Create Cinematic Loop Animations in Cinema 4D & After Effects | Don Mupasi X Visualdon | Skillshare

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Create Cinematic Loop Animations in Cinema 4D & After Effects

teacher avatar Don Mupasi X Visualdon, Visual artist.

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Which Version Of Cinema 4D To Use


    • 3.

      Tips & Tricks for Working Faster in Cinema 4D


    • 4.

      Creating The Character With Mixamo


    • 5.

      Extending The Character Animation


    • 6.

      Building The Scene Part 1


    • 7.

      Setting Up The Loop


    • 8.

      Building The Scene Part 2


    • 9.

      Looping The Larger Scene


    • 10.

      Refining The Loop Animation


    • 11.

      Lighting & Fog Effect


    • 12.

      Basic Cinema 4D Render Settings


    • 13.

      Advanced Render Using Multi Passes & Masks


    • 14.

      Import Renders Into After Effects


    • 15.

      Example 1 & 2 - Moon & Sky


    • 16.

      Example 3 - Spinning Galaxy


    • 17.

      15 Final Export for Youtube & Instagram


    • 18.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Class Notes: Recommended Version of Cinema 4D: Cinema 4D R21 to Cinema 4D R24. These versions of Cinema 4D are the most similar to the class so it will be easier to follow if you are a beginner.

In this class, you will learn how to create a cinematic loop animation in Cinema 4D & After Effects. The goal of this class is to teach you a flexible workflow between Cinema 4D & After Effects that allows you to easily modify the animation in After Effects.

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

  • Creating & animating characters using Mixamo
  • Building large environments in Cinema 4D
  • Animating & looping a scene
  • An atmospheric lighting style in Cinema 4D using 'Ambient Lights' 
  • The best output/render settings from Cinema 4D. Optimizing for both Quality & Speed
  • Advanced output/render using the 'Multi Pass' layers in Cinema 4D

In After Effects you will learn how to:

  • Sky & background replacements that completely change what the animation looks like.
  • Using 'Track Mattes' to selectively apply effects to layers.
  • Importing the rendered sequence/s into After Effects
  • Extracting 3D data from Cinema 4D directly into After Effects
  • Using After Effects for finishing touches, applying glow, light rays and color adjustments etc
  • The best export setting in Premier Pro for Instagram and YouTube.

This class is suitable for intermediate users & above. However this class should also be easy to follow for beginners. This is my longest class so far with more detailed explanations than ever. 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 so I help you faster.

Meet Your Teacher

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Don Mupasi X Visualdon

Visual artist.

Top Teacher

I am a freelance visual artist from the UK. I make retro & space visuals and loops. Most of my work is for musicians, so I make visuals for music videos and sometimes visuals for live shows and concerts. I also do a lot of personal projects and post them to my instagram @visualdon.

My main apps for creating visuals are Cinema 4D and After Effects. 


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Level: Intermediate

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1. Introduction: Today we're going to create a Cinematic Loop Animation in Cinema 4D and After Effects. Hi, my name is Don Mupasi and I am a freelance artist from the UK. Welcome to my new class. I make mostly some retro and space style visuals. Most of the time it's actually just for fun, but sometimes I get to do some client work for music videos or projections for live shows. More recently, I've started teaching on Skillshare. I really like to teach because in a way it helps me to think differently about my own work because I have to look at complex, technical processes involved in creating visuals and then try simplify that and condense it into a class such as this one. That's exactly what we're going to do today. It's a full step-by-step guide from start to finish on how to create a visual like this in Cinema 4D and After Effects. We're going to start by creating our character in Mixamo, which is a free tool by Adobe. You'd just need an account to access it. Then in Cinema 4D we'll take a few 3D models and using various tools, we can expand this into a larger scene. After that, we'll animate the scene and make sure that it loops seamlessly. This will be followed up by the lighting and atmosphere effects. And then we will use an advanced method of rendering that separates our images into different layers and masks. Finally, in After Effects we'll do the compositing and try out three different versions of our project. The goal of this class is to not just remake this exact visual as it is, but it's to give you guys a template for a workflow that's both very flexible and effective. If you get stuck on any particular lesson, then feel free to use the discussion section below, and I will be able to help you out. But anyway, there's quite a lot to get through. Let's get started. 2. Which Version Of Cinema 4D To Use: The easiest way to follow the class is to use a Version Of Cinema 4D most similar to what the original class was recorded in. Now this is Version 2,122.23. You can see there's a very similar. And if you use any of these versions, then you will be able to follow the class very easily. Especially if you're a beginner. You can get these older versions of Cinema 4D in your maxim account. Some of them are listed on this page. This is on the downloads page, down to Version 23. But you can go back even further if you click past versions and we still have 22.21 available. Also, for these, you just dropped down the application installers and use the offline installer for Windows or Mac OS depending on your own system. And that's the same for 21. Version 24, change things slightly. Icons look different and they're in different places and so on. But this is still broadly the same also and you shouldn't have too many problems with this version either. However, when we get to Version 25, you can see at a glance that the UI is very different. And if you are using this version or later than certain things that are used in the class are going to be in different places and it may be harder to follow along. For this reason, I would recommend using 21 up to 24 because those versions are most similar to the Version used in the class, which I believe was either 21 or 22 at the time. But as you all know, Cinema 4D does change every year and every soft and there'll be a complete major shift like we have in 25. And up to the most recent version. You can make things a bit easier in 25 by going to the layouts at the top. Switch off new layouts and then you want to choose standard. And this is somewhat laid out similar to previous versions, although the icons is still in different places, they look different. And several of the tools have been renamed and we'll work a bit differently in the settings. Also. Once again, just to go over that, you want to use 21 up to 24 for a Version which is most similar to the class. And then After 25, you will want to use one of the older standard layouts for just a bit less friction to the new class. 3. Tips & Tricks for Working Faster in Cinema 4D: Before we start with the main project, I would like to share with you some tips and tricks and cinema 4D, which will help you to work faster. One of the most important things in cinema 4D is being able to move around the scene quickly. Here are my favorite shortcuts for that. If you press the number 1 key on the keyboard and then click anywhere and move around. That's going to pan around the view. If you press the number 2 key, and then once again just click and then drag your mouse left to right. This is going to zoom in and out to wherever you click. If you press the number 3 that is going to rotate once again wherever you click so those are really the three main ways to move around. You can pan, zoom or orbit or rotate. You could also do this with these icons up here. This one is for panning, zooming, and rotating, but these do not have the advantage of being able to click target a specific area. You also have to go all the way up over here every time you want to use this, and I think it's much easier to just use the keyboard shortcuts. You can keep everything in front of you. Here is another set of shortcuts. By default, we always use the Selection tool. We can select objects just like this, and then we can move them around using the three axis directions.. If we want to rotate, we can press A. That's going to bring up the rotation, and once again, we can use the three different axis directions to rotate. If we also hold shift at the same time, this is going to lock their rotation increments to whole numbers so that you can quickly select an angle like 90 degrees just as easily by just rotating a few times. If you press T, that's going to bring up the transform. If you click anywhere, you can just scale this up or scale down. At any point you can press the space bar to jump back to the original live selection tool, or which in this case is also shortcut number 9 on the keyboard. That's going to be quicker than always having to click up here once again, our character is animated here and it's being driven by this skeleton or joins, which you can see inside the character. By default, this is not visible. You have to go to filter and under joint and that's going to enable, so you can see. Another thing is I prefer to work in this time format where I can see the actual seconds rather than displaying in frames. To do this as well, you want to go to Edit and Preferences, which always takes a few moments to load. The first time you do this. Under Units I changed my animation unit from their default frames to SMPTE, which displays in seconds like this. The great thing about this is if I type in, let's say 10, it will just make my timeline 10 seconds. It's much easier for me to visualize in seconds rather than frames. Also above that, you can still see the actual frame numbers so this way you actually get to see both time displays and I think that's better. Anyway to continue here is another tool which I use a lot in my projects. It's called Magic Solo. This is a free plugin which is used to isolate a particular objects as you are working on them. Let's say we get the character. If I click on this and I just want to work on the character, I can click "Magic Solo." Now I can just see this object and its materials. Then when I'm finished making any changes I want, I can hit the icon again. This is going to bring back everything else that's in the scene. That's very useful in terms of just being able to focus on one particular object. Anyway, this small plug-in will be included in the class files, and I recommend checking out Nitroman's blog. Who is the creator of this excellent plug-in and many others actually, you might find something you like there as well. Anyway if you get this and to install it, you have to go to Preferences and open the Preferences folder. That's going to open this location where Cinema 4D as these folders. So you would just want to go to plugins, and this is where you would put their Magic Solo folder for the plugin. Anyway, once that's done, you just have to restart Cinema 4D. Then go to Window and Customization, Customize Commands, and in this filter, search for Solo, and the Magic Solo plugin is right there. You would drag this into your interface somewhere. But of course I've already done this. If I enable edit pilot I can and double-click this to make it disappear because I already have it there. I will close this down and we have to save this layout. Otherwise it will be gone the next time we launch Cinema 4D. If we go to Window customization, we'd just have to save as Startup Layout and the next time you launch, this icon will still be there. I keep it in my interface like this because it's a nice and easy to get to. Anyway one more shortcut I will show you is to do with the camera. Let's insert one right now, and let's look through it. If we click this gray box, it turns white, which means we are now looking through this particular camera. Let's say I was looking at a particular object or thing, and I somehow accidentally looked away, let's say a few times and I ended up somewhere completely random. I can press Shift Control and Z to only undo the camera movement and of course Control Z undoes other things that you may have done. But Shift Control Z will only reverse or undo the camera movement. That's it. Keep those shortcuts in mind as you are working in cinema 4D, because you'll be repeating a lot of these things over and over. If you know the shortcuts, then you can work much faster. 4. Creating The Character With Mixamo: There are two main ways to create our characters, and both of them are free tools by Adobe. You'll just need a free Adobe account in order to access this. We're going to get our character from Adobe Mixamo, which is this website right here, it's a free tool by Adobe, and it's basically a library of characters and animations that you can use in your projects for free. If you got this and go to the characters section, you can search for the type of character you'll want to use. For me, it's one of these male model characters, and I chose this David character to use as an example. Once I'm happy with that choice, I can go to animations and this is where we can find a walking animation. So if I just search for that, we can see there are various animations to choose from, and you can see previews of these as well. There's quite a handful. The one I'm going to use for this particular animation is, if I search for "Catwalk Forward". It's this collection of animations which for some reason they use these like medieval characters to preview. Just kind of looks a bit funny, but anyway, if I go for Catwalk Forward 02, this was my preferred choice. It seems a bit more like just normal walk cycle compared to some of the other ones. This is a bit too animated almost, if I can use that term. Anyway, let's go back and search for that again, and right there. We have a few things we can change over here: the overdrive controls, the general speed of the animation. So if you lower this, you'll get a slow motion walk but let's just keep that at the default 50, which is the normal speed. Character Arm-Space, as the name suggests, you can change the width of the arms. Obviously, you don't want it to look silly, so I'll just probably keep that at 50 as well. The other option is we can have the animation as it is, or we can have it in place where the character just does the walk cycle, but doesn't move away. So we are actually going to download both of these animations. Let's start with the normal animation, which is just this small segment. I will hit "Download" and here, the only thing I would change is the frames per second. By default it's set to 30, I'm going to lower this to 24, that's my preferred FPS for doing animations. It's also the film standard, so that's why I use that. The download will take a few moments to prepare, but once you've specified where it's going to be saved in, the location, you'll just hit "Save" and then we can do the same for the in-place version of the same animation. So just remember we need both, both of those and this will make more sense as we get to the Cinema 4D stage in the following lesson. Let's just save this version, this is going to be Catwalk Forward in place, and that's it. A different method for generating our character is this other free application by Adobe called Adobe Fuse. Unfortunately, it's no longer officially supported by Adobe, so this may not be an option which is available to some people watching the class. But in case you still have this, like I do, I never uninstalled it so I still have access to this. You'll want to just start by, in the assemble section, this is what the application looks like when you first open it. Over here, on the right side, we have some preset models that we can pick from. It's a collection of male and female scanned models. Let's just configure one right here. If I choose this male scan number 4, I then just need to pick the corresponding other body parts to match what I have selected. So for this, it's male scan number 4, the order of this gets jumbled up at time for some reason. Next up, we can go to the customize section and this works by either using the sliders over here, in the various body parts; you have arms, face, head, legs, and so on. Or you can actually just directly click on the body and just move your mouse, and that's another way to modify what that looks like. But this is supposed to be quite basic. We just need a simple character to use in our animation. I'm just going to leave everything the same and move on to their clothing section, where I can then just dress up this character. The final thing I will add here is some shoes and that's it. I could even maybe add some hair if I wanted to or some hats, eye wear, there's options for that but this is fine. So from here, I can send this directly to Mixamo, and we'll end up in the same place where we started by selecting our character. The difference is, we'll just have our character from Fuse rather than picking one from this pre-made library. If this is an option for you and you want to configure your character in Fuse, then go ahead and do that. Then when you're finished, you send this to Mixamo and from then on, the process is the same. This will start by exporting the model to a temporary file and then as you can see here, it's now sending this to the Mixamo server and you just need to be logged into your Mixamo for this to work seamlessly. But as you can see here, it loads up and it starts by automatically rigging the character, which is preparing it for the animation to be attached. This can take a few minutes though, so just give it a moment and I will skip ahead to when this is finished. About a minute later, we have this. I can hit "Finish", and let's say use this character. So this will now overwrite what we currently have in the other tab, but that's okay. I can click "Animate" and here, we can just search for the same animation that we previously selected. So I want the Catwalk Forward 02, and that's it right there, and I will just go ahead and save this version and the in-place version as well. Now this character's arms are actually a bit closer to each other, so I would maybe just widen the character arm-space to about 60. Just so the arms don't sort of clip into the torso here as well. But that's it, once this is done, again, we just download at 24 FPS and remember we're saving the two versions, the one where the character walks away and the in-place version as well. As you can see, it's quite easy to create and configure our character. We'll take this into the next lesson, and start in Cinema 4D. 5. Extending The Character Animation: We now want to bring our character into Cinema 4D. Here, we are going to extend the animation and also start the preparation for when we loop it later on. In Cinema 4D, we eventually want to end up with something like this where we have this character walking through this scene that we're going to build around the character. Because this is a loop animation, it involves quite a lot of precision in how we set all of this up. One of those things that will need to be very precise is the distance that the character walks throughout the scene. As we go through the various lessons, all of this will start to add up. We just need to do a lot of preparation to get to this point. As far as that relates to the character model itself, let's start by creating a new project. We are going to bring our character into this but before anything else, the frames per second of our project right now is at 30. This needs to be 24. That's going to be our frames per second for the rest of the project. If you can't see this project settings, just press Control and D to bring those up and change the FPS right there. Then, we can go to "File" "Merge Objects" and we want to find our character. I have the character which I exported from Fuse and I have the normal version first. This box is going to pop up. Just click "OK." Here we are. This is the character with that basic walk cycle. The process for importing the character from Mixamo though, one of those characters which is premade is slightly different. This part is the same, that the FBX import window will show up once again, and I can click "OK." We also have this extra pop-up talking about, "Do you want to reassign included takes?" This refers to what's called the take system in Cinema 4D. Now, it's not relevant to this class so I won't really go into too much detail. Here you just make sure you click "No" and your character will be imported just the same. I can just temporarily disable the Fuse character and let's just take a look at the character from Mixamo. You can see it has exact the same animation. It's just a different model. I can see though that the hair has not imported correctly. This is the material for this character. Interestingly, the character from Mixamo has a single material. Whereas, the one from Fuse is broken up into different bits, but that makes sense because we configured the clothes and the shoes, and all of that stuff differently so that makes sense. The hair for this character did not come out correctly. Let's just take a look at why that's happening. In the material for this character, I can see that the Alpha channel is what's responsible for the hairstyle. It does need to be enabled, but we also need to enable this "Image Alpha" switch so that Cinema 4D correctly interprets what's going on here and when I do a quick render, you can see the hair now looks correct. If you run into the same issue, you know how to quickly fix that. Anyway, that's all I will say about the characters from Mixamo. I am going to continue on the project with my custom character from Fuse, but I just wanted to highlight the import process and that section about the take system and also if you have any problems with the hair material. To continue, let's call this character Walk 1 and the distance we want this character to walk is 2500 centimeters in our scene or 25 meters in real scale. These characters are to scale, so we are going to be speaking in those terms throughout this class. Anytime we create any object, it is actually going to be to actual scale. Let's have a plane to use as a reference for the distance. In the size, I will set the X size to 2500 centimeters and you can see it's much larger now. Let's go to "Display" and do growth shading with lines so we can see the segments just helps with the overall preview. I am going to move this into Z space so that its edge over here starts in the center of our scene. We are going to build everything else in the scene into the Z space. The exact position for this needs to be half its Z size which is 2500. If I just type in here 2500 for the position divided by 2, I get exactly 1250. This lines up perfectly with the center of my scene. You can see my character is actually moving in the wrong direction. I guess you could build into the negative Z space, but I like to just build that way and also that way. Its just a good practice. To fix this, I am going to create a new Null object. Let's call this one Walk 1. Take everything at frame 0. Let's put our character under the Null object and this is going to be rotated 180 degrees. If I hold shift as I rotate this, it locks the rotation segments so I can easily select 180 just like that. Now, my character is walking in the correct direction, but we can see that there is only a single walk cycle and it's very short. It stops after about one and a half seconds, maybe not even that much. We need to continue this animation until the character reaches this point. To fix this, we need to go to the Timeline Window. It's this first one right here, Window, Timeline, Dope Sheet. We can see the key frames that make up our animation. They go from frame 0 to just past one second. This is the same object that we are seeing over here, this bone structure. To extend this animation, we select the main object, which in turn selects everything else underneath. Over here in the attributes, we can now see the properties for this key frame track. Anytime you have key frames running like this, it's called a key frame track. We have some controls for what we can do with this particular track. What we want to control is what happens after it plays for the first time. So this after control, is set to constant right now, which basically means that nothing happens, but we can change this to repeat and we can set the number of repetitions. So let's just throw in a number here like 20. If I just maybe move this out of the way temporarily and hit play, now you can see the character is repeating that initial walk cycle, so that's the first step. Of course, we need this to repeat and continue in that direction instead of just jumping back to the initial point. So let's set our timeline to be longer. It's still just the default, three seconds. Let's set this to, let's say, 20 seconds. That will give us enough time for the character to reach that point over here. Let's bring back our timeline. We do want to repeat all of this key frame tracks except for one of them, which is the position in Z. If I open this main level joint and go to it's position Z and open that in turn, you can also see what's happening here is the original key frames are these orange and blue lines. These orange dots and blue line. The repetitions here are represented by the black lines which come after that. So this is repeating and jumping back to its initial position, and it keeps doing that as many times as we set over here. What we want to do is instead of repeating this particular key frame track, this one needs to be repeat and offset at the same time, so we choose this option. You can see now instead of jumping back to the beginning, this is just continuing on. We can't see it past this section here, but we can clearly see, and that's what's happening. This is not continuing, whilst everything else is basically repeating and jumping back to the same place as before. But when I do that with the Z position offset repeating, we now have the character walking continuously and we need to measure when the character hits this particular point. It happens at about 18 seconds or so. Let's just double-check in the timeline window itself. If we navigate in this and change the repetitions, I want to see at which point we need to extend our timeline to be or perhaps shorten it. So I can choose to either lower the repetitions and then cut off my timeline about here. That seems to be the best position closest to that point. So let's do that. That's about 19 seconds and three frames. I can just lower this total duration to that point. Always just give myself an extra frame of space past the last point where the key frames lead up to, this is too close to this. Let's just give it one more frame and I know this is going to work. Now, if I close the timeline and play this again, when we get to the end, the character is roughly in this location. So whilst this is a close enough or perfectly fine for a normal animation, when creating loops, we need to be extremely precise, as I've already mentioned before. We would actually want our character to be at this point when he crosses over the edge of this particular plane, and right now, he's just passed there. This is where our second character is going to help us. So the one where the character just stays in place. If we bring that in, and we can click no for the assigned text and I think that's the wrong character there. I need the fuse version. So if we click in place, and here we go. We will give this the same treatment. Let's call this walk number two. Let's create a null object and place our character in there and flip it 180 degrees. Let's hide the first character for a moment and we can see that the second character also it just has that initial walk cycle which finishes very quickly. So in their timeline, let's go to walk number two. We want to repeat again. Thereafter control, this is with the main track selected, which in turn selects everything else. Let's set there after control to repeat. It's going to be 17 times, just like our first animation. I think I did something wrong there. I didn't type in 17 and hit enter. Now, we see it continues because this is not moving in Z space. We don't need to offset the Z movement. Instead, we're going to animate the Z movement of this small object, the one that's holding the entire character. So if I go to the coordinates at frame zero, I want to animate that position Z. So hold control and click, go to the end of our animation and set the Z position to 2,500 centimeters, and then hold control and click again to confirm that key frame. Now, if I hit play, we can see the movement into the scene is from this animation we have just created. That's laid on top of the original animation. That's on the actual character. It is eases in there, so we need to go back to key frames. I'm going to press S to contain this entire key frame range for this position Z. Let's press S so we can see it eases in and then eases out. It should be linear with this switch over here so that the character has a constant speed throughout the entire animation. So now we have this. If I re-enable the first character, we can see that they basically move at exactly the same pace. The first character is just slightly ahead because it will overshoot the stopping point over here by just a few centimeters but for the most part, this is basically the same animation, except that this version, which was in place to start with, we have the ability to make it stop exactly where we want, which is that pointed 2,500 centimeters. Then the first character is really just a reference point of where we need to end up roughly and then we can precisely use the second character to do that. So that's it for this lesson with our character setup finished, we can move on to actually building the rest of the scene. 6. Building The Scene Part 1: We are now going to build our scene in Cinema 4D. This involves just taking a few assets or 3D models to start with. Using some tools in Cinema 4D, we can actually build this into a much bigger scene. These are the assets and 3D models we are going to use to construct our scene. It starts out just like this and then using various tools such as cloners and defectors we can build this out into a large scene. So of course, we have the telephone pole and then we have the wooden fence, and then just a few various plants and grass that will be on the side of the road. For the road itself, we have this material or this texture, that is a dirt road texture, next to the road where our character will be walking on top off. Then we have this other dirt material for the hills and other parts of the scene. Things can get a bit disorganized in the material section here. So what you can do is use the layer system to try and keep things more neatly organized. If you go over to the right side of the interface, we have a layer section and if I double-click, I can create a new layer. So let's call the first one grass or plants. This is going to hold these materials, which from these grass plants. It's hard to see because we have growth shading with lines enabled. If I go back to just growth shading, we can now see that a bit better and these plants over here. So we can now drag all of these materials to that grass layer and when I do that, you see it creates a new tab with just those materials. So let's continue with this. We have our characters and these set of materials all the way down to here and the more I do this, the more organized this is going to become. We can do the telephone pole. That's this set of materials. You perhaps don't need to take it this far, but I just wanted to show you what's possible and the last one I will just call it scene for general scene materials. So that's our road and the dirt and so on. Now if I need to quickly jump to the materials for any of these sections, it's easy to do because it's organized like this and I can still always just go to all and see everything at the same time. So let's start building the scene. I'm going to just hide the graphs for now and basically everything else. Our characters here, I don't really need this first character anymore, so I can actually remove this completely from the scene and in the material section, those materials from that character remained. So if I right-click anywhere, let's delete unused materials to just clean that up. We only need the materials for the one character as we can see here. The first element is going to be the road, which is going to just start out as a cube. Let's go to the attributes over here and the x size is going to be 800, the y size just five and the z size is going to be 2500, which is the same length as the character moves in that direction. So the Z position of this is going to be one to 50, so that it starts at that point and you see where the character walks up to. In the scene materials I am going to apply this road material first and I can see that it's going in the wrong direction. So what we want to do is rotate this cube 90 degrees, just like this and we just need to reverse these sizes. So the X side is now going to be 2500 and the Z size is going to be 800. Now our material is too stretched, so we need to make some adjustments. If I go to the texture type over here, the tiling in the hue direction is going to be changed to two. That's going to take away some of that stretching. This needs to be wider so that these lines are closer to the edge of the road. Right now it's just too narrow this main section. So if I go back to this, the length V or tiling V needs to be adjusted. So let's use the tiling. Let's say about 0.6. These two numbers are linked together. So if you change one, the other one will change as well. So we've changed the tiling there, 2.6, which widened how the texture looks on the road. We just now need to make sure this offset is such as something which brings this lines back to the center about negative 34 percent or so. We have something like this. This is a seamless material which means you will not see any edges or borders when we tile it in this direction. So if this will, let's say three, there is no visible scenes or edges to indicate where there is a tiling point. So that's a feature of these materials. These materials are from my material packs which I created for Cinema 4D. If you are interested in checking these out, you can head over to my other website, and take a look there. They are for sale, but for this class, I included all the materials we are using in the class files for free. Let's continue. The next section is going to be the side of the road where our character is going to be walking over. So the width for this is going to be 500 and the height is going to be 2500. This needs to be by the side of the road, set their position to a negative 600. I'm doing this on the left side of the road and then the Z position once again is one to 50. The material is going to be this dead material, which I will quickly apply. It looks like I just need to reverse these scales. I keep forgetting for some reasons, so just bear with me. This material is also stretched, so we need to go to the tiling. This time I will go for four in the tiling hue and I also want to flip this rotation, it should be negative 90. I want this thick patches of grass to be on the outside. So that's that we will probably adjust that later. But for now, that's okay. Our character needs to be over here somewhere. So if I go to this, null object holding the character. Let's move this until it is somewhere in the middle of this dirt road. It's going to be about negative 525. They're not really in the center, but I am going to move this dirt section further in, I don't really want to see too much grass next to the actual road surface, about negative 10%. Even see it brings the texture back around over here but by the time we place other objects there, it will not be an issue. Let's re-enable the pole, which is over here. It needs to be placed somewhere to the left. So let's say negative 1000. And the fence needs to be over here too, this is going to be at negative 900. This piece is not long enough by itself, so we are going to clone it to create more pieces of the fence going that way, so If I take a cloner, I will hold ALT on the keyboard or the ALT key. As I insert this, which will bring the cloner in the exact same spot as the object I had selected, which in this case was the fence. Let's call this cloner fence and you can see by default it clones in an upward direction, so if I go to the object settings of the cloner, we can change the count and we can change the direction it's going. Right now it's going in the Y direction, which is this. We need to go in the Z direction. Now the value for this depends on the length of the fence. It is currently set at, if I click the fence and go to the size settings, we have size plus and I can see the overall Z length is set to six two five. If I set their movement to six two five, it means I can line up four of these perfectly and it's going to total up to 2,500 in length, which lines up with everything else we have created so far. Now that only lines up because of their preparation I did for the class. I knew this object needed to be a particular length in order to be cloned so many times and end up this exact length. Now if your object is perhaps a bit shorter, so I am scaling this down on purpose. You would see gaps, but you can compensate for that by lowering the distance between the clones, but certain numbers will work and others not. Five hundred in this case could also work, if I were to continue scaling this down and put the size, I will just type in 500 here. It's going to contract the object, but really, it will still look just fine. We just need to now have five clones so that we end up in the same place. Keep that in mind. Some preparation is required for everything to line up how you expect. I will keep what I had which was a length of six two five and the same spacing for our cloner. This is whilst we're in this paced up mode and setting this up. Next step, we are going to get a landscape object which comes in, in the center of the scene. This is going to be 500 in X size 50 in height. That's the middle one there and then a 1000 in Z space. Let's go to display with lines so we can see the segments. I don't really need this much, so let's drop the width segments to 25 and the depth to 50. We have a lot less and the sea level is going to be 50 percent. This is going to be positioned at negative 1000 and let's apply this dirt material onto it. I don't need to change anything here. Let's also place this in a cloner, so if I hold the ALT key once again and insert that, the cloner will insert in that position. Let's go to the object settings, and we do want three clones, but we want them in that direction. Now this time I will change the mode to end point so that we can type out, let's say 2,500 and see it broadly fits, but we need to adjust. The starting position is going to be what you see right here, let's say 500 and we need to lower the Z movement to 1,500. This will be intersecting with each other, but it's not a big problem. That is, the design I want and I can maybe place this below everything, so I will set the Y position to negative one so that it doesn't interfere with this other plane. Otherwise, we would get some flickering as we do some animation. This is the same objects three times because we've cloned it that way. I can make a copy of this however, and change the seed each time and I'm copying this by holding Control and just dragging down and what we want here is a different piece of dirt each time. This is entirely optional, however, you could just use the same thing. I think in the long run, it probably will not make too much of a difference when we add all the other objects, it will kind of be covered up anyway. We can move on to the grass which I will just start by re-enabling and that's over here in the scene. Let's bring in a new cloner and just bring all of these in here at once. This is going to be somewhere over here, negative 850 and again, I know all of these numbers because I have done this project at least two times before. For the movement or the mode, let's set this to end point. We can just set the overall height, which is going to be 2,500, and then put the count up to fill up the spaces in between. The count is going to be 200, which is quite a lot of plants. The scene at this point may start to slow down. That's normal because we have so many objects now, so to speed things up a bit, we can change the instance mode from instance to render instance. Briefly, the instancing here speeds up the scene because it treats any copies of the object as if they were the same as the original. The amount of memory it takes up is a lot less and that speeds up the scene. If we were using the normal instance mode instead of render instance, scene number 4D is now calculating this as if it's actually 200 separate objects. That's going to be slower compared to render instance, which looks at this as if it's eight objects and their copies, so if nothing else, it's faster. If you want to read up the actual technical explanation of this you just right click and show help and there is a section about this in their manual. Let's continue. Let's go back to gouraud shading without lines so we can see a bit better what's going on. Right now the plants are just in a straight line, so we need to go to more graph effector and random and we want to play with the position, not position Y, but in position X and Z. Let's go with 200 and 200. This is going to spread the plants out just like this. Two hundred might be too much, let's maybe do 150. I think that's okay and to further randomize this we can also change the clones from iterate, where it just runs through them in the order that they are to random and that's going to create a slightly more natural looking pattern, but that's it. With each step we are getting closer to completing the initial block of our scene. The next thing here is to copy everything we have on this side over to the other side. This will be done by just creating a null object and putting in everything we've built so far under this and let's call this the left side. Now the road surface itself does not need to be part of this, so I need to just take it out, but on this left side, which if I quickly turn this on and off, you can see what that is. Hold this icon and let's get an instance which, as we've already mentioned, creates a copy. This copy, I would just I don't need to move it, I just need to flip it, so if I go to the coordinates, let's set the size X to negative one, which would just flip this across to the other side as if there was some kind of big mirror down the center of the scene. Comparing this to a later version of the scene, what we have just created is the initial section that the character walks through, so the distance between two telephone poles. In the following section, we will continue with this idea of expanding our scene and building it in such a way that everything is in blocks, which are easy to organize and animate later on. 7. Setting Up The Loop: Before we expand the size of our scene, I would just like to quickly go over how the looping animation is going to be set up. So far we have this single section and if I were to get another null object and place everything in here, let's call it section, and I would then take a cloner object and put everything in here. Let's set the instance mode to render instance right away, so we have better responsiveness. The count, let's just go forward 10 to start with, and we want to move this in the Z direction. In this step mode, the position Z should be 2500 and this is going to line up this section like this and extend the length of our scene. Now you can see you that the responsiveness has just been totally reduced, and that's just because of how many objects we now have in the scene, even with the render instances ticked. This is too much to handle. What we can do is go into our setup and find the cloner for the grass and plants. This is primarily what's taking up most of the performance. If I just hide this for now or disable the cloner, for now, you will see the responsiveness will return. Okay. If I were to get a camera, and look through it using this white square, when it's white, it means we are looking through the camera and whatever changes we make, we can see them live. So let's start by zeroing out their rotation. The exposition should be the same as our character, which if I recall, was 525 or negative 525, and the height is going to be about 75, and the distance behind our character is going to be negative 500. Let's set the focal length of our camera to 24 millimeters for a wider angle of view, and then the coordinates, I will put the rotation pitch, which is rotation P to 10 degrees; so we will look more up. Then what I would do here is put this as a child of the character. When I hit play, the camera will move with the character and because this initial block that we created is exactly the same as every clone in front of it, when we travel through one of these segments, and we do see a slight hitch at the beginning. So what I can do is take the whole thing and move it back in Z space to negative 2500. Just to move one of these sections to be behind the character when we start, and then the rest will still begin here and continue that way. If I play this through now, when we get to the end, it will appear as if it loops back perfectly to the start. What we have just created is the basic setup for looping and extending the size of this scene. It loops because at the beginning, what the camera is looking at is one of these sections. So the distance between two telephone poles, if I go to a Gouraud shading with lines, you can see on the road where one section begins, and where the next one starts. What the camera is looking at, at the beginning here is relatively the same as what it's looking at when it gets to this section, it's just the next section ahead. I hope that makes sense. However, when we do look through the camera, again, we can see two main issues. One, obviously the scene is incomplete, we need a lot more objects to the side here, which is the hills also in the distance, and if you look very carefully when we get to the end here, there is a slight glitch where a telephone pole just appears. It's happening because at the beginning we're looking through nine clones, at the end, just eight; so we need to hide that transition. But generally speaking, that is how we set up the loop. So that's the basis of how the loop is going to work. Let's keep this in mind as we continue to build the rest of the scene. 8. Building The Scene Part 2: So far we have just created this small block in our scene. We are now going to take this and make it wider. The difference between what we have here and this scene, the old one, is that we have this extra stuff at the side and in the distance. If I look out of this camera and turn off these various instances which I created. Let's go to quick shading and lines and by the way, quick shading and broad shading are the same except that quick shading ignores any lights in the scene whereas broad sheeting takes the lights into account. We'll get to that later. But for now, we can see now that the initial block or section has now been extended into three sections joined together. You can clearly see because of the segments here and also the number of telephone poles. Either side of that, we have to start with these three smaller hills and then two larger ones then finally, the largest one on the outer edge. This is mirrored across on the other side. All of this combined created this much larger section. This is what I then instanced into the distance to build and set up the final version of this scene. So let's go back to where we left off. For now I am going to take this camera out of the same null as the character. We don't want it to move with it anymore. Let's go to this cloner where we had ten, we're just going to have three. We can move this back to start at 000, which is the center of the scene. So this is the start of our new bigger block. Let's go to broad shading just on its own. Then we'll get a plane. Let's set the width of this to something really large, let's say 25 thousand. It's also going to have a length of 2,500. Let's move this to 1,250. So this is going to be inside of this null object so that it gets copied across to these three cloners and it's going to have the same det texture. Except this time it needs to be mapped as cubic so it doesn't get stretched out rather. Let's set the length U and V to something higher, let's say 250 on both sides. This is intercepting with the floor. So let's drop the Y position to, let's say negative one, just to clean that up.This is going to be our floor. Next up we'll get a landscape object. The measurements for this are going to be as follows. The size X is going to be 2,500, the same for the Z. So I will just copy and paste this over. The height is going to be 500. We can apply our det texture to this too. We want three copies of this, so it will be placed inside of a cloner. I will hold the old key as I insert this into the scene. Three copies is correct. But this time I will change the mode from linear to a grid array. This allows us to have clones in three different directions. So we have X, Y, and Z. For X, we'll set this to two and for Z let's have three, which is the default anyway. We will then move this to the center of our current setup, which is going to be 7, 500 centimeters divided by two, because that's the total length of this current section. Divide that by two to be right in the middle, just like this. I can grab one of these handles to scale this appropriately in this direction and then grab his handle. So that handle actually just creates more clones. Think it's this one over here that scales. You just have to be careful which when you grab. But either way, we want to create a layout like this. That's the first set of mountains and the positioning of this. You can just measure by I. We wanted to start just after this section. So about here is probably correct. So this will be the first set of hills. Let's make another copy. Just hold Control and drag down. This time there is only going to be two sets of mountains or hills. Once again, I will extend the size this way. Because these will be larger, the scale or the distances needs to be further apart. To scale these up, I am going to go to the transform tab of this cloner. Let's go with something like two for the width, which is X and then two for Z as well. This means I have to readjust the overall width so it doesn't cut into this first set of hills so much, about here should work. Just make it a bit more separated. Let's say about the, if you imagine there will be another whole section of this next to this set. So if this bleeds over, it's okay. They will just join up anyway. I think about here is fine. I think the height is too low. In the transform once again, I will maybe go to the landscape object directly and set this height to one thousand. Maybe set the Y height and the transform in the cloner to 1.5. The numbers are used in the original example, so I think it should work here too. Then we'll make one more copy of this. This time we are only going to have one clone in the Z direction, but still two in the X and one in the Y direction of course. Let's extend this to be out here somewhere. For the scale X and transform, we'll maybe go with three, the same for Z and four for Y. So a much larger object. Just once again, try and position this the right amount of distance away. It might be useful here to use some more absolute numbers, so it's easy to follow. On the first set of hills in the grid array mode, here in past step mode, the size X I will set to five thousand, and size Z will be 2,500. We don't have any clones in the Y direction. So this is irrelevant. Let's go to the next set and set this size to, let's say 12,500, just rounding down a bit. Then this other Z size, let's go for 4,500. On the largest one, this will be 24 thousand for the size X. We only have one clone in the Z direction. So this doesn't matter. This could be zero. It won't make any difference. This looks fine, but everything right now is too uniform. It's too neatly arranged and doesn't look very interesting. What we need to do is to add some randomness. If I select those three cloners, which I will call small, medium and large. With all three selected, I'm going to get a random effector, which is found under Mograph effector and random. We don't want to change their position. This isn't the perimeter tab, we just want to change the rotation. So let's enable rotation and the rotation heading each. This should be set to 360. That will create some random rotation. Like we see here. Maybe just looks a bit more natural. We can even change the seed if we don't like the original pattern we get. If I go to the seed in the effector tab, we can change the random result that we get. Really just about anything should be okay though. One final adjustment here is, I might just extend the width of that floor we created to be 50 thousand instead. So it goes past this large hill. Okay, that's fine. What we want to do now is take all of this and place it into a null object. This will be section large. If you recall this original section, we can call, let's say section small. That's the initial three. Then this one is everything combined. With all of that done, we have now finished creating the main block section of this scene. This is what we're going to continue with for the rest of the project. We will be lining up copies of this, more instances of this, in this direction. Then move our character through the whole scene and making sure that it loops seamlessly. 9. Looping The Larger Scene: In the previous lesson, we expanded that we're seeing mostly sideways. We're now going to expand it in the other direction and also continuing to setup the looping animation. Everything we have created so far is inside of this node object, which I have called section large as opposed to the small exception that we started off with. Let's continue and make this scene even larger. I'm going to look through our camera once again, which we just want to double-check. It's in the correct relative position to our character, which is exposition is negative 525. The Y position is 75 and the Z position is negative 500. It's pitched up by ten degrees at a focal length of 24 millimeters. That's quite a wide angle. We will come back to this shortly. For now, let's take this whole section and place this inside of an instance. If I have the object selected, the ends, go get an instance. It will automatically link it because now I can move this instance ahead and join it up to the first section. The Z position of this is going to be 7,500 and if you have used the same numbers which I have up to this point, everything should line up perfectly. Let's do this a couple of times more. This is the first copy. I will hold Control and drag down to make another copy of this instance and a by the way, if for whatever reason your instances is not linked the first time, you can drag the reference object manually to this section in the instance. Anyway, the next position for this third instance, the position is going to be 15,000. We're moving this in increments of 7,500 centimeters. We now have three lined up like this. We also need one behind our character the start. I will make another copy and let's position this one it in negative 7,500 and that will line up edge to edge in the opposite direction, which is behind the character. If we now scrub through the animation or hit play, let's go to grow trading with lines so we can see where these cutoff. Now, the initial animation we created for the character was just for that smaller 2500 centimeter section. The section is much larger. It's three times as long, so we need the character to keep going through three of these, or rather through one large section. What I am going to do is go back to my timeline. We are going to continue the repetitions and also the timeline needs to be extended to be three times longer. 19 times three is 57 let's change that to be a such and then three frames times three is nine. The new length is 5,709. But that could be different depending on whatever scales and their values you're working with to begin with. With this extended timeline, let's click on the repetitions on our character, which I will change to be three times more. 17 times three, we can type in that formula and we get 51. Let's do 52 to be safe. If I look out of the camera, we can see the character does keep walking, stops here suddenly and that's because actually the Z position was manual in the end. We can change this keyframe value to 7,500 in the key properties over here, just that one key frame. We can also change where the keyframe is in time, so this should be 5709, like the length of our animation. It runs through the entire length of the whole thing. If I scrub through, we can see the character now walking throughout the whole section. This much longer scene and longer timeline. If you want to create a fully looping scene, this is what you would have to do as well and this is nearly a minute long, which is quiet a lot of frames in the end that we will be rendering. But that's the setup required for the full loop. If you wanted a shorter animation for example, you could still end the animation at like 20 seconds. Instead, it's entirely up to you. Anyway, I digress here, let's continue. I will look through our camera and let's re-enable the instances. I am going to create a separate null object which will carry the camera. This will be camera carry and let's put that in there. This will be moving at the same rate as the character. At frame zero, let's set a key frame for the Z position to be zero and at the end it will be 7,500. Then keyframe that to hold control and click this circle and in our timeline window we can open up that new keyframe. With it selected, I will click linear to make sure we have a constant speed for our animation. We can play through the whole thing and see what we have. Remarkably, this is still very responsive despite having quite a lot of objects in this quite large scene. But that's the great power of using instances in cinema 4D, particularly with the cloner as well. When we get to the end here we can see a jump, which is quite obvious. Obviously, we need to do more setup, but generally we are on the right path. This means we need more clones or instances going in that direction so we can hide that jump. We will continue copying these. Let's have this one. Another 7,500 centimeters downstream, which is going to be 22,500. Again, this time we'll go to 30,000 and I think a couple more times should be enough. This is the fifth instance. Sixth one would be at 3,7500. I will do the formula for this plus 7,500 and we get 45,000 centimeters. Let's look at what that jump looks like. If I skipped to the end here, it is still visible but because it's further away, it's not as noticeable. But of course that won't do here. Whilst that's not as bad, it's still not really good enough. We spent a lot of time to be as precise as we can. We want to continue and clean that up to. I will cover that separately in a lesson. But for now, I think we are looking pretty good. Another object I will create in this scene is out there in the distance which is going to be a mountain. This would be another massive landscape object. This time let's go to the size and set this to 75,000 as the base size. I will move this far out into the distance. You can see as I zoom out here, things will start to disappear out of view. It's to do with the drawn distance in cinema 4D. To help with this, if I press Control and 'D' for the view clipping in the project settings, let's change this from medium to large. That point at which things disappear will be further out. You will rarely ever have to go past large. Let's move the same massive landscape out there in the distance. I will place it at a 100 thousand centimeters, so that's one followed by five zeros and at frame zero, make this a child of the same null object which carries the camera so that it moves at the same rate which means relative to the camera. It will appear as if it's not moving as we go through the scene. That's one step. I will also go to the sea level of this and let's set this to, let's say 25 which by the way, this controls the flatness, the general flatness of all the features on the landscape. At 25 is fine. We can apply the same material to this too, although this detail is going to be so far in the distance, it's not really going to be all that visible, but let's just go with it anyway. One more change I might do here is rotate this until I get an angle which I like. I want to view this from the perspective of behind the character about here, a negative 150. I think I prefer this view, and this also helps with the disappearing hills at the side because before there was nothing behind there with the mountains behind there, it helps to obscure that just a bit. But anyway, we will get rid of that in the lesson that follows. At this point, if you do run into some performance issues, what's great is you can simply hide these instances in the preview by changing this dot at the top. The top one is for the preview and then the bottom one is for their actual render. If it's disabled in the preview, that helps with the general performance when we play back and when we render, it is still present in the actual picture. You get the best of both worlds. It's exactly the same thing that we did earlier with the plants when we were creating the detail on the side of the road. If I re-enable this plants, so a re-enable the cloner and also unhide it and try to play this back with all the instances to handle for example, you can see basically we grind to a complete halt, but we don't have to do that. We can continue working quite fine at this level of visibility. Keep that in mind. You can speed up your scene and you don't have to be pulling your hair out as you're trying to do some smooth playback. 10. Refining The Loop Animation: So far our loop is almost seamless, but definitely not 100 percent. In this lesson, we're going to go over a technique for creating pixel-perfect loop transitions to get rid of this visible cut or glitch at the end of our loop. If you look closely right there, we're going to create an extra instance to put out there in the distance and then we will also reveal the mountains at the same speed that the camera is moving and that will completely get rid of any visible jumps in the animation. Let's see how that works in practice. Let's start by extending this once again. So we get another instance. This one will be at 52,500. It ends up almost touching this other larger mountain in the distance. Really far out here. The object that's most visible in the cut is the tall mountains. But just to be sure everything is going to be seamless, we will apply this effect to everything. If I select all the three sets of mountains, and later we'll also include the poles in this, but just the mountains to start with. In the effectors section. Let's go and add a plane effector. Under MoGraph effector and plain, and the plain effector affects everything equally, which is why everything just jumped up slightly just now because by default it moves everything by 100 centimeters. We want to do the opposite and with a much higher number. A negative 1000. This is going to move things underneath the floor plane. What we want to do now is to restrict where this takes place, to be out here somewhere. Let's go to the falloff tab and I'm going to add a linear field and this is with the plane effector selected. If I do that, and let's change the direction from X plus to Z plus, if we go over here, this is where it came in at the start of our scene. I can move this towards the end of the scene and hopefully you can start to see what's happening. This is now revealing the mountains as I move it through the scene like this. However, right now it's too abrupt. We need to smooth out the transition and that's done by increasing the length of this field. The best setting for this is half whatever the length of these sections are, which is 7,500. So it will be 7500 divided by 2, which is 3,750, and this extends the same distance from the center. It ends up covering an entire section. But more importantly, as I move this now you see the transition is more gradual. What I would do is at the very end of the animation, that's going to be our reference starting point. I will move this to almost the very end before it falls off the edge here. But the whole thing is to be behind that point, and I've just realized I've been moving just the linear field itself, which is fine, but the actual plane effector is still over here. What I will do is I will zero out the position of the linear field, so that it also goes back to the beginning of the scene. Now I think if I just tried to grab this handle, it will still move just the linear field by itself. What I'm going to do is go to the plain effectors coordinates and change those. I think it was about 55,000 or so to be in the correct place. Everything has been moved to the end over here and we can see this purple or pink range. That's the length of our falloff. That's close enough right there and that's just a preference. You can just move the linear field by itself if you want to. Anyway, at the end of the animation, let's make this a child of the same camera null, which is moving our camera. That now this will move at the same rate as the camera, and the overall effect of this is that now when we play through the animation, that effect is slowly revealing the mountains and it's so smooth and so slow, it's not perceptible, and the final result is that when we get to the end of the animation, you will no longer see any glitching in that distance. The only stop we're seeing right now is just when Cinema 4D jumps back to the beginning and it has to think about what's in the scene before it starts playing back again. But if this was the actual final rendered animation, this would be solidly perfect. That's it. I said I would do the same for the poles. It's actually not necessary in this case because they are small enough and converge in the center of the frame, you don't see any jumps. But just in case this was a problem also, we can include the poles in that reveal effect. Now the poles are not in any cloner. We need to put them inside one because effectors will only work on MoGraph objects such as the cloner. At the very beginning, let's solo the pole by itself, and I will just hold the ALT key and insert a cloner like this. Now we just need a count of one, and because I held the ALT key when I inserted this, it will inherit the same position. When I unsolo this, everything will still look exactly the same. It's just now that the object which holds the telephone pole is a cloner rather than just a piece of geometry. Now what I can do is include this same effect into this cloner for the poles, and if I go over to the end of the animation, we can see now that these are now part of this reveal effect, which just may help with any glitches which occur. We can see that it's moving as a single unit, the three of them at once. That's because of this cloner. For the smallest section with render instances enabled. It treats this as one object which is faster for responsiveness, but may not be useful in this case. If I change it to instance, it will now start treating these as if they were individual objects and that's exactly what we get. Just another adjustment we may have to make or not at all, depending on what the scene looks like. But it's good to have the option and then knowing what to do if you need to do it. But now I can see my scene is much slower and less responsive. These change is may be worthwhile to do at the end of the project, so that in the meantime, we can continue to have a faster response. But anyway, now you know, so I will listen to my own advice here and switch this back to run the instance for now, and just switch it back before the final render. 11. Lighting & Fog Effect: We'll now develop the look and style of our scene, it's a nighttime lighting style and at the end, we'll also add some fog and atmosphere effects. There are two primary lights in our scene. The first light illuminates everything generally so that nothing is completely dark and featureless so we just end up seeing some of the details on the road and just some of the color on the telephone poles and the hills and so on and even just some subtle shading on the character. Obviously, this is still meant to be quite a dramatic lighting style, mainly based around still awaiting the features in the scene, but you still need that base level of illumination. So that's the first light, It's a general ambient light. The second light is coming from over there somewhere and you can see the long shadows behind the character, for example. Another feature of this light is that on the hills in some areas you see some subtle directional highlights hitting from over there somewhere and it makes sense for this scene because that's where our light source is coming from. Let's jump into Cinema 4D and see if we can replicate this. I had already started this, so let me reset. Let's get a new light and we are just going to go to the color. This is going to be a blue tone, about 210 degrees with some saturation. It's a nighttime scene, so I am going for a cool color here so blue for the V, which is the brightness, we can maybe lower this to about 60 and saturation I will actually drop further down to about 20-25 or so. Okay, and you can already see a quick preview of what this is doing. At frame zero however, the light is somewhere over here in the center of the scene and if I quickly preview we'll just get this very odd looking seen. So in the light, there is a setting called ambient illumination. Let me turn this on and what this does is it illuminates everything in the scene equally so you end up with a very flat looking image. It's working, it's just too strong. Lets go to the intensity of this light and drop it to about 20-25 as well. Let's go with 20 and another quick preview we can see that it's a lot less powerful. That's our first ambient general light. And with this switch turned on, it doesn't matter whether light is in the scene, it will affect everything equally and look the same regardless. We can call this our ambient light. Let's now get an infinite light and this is going to be our directional light, which will be coming from over there somewhere. Let me jump out of the camera so we can see an overview of the whole scene. If I select this light, we can see right now the direction of the light is dictated by this line we see here so, currently the light is going that way. We need to rotate it 180 degrees and you can see the preview in the view port anyway, as I rotate this, you can see the direction of the light changing. So at 180 degrees for the heading, the light is now pointing this way and then we also just need to angle it down. I will set this to about 10 degrees, so negative 10 degrees, and then if we look through the camera, let's just give it a moment. So a quick preview to see how this is working we can now see there is some direction to our illumination and we can see some highlights on the telephone poles and on the hills and so on. We need some shadows though. So let's go to light and go to the shadow section, and that I'll enable ray traced add shadows. Also, the light is too strong, so I will drop the intensity to 25 and let's do another quick preview to see what we are working with. Instead of jumping to preview up here all the time, maybe I can use the interactive renderer. If I hold alt and r, it opens up this render region, which I can just stretch out to frame my whole scene. And let's put this quality slider to the top. Just wait a few moments for its process and there we go. So now we have a constant render to be looking at. It's a very subtle lighting style, so it might not look all that impressive just yet but another thing we need to add here is the atmospheric effects, that's this blue fog we see throughout the scene. This is found under the physical sky so if I hold left-click over the floor icon and get the physical sky, we can see what this does. We don't need any sunlight from this, this is in the basic tab. Let's just go ahead and turn that off. We also don't need any of the sky elements either so if I just wait for this to show what it looks like right now, you could perhaps try some different lighting style if you want, this is a daytime thing. But I'm sticking with the darker night scene. Let's turn off the sky and in the time and location, I will set this to 24:00 hours so that it's at midnight, which is going to give us a dark scene. At this point, I could even enable the sky once again, and because it's at nighttime now, we changed the time to midnight, we would get some stars instead, instead of like blue skies but the way we are setting up our project, we actually go into output this without a sky at all and all of this you see was done in after-effects. The advantage being that we can change this to anything we want. After we have outputted the render from Cinema 4D. Anyway, we'll get to that eventually but for now, let's get back to creating our fog. If I go to the Basic tab, we want to enable fog down here. Let's disable the sky once more. I think my plants may be delaying my render too much. So let's go to the grass and actually turn it off completely. That's this cloner here. I'm going to switch it off and hide it also. This should just speed up the processing time for the render. Okay. The fog by default is going to look like this. We have to change quite a few things such as the density. Let's lower this to five percent. That is much quicker previewing now so that's great. The color, we can go for anything but I'm keeping that same color scheme that I have been using so far. So about 210 for the hue which gives me this blue color. Saturation I will set to 75 and the brightness to 50. Let's see what that gives us. I want the fog to be taller and more prominent. So I will go to the end height and set this to 4,000 centimeters. You can see it's much stronger now. The start height I will drop down to, let's say negative 2,500. So this whole fog effect is going to start further below the ground. It just lowers it so that some of these details closer to the camera can be affected by the fog as well. This can be pushed even further if we were to drop this to, let's say, negative 4,000. So just a flip of our current height. You can see each time the fog appears to be a bit closer to the camera. This might be too strong still so let's maybe lower this density anywhere between, I would say 2.5 and five. Like this. Let's go for 3.5 perhaps. It's a very sensitive value so even some small changes will make a big difference. Of course, this is the fog effect in Cinema 4D, which means that you are going to run into the fog glitch, which happens every time, you use the fog effect in Cinema 4D. Let me show you what this glitch or bug is and then I'll show you how to fix it. If I were to just output this current frame to the picture viewer. In render settings, let's disable Save. We just want to output to the picture viewer for preview purposes. Let's go for a 200 percent zoom level, just so we can see a bit better. This is what the scene currently looks like. If I were to close down this project. So let's just close all projects which are open. We can save it and then reopen it. Under recent files, it's this one at the top. Without changing anything, I am just going to start by rendering to the picture viewer once again and after a few seconds, we can see that the fog is not rendering correctly, especially close to the camera. If we compare this to the actual correct render, what it should look like, it's this. Then this is the broken glitch. So this is going to happen any time you use the fog effect in Cinema 4D and you close down a project and reopen it again. Or perhaps you send this to the render queue or maybe even send it to someone else. If you work in a team, for example, if somebody reopens your project that uses the fog effect, they are going to run into this issue. It happens because in the physical sky, the fog effect does not reinitialize itself correctly after being closed down. What's happening is basically the fog is failing to reinitialize and reloading correctly. But look what happens if I just change any one of these values slightly. You will see that it would now look correct. So that's the fix. We have to force Cinema 4D to do this each time the project reopens, and the easiest way is to just animate one of these values between frame 0 and 1. So at frame 0, I will set my start height to, let's say negative 3,999, set a key frame, move forward one frame, and then change this back to what it should be, which is negative 4,000. This will work with any of these if you just change them slightly between frame 0 and 1. Those two key frames will force Cinema 4D to render any frames after that correctly. So the first frame may still be lost because of this but luckily for us and let me just disable the interruptive render for a moment. The first frame is actually identical to the last frame of our animation. If I jump back and forth, you can see this is really the case. So it means that those two frames actually will always be doubling up anyway, when we play this back as a loop and repeating it. We were always going to take out one of these frames regardless, and since the first frame may render incorrectly, that's the one we will always cut from the final animation. That's the fog glitch in Cinema 4D and it will happen to your project too but now you know how to fix it. It's been around for several versions of Cinema 4D. Basically, since this was a feature, it's just part of the software. I have talked to the people who developed the software and they've told me basically, yeah, there is no fix for this currently, except if you do this trick. But of course this is something you'll have to repeat each time you use this otherwise, you might have some issues. Anyway, that's it. Let's move on. That's it for the lighting in Cinema 4D. It's a very subtle and understated look but later on when we add the skies and backgrounds, it's going to look even more interesting. 12. Basic Cinema 4D Render Settings: Let's now look at how we export our animation from cinema 4-D. We want to optimize or render settings for both speed and quality. We have now finished everything we need to build in cinema 4-D, which means we just have to output our frames so that we can do the compositing in after effects. So, I mean, clearly there is a huge difference between what we have right now, just what I would refer to as the base scene and then later in after effects we'll be able to turn that into what you see here and of course, this is just one of the examples. In order to have this amount of control later in after effects, we need to output more than just our base image in cinema 4-D. So let's see how that works. In addition to the standard image or the normal render, we are going to output some different passes and that's what's going to give us that control we need in after effects. Before we set up the final render, let's just go to the render settings and I want to look at this anti-aliasing section. Let me just output one more frame to the picture viewer and that we use this for comparison purposes. This frame is too small though let's go and change the output to 1920 by 1080, just for now. Then let's do that quick test. So that frame for me, it takes about 18 seconds. This is on my fairly old computer. I've had this since 2013. So it's pushing nearly eight years at this point. But that's because in the anti-aliasing settings here, I haven't really pushed these app, but it really might not be necessary to do so in this particular scene. But anyway, let's go to anti-aliasing. This just controls how smooth the image is. If I change it to best and let's go for a minimum level of one by one and a max level of two by two. So it's not too high. The higher these are, the smoother the image will be, but also it would take longer and past a certain point you will hit diminishing returns, which means you experience much longer render times for a not so great increase in quality anywhere. Let's try these settings one by one, two by two with a threshold of five percent. For the threshold, the lower this is the cleaner the image will look. But once again, you don't want to push this too far. Otherwise, it would just be too slow to render. Anyway, let's try this and do a comparison in both the render time and the difference in quality or cleanness. The difference here really isn't all that great, both in terms of the quality I am getting and the render time. So this is going from 18 seconds per frame to 20. Not a big difference at all. So this is why I said earlier, we might not need to really bump up the quality because the difference is negligible. The type of scene we're dealing with here, it's very dark, not a great amount of detail to look at anyway. It's really more about the form and silhouettes and art style. If this were a different, perhaps a brighter scene with things like more shadows and more reflections. Then making those changes here would be more apparent as to what's going on. So we're just going to leave this section as geometry, which is going to give us a pretty fast render, and also an image which looks pretty good as well. Okay, so I made a mistake here, the anti-aliasing should be set to one by one and two by two and five percent for the threshold. I noticed after my render finished that parts of the floor were flickering, which was caused by leaving this on the geometry setting. So you definitely want to go to at least the best settings and one by one, two by two with a threshold of five percent. If you want to find out more about what all of this stuff does and in more detail, you can right click and show help and read up their documentation, which has some diagrams to really illustrate what's happening and this is very useful for that. Let's look at the other settings, starting with the output section. We have our frame width and height, so that's 1920 by 1080, just a regular HD. Further down we have the frame rate, which I will set to 24 to match our project settings and the frame range is going to be all the frames. By default, we were just outputting whatever frame we were looking over in their timeline. So anyway, this should be all frames and I can see that in total I am going to have 1778 frames, which is quite a lot. So that's why this section about keeping the render time as low as possible is important because we have a lot of frames to deal with. The sole animation is nearly a minute long. Next up is the save tab. This is where we specify the save location and their file format. So let's do that. You can see I already set a path for this already. I have created a new folder for the main sequence, which will be in this folder called main number two and save and the format is going to be PNG and 16-bit, which is enough to hold a lot of information without also being too large. I find that 32-bit is overkill in like 99.9 percent of the cases. So a 16-bit is more than enough and will contain enough information for making changes in after effects. So those are the basic windows settings in cinema 4-D and we're going to take this further in the following lesson. 13. Advanced Render Using Multi Passes & Masks: In this lesson, we'll go over how to export our images as layers using the multi-pass system in cinema 4D. So that when we get to the after effects section, we can have more control over what our images look like. If we were doing nothing else to this animation, this would be ready to render in this format, but we are going to do a lot of work in After Effects, which will be aided by outputting some multi-pass layers. This starts with enabling this multi-pass switch, which over here will now reveal a second safe path for the multi-pass layers. Let's go ahead and specify a path for that. I will create a new folder, which I will call Multi, in here, let's save the file name as Multi and the format is also going to be 16-bit PNG. The multi-pass layers we want here are as follows; If I click the multi-pass button, for some reason, post effects is already here, but we don't need it. So I would just click it and delete and then I will add the ones which are might need later in After Effects. The ambient pass, for example, this would contain any parts of the image where we used luminescent materials. But since we don't have any we can just ignore this. We do have to diffuse. This is the regular base color part of the image. Let's bring that in, specular are the highlights from the materials and the lights we need that shadow is self-explanatory. I don't think they wear any reflections in the scene. So we will ignore this one too, but maybe it's a good idea to just bring it anyway, just in case it's good to have it and not needed than vice versa. This four layers, in this case would be what makes up my current final image. I will add an atmosphere layer, this is going to contain any atmosphere effects, in this case our fog layer and just to quickly illustrate how this works, if I do a quick render once again, if I render this out, we can see that the first frame renders incorrectly, which is that fog glitch. This is a perfectly expected and normal but from the second frame after that, you see it renders exactly as we would expect. I can press escape to cancel the render and let's go to the layer section, in our picture viewer and I will take single pass and I can see if I click on these different layers that we just set up in the multi-pass, each layer only contains one part of what makes up their final image, I can tell that the specular layer is very subtle, this just a small highlight on the telephone pole there. We have the shadows, of course, which are quite obvious. There's no reflections at all. We can definitely get rid of this one and the fog is quite prominent. That's what's happening there. Cinema 4D renders all of these layers anyway, when you output just a normal image. That's why we can separate it into layers like this without adding any extra render time. I forgot the diffuse channel there. We can take out reflection, in addition to this layers, we're also going to output the black and white masks, which I talked about earlier. We need a mask for each of these objects and in cinema 4D, these are called Object Buffers. If I start with the character, for example, let's right-click and go to Render tags and compositing and there is a Object Buffers tab here. Let's go to that and enable Object Buffers number one, which is the first one, right there, we can attach a different buffer to let's say the telephone poles. So that's in here somewhere and my grass is still turned off let's bring that back. Let's see, the telephone poles, that's this object and just to confirm, I can turn this on and off and see if it disappears and it does. Let's right-click render tags and compositing. And this time we're enabling render buffer number two. Now we can do this by just enabling the second switch, or you could also still enable the first one, but just type out number two in here instead, whichever method seems easier to remember personally, I like to actually use the 12 switches we have by default here, but if you have more than 12 buffers, you would have to start just changing the numbers instead. Now we are going to have a mask for the character and the telephone poles. We also want a buffer for the sky, but as you can see in our scene, we don't have a sky object, that's actually going to be derived from creating buffers for everything and then we just invert that and that's going to give us the buffer for this sky. [inaudible] just going to add up as we go along. To do this, we need to create a buffer for this entire section and the instances will just inherit the buffer information automatically. We just need to apply it here and this is going to be buffer number three. That's almost everything except for the hill that's in the distance. We can copy this over to that. The next step is to go back to our render settings, and let's add three Object Buffers. So we hit multi-pass buffer number one, two and three. If I select all three at once by holding shift, selecting the first one, hold shift and go to the lowest one, we can have one, two and three in here. This IDs needs to correspond to what we set up in the tags. Now we can render again. It's going to tell us to overwrite what we previously rendered. That's fine. We're still in this layer section looking at single passes and we can go through the different layers. This time we have an additional three buffers. The first one is the character, the second one is the telephone poles and the third one should contain everything including the telephone poles, but you can see their clearly missing. And also the character is being excluded from this particular buffer, let's see why that's happening. The character is outside of that buffer, we just didn't add it, but the telephone poles are in that main section. The thing is, if you have Object Buffers, which are children often Object Buffers up here, it will be excluded from the top one unless you explicitly. That's why the poles were subtracted from this buffer. We have to go to this tag and also make sure that three is enabled. The hierarchy in cinema 4D calculates from the top-down, anything that's lower will overwrite anything that's higher. I hope that makes sense, but anyway, just to make sure you do the same as have just done and in the character, this character is also going to be in buffer number three and now if I do that again, this should be the final setup. We have Object Buffers number one, that's the character, number two is the telephone poles and three contains everything that's in the scene. We can now use this black and white mask in After Effects, which of course in After Effects to their called Track Mats, a different name, but it refers to the same thing. We will simply just invert this in order to select the sky instead of everything else in our scene. If you had other buffers you wanted to set up for other objects, you would just continue using the tags like this and continuing down on this list and then just make sure that in your output, you have the corresponding Object Buffers and numbers setup correctly. That would be it, to outputs everything you would render to picture viewer like we've been doing up to this point, but I find it's much better to use the render queue. So let's go to render, add to render queue, I can get bit of any old projects I have there, here, I would just hit start rendering and if you had multiple projects, you can line all of them up and perhaps go and do something else. In the meantime, after this renders a couple of frames, it will use the render time to calculate or to estimate a total render time and for me that's going to be anywhere in the region of eight hours. So this is the kind of render I would do overnight or if maybe I was going somewhere for the day, I would leave this processing and then when I either wake up or come back, the render would be finished. This is the folder where the images are going into. We can see the main image sequence. Let's go back up level and go to our multi-pass folder. You can see all the multi-pass frames will go into a single folder. This is the fog. For example, we have the different masks, the shadows, and so on and this will just fill up with all your frames. Make sure this is going to a location with plenty of space, because rendering 16-bit images and so many of them will add up over time and you will need the space if you run out of space whilst rendering, this is just going to stop and give you an error. That's it. At this point whilst our images are rendering, it's a good time to take a break and when we come back, we can start in After Effect. 14. Import Renders Into After Effects: We're now going to import our images into After Effects, and we want to check that the color management is correct and that also the frames are playing at the correct frames per second. To import our footage into After Effects, we need to double-click anywhere in the import window or the project window rather. That's going to open up the import dialog. We're going to start by bringing in the main sequence, which if I just select any of the frames, I can tick PNG sequence and it will automatically fetch the entire frame range from zero to nearly 57 seconds. We have the object buffers, and then we have the multi-pass layers and masks. Let's go to that folder. There's so much in here, that it's going to be quite a bit tedious to grab all of these at once. So I recommend using the list view and then just finding the relevant sequences. Then just bringing them in one by one. Sometimes you can actually just select any of these; press Control and A, which of course creates a multiple selection. If you were to do that, this PNG sequence button would turn into a different button saying multiple sequences and After Effects is capable of importing all of these at once. But I find that with so many frames like I have now. It's these 16-bit PNG files, I would risk the computer crashing if I tried to import everything at once. Unfortunately, I will just have to do this one by one. Fortunately though it's not too difficult because you can still just scroll through, and pick out the relevant sequences that we are after. From each one you are just looking for one frame and then just picking the correct number. I already have object buffer one, two, we have three. This is an earlier version of the project, where I had four object buffers, so let's get that one as well. I already have my out-most layer. Those are actually the only ones I will need for now, we also did outputs like the shadows, specular and reflections, but we'll just leave those for now. In After Effects, this will probably be at 30 FPS for you, unless you've changed the default setting. It's just over here, but I can right-click this code to interpret footage. Main and we can set that to be 24 FPS as well. Then I can right-click this Interpret Footage and remember the interpretation. If any of these other sequences with the wrong FPS, I can right-click all of them at once, Interpret Footage, and apply the interpretation and then everything would be the same FPS. That's very important here, everything needs to match up. Anyway let's take the main sequence and bring it into a new composition, which gives us this. Now at this point, I just want to make sure that my color management is working correctly. By default, my settings use my displays color management, so this looks exactly as it did in cinema 4D. The colors have stayed consistent. Let's say I were to turn off this, it's using this SRGB color profile, which is the same color profile as my screen. We can see what others could look like possibly, for example, Adobe RGB. If I switch to that and click OK. You will see the image looks different. It looks more washed out now and I would have to apply some color correction effects to get this to look like it did in cinema 4D so obviously, that's not the best approach. What I recommend is to use your screen profile. Whatever that is, so that your colors stay the same between Cinema 4D and After Effects. I would click OK for this and we are now back to where we were before. One other thing. The bit depth should be 16 bits per channel and that's fine but once we have all of these sequences in After Effects, we can start to do the compositing. That's our fog layer. We're going to be using that a few times. We have the object buffers, which are going to be also very useful. And open, just double-check everything is working as expected. 15. Example 1 & 2 - Moon & Sky: In this lesson, we're going to do the first two examples of our project just by changing the background and this will be done using those masks and layers that we brought in from cinema 4-D. We'll start with these two versions and then we will go to a different lesson for this final example because it involves some different techniques. This all looks very messy right now because it was my experimental version of this project,so let's go back to the version where we adjust imported our sequences and to keep things organized, I am going to take all of these frames and put them into a new folder. Let's just call these renders. We had already dragged our main composition or our main sequence into a new composition but we can repeat that step once again just to see how that's done and a quick scrub through this we'll see. There is actually some flickering in this render, which I've noticed after the full render finished I can just see it on the floor so it may have been worth it to actually render in cinema 4-D with those slightly higher render settings in the anti-aliasing section in particular, that would have smoothed out this flickering we see. That's worth mentioning here again, but I will also have inserted a note in that lesson when we were going over the Render Settings but anyway, this does not affect what we are about to do so let's just continue. I am going to double-click in the project window to bring up my import and here I have several images that we can use as background. Let's start with the moon. I will import that and let's place this into this composition just above our main sequence. This is a huge image, so we want to scale it down. I think somewhere around 18 to 20% should be, fine. We have these object buffers and the one we want right now is object buffer number four, or whatever number of buffer where everything is contained in the masks so this version for me, I will put this above my moon and on the moon layer let's go to the track Matte menu and if this is not visible, you want to press F four to bring up that menu. Let's go to this button and go to luma Matte, inverted and point to the layer above and it's the inverted version because we want our moon to show up where it's black instead. Normally you might use masks the other way in the luma Matte to have pixels show up where the mask is white. We want to do the opposite this time and now our moon is behind everything in our scene. Now we need to continue making some changes, if I press P on the moon layer to bring up the position, I am going to move this up just a bit higher in the frame. If I enable the title and the action safe, I usually like to keep my objects inside the title safe as well, so somewhere about there. Let's go ahead and bring in another image, this time it's this star field which if I double-click to preview, it's just this, so this is going to be behind our moon. If we also place this above the main sequence, and let's use the same object buffer to only have the stars where the sky is. If we place the buffer above the sky of the stars layer, we can use the same trap Matte mode luma inverted once again, that blends behind there. If I go to the layer itself, I will go to color correction and levels. Let's increase the black point to make more contrast. We need it to be as dark as possible we just want to see the stars and that's it. Also, the whole layer is too big, so if I zoom out here and press S to bring up the scale, we can lower this down to closer to the size of our actual frame. Now we no longer have any blending between our render and the background, instead, we have these really hard edges. To fix this, I'm going to get the fog, which will go on top of everything. Let's screen this layer and again I will get object buffer number four and use the same track Matte mode. We now have something like this. Let's go to the moon and do some color correction, Starting with a tint effect, we will map the white to a hue of about 25 and maybe saturation of about 30 to 35%. Just to warm up the tones Instead, let's get a Curves Adjustment. This time we are going to increase the contrast, so something like this we can maybe pull down the shadows just to touch.Let's get an adjustment layer and I will go to Effect, stylize, and glow. You can see the moon is the brightest part of the image. We can adjust the strength of the glow using the threshold,so if I set this all the way to 100% and the radius to 100, we have this kind of red glow effect. I don't really like this too much, so I will change the tones by setting with two colors here, color A and color B. Let's just start by picking a color from the moon surface to get the right type of tone and do the same for B, and then maybe just increase the saturation slightly on and both of these. Then we need to change the glow colors from original to A and B. And that when we do that, we also need to just adjust that threshold down, not too much, I wanted this to be quit a subtle effect. We can go back to the moon layer itself and maybe just lower the intensity just down a touch, and I think about there, it's fine. Let's get another adjustment layer for more color stuff. This time we are going to use the Lumetri color effect, which is found under color correction and then Lumetri color. In the basic correction, I will start by increasing the temperature to about 25. That's going to warm up the image even further, and we can play with other things here such as the exposure, maybe about 0.25, just to brighten everything to touch, nothing too extreme. In the creative section, let's maybe put more vibrance so about 25 as well and 125 for saturation just to really make this really punchy. If we continue further down, we have a curves section which I can use to play with the colors. So let's say the green, we can lower this down just to take out some of those green tones, and we need to adjust the other way. So In the RGB, which is all three channels at once, I will start by creating an offset just to fade the shadows, and then maybe just play with a bit of contrast not too much, to see a bit more of this detail in the shadows. We can adjust down here by adding another handle there, and you can see if I really push this up, it brightens the dark parts of the image. That's because we rendered in that 16-bit format, so this holds a lot of information for making adjustments like these. So I would say about here is fine, perhaps my moon is just too saturated and a bit to red, so we can adjust both of those things and just try to get a balance so the glow might be too strong now, we can adjust that too. But you get the idea. If I precompose the atmosphere layer first by right-clicking and precompose, let's call this fog 01, and we just need to adjust the blending mode to screen. Once again this will act as if it's just a single layer and I can duplicate that, it's just a bit easier. This is just one example of what you could do with this render from cinema 4D. Let's go back to this version, just the original and try something that's a bit different, but similar still. For this one, we'll bring in a new background image, this is from Which is a site with free images which you can download and use in your own projects, and that is all royalty-free. This example in our main composition, we will drag this in and give it the same treatment with the buffers, so track matte inverted. We can see it's too high and it's also too large, so let's scale it down first. If I press P for the position, we can bring it down and that would just need to make it larger. I think I will go for about 60 and continue to position it correctly just until where these mountains start to appear, just put that below our actual seed. We need some color adjustment on this, it's too faded. Let's apply a levels' adjustment with color correction and bring in the input black just to create more contrast. It helps with seeing our telephone poles and wires closer up here, I would say about there, and I really like the style and color of this particular background. However, it's a bit empty still, so we want to combine that with our stars. If we go back to the project tab, let's get the stars once again and then buffer once again; exactly the same setup. Let's scale these down to just a bit larger than our frame and the blending mode is going to be screen, so we combine it with the sky image. And another levels' adjustment, you could do this with curves as well, but I prefer levels in this case. So I am left with only the stars, and I would say that's it there. This one is much simpler, we can get another adjustment layer. This will be for another Lumetri color and I'm going to warm up the image just a bit, again about 25. It gives me some nicer tones in the background, we could even try tinting and see what that does. If we set the tint higher, that brings in some more cooler kind of purple tones, so maybe let's do that just a bit, maybe about 10. Then from here we just do whatever to try and get a nice-looking frame. The shadows control here can also bring more detail into the really dark areas, so maybe that's better than using the curves too. Let's set that to about 40 further down, I think green can come out again. Just, let's drop this down and I will create another slightly faded shadow look just like we did before. We have a lot of control with this Lumetri color section just because there's so many handles and tools built into this single effect. Let's go further down to Hue versus Hue, this will adjust some particular tones, let's say the warmer tones, which are over here somewhere. If I pick a couple of points, this kind of continuous over to the other side. So if we move this, the line moves over here too, and we can just see what we can do. This can be used to change tones and so on, we could maybe affect the blue colors. Let's go for that orange until color correction, and then we end up with something like this. I would say that's okay for this one, it's quite simple compared to the other two examples. Let's bring in the fog once again though and also buffered that. Just to put on top of everything that might just help with the blending, it's entirely optional at this point. So that's it for this lesson and hopefully now we can really see the advantages of this type of workflow. Because we have those layers and masks from cinema 4D, we can quickly change what the visual looks like in After Effects without having to go back and re-render anything. We will continue with this idea in the next lesson and deal with the main example of the galaxy. 16. Example 3 - Spinning Galaxy: This is the main example from the project. They're spinning galaxy in the distance. We are going to use similar techniques from the previous lesson, but also some new techniques, such as extracting 3D data from our Cinema 4D seen to use as reference of where the galaxies should be placed. Once again, starting with our main sequence, let's bring that to a new composition and the background for this is this image right here, so a lot more color in it than the previous image we used for the stars, but you can essentially use whatever you want. Let's bring that as a layer and press "S" for the scale and bring it down to roughly the size of the frame. Of course, this needs to be behind the sky only so if we get our buffer once again and invert the luma, let's bring in the galaxy next. That's this image and we will just drop this in. This is a flat image, but clearly in this example, it's a 3D layer which is rotating out there in the distance. We could just try and estimate there rough rotation it should be, how far it should be out there and so on. But we can actually get the correct 3D data by using the information from our Cinema 4D file. If we go back to the project in cinema 4D, we want the 3D data from the camera and we are also going to place an object in the distance to use as a placeholder or for the galaxy is going to be in after effects. I'm going to save this file first as 3D data. I can overwrite the previous version I used to test this idea and what I would do is just strip away all of these objects because we just need the camera, really, that's about it. I can look out of the camera and let's create a new null object, which I will call the galaxy. This is going to be our placeholder. Now this object is going to be placed really far out in the distance, so basically anywhere past where this hills are, let's say about here and also higher. If we were looking through our camera, we can estimate where the center of the galaxy is going to be. If we compare it to the final version, it's about maybe a quarter of the way down so roughly about here. We can always adjust this later anyway. In after effects, things like cameras and lights will be automatically picked up or included in the 3D data when we extract it. But for normal objects like this to show up, we have to attach what's called an External Compositing Tag. This is found under Render Tags and then external compositing, so we just need to add it and then nothing else. We save this particular file and go back to after effects and in here we can just import our Cinema 4D file. I am dragging this from a second monitor and this is one of my favorite features in After Effects, the fact that Cinema 4D files can be opened directly like this. We can drag this to a new Composition button, just like as if it were a layer and we can quickly see a wire-frame preview of the scene from cinema 4D. We don't really need to do anything with this except for hit this "Extract" scene data and this will be in the Effects Controls tab. Let's extract and I want to do that, we have the objects from cinema 4D. The main thing here is our camera and this galaxy object that we are going to use as a placeholder. If I select that and just scrub through with my camera, you can see that it's moving. It's moving right now, but it's not supposed to be. That's because we need to make it a child of the camera so it moves with the camera now, which will make it look like it stays in the same place. Anyway, once that link is created, we can take that object and the camera, go back to our composition, press "Shift V" to paste and if we turn our galaxy layer into a 3D layer, let's press "F4" to toggle the 3D menu, this button right here, the Galaxy has now disappeared out of view so we need to make it a child of the galaxy placeholder. If I press "P" to bring up the position of the layer itself, we can zero out these values. Now it's out there somewhere in the distance. We can press "S" to bring up the scale. From some tests I did, you need to put something like 10,000 before you can even see it. If I press for their rotation, I can tilt it back, so it's a flat angle. I used 310 in the original. Next up, of course, we need to place this behind our scene, which means using the buffer one more time, press "F4" and use luma inverted. This doesn't look very great right now with these hard edges so we need to pre-compose this layer, right-click and "Pre-compose", leave all the attributes in this layer. So I'll take this over here and this composition is going to be called Galaxy pre-composed number 1. If we click "Okay", nothing changes, but because it's pre-composed we can now jump into this layer and make some changes which will automatically update in the other composition. In here we just want to feather the edges of this frame. Because it's square, I can just go to the masks and select "Ellipse tool" and if I just double-click, it will automatically create a mask which goes edge to edge. Now I can press "F" for the feathering and we're going to use 200. You could use less or more depending on your image. This would still have some hard edges so we have to bring this radius in which is going to be found under Expansion. Generally I find that whatever you feather, if you set the expansion to be half that, but like the negative half that, so this time negative 100, that's going to bring in the borders far enough and also soften the transition. Let's go back to their main comp and you can see it's already looking better. To complete their blending effect, let's change this layers blending mode from normal to screen. Of course, all of that 3D setup with did is so that we can rotate and animate this galaxy. So if I click on that layer and hit "R" for their rotational controls, we want to change the z rotation. So at frame zero, let's set a key-frame. Let's go all the way to the end and this needs to be a full revolution or a full rotation so that we have a continuous loop just like the base animation. So this is just going to be 360. Now if I were to scrub through, we can just quickly preview the first frame and the last frame, and we can see they are the same. This would be looping if we, previewed, the whole animation. It's going the wrong way around, so we're going to, set this to, negative 360. I just deleted that key frame and then, reinserted it. The direction this is spinning depends, of course, on the direction of the, spirals, on the galaxy. If your image, was going the other way, you would adjust that accordingly. Anyway, this is all at half quality. Let's drop down to a quarter. Which is really low but for preview purposes it should be fine. I'm going to press N at ten seconds just to temporarily, limit their timeline range to just that small section. If I press the space bar, to do a quick preview, let's see how that looks. I just want to get a sense of the general, motion, that we have so far. Just as a preview, I generally like what I'm looking at but it's too fast. If we compare that to the final version, you can see I slowed down the rotation, by half. Now, we can't just, limit the rotation to go from 0-180, which would slow it down. Because that would no longer loop. We still need to go from 0-360. What we have to do instead is extend our composition length to be double, and that should accommodate the extra time needed to go twice as slow for this rotation. This means that all of our rendered sequences so far will have to be double in length. The setup for this is going to be as follows. Let's start by just keeping our comp length to the maximum. Then if I go to comp settings, and I'm not sure here what the double length would be, I will just go for two minutes. That's at least twice as long. If I click Okay, we can extend, the timeline range. Right now our layers, they all end at the original length which is half what we want. If we start with the main render layer, for example, we can go to Interpret Footage, and Main, and all the way down here there is a loop control. Which I will set from 1-2. If I click okay, we will immediately see the new range of this particular layer. It will play to the initial point and then because we set the loop to two, it will now extend in the timeline. We just fill this out and make sure it reaches the end. We can then, interpret, remember the interpretation, and let's apply this to any layers which are included in our project. All of the object buffers, let's apply that, and anything that's in this composition, we extend to the same point once again. If I now click on this comp on its own, for example, I can see what the actual new length is supposed to be. I don't know how eligible this is on Skill share, but that's one minute, 54 seconds and 20 frames. In Comp settings, let's do the same. It's going to be one, 54 and 10. Click "OK". The background image, this can just stretch anyway, it's just a single layer. In this composition of our galaxy, lets do the same. Since it's just an image layer, we can just go for, anything, basically add a two minutes. And stretch it out. We just need that comp to fit in this composition. Of course in the original run-time, everything is fine except past this point. Our galaxy disappears. It's up here somewhere. That's because the camera's 3-D data. Still ends at this point. So we have to go back to cinema 4-D and adjust our project to match the length in After Effects. So one, 54 and 20. In the timeline window, our current animations still ends halfway. If we were to grab that frame, let's adjust the time to go to that new endpoint. Also it's, like it's traveling twice as long now because it's just going to be continuing. So we just doubled the key frame value from 7500 to 15,000. It's as if after the midpoint, it just continued. We don't really see the effects of this all that much except just a few lines moving across the screen. If I were to save this, and go back to After Effects, and let's just bring this to a new composition once again, we can see it's the correct new length, double. We can extract the data once again and that's these two items, the camera and the galaxy. Let's make the galaxy a child of the camera, and copy these. Go back to our main, composition and let's do all of this at frame zero. We can, delete, the original, paste this in, and let's just make sure our galaxy is also a child of its parent null up here. If I press P, for their position just to double-check, I can see everything is in the correct spot. With, those adjustments, we have now, doubled the length, of our animation. Which allows us to slow down the rotation rate of the galaxy. So now if we go to the galaxy and select the end key frame, we can move this all the way, to the end, of, the animation. By doubling their duration, this is now going to be rotating at half its original speed and I just preferred that motion for this particular animation. Now, you could of course choose something that spins faster or slower, and now if I do another preview, I can see I much prefer this version which just moves at a slower rate. We can move on to the other effects in the scene and I will start with this orange haze. This is actually just a new solid layer, and let's call it haze. We will once again use our buffer, which is getting a lot of mileage today, let's put this below the galaxy, or maybe above actually, since it may just covered that up, and help with the general blending. Let's get the pen tool up here and draw just following the border between the mountains and the sky. Let's press "F" to bring up the feathering for that mask and I'll set this to 250 just to fade that effect in, and then we can maybe go to the expansion, and let's say about 50 just to expand its reach and make it stronger. I think about there is fine. We could perhaps play with a couple of these blending modes, let's say Add or Screen, that's going to have a different effect but I quite like just how vivid the normal blending mode is, we get all of that orange color coming through. Alternatively, you could have used an image of the sky, which already has that haze built into it like the previous sky example from the last lesson. But anyway, we have the option to do whatever, including just building a completely new layer for that. The next major effect, these light rays that we see coming off of the galaxy. In order to do this one, we will start by precomposing the galaxy and its object buffer so if I right-click, let's precompose this and let's call it galaxy. Before we apply their light rays, we have to precompose our galaxy layer and its object buffer and of course the galaxy is 3D, so we have to precompose these other two objects with it so that the animation is maintained. This will be a galaxy precomposed number 2. We just have to once again change the blending mode to Screen. Let's extend this timeline duration to contain our entire animation, and with our galaxy layer, let's maybe place this underneath our haze. I will make a copy of this, and on this layer less isolate it by itself using this switch. Then I'm going go to Effect and using Trapcode, Shine, we can generate the light rays. Now, this is of course a third party plugin, so I'm aware that some people may not have this, so in a minute or two, I will show you how to do a similar effect with some built-in After Effects tools. Let's go to Shine, and one thing I want to change right away is the source to be lower down here so the rays point more upward. We don't want to change the colors too much because I quite like what we have. I will perhaps just change the highlights to be an orange color as well. Let's maybe make them more orange. Both of these sets them to 35 and this one is a bit red can be about seven or so, and the ray length I will drop down to two. Let's say the boost light, we can try and see what that does, maybe about two also. Let's bring back all the other layers, and I want to change the blend mode of this layer from Screen inside this effect to None, which by the way, if I show you what it's like now, before in the Screen mode, it was overlaying this effect on the original pixels and then overlaying this entire layer on top of our other galaxies so it ends up blowing out all of the colors and we lose any saturation and such. Let's go to None, which means it's just the light rays, so I just prefer this look. Let's maybe bump up the boost light to four, and what's great about this effect is its dynamic, which means as the pixels move around, we get this really nice shimmering effect. Now, one of the issue is the light rays are cutting through our telephone poles. Now if this was really out there in the distance, you wouldn't see this effect closer to the camera. Once again, if we get a buffer for this layer, we can precompose another time, and now you see the light rays are correctly rendered behind the objects in the foreground. That's it for this effect using Trapcode, Shine, but if you don't have this particular plugin, we can try something similar using a built-in After Effects tool. If I were to temporarily, let say, make a copy of this, so Control and D, let's turn off the top one. This is just for backup because I don't want to completely get rid of it, but on the one that remains, we can solo this by itself as well. Let's go to Effect, Blur and Sharpen and I will get the first radial blur, and you can see it gives us a similar light ray effect. Let's move this point down the origin so the rays point up once again. We can also change the zoom control from Standard to, let's say, Brightest, and what this does is change when the light rays are coming from, and the amount, of course controls the length of the rays, about 85 in this case works best,. If I un-solo this, so we can see it on top of the original image, if I do a quick preview, we can see these light rays are flickering and I don't really like that too much, that's why I prefer that Trapcode, Shine effect. It's a bit smoother than this one. If we go back to this layer and let's say apply a Fast Box Blur. Let's put this before the radial blur and then set the radius to about two, you can see it ends up trimming away some of those super sharp light rays, which should help to reduce the amount of flickering and that's exactly what happens. The other thing here is the color. Now, this is just using the colors from the original image which can look quite nice, but let's say you want to have a different tone. The other thing, of course, the colors, right now this is using the colors from the original image, which can look quite nice actually, but let's say you want your own color for this, then you would just go to Color Correction, and let's say a tint and map the white to whatever color you want, so that's it. We can play with things like the strength of the radial blur, the amount. I go to 100, you can see it's very different and that's because this value is very sensitive, so use it sparingly. If we want the whole thing to be stronger, we can try different blending modes, so Add will make the core much brighter. I actually prefer this version. We'd put also, I just copy these two layers, the layer and its buffer that makes the effect twice as strong. To finish off, we're going to do the final color adjustments, and these will be broadly similar to what we have been doing so far. Using the Lumetri Color effect, one of my favorite effects in this program, let's try warming it up and see how that looks. I definitely prefer those tones, of course, it depends on the image. I'd like to complement what's already there and adjust making it more vivid and stronger. The general exposure of the scene can be bumped up to, let's say by one. Let's show more detail in the shadows, so maybe about 20, not too much because we still want some contrast in the scene. We can of course do that with the curves, and the render here seemingly has a lot of green, so I will always pull this down, just to touch. If your scene is different, you may not have to do this, but for this version, I definitely prefer these blue and red shadows and with this curve, I will just create more contrast, the classic S-curve for creating contrast. Finally, once again, maybe just bringing a bit off that detail in the shadows again, in the blue channel, I will put a point in the middle here, and I want to just create some more yellow in the highlights. As I pull this down, you can see the brightest parts of the image are just warming up a bit, but the shadows and mid colors I'll leave largely the same. A quick comparison between before and after. Let's go back up here, and in the creative section we can add some vibrance, maybe 25 or maybe higher. At some point it starts to look too extreme, I think 40 is okay. This is already so colorful, I don't think adding too much saturation will help here, but I would stop there. This is one of those things you could keep tinkering with so I'm just going to stop here. 17. 15 Final Export for Youtube & Instagram: Before the final render, we could do a reduced preview at half that or quarter quality, just to double-check that everything is fine. But I'm not going to do that because just quickly scrubbing through, and the fact that I've done this project a couple of times already. I can see everything is fine anyway. But let's say you really want to double-check. We can go to Edit, purge and all memory and disk cache. This is going to free up the RAM and any local cache files which may have built up, as we were working on this. Then now you can do the preview. If you just press the space bar, this will take a while. So that's one of the reasons I avoid it. Anyway, when this has finished, you can preview your whole animation before you do the final output. Let's continue, the actual output, we go to composition, and to render queue. The best format in my opinion is Quick Time and in the format options which chose animation. This is going to give us a very large file which will still contain enough information for further color adjustments in applications like Premiere Pro. For things like adding music and then post them to YouTube or Instagram. Once we choose that format, we can then save this anywhere or in our folder location, our project's location rather. Let's save that, and then we can just hit render. Here is a quick tip. After a few seconds, I can see how long this is going to take. It's saying about 44 minutes. So I would definitely step away from the computer, and I just let this run through. If I press Caps Lock, that's going to disable this preview from refreshing, and is going to improve your render time. So you should do the same because there's really no need not to, it will be a faster render. For the final export for both Instagram and YouTube, I used Premiere Pro to do my final edits. This is where I add music and any further color adjustments I want to make. So for example, if I double-click to import, we can bring in our three different sequences here. Let's right-click one of these and new sequence from Clip. Now we can edit on this timeline. This is a loop, of course. If I were to copy that first one and line it up next to the second one and play, you seem to loops seamlessly. I would maybe add some music, that type of thing, and any other adjustments I want to make in their Premiere Pro. Because also actually the Lumetri color effect is present in Premiere Pro. So it's in this tab, and it opens up over here and you can continue to make further adjustments if you wish to. Because of the format we rendered from After Effects, that Quick Time animation. There is enough information to change the image, without destroying the colors. Here is a quick edit I came up with using the song that my friend actually composed specifically for this skill share class. That's the song you've been hearing in the introduction sections of all the lessons. You can listen to their full song on Spotify. It's called Focus by PT Nelson. I'll put a quick tag on the screen for that. Anyway, this is just a quick edit as an example. So it's not a completely smooth playback, because the files are so massive and I'm not playing them back off an SSD or anything like that. It's just a regular external drive. If this is an issue for your project as well, you can look into something called Proxies, which can help to speed up your editing speed. There's plenty of tutorials about that on YouTube, so I won't go into it here, but I just thought I would mention it. Anyway for the actual final export, I would go to File export and media. My final format is always H.264. The preset I use is the YouTube 2160p 4K. I always upscale my renders to 4K even if they are originally 1080, like this one. Because when you post a 4K clip to YouTube, it seems to play back at a better quality than just posting it at native 1080p. I do the same thing for Instagram. I will take this height, and if this is not linked together, I can change the width to be the same for a square frame. Then I would go to the Source scaling and change this to scale to fill. This is 2160 by 2160, which is double what Instagram's maximum resolution is, 1080 by 1080. But once again, upscaling seems to just generally help with the quality on Instagram as well. So when everything is ready, I can go to the output name, click on this and save to a particular location. It's saved, and I can export this directly in this window, or we can queue this up. Which is going to launch Adobe Media Encoder. Which is actually my preferred method for exporting these visuals. We can see a couple of old projects. Let's delete those. I use Encoder because I can line up more than one render at a time, and then when I'm ready to output everything, I just click "Play" and the output will process. So anyway, that's it. That's my final export process for my visuals, starting in After effects and then doing the final edits in Premiere Pro. 18. Final Thoughts: That is the end of the project. Thank you very much for watching, and I hope you guys learned some new things, so of course I want you guys to that is to take what you've learned, and apply it to your own projects, and now of course, feel free to share it with the class below, and I will be able to give you some feedback as well, If you do get stuck when any part of their lessons, you can of course, use the discussions section below to ask for help, and just make sure you attach a screenshot, it makes it easier for me to work out what's going on. Anyway, that's it for me,and once again, thank you for watching, and I'll see you next time.[MUSIC]