, and that's it for the fog. In the next lesson, we'll look at other ways of changing our scene to make it look different. 9. Creating Different Skies: In this lesson, we're going to try out various types of backgrounds so that we can make our scene look different. This is the first image I want to try out. I have already done a quick setup. It's the Milky Way Galaxy, and overall, I really like it. The reflections of the water there look nice, but because the original image is a square, I can see these edges here from the plane that I placed it onto. I would have to modify this image before I can use it in this project. This is it in Photoshop. What I'm going to do is just keep the original square ratio, but just to make it much larger, so let's say something like this perhaps. Let's create a new layer for the background, and I'm going to edit and fill this in with a color from the original. Whatever the darkest color is from the original, let's pick that. Let's save it in our folder with the various images and see if we can get away with this very quick adjustment. If we bring in the new version into Cinema 4D, and just click "No" here and same treatment. Let's bring it to the luminance channel and then turn it on, turn off color, and we're going to apply it to that new sky plane. I just made a copy of the previous plane, and then, used a square ratio. This is 3,000 by 3,000 to start with, and then, if I press T for the scaling, I can make this as large as I want, so let's say about there. This preview is quite terrible. Let's go to the Editor and set the preview size to, let's say, 2,000, and by default, it looks like that. We have fixed the edges issue, but now the image itself needs some work, so let's get our interactive render. Open up this image. In the luminance channel, I am going to bring this image into a filter, so open up the Texture and go to Filter, and then, here, we want to do a couple of things, well, quite a few things. Let's say the Gamma, we can drop this down to 0.7. This is going to help create contrast in the original image, and that's going to take away the border we were seeing before. It's almost gone, but it's still there. If I go to Clipping and enable that, let's do a low clip of just one percent. It's a very sensitive value so you don't have to push it too far. Let's increase the saturation to about 15 percent, maybe even as far as 20, and then, the overall brightness in the luminance channel, let's set this to 150. The Mix Mode, I'm going to set to Multiply. 150 might just be a bit too much, let's go for 125. I have also changed our Fog to this blue color, the end height has been lowered to 1,000, and the density is back up to 20 percent just to adjust for this new background image. Anyway, that's just one example of what we can do with our scene. Let's try out something that's quite different. I'm going to try it on the image here, let's say, this one right here. Bring it into our scene, bring this into the luminance channel just like we did with the other images. The ratio for this image is 3,941 by 2,217. Let's make a copy of the previous plane. Do 3,941 by 2,217 and close this down. Let's actually enable it so we can see it. Let's place our new image instead. This will need to be just scaled up to fill the whole background. It doesn't need to be any larger than it needs to be, so about here. I'm just watching the horizon line once again. Just a quick preview. We can make some adjustments to this though. Let's get our interactive render, and I'm going to start by creating more contrast. If I take this image and place it inside of a filter, just the drop-down here and Filter, let's open that up, go to the Gamma and I'm going to drop this down to 0.8, and then, at this level, I will put the brightness up to 150 and the Mix Mode set to Multiply for that to have an effect. This might be a bit too strong in general, but I want to keep the brightness of these colors that we see here, the warmer colors and then darken the blue colors above that, so I would take everything I have so far and place it inside of a layer. In here, let's get a Gradient Shader. Let's set this to 2D-V, and if I jump out of the camera for a moment, we can see that the black color is down here, so we have to just jump back into our Shader and invert the knots. We know our horizon line is somewhere over here, which is about a quarter of the way up. Let's match that up with this handle here, but I do want to darken the top part of the image, so that's going to bring this down just a bit further and maybe even this handle here, too. If we go back, let's set the blending mode to Multiply. This is going to darken the top part of the image quite a lot. You can see the difference on and off. That might be too much. Let's just try it out and see how it looks, and actually, it's not too bad. There was just a bit too much blue before, I think, whereas now, it's just a bit more muted. We can, of course, make further adjustments still. This is before with all of that blue color, and this is with our new gradient. We can maybe bring it down to about 85 percent for the opacity, so we don't take it away completely. We are using the fog from the previous galaxy image, which actually doesn't look too bad, but I think, let's maybe make it a bit more cyan, less blue about here perhaps, just to create a different tone. We can maybe lower the density to about 15 percent. Anyway, that's the technique, you can use any image as a background, and if a particular images isn't perfect to start with or it doesn't work quite well, there are some things you can do to adjust it in Cinema 4D as I've just shown you there. All right. That's it for this lesson. I encourage you guys to do the same and use different sky backgrounds and experiment and just try to have some fun with it and see what you can create that's different. 10. Floating Object On Top Of Ocean: I wanted to continue developing different ways of creating something different with this type of scene. This is what I came up with, a floating moon on the surface of the ocean. It's quite a surreal looking scene. The technical process that this tool is quite interesting. Let's jump in and see how that works. Here is a more fantastic sort of surreal version of our scene. One way I took the moon and made it float on our ocean surface. I'm going to show you how to do this. This is how it looks. I just modified a few things about the scene. The water material is the same, but I used a star filled image for the background instead. If I just show you how that looks. In the Luminance channel, we have this image right here. I just run this through a filter which is with the gamma set 2.5, and this colorize switch to turn it into a black and white image. The fog is largely the same or similar to what we've been doing up to this point. Just a blue colored fog with a start height of -2,000 and a height of 2,000, density set to 10 percent. Just using this image right here as the material for my moon object, that's how I was able to create this style. Let's now go over the technical setup for having any object float on top of our ocean simulation. If I go to the HOT 4D plug-in, let's change the wave height to let say 200, quite extreme here and you can see our object will react to that. When these waves coming from underneath, it raises the object. It's as if it was really floating on top of that. Let's say I go back a few steps and start this setup once again. I will also go to options and layer color so you can just see a bit easier what's going on in our scene. Let's get a sphere and I'm going to set the size to 700 by 700, or just a radius of 350 and I want to move this to roughly the position I want it to be attached to the ocean surface. I just brought it closer to our camera and set it's position to -500 centimeters. Looking through our camera, this is the kind of view that we get.Then whilst holding the Alt key, I'm going to insert a new null object. By holding the Alt key, when I insert a new object, it will automatically become a parent of the object I had selected and inherit the same coordinates. The position and rotation properties will be inherited onto the new parent automatically. Our new null is in the same spot as the sphere. This is the null object I am going to use to anchor this sphere to a particular point on our ocean. If I call this anchor, let's then right-click and go to rigging tags and we want to find this constraint. In older versions of Cinema 4D, this would have been under character tags, but in version 21, it's been moved to rigging tags then the menu looks slightly different. Anyway either way, you want to find this Constraint tag. Let's bring that in. We want to go to the Constraints. This is in the options of this tag, and we want to enable Clamp. This is going to create a new tab. Let's navigate to that. We want to clamp our moon to the surface of the ocean. This To control, let's change it from origin to surface. The target surface is going to be our ocean. We need to drag this Plane and place it into this target link box. When I do that, and just scrub through my timeline, now I can see our sphere moving up and down with the motion of the waves. That's the basic setup of attaching any object to the surface of another one. By the way, the reason I attached the Constraint tag to the null object instead of directly to the sphere, is because I can keep the anchor point and then go to the sphere itself and change its relative position to the anchor. If I want more of this object to be above the surface, I can move it up. Because the anchor is above, it will still be attached at that point. But now I can see more of my object. That's the reason of separating the anchor from the actual object itself. One other control we need to set here is in the Clamp. We need to lock that position. That's this control right here. This is going to make sure that our object does not continuously drift away from its initial anchored point. It will always stay in that same spot whilst just reacting to the waves that move past. If this is left unticked, you may notice a difference where the object slowly drifts and then that's going to break the loop illusion. Anyway, let me now show you how I did the shading for the moon. If I enable the Interactive render once again, let's go to our Images folder and get our moon texture. I am going to just apply this to the moon. Let's say we want to view a different part of the image. We can rotate it. I quite like this here. Right now I can see the default light is turned on. Let's insert a new light and set its intensity all the way down to zero. Then I'm going to get an infinite light which is omnidirectional, which means it will only appear from the direction that it's pointing from. As I move it about, you can see the effects on our moon object. I want to create this kind of look where it's mostly lit at the surface that we are looking at. Something like this perhaps and I can go to the light and set its intensity to 150 just to really brighten this. To make sure that our moon is the only thing being lit by this light, we want to go to the Project tab and drag the sphere into this and change the mode from Exclude to Include. This is the only object now being affected by the slide. That's a quick tip. If you want certain lights to only affect certain objects, you want to use this Project tab and then use this Include or Exclude menu to target specific objects. To continue, we have a specular or highlight on our moon material. Let's jump in here. It's in the Reflectance channel. Let's just switch off the default Specular. It's going to create something that looks more evenly lit. This would be one approach to lighting this scene using an infinite light. Alternatively, we could continue without using any lights and just use the Luminance channel in our material. If I turn off the infinite light, go to our material and move this from the color channel to luminance. Instead, it's much flatter because there is no directional light from the sun. But maybe that might look preferable. Let's put up the brightness and then set the blending mode to multiply. Maybe you drop this down to a 125. I just wanted to give you another idea of what you can do with a project like this. From a technical point of view, now you also know how to attach one object to the surface of another one. In the next lesson, we will be finishing up. We're going to export a one animation from Cinema 4D. 11. Cinema 4D Render Output Settings: Once our animation is finished, the next step is to render it and export it out of Cinema 4D. Before we run the final export, let's smooth out our ocean surface here. In the original, I did that with a subdivision surface. So if I bring that in, I will set the subdivision in the Editor to be zero and in the renderer, let's leave it on two. The reason it's set to zero in the editor, which is what we're looking at right now, is because when I drop this in here, if it were subdivided by one, it would be a much heavier scene. Let me just illustrate that very quickly. If I put one in here, you can see it subdivides the mesh and then smoothes it over. So whilst that looks nicer, it's now not as responsive as before. We don't really need to see this in the preview, we can just leave this at zero, but when it renders out, it will be subdividing two times actually, so it's going to be even smoother. Let's do a quick comparison with and without. If we turn it off for a moment on this frame, it's going to look like this. Let's re-enable it. So this is now, and this is before. You can just see it smoothes over these lines and swells on our ocean. Next up is our render settings. If we jump in here, go to anti-aliasing. Let's run that with the current default settings and then we can do a comparison. So that takes about five seconds, not too bad. In the anti-aliasing, let's change this from geometry to best and leave the default settings one-by-one for the minimum level and max level, four by four with a threshold of 10 percent. If I re-render, you can see it would take longer this time, but that's because our render is going to look smoother, so zoomed in at 800 percent.This is with the best anti-aliasing settings or the anti-aliasing set to best. Then this is prior to that with the default geometry setting, you can see the pixels are much rougher around the edges, compared to this which looks a lot smoother. So that's the effect of bumping up our anti-aliasing. It now goes to eight seconds of frame, which is still very acceptable speed. It's a trade-off between render speed and quality. I would recommend going to at least one-by-one and two-by-two. That's going to give you a cleaner looking image, but four by four is going to be even cleaner, and a lower threshold of let's say, somewhere between five and 10 percent is going to clean up a few more pixels. You don't want to have these settings too high because, at a certain point, you start to experience diminishing returns. Which means your render tiles will be significantly longer for not such a significant increase in quality. So it's just about finding that balance. If you're not ever sure about what anything in cinema 4D means, you can always right-click it, go to show help and cinema 4D comes with some excellent documentation, which is filled with these illustrations and screenshots. It really goes into great detail what every single thing is. It's a great tool which even to this day I still find myself using just because there's so many things to learn in cinema 4D. Even after years of using the program, there's still some things I come across once in a while and I have to find out what they are. Anyway, let's continue with our output. If we go to the output tab, this is going to be 1920 by 1080 at a frame rate of 24. The frame range is going to be changed to all frames this time. So this is going to export our entire animation. Let's go to the safe tab we had previously disabled, it was just doing some renders to the picture viewer. Now we actually want to save this. The format is going to be PNG. That's going to be 16 bit so that our image contains more information, which is going to be useful when we get to the after-effects section. We can then specify a safe path, and this is in the tutorial folder and I have created a separate folder just for this. When I go into that folder and just call this main. This is going to be our main render. Once that's done, we can now export our animation, and there are two ways to do this. There's going to be a cut here because my cinema 4D crashed, so I've had to relaunch and just pause the recording for a moment. But anyway, once all of our settings are done, we can render to the picture viewer and watch the render in this window, or we can use the render queue, which is my preferred method for outputting files in cinema 4D. If I go to render and add to render queue, we can see our render is here along with other previous projects which I also outputted prior to this. But if I had multiple projects, I can land them all up at once. So that's one of the reasons I use the queue because I can leave the queue exporting and go and do something else in the meantime, or maybe render this overnight. Anyway, when it's ready, I just go to start rendering, and after a few seconds, we see our first frame, we can actually double-click this to open up the full preview. It also gives us an estimated time of completion and for my scene. That's going to be about an hour and 20 minutes. That's quite fast for an 18 second animation. I can step away from my workstation for a while and when I come back it will be finished. That's it for the render and output settings from cinema 4D. In the next lesson, we'll take those rendered frames into after-effects. 12. Finishing The Project In After Effects: In After Effects will learn to apply a few effects and also some color adjustments This are just the finishing touches to the whole project. In After Effects will then start by importing our sequence from Cinema 4D. So let's double-click the Import window, and this is the folder it went to. If I just click any one of these and then make sure that PNG sequence is ticked, I can click Import and After Effects will automatically detect the entire sequence. If you haven't changed the setting by default After Effect is going to interpret this sequence at 30 fps. I can see mine is already at 24, but if it's not, go to Interpret Footage, so right-click Interpret and Main. Then here we want to assume a frame rate of 24. Then let's drag this to a new Composition button, we can preview the whole thing, so I've lowered the quality here to, let's say half. Press the Space bar just to quickly preview the entire animation. We can see it loops seamlessly, which is exactly what we want. If I just bump up the quality to full and just check the first frame, it's identical to the last frame in our animation so we're going to remove this fast frame. If I go back to 0, press Page Down, and then press B to set this as the new beginning for this composition. I can then right-click and then Trim Comp to Work Area. This is now our starting point. If we leave that extra frame in it means that each time we play this loop back to back, it's actually a bit longer than it should be, so we want to make sure to take that out. Anyway, let's move on. In the comp let's open up the color management settings. Let's go to project working space and just make sure that we are working in 16 bits per channel, which is the same color depth were rendered out of Cinema 4D and my working space here is set to this sRGB profile, which is actually the same as the profile on my monitor. So I know that my colors here will stay consistent from Cinema 4D to what I am looking at right now. For the actual compositing, I really didn't do too much in After Effects. I just had a couple of Adjustment Layers with some Glow Effects and then a bit of color grading. Starting with some glow, let's go to Effect, Stylize and Glow. This is on a Adjustment Layer. Let's go to the Threshold and put this all the way up to 100 percent. This is the first layer of glow. It's really more prominent down here on the ocean surface, the highlights from the reflection of the sun, if we enable glow, they just end up popping a bit more. We might not want to have this so strong up here. Let's just see the before and after. Its not too drastic but what I might do is create a mask for the ocean surface just cutting the image in half like this. This is on our Adjustment Layer, let's press F to bring up the feathering and then set this to, let's say 250 or so, to make the transition between where the effects will be applied and the sky to be a fade basically. Let's create another Adjustment Layer and this time still using glow, we are going to push the threshold quite high once again but the radius this time is going to be much larger. If I just grab this and just, let's say to about 400 percent and really that's all I did as far as applying a few post effects. Of course, your own scene is probably different, especially if you've used a different background image, but I'm just showing you how I applied it to my scene. Anyway, the final thing here is some color adjustments and I'm going to be using the Lumetri Color Effect. This is found under Color Correction and Lumetri Color. In here I mostly want to warm up my image. If I go to the basic correction in the temperature, I'm going to set this up to about 40 or so, that's going to warm up all of the tones in my image. Below that we have the Tint, which if we go to the right, it's going to make it more purple and then if you go to the left, it's going to be a bit more green. So I'm going to set this to about negative 10 or thereabouts. Just a quick before and after, that's the difference. One more section we can play with is the curves section, which if you scroll down, is this right here. So if we open it up and these Hue and Saturation curves, in particular, I find quite useful, let's say the Hue versus Hue slider we can use this to change the tone of any color in the frame. Let's say we have a lot of yellow tones, if we put some handles either side of those tones on this graph here, we can select those colors only and make some adjustments. Maybe make the yellows a bit more orange by going in this direction, it's a change, but there was a slight difference there. If I want to make it more obvious, let's use the reds as an example. So if I put another handle either side of red, I can take this red handle and then move it up and down and you can see the difference. So if you find yourself not liking any particular tones in your image, you can target them using these curves and make the adjustments. Hue versus Hue adjust the colors. Hue versus Saturation, which is above that, this is going to adjust the saturation of any color range you select and below that we have Hue versus Luma, which controls the brightness of any tone range that you select. So it's a very powerful section of this Lumetri color effect and you can play around with it and see what kind of adjustments you can make. But for me, I'm just going leave it that the next step is just going to be exporting my animation out of After Effects. So if I go to composition, Add to Render Queue, let's go to the output module and I'm going to use QuickTime and in the format options, it's going to be the animation codec. Using that QuickTime and animation format here in the options, this is going to create a large file which is going to still contain a lot of the color information, which is going to make it more useful when we want to make some edits to it in other apps like Premiere Pro. Anyway, we then just specify a safe path and for me it's going to be the Tutorial folder. Then we just hit Render. Anyway, that's it. There we have it, just a few post effects applied on top of our image from Cinema 4D. In the next lesson, I will show you the final export settings in Premier Pro. 13. Youtube & Instagram Settings: This is the final lesson in which I will just quickly show you my best export settings for both Instagram and YouTube. In Premier Pro, let's double-click in the project window to import our footage and this is it right here, [inaudible]. It's not going to be a smooth playback just because of how large the file is but I can right-click and new sequence from clip and that's going to drop it into a timeline. I can copy this press Control and C, move past it and then press Control and V to paste and then just join up the two loop segments right here and at the point at which they meet is going to be a seamless transition as we see over here. This is the kind of thing that I would be doing if I was making an edit for my YouTube page or Instagram and put the audio down here and so on and apply any other effects I want to. When everything is finished, I simply go to File, export and media and the format I use is H264 and for YouTube use the YouTube 2160P ultra-preset and this is a 4K preset, so it renders at 3840 by 260, which is ofcourse up scaling from our 1080P source footage. So even though the sources is [inaudible] I will still upscale to 4K just because I think a 4K upload to YouTube plays back at a higher quality than if I just post their regular 1080P version. Then for Instagram, I have the same approach. I would take the height of this and link these two sizes from each other so that I can change them independently. Also set the width to 160. This is a square frame so I have to go to the source scaling and set this to scale to fill, this is going to be the aspect ratio for my Instagram post. Once I am ready to output, I can either export this directly from here, that's after I have selected the output location to. Then I can export directly in Premier Pro or we can cue this up in Adobe Media Encoder. If you have Premiere Pro After Effects installed, then you will also have encoder available to you. Encoder launches in a window like this and typical project for me will have at least one or two versions, which I will queue up at the same time. When it's ready to render, I just hit the switch over here and my final export will take place. 14. Final Thoughts: Okay, that's it. That is the end of the class. Thank you very much for watching. Now you know how to create an ocean scene in Cinema 4D, and not only the technical process, but we also went over different ways and creative decisions that can be made on a project like this to make something that's different. That's what I really want to encourage you guys to do. Take what you've learned and apply it differently to your own work and other projects in the future moving forward. If you have any questions about any step throughout this class and anything else in general, you can use the discussion section below, and I will respond as fast as I can. Make sure you share some screenshots so I can easily see what the issue is and be able to help you out even faster. I check my classes quite regularly, but you can also reach me on my social accounts or via email and I'll display those on screen now. But once again, thank you very much for watching and I hope you enjoyed the class and found it helpful. I'll see you guys in the next one, bye.