Creative Thinking with Cinema 4D: Key Techniques for 3D Landscape | Eveling Salazar | Skillshare

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Creative Thinking with Cinema 4D: Key Techniques for 3D Landscape

teacher avatar Eveling Salazar, Graphic Designer - 3D Designer

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.

      Class Project


    • 3.

      Creative Thinking & Reference


    • 4.

      Use Forester: Trees


    • 5.

      Use Forester: Scatter Parameters


    • 6.

      Use Quixel Bridge


    • 7.

      Lighting Landscape


    • 8.



    • 9.

      Create Materials


    • 10.



    • 11.



    • 12.

      Share it!


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About This Class

Throughout this class, we will discover different ways to create a landscape with Forester and Bridge in Cinema 4D. 

This class is aimed at In-House creatives, designers, illustrators, and creative professionals in general with a knowledge base in Cinema 4D. 

What you learn:

  1. To start we will look for inspiration for the creation of our 3D illustration.
  2. We will create a mood board of landscapes and color palette to determine the look and feel of the project.
  3. We will talk about creative thinking.
  4. I will teach you how to work with lighting in Cinema 4D.
  5. I will show you how to build the landscape.
  6. I will teach you how to work with plants and trees in Cinema 4D. 
  7. I will show you how to work on the composition.
  8. Finally, we will render the 3D.

And much more!

This class will help you to expand your knowledge in 3D and will help you to activate your creativity in the 3D world. You will learn the main techniques to create scenes with landscapes that you will be able to apply to any 3D project.

For this course, you will need to know Cinema 4D at a basic/intermediate level. And also Adobe Photoshop at a basic level. Forester (plugin installed) and Bridge.

Be sure to review the class project, as it is the most important part of this entire class. Put into practice what you learn and start developing unique 3D scenes in Cinema 4D.


Class Resources:


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Cinema 4D

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Art & Design


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Meet Your Teacher

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Eveling Salazar

Graphic Designer - 3D Designer


My name is Eveling Salazar. I'm a Peruvian 3D Designer and professional Graphic Designer.

I love to create and reflect everything I love through abstract shapes in 3D and experiment with new design methods. The inspiration for my work centers around emotions, music, and Peruvian culture :).

Currently 3D designer at &Walsh 

Watch the classes completely free!  Here for sign-up for 30 days free trial.

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Let’s be friends on: Instagram - Youtube - Medium - Tumblr -  Twitter

Free C4D Files: Project files & Assets 

Work inquiries:



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Level: Intermediate

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1. Intro: Hi, I'm Eveling Salazar, a graphic designer and 3D artist from Perú. In this class, we will discover different ways to create a landscape with Cinema 4D. You will learn how to create, open space, filled with flowers, plants, trees, and surreal objects. We will review that Quixel bridge and Forester option for scene. composition and discover the important techniques to handle both applications and create amazing scenery. This class is for in-house creatives designers, illustrators and creative professionals in general with knowledge based on Cinema 4D. To start, we look for inspiration for the creation of our 3D illustration, we will create a mood board of landscapes, color palette, to determine the look and feel of our project. Then we will start using the basic C4D tools to build the landscape. Then I will show you different ways to work with plants and trees. Additionally, we will see how to work with Quixel Bridge and we will create materials and give it a unique atmosphere. Finally, we will render the 3D with physical render and we will work on the post photo production in Adobe Photoshop for the final touches You will learn the main techniques to create scenes with landscapes that you will be able to apply to any 3D project. For this course remember, you will need to know about Cinema 4D at a basic/intermediate level. This class will help you to expand your knowledge in 3D and activate your creativity in 3D world. See you in class. Let's get started. 2. Class Project: Get change reality, Design a surreal landscape, full of plants flowers, and different objects. With the techniques, we learned during the lesson, create a 3D design based on imaginary sights that bring out your creativity. The class project will be on creating surreal landscapes with Cinema 4D based on an existing place that catches your eye and you want to reconstruct it differently and uniquely. You will create a different landscape and a technique that will help you design it will be the key to your composition. You will see throughout the lessons the different ways to get to create it and vary the composition according to your vision. To start the projects, it's necessary to have references of landscapes that you like or want to visit for inspiration. You will take their basic and important elements and transfer them to Cinema4d to create a new composition with a surrealistic approach. Create a new and unique landscape with C4d and share it with everyone in the project section. Inspire more creatives with their design and tell us which place in the word inspired you in your 3D scene. 3. Creative Thinking & Reference: What is creativity for you? Creativity for me is the ability we have as people to enhance, embellish, create, and also solve problems. This ability can be tried by everyone regardless of what we do, whether we belong to the creative area or not. We just have to be willing to step outside the box and find a different way to create something or solve an issue. I'll share two phrases that seem to me to define well what creativity is. "Creativity is imagination with responsibility." "Creativity is intelligence having fun," Albert Einstein. When do you feel creative? Have you recognized that there are specific times when you feel more creative than others? Or conversely, is your creativity stifled when you force yourself to be or are expected to be creative on demand. Well, the concentration and environment can significantly influence your ability to be more creative. Recognize those factors and generate more time in the day for creative thoughts to flow even more. Keeping my having an active and creative mind, we help us grid our class project. To do this, I'd suggest that you choose someplace you visited and liked or want to visit. In my case, I have this reference specifically from Cusco in Perú and I'm going to rescue its elements, both nature, plants, and a stone to create something new in Cinema 4D. I was exploring and looking at some images. this page makes it easy to create a color palette This color palette is generated by photography. Here are some that I find interesting. and will inspire me to create my color palette based on on warm colors, especially pink, orange and brown. I have added it to the Adobe color. I will save it to create and mood board so I won't lose sight of it and have inspiration. I always save all the images that call my attention for some project no matter if it has a concrete relation because I think by having different options, you can create better. Now that we have defined some elements to inspire us and defined the style of our design, we will see in the next lesson the technique we will use with Cinema 4D. 4. Use Forester: Trees: Forester is a natural environment creation tool for Cinema 4D. It is an advanced generator of trees, multiflora, plants, and grasses and has a very useful option Multi Cloner, particularly dispersion and distribution tool for Cinema 4D. It also includes Forester Trees, a tree generator, and Forester Rock, rock generator. Let's look at the option of trees. Let's go to the tree library and choose the Carolina poplar tree. The following option it's important to know because based on it, we can make important changes. Global control or global parameters, here are different parameters options that we can change to make the appearance of the tree different. This option will make the modifications affect all branch levels of the same time. Let's see the first option. Global radius, you can increase and decrease the radius to change its appearance. These option as you can see, globally changes all the levels of the branch. The next one is the branch length. If you change this option, all levels will still have the same length effect. Like this. The next with the branch prune, the leaves react according to the changes we make. We can zoom them in or out to chain the tree. Even with the next option Branch Flatten You can easily customize the appearance of the tree. If necessary these parameters can also be changed at each level individually. The next tab you should know is leaves. here we will change the appearance of the tree leaves. With this option we can change their appearance. I will change it to one. You can try with one or maybe two and see which one fits better. Here you can change the leaf size. I'll also change the leaf bend. Now, let's see the tree parameters tab, and here are the important thing is to vary the viewpoint levels with the render of levels. If you increase it the appearance, I think it's too much, but adjusting this option will always be useful and you can see the change you do at the trees in the trees is the same. Finally, let's check the branch global tap. Check on affect insertion at trunk, to change [and increase the appearance of the tree. We adjust this modification the appearance of the tree changes drastically. And just knowing these options of changes you can have different types of trees for your composition. Let's see more important option you should learn in the next lesson. 5. Use Forester: Scatter Parameters: This lesson is basic. With the following instruction, you can understand how Forester works. I will teach you what it takes for you to start creating natural surfaces very easily. To understand how to distribute the elements on that surface, we will add the plane, which will serve as a surface for the composition, and then a cube that will stimulate cloning the element, and we add Forester option. MultiCloner to start making the changes. On the Distribute Geometry tab, remember to add the plane in distribution for the changes to work. Check in this break point to view the changes. An important section is Scatter Parameters. Here we increase or decrease the amount of the cloner. You can change the Random Seed option to change the distribution here. Another way to share the distribution is up here at Randomize MCloner. You can see the changes is so easy. The next option is very important to obtain a spacing between vegetation that is natural. and achieve a distribution that looks realistic. Imagine that we have trees here and if we see, for example, in this section, the tree is very close to the other. Then to fix it and make it look realistic, we must activate this option to make it work. Search Distance. To manage the space and change its position, we increase the number and get a better distribution. Another important detail is the Snap to Distribution Geometry option. Check to fix in the event that, The MultiCloner only affects the surface, and there is nothing outside of it. This option is very useful. Remember, Distribution Geometry. With these options, you can start creating surface full of trees and plants. Let's look at the next lesson, another very useful way to add nature to our composition. 6. Use Quixel Bridge: Now we will see a super useful tool that will help us to make the composition. Quixel Bridge. This tool is my favorite because it allows you to work and have several functions such as customs import and automated export. Quixel is a great library that serves very well as a support for searching and downloading Megascan files All these files are free and available to all Unreal Engine users and are compatible with Cinema 4D, Blender, 3D Max, and Marmoset. Let's see how easily we can add a single-click asset to our composition. On the left side are all the collection options, I have some chosen, I will use these rocks that are here. I already have them downloaded, but all you have to do is look for a file that works for you and download it. Once you have downloaded it, just click on "Export", and it will automatically export to your C4D file. If you need to know how to configure a Bridge with Cinema 4D, I recommended you to go to the "Help" tab and "User Manual" and follow the steps. It's cool, I will export these three different rocks to my composition, and in this easy way, we'll have to get an amazing elements for our design. See you in the next lessons to start the composition by adding the lighting. 7. Lighting Landscape: We will start adding the lighting that in this type of composition also serve as a background. We add our material to add an HDRI. This HDRI will illuminate the scene but at the same time, we will take the advantage of the sky for the design. In the HDRI option, we only have to activate luminance. I would use these HDRI, but I will leave a link in the class description for you to find the ideal HDRI for your composition, and download it for free. The next thing I will configure will be the physical sky. This option will give us the ability to simulate different weather and sky effects. In the Time and Location tab, you can test and set it according to the month and also the time. This will help with shadows and scene lighting. This will change according to the time and month you have decided to add. Now that we have an important part of the design which is the lighting, it is time for the next lesson to do the composition. 8. Composition: For the composition, I was inspired by the stones, architecture element of the great ruins of Cusco. For the textures, I was inspired by the range of color of the clothing of the people of the Peruvian highlands. Although we will also see the versatility of the creation of materials and the chain that we can generate in the results just by changing our texture. Let's start by adding the terrain option from the primitive shapes bar. I will add two. One will serve as a support for the back of the composition. Next is to place the camera. For this composition, I will use the wide-angle option. This will make the view of the field interesting. You can try the first option: Classic, Wide, maybe, or Super Wide. They give a better visual margin for this kind of design. Now, it's time to use Forester. As we have seen in the previous lesson, we will use the same technique to add grass to the design. Then we must keep in mind the following. At the MultiFlora option, that will allows you to choose and configure the plants we want to add. The second option of Multicloner, which will help us to arrange all the vegetation over the landscape. We must take into account to add the multiflora, as a child; and the multicloner, as a parent for it to work. In the Multiflora library, I will choose the long grass. We already see it in the scene and To apply the multicloner, we have to drag the landscape to that distribution geometry. This will make the multicloner to be spread over the entire surface of the landscape. To display it, we must deactivate the display points option. Now in the Scatter Parameter option is important. Here, we will change the amount of Cloner Count. I will add 800. You can vary it according to your design. It can be more or less. I will also activate the option of Even Spacing, to help you to distribute naturally the grass. The next key is to play with the Parameter, Grass Node Count and Grass Patch Radius. This will help to distribute more of the grass in a natural way. That's it. The grass is done. Now, it's time to add plants. I will use the same technique to add grass. This time, I will use flower grass. Then in Multicloner, we will add the landscape in that Distribute on Geometry section and also change the Scatter Parameter setting. I will change it to 400. I will also try to change the Random Seed. I lower its size a little bit. I will also activate the Even Spacing option and the Search Distance also for a better distribution of the plant in a natural way. Now, I will apply the center same technique to the second landscape. I will arrange the alignment, export it from Bridge. I will also add as far as the composition and a torus. And I have the composition ready. I recommend that to start with Forester, use the key option that I have recommended. Only with these few option that you made this type of composition. But Forester is a big world that you can explore in more depth, it will also be good to explore the other options and settings to have a more different resource in their designs. See you in the next lesson, we will start to create materials. 9. Create Materials: This process is a lot of fun. We will see how to create materials and give a different look to plants and objects. We will start by changing the color of the grass and the plant. This is very easy to do. I will make a copy of this material from Forester to modify it. In the texture part, this folder is from Forester. There are different types of colors and textures of leaves. What I will do is to choose pink and apply it on the grass. I already chose the color range for my grass, but for my taste on what I want to achieve for my composition, it is necessary to make a small change in Photoshop. Click on "Edit" and open it in Photoshop. I will modify the hue and the saturation. I will convert it to a smart object so that the color is more homogeneous and does not look so degraded, just a little bit. Then I save it and apply it to the new material. For the flower grass the only thing I'll change will be luminosity. That is it. We have the grass color ready. Next is to add texture to the spheres and create visual contrast. Let's see how to grade the textures. I will use three channels: Color, reflectance, and bump. The first one is for the color of the materials, the second one will help us with the reflectance and reflection. And bump, will help us with the texture details. Let us start with the color. We will use the surface and checkerboard option. Here we change the frequency and we add one and 10. You can modify whatever you want for your composition. Next is to add the reflectance. I will remove that default specular layer and add a new one. I will add the reflection legacy option. This option gives more brightness to the material. To make the color channel visible, add a special texture to the material, I will add a layer mask. I will use this cloud image. As you can see, it's given a different look to the texture. I love it, it's nice. Now we will add texture with the bump channel. I will use the noise option and change it to poxo, Poxo gives it a dotted texture so I like it and I think it looks great on the material. In octaves. I'll turn it up to 10 to make the noise more visible. Finally, I will lower the strength to 10. We have the material ready. Let's apply it to these spheres. Now, we will use the model option to make this stripe to the sphere and add another texture. This layout of C 4D allows us to focus on the modeling tools. To start modeling this sphere, we must edit it to show the vertices, edges, and polygons. Then we change the option to polygons to be able to select some parts of the sphere. To make it easier, we will use the ring selection option and with that, click and select. Now, we will go back to layout standard. We can add another material. We go back to use model mode. The following texture I got in the presets part of C4D. Here preset, then studio and materials, metal option and this, copper worn. The only modification I will make to this material will be to lower the roughness a little bit so it doesn't look so shiny. I now add it to this sphere. and apply it to the other spheres as well and the torus. Now we have the material layer of our composition. I want to explain to you that with just one change we can change the style of this 3D. For it, we will make a copy of the texture that we have done and only in the color part, I will add a texture. In this case, I had created this texture in Illustrator. I have been guided by the reference of the closets of the people of Cusco. and I have used this beautiful gradient of colors. That's it. We can change the style, also the look of the design. This is cool, I love it. In the next lesson, we will see how to render. 10. Rendering: Before configuring the render, Let's see how the textures and lighting of the composition look like with a preview render, with a render region option. I like the result so I will go on to configure the render. Keep in mind that I have used and activated the physical render options and also ambient occlusion and global illumination. In the physical section, I will use the fixed sampler option. This option will make the rendering more accurate. In sampling subdivision, I will do six and then divide into four option for blurriness, shadows, ambient occlusion, and scattering. These options will help with the pixel sample processing of each of these four options. In global illumination, I will use that custom sample count and set it to 160. Lastly, I will use the full HD dimensions and resolution of 300 in case you wanted to print it later. Here you can add the option of PNG or PSD I will choose TIFF for this, and at 16 bit. That's it. We are ready to let render the 3D In the next lesson, we will see how to improve the colors. 11. Post-Production: We already have the render ready, I just open it on Photoshop. Now, we are going to improve the colors a little and specifically in this render, I have to lower the shadows To do this, I turn the image into a smart object and add the Raw Camera Filter. For this image, I will use three channels, basic, detail, and HSL adjustment. In the Basic tab, I will adjust the Vibrance to two. Also the Texture, a little. I want the image to look a little clearer so I will use this Clarity option, I will go down to 20. I will also do Shadows and lower it to 30. Now, in the Detail tab, I'll upload sharpening and noise reduction a bit. Finally, I will modify the Saturation a little, I will raise the colors a little. And that's it. Now we see the before and after. The colors are a little more defined. I like the end result. I hope you enjoyed the whole process of creating this 3D art. I'll wait for you in the last lesson to tell this one last details. 12. Share it!: Congratulations for making it to the end of the class. I hope you enjoyed the class on learning something new. Remember that we can be inspired in different ways. We can be inspired by the places we have visited or also by places, we would like to visit. Identify their colors, types, and style and try to use it in your class project. At the end of the whole process of creating this landscapes scene with Cinema 4D, comes the expected moment. The moment to share it with everyone and inspire others. I recommend you to share it in the project and resources section, and please share your thoughts, questions as well. If you like this class, please follow me, and you will be notified when my new class is out. You can also follow me on Instagram to see more about 3D. If you upload your artwork to Instagram please tag me so I can share it. If you would like to continue exploring more about 3D, I have other classes about C4D and 3D, and also about art. Also, follow me on YouTube to see more tips and videos about 3D. Finally, please also leave a review if you found this class useful in any way, and if you would like me to teach something new also write it down in the comments, please. I hope enjoyed this class. Thank you and keep exploring more about 3D.