Live Encore: Build Your First Retro Looping GIF | Don Mupasi X Visualdon | Skillshare

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Live Encore: Build Your First Retro Looping GIF

teacher avatar Don Mupasi X Visualdon, Visual artist.

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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.

      Getting Started


    • 3.

      Creating the Loop


    • 4.

      Adding Buildings


    • 5.

      Filling Out the Sides


    • 6.

      Creating Big Buildings


    • 7.

      Putting the Elements Together


    • 8.

      Creating Lighting


    • 9.

      Adding the Sun


    • 10.

      Exporting from Cinema 4D


    • 11.

      Compositing in After Effects


    • 12.

      Finishing in Adobe Premiere


    • 13.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Practice your motion graphics skills while making a trendy looping GIF.

Working in motion graphics can open up a world of possibilities for creating new worlds—but it can also have a steep learning curve for folks who are new to the medium. In this class—recorded using Zoom and featuring participation from the Skillshare community—visual artist Don Mupasi (a.k.a. Visualdon) breaks down how to create one of his well-known retro looping GIFs, showing you just how simple creating something impressive can be.

Throughout the class, you’ll build the looping GIF from start to finish, including:

  • Building elements and putting them together into a scene using Cinema 4D
  • Bringing it all together into a looping animation in Adobe After Effects
  • Adding final details using Adobe Premiere

Along the way, Don will answer common student questions and help you through the trickier bits of working with motion graphics. 

Perfect for beginners looking to get their feet wet with motion graphics, or more intermediate students who are looking for a new practice project, you’ll leave with a better understanding of how to use the core motion graphics software, along with an impressive GIF to share far and wide. To participate, you’ll need a computer with Cinema 4D, Adobe After Effects, and Adobe Premiere.


While we couldn't respond to every question during the session, we'd love to hear from you—please use the class Discussion board to share your questions and feedback.

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: Beginner

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1. Introduction: [MUSIC] I've been doing 3D animation for some years now and one of the reasons I really like it is because you can think of an idea, you can basically make anything you want in these 3D apps. Hi, my name is Don Mupasi and I'm a visual artist from the UK. I mostly work in 3D, and I mostly do these retro and space style visuals is what I build to following around mostly on Instagram, but in other places too, a lot of my work is loop visuals, which I just make mostly for fun. In today's class, we are going to be recreating one of my more popular retro loop GIFs. I first made this a while ago, and it seems a lot of people really liked it, so I thought it'd be a good topic for today. In this class, using this project as an example, I want to show you how you can combine several simple elements in a way that creates something much larger and more impressive. I also want to show you the whole process from the very start where you start off with nothing and then you take that through all these steps in Cinema 4D to After Effects and then for the final export in Premier Pro so that by the end of it, you'll be able to have something that you can then share on your other social pages, just like I do. Thanks for watching my Skillshare live class recorded with participation from the Skillshare community. Something to note, this class was recorded live and I got to interact live with the audience as I was working. There's quite a lot to cover, so let's just jump right in. [MUSIC] 2. Getting Started: Hi everybody. I'm Dylan Morrison. I am a writer and editor from Cleveland, Ohio, and I'm thrilled to be here hosting Don new policy in this class, teaching us how to build our first looping GIF or GIF. There's some debate about how you say that. [LAUGHTER] Either way is fine with us. With all that said, Don, we're so excited to have you here today. Why don't you tell me a little bit about who you are and what you do? Thanks for the introduction and thanks everyone for joining. I'm a 3D visual artist and I made this retro and space-style visuals. It's been my thing for a few years now. Today, I'm going to show you how to make one of them. Fantastic. I know I am super excited to learn how to do this because your work in general is so gorgeous and retro and I am super pumped to see how it comes together. Why don't you take it away. Tell us a little bit about what you're going to be doing here, and go ahead and get started. Let me bring up my screen here. This is what we're going to be doing today. It's a remake of one of my more popular retro loops, which I may probably about two years ago now. Just last night I remade this version, which actually I think is a bit better than the old one. I just cleaned it up a bit and also simplified it for this session. This is, anyways, you just want to see the whole thing. It loops all the way. If I just jump to about there or so. Love that. You see, it loops seamlessly to the beginning. That's going to be a big part of this, how to make that looping transition where you can actually see the transition at all. Of course, there's the outrun Sun in the distance there. That's one of the most popular outrun features you see in a lot of outrun-style loops. If I go to Google and say for like outrun loop or synth wave, you will see that element is basically in every one of these. We're going to begin with that and then build out the other elements in the scene and then just put it all together in cinema 4D. If I go to a new project, I need to move this Zoom thing out of the way. Here we go. A couple of things here. If you're following along, you're seeing the same thing I am. I always go to Edit and Preferences in Cinema. One of the things that always change is in units. The animation unit by default is set to frames where you see this thing down here, just the frame numbers, but I prefer to use the SMPTE, which shows my time in seconds. I just find that easier to keep track of. You can still see the frames above that anyway if you prefer that but anyway, let's close that down. Then if I press "Control and D," this is another shortcut in Cinema to bring up the project settings. I like to work at 24 FPS most of the time. That's what we're going to set there. Anyway, let's start with that Sun element. This is with a disc shape, which we're going to set upright. In the orientation in the object's settings, let's set this to z plus. I'm going to go to Display growth shading with lines. We can see the segments. You see it's very jagged. Let's give it 100 segments. It's a smoother shape, and then the outer radius, I'm going to set to 200. By the way, just a quick note. I posted all the assets we're going to be using in the class. Next step, we need to cut some lines into the disc shape here. We're going to do this with a cube. It needs to be wider than the widest part of the circle. Just 500 or something. The y height, just 20 is fine. Then we need to clone this. If I kept the cloner and then put the cube underneath that. Let's have the mode in linear. It's going just in a line. By default, it's going to go up like this in the y-direction. See if I move this around, it changes the distance. Our cube is 20 centimeters tall. Let's make the distance between the clones to 40. The distance in between is the same as the height of the cube. If that makes sense. If we look at our example again, you can see the lines are moving. Also, they get smaller close to the top, and actually disappear at some point. That's this cascading animation. Let me show you how we do that. If I just move everything down to about here, we're going to have more of these, let's say maybe 40 clones. This is going to look really odd at first, but a few more steps you will see why this is important. If we go to one of the different views, the front view here, we can just see the outlines. What we want to do is place this where the last line would roughly appear. It's right at this upper end of the circle. Then also we just need to make sure that this distance we have moved this down by in the coordinates is a number which we can divide 20 into. You will see why that's important a bit later. Any round number here would work. Negative 1,400 seems to work just fine. Then let's go to the beginning here and set a keyframe. To keyframe any value in Cinema 4D, you just hold Control and click this gray circle next to that value. We've set the first keyframe. Let's move forward one second, which is 24 frames in this case. We just need to move this by one of these cubes. If I do negative 1,400 plus 20, actually it's plus 40, so it moves through at least one of these, or you could just do this by eye. You don't have to be always so precise with the numbers but you see it moves from this position to here. Let's go to the timeline and see that keyframe we've just made. You see it eases in and then eases out. We need to select these and make it linear using this switch. So we get a constant speed for our cubes moving throughout that circle. So obviously, it stops right there. We need this to continue. So what we're going to do is select all the keyframes. In the after control, let's change this to offset and repeat. What this does is it repeats your animation, but it's also off-setting it by the same amount. It's just going to create this straight line, which you can just see represented there by this black line over there. If I repeat this like 10 times or something that's longer than what's available in our timeline. You will see the whole thing would just continue to rise up like that. Let's go back to the main viewport and set the length to eight seconds. Turn this off over here. If we go back to the front view with our longer timeline now you see it just keeps on going. This is the first part of this outrun effect. Now, we need to actually make the cuts into the disk. For this, we're going to take our cloner and place this into a connect object. This just takes this whole shape and mix it into one object like this. Then we need to get a different tool called the bool. If you look by the icon there, it shows you one shape cutting into another one. That's what we're going to be doing. If I select the disk shape first, place that above our cubes, and put them both into the bool tool you now see how it cuts into the previous shape. If it's not working, you may just have to reverse the order or play around with the Boolean type. But if you just put the disk above without changing anything, it should work as you just saw there. Now if I play this back and if I go to Gouraud shading with no lines, just for a cleaner look, you can see how that's looking. It's already looping because of the way we've set this up using those very precise numbers. That initial animation only moved one of the cubes from, let's say here. Then it moved up by one and just brought up the next one, but that same position. Then we just repeated that because we are using eight seconds. The animation repeats eight times. It just loops seamlessly naturally. 3. Creating the Loop: The next thing you may have seen on this example is the lines get smaller and smaller. Now you don't have to do that. I've seen instances of the sun where it's just the lines of the same length. But I like this effect where they get smaller and disappear. What we need to do for that is go back to our cloner, let's display with lines again so we can see the segments. In the front view, with our cloner selected, let's get what's called the plain effector. This just moves, by default, everything by 100 in the y-direction, but we don't want to actually do any movement. What we want to do instead is scale. If I turn that on and scale y, which is the green axis, if I lower this to negative 1, you see it closes up all of those shapes. What's happening here is the cubes are being made smaller, so the cuts are going to disappear completely like this. We want a range where somewhere down here, the cubes will have their full width or their full height, and then at the top, they will fade out to nothing. How that works is, let's leave this at 0 for now. But with the plain effector selected, let's go to the falloff tab and get a linear field. You see it comes in like this, these two rectangles, these are what show us our range, and right now, it's going from the left to right. We want it to go up and down, so let's change the field direction to Y plus. If I go to the front view, we also just want to move this to roughly where we want that last line to disappear. Almost at the very top there. We can just use that, and this could be longer or shorter depending on what you want your range of that transition to be. But the default 100 is fine in this case. Now if I go back to the plain effector and change the scale, you will see that it's stronger at the top and weaker at the lower end here. It creates this effect depending on where we put this falloff range or this linear field, it affects the size of the shapes at that point. If I set this to negative 1, you see right there, it goes from full scale to completely gone, and that's how you do that. Everything just works if you put in all the right numbers and it doesn't affect the animation because that's still just working underneath. Now you see everything is working. That's how you do that, if you've ever want in Cinema. Before you can continue, I do have a quick question for you, which is, Gabriel is wondering how you determine the length of the loop, why eight seconds and not, say, 15 or 20 seconds? Generally, I will always try to make the loop as short as possible just to avoid rendering longer sequences. That's the main thing. What time can I make a loop in that's going to give me the looping effect but not making it longer than it needs to be? I guess, I didn't explain that very well. In this example, the original of this loop, if you saw how I built it the first time, it was two minutes, because it's way back then when I just started making loops and I was still figuring some things out. But the latest version is only 16 seconds. But if you look at them, they basically look the same, but the old one, the render would have taken maybe 10 times longer unnecessarily. The time really is about optimizing for the loop and also just optimizing for the render time, that's how I decide on the duration. If this was eight seconds, for example, that's quite short, and any loop that I make with this is going to be very quick to render. Does that make sense? I didn't explain that very well. I wasn't expecting that question. My bad. But it's to do with just trying to take the shortest time possible to be able to do the loop. That's it really. But you will also see, I'll come back to that and show you some other examples. It made complete sense to me, and God knows that I am an animation newbie. I think you did a good job explaining. Cool, I'm glad you think so. [LAUGHTER] 4. Adding Buildings: So let's see here, I've just brought in a null object and just put in our sun into that. So this is one of the elements you would have downloaded from the class files. But this is our outrun sun. Now, if we go back to this, the other animated elements is the foreground buildings. So we're going to set those up next. This will be a lot easier because we're just placing them into the scene. I have them in my content browser, but for you guys is just going to be a Cinema 4D file. So it's these set of 15 low poly buildings. If I get a cloner, we need to put them into a grid layout. It's going to seem like I know all the numbers, to use for this is obviously because I've practiced before this session and I've done this project at least two times already. So that's why, but the count in the x direction is going to be 10. The count in the z direction is going to be 50. So it creates a bunch of these buildings from our original 15 copies. Now, this is a set of buildings, I set up some time ago. I set them up very specifically to have a very similar footprint so that when I put them into cloners like this, I can set the distance between them to 400, for example, and that's going to create this perfect grid layout. Now, maybe if you're using different buildings, they may have different sizes, and that wouldn't work so well. So if you are going to use some buildings on your own, then just make sure that they are at least roughly the same scale at their base, so that when you drop them into a grid, they will line up nicely like this. But I prepared this ones for you, so it should just be drag and drop. Now, another problem here is you can clearly see a repeating pattern going throughout. If I go to Gouraud with lines, it's even more obvious. We just need to go to the cloner and change the mode from iterate to random. Now you see instead of just cycling through them in the same order every time, it's just placing the cloners randomly using these 15 elements that we started with. If you don't like the arrangement, you can go to the seed value and just type in something different or put it up or down, and you see you get a different random layout. So that's one section of these buildings you see. When we play this back, we are looking at one of these rows going backwards. That's what we've just created here. Now, we need to increase our timeline here. Let's go for 16 seconds. The reason I've chose 16 here, is because our outrun sun is 8 seconds. So that outrun sun animation will look twice within this longer animation. The reason this main animation is longer was, when I was doing some tests, and I animated my camera to move from left to right, 8 seconds was too fast. I wanted to create a slower, more relaxed looking scene, where you can actually make out what's in the foreground. If this was double the speed, I thought that was a bit too fast, and I didn't like that. That's why I ended up choosing 16 seconds in that case. So going back to the question earlier, is to do with trying to get all the elements in the scene looping together, but also adjust the feeling of the scene. If you want something that's calmer, obviously, you're going to go for a longer time. If you want something that's really speedy and erratic, you just go for something faster. But you're always thinking about both things. Anyway, let's now get our camera. We're going to start to set the roots for the animation. Looking through that camera. Using this white square, when it's white, we're looking through it. Let's go to the coordinates and zero out the heading and pitch on our rotation there. The x position and the y position is going to be set to 1,000. This is another number I just know is correct based on my experiments before this. The z position, it's going to be negative 11,000, if I remember correctly. So put that there, if I look out of that camera, you can see where it's sitting. It's just at the edge of the city here, and then it's just looking down this row of buildings. Another thing is the focal length. If we look at this, you see it's a very, extremely wide angle lens, which creates this effect of a much longer looking city. And that's what we want to try and do. So if I lower this to 12, you see the effect that has. If I just bring it up and down, that's the difference. I'm going to go with 12. To loop the animation of the buildings, what the camera is looking at at the first frame, needs to be the same as it's looking at at the last frame of the animation. So what we're going to do is get this group of clones. Let's just temporarily make a copy. So hold control and drag down to copy this. We want to line this up, right next to that first set of clones. You see, if I bring it right there. Because this was set up very precisely, I know the number is going to be 4,000, but whatever this number is, keep that in mind for the next step. I've just knocked it by accident. But let's bring it back up to 4,000. As long as you know what that number is, that's more important. So now, if I go back into the camera, frame zero, let's key-frame the position x, and then go to the end, and type in 4,000 as well. So those two numbers need to match. If I look out of this just to see what camera is doing, you see we go from that position, to here. These two sections are identical, we just made a copy. So what the camera is looking at, at this position, if you just look at the buildings in the center, let's say these two here. Then if I jump to the end, you see it's the same position. Obviously, it's jumping between these two sections. We don't have anything either side, but this step is important just for the start of the setup. Let's go to the timeline once again. Our exposition should be linear. So we have that constant motion throughout. So just playing this back. I will jump to the end quickly here, and just see how that looks. 5. Filling Out the Sides: What we need to do now is to fill out the two sides so that they're not just empty when the camera is moving back and forth like this. We're going to remove that first reference copy and then clone our cloner. If I take another cloner and bring the first cloner into that, you can see things will start to really slow down. There's a slight mistake I did which is in the first one, I forgot to change the instance mode from instance to render instance, and what that does is it just speeds up the whole operation, now you see it's much smoother and in the second one, let's do the same thing, so set that to render instance also. Now it's even more fluid. You should do that before you start stacking cloners because sometimes it could have crashed right there. I was lucky. But what we need to do in this second one is we only need clones in the x-direction, so that's this first one here, so one and one in y and z. But in x, let's start with, say, four and the size between is going to be 4,000 once again. That number keeps coming up because it's the width of that whole section and it's the distance between the middle of all of those air sections, so trying to keep everything as symmetrical as possible. Now if I spread this out a bit more, you can see why that's 4,000, so it lines up perfectly. Now, between the start and finish, we're starting to close out those two sides. Four isn't enough clearly, let's go up to, say, eight, and now if I jump between the start and the finish, you can see it's starting to close this up more and more. Now, because we have such a wide camera, it's going to be harder to hide those outer edges. If this was more zoomed in, you see where the building starts to disappear. It's not as obvious but we do want to keep our camera wide. It just means we need to have more clones. Let's double it again to 16. Now, it's almost there, there is a slight difference on that side but the left side is actually fine. If we add in, let's say, two more, now you see, within the frame and the frame only goes up to this dark area here, you see there's no difference. I know this is going to loop if I play it back. What's amazing about this is there's hundreds of thousands of buildings in this scene now but using this render instance mode, Cinema 4D can handle all of those air polygons with no issues whatsoever. 6. Creating Big Buildings: So that's the setup for the foreground buildings. Of course, we have the one back too. What we're going to do is, let's call this one the start or something. Go ahead. I do have one quick question, which is a couple of people in the chat are wondering, with render instance, nothing else can be done to have a more fluid work plan? I suppose it's to do with the objects themselves. You see there's a very low poly buildings. When I originally set them up, I knew that's what I wanted because I knew I was going to be using them to build these large scenes. If you can optimize your geometry to have as few polygons as possible and then use textures and materials to create the illusion of there's more detail than there really is, then that's how you do it. But right now, it's just some basic gray blocks but that's a good foundation to build on using textures and lighting and so on, to then make it look nicer. Thank you so much. Sorry. Carry on. No, it's okay. Keep the questions coming. We were about to jump to the buildings in the back. Similar setup for these. I'm going to jump into a new project just to keep things clean. I have the large buildings, which again are available in the class files. We're just going to bring them in and they'll all come in in the same position here. It looks like there's one building, but absolutely, if you move them out, you see they're all just stacked in the same place. Doesn't matter because we're going to put them into a cloner once again. Select all of them, put them into the cloner, and Grid Array once more. [NOISE] The count in the x-direction, this time it's going to be 50. You see they are right next to each other. So let's open them up a bit. I think I went with 600 for the spacing in-between the buildings, which again, if you look at these, they're all roughly the same size, same area at the base. Putting them into the grid like this, it just works right away. Going back, we need 10. We can see that repetition once more. That's just the default mode for the clones. Let's change it to random. Now, you see it mixes it up. Some short buildings, taller ones, and so on. By the way, if you're using these buildings, you will see that the number of the building is how large the building is so its height in centimeters. We go all the way from the lowest, which is 435-2,460, and everything in-between. Let's go to our preview. You see how the buildings slope in gradually. They're tallest in the middle and then slowly gets shorter toward the other side. Here, we are going to employ the plain effector once again with some fall off fields. This time with our cloner selected, let's get a plain effector. We don't want to move it, we do want to scale it. I'm going to use the y-scale set to negative 1 once again. Now you see it just flattens everything but we can go to Falloff, Linear Field. You see by default this very small field, it's the same size as the first one we used before, but because we're working in a much larger scene. It's quite small, but as you see, if I move it around, it's revealing the buildings going in this direction. So we need to make that range larger. If I just get that handle there and expand this, you can see how that's working. That's so cool. There's even a nice color guide. This is a new thing. I believe in newer versions of cinema where you can actually see the operation being visualized. Where the color is darker, the effector is strongest there. That's quite useful. So just looking at this, we want the center to be unaffected, but we want it to immediately start gradually getting stronger. I think the length I went with in the end was 8,000 perhaps. Doesn't need to go past these buildings. So maybe even 7,500. Then the same for the position. That's going to make sure that it starts right in the center and then ends right at that point, but it's something you could just use your eye and measure that way anyway. It's going to work. So let's just move this out here a bit. If you don't want these buildings to completely disappear, you would go back to the plain effector. Negative 1 is the strongest value you would want to use here but if you go negative 0.8 or something, it won't be as strong at the end but I think we'll just keep it the same. Now, these buildings at the end are going to look very strange. As you can see we've flattened entire skyscrapers but in the overall scene, you won't really see that because of the way we do the textures and so on. We bring the focus to the center as well with the composition and everything. That makes sense. I do have somebody wandering, are these buildings something else that can be randomized like we did in the first round? Yeah. Because we've randomized the building, we did that earlier with changing it from iterate to random. But I think what they're asking is, for example, a building which appears more than once. Like this one right there, it's facing the same direction. You can randomize it using the random effector. If I go to MoGraph effector and random, it does position by default, so let's turn that off. Rotation. If I spin that around, you see they start to face different directions but the problem is, it's actually too random. Because it just chooses a number between zero and whatever you set here. What we would want to do in this case is randomized in increments of 90 degrees. You don't just get one buildings at 34 degrees or something. It's going to be either like this or 10, 90 degrees. There is a way to do it, and this tutorial explains exactly what that question just asked. It randomizes it, but it locks it to those 90-degree elements. It uses this formula right here. You know what? We may as well do it. [LAUGHTER] It uses something else called the formula effector. Now, don't ask me how this works. I just know it works. If I go to the Effector, there's a formula section here and I've just pasted what that comment left. We're not doing the scale, we're doing the rotation. Now if I go to the heading and lock that to 90, looking at that building again, you see how it rotates at 90-degree increments? Oh yeah. Don't ask me how that works. Just check out that video and I will link it for you. The guy does explain things quite well but it's one of those things where I have that formula saved in a Notepad file and anytime I need to use it, I just bring it in like that. Wow, it sounds like we got to get on sending Cinema 4D, some requests for them to add this into their functionality. That should just be a button or something. I don't know. Thank you for showing us that end for sending the link. I know that folks would appreciate it. No, it's cool. We have one side of our buildings gradually getting smaller and smaller. Let's make a copy of that field. Once again, just drag and drop to make the copy. This one, we're just going to reverse the exposition. Minus whatever was there before, it moves it over to the other side. In this field, we are going to change the direction from x plus to x minus. It's going to apply the same way, just in the opposite direction. Nothing has changed, however, that's because we need to manually place it inside of the fall off of our plain effector. We only have the first one here. Let's drag the second one too. Oddly enough, that doesn't seem to have worked. I knew something was going to go wrong. That should be working. These are the joys of a live class. [LAUGHTER] There's always something. Always. Why is that happening? Maybe is because both of these are set to normal. It only looks at the first one. What if I add them together? There we go. Now it works. So if you leave this to normal, it's only going to look at them in the order that they're placed in here. But one at the top has to be added to the first one for the two fields to combine and work at the same time. Blending modes, very important. There is one other thing which if we look here, I wanted to close up the gaps between the buildings here, just looking right down the middle. Because if I were to just set up a camera right there, there'll be a gap down the middle which I didn't like. If we call this Cloner Buildings 1, let's make a copy. Cloner Buildings 2, but we're only going to have one line of buildings in the z-direction. Move them to the back here, roughly to maintain that same grid and change the size mode from per step to end point. The difference is per step keeps the same distance between the clones when you add more so it gets wider and wider, but end point keeps the current overall length. Then when you add more, it just creates a smaller gap between the buildings, keeps the same overall width. That's the difference between those two. We just want to add in one. What that does is it just staggers the order of the buildings at the back to just close up some of those gaps you see there. You could have probably done it simpler by just moving it slightly or something. Same thing but let's take all of this, place it into a null object. This is going to be our large buildings. We'll then copy this. I just press control C, you could actually save this out as a separate file too. If I go to Window, I can go back to the start file, and edit and paste. We are now combining these two. They're going to be back here somewhere. For this, we need to look through our camera. It might help here to be at Frame 0 so It's right in the center. Let's display with no lines. Maybe it's a bit easier this time. I just realized, I think my large buildings need to be set to Render Instance 2. There we go. [NOISE] Taking that whole null object, we're going to go to the coordinates and scale. Let's pump it up to 3 and 3 like that so it's much larger. Jump out of this camera would just need to move it further past where the lower buildings begin. This whole thing is a bit of a perspective trick. Those buildings really wouldn't be that large compared to these ones but as long as it looks right, I think we can go with that. 7. Putting the Elements Together: Next up, we need our buildings to move with our camera so that their perspective doesn't change, but only the ones at the front does. This is quite simple. What I'm going to do, is I'm going to create a null object called move and put the buildings under that, and then go to the exposition of this null object, set a keyframe for x, go to the end and set this to 4,000, which if you recall, is the same distance the camera moves. What happens is between frames 0 and the end, the perspective of the buildings doesn't change. But in between, it's lagging behind because, of course, we need to make those keyframes linear as well, so in the keyframe window, just do that, and now it's going to be the same speed throughout, and it's going to appear as if it's not moving. Like if you're driving in a car and you look at mountains in the distance, everything right by you is whizzing by but the further something is, it's going to appear more fixed. That's what we've done there except we've made it perfect by just moving it with the camera. It's cheating in a way, but it works. But if we jump out and actually look at this, you see that the whole back is moving with the camera. It's shaping up well. Let's go back to our outrun sun. This must be an earlier version or something. What's going on? This is the right one. We're going to copy this out of here, go back to the start file, edit and paste. It's really small right there, but let's move it behind everything. The scale is going to be 150 by 150 in the x and y. So it just blows it up like this. That might be too much though, almost. The z position, we can do 40,000 for this. I'm just moving it back. I wanted this sun to cover about 1/3 of the center of the frame, so about here seems to be the right size, maybe 50,000. You see, it doesn't move with everything, so at Frame 0, place it under that move null object and now it's part of that setup. Just like that, very straightforward and because its animation, it was eight seconds, the overall animation here is 16 seconds. This whole setup is looping twice within our loop. That's the same as looping except you saw it stop there. That's because I need more repetitions in the animation. If we go back all the way to the beginning, this keyframe we're repeating and offsetting, just tapping it 100 or something and it's going to work. Another way we could have done that is to just animate a start position for our cubes moving throughout that and then an ending position where we know what it loops right, so you're not using the offset, but same thing, same result. [NOISE] 8. Creating Lighting: Let's start creating the lighting. We're going to bring in the first slide. This one actually is just going to be used to darken the whole scene. So if I go to intensity, I'm going to set that to zero. This is like the baseline, just nothing. Next step, we're going to get a physical sky. In the basic tab, we want to turn off the sky and sun, but keep the fog. That's this hazy effect you see here. Then in the fog tab, let's set the start height to negative 20. I think it's useful to visualize this as it's happening. So if I press ''Alt'' and ''A'', that's going to bring up something called the interactive render region, which we're going to expand here to just review everything. There is a quality slider, this very small triangle, if I push this up, now when I make changes to anything, we're going to see them updated live in the viewport. The default fog just looks like this, and we can change the color. It was purple, it was at 320 on the hue slider, that's is a purple, pink, one of the two. Do that, now you see it's changing. The start height, in fact, the end height is too low right now. Let's raise it to 5,000. Now, the whole thing is too strong, so the density can come down to, let's say, five percent, and you can start to see how this works. Now, we've lost too much in the foreground, that's because it starts like right here, and then just goes up. These buildings at the bottom are too short to be in that range. So the start height, we're going to make it even lower. If I go for negative 2,500, it's going to make where that fog starts lower. So we start to see the smaller buildings being included in that range as well. You could bring this down even further for a stronger flow effect, it's just a balance of what you're trying to make and what looks good to you. I'm going to go for 2,500, that's what I did in the original. Now, we're getting somewhere, but we can barely make out anything. I don't know why it just jumped between scenes. Cinema does that sometimes, I guess. The lights on the buildings, this was some textures which were generated with a free application called JSplacement. I do have it installed. Just Google this, it's very easy to find. But it was the JSplacement dotgrid preset, just a bunch of white dots on a black background. This is the one I generated for the class. That's it. Let's bring that into cinema and just drag and drop into our material manager. Click no for this, and if we open this up, we want to put this into the luminance channel. Let's just pull that from the color channel. You can drag this hover over the luminance channel and drop, and you've just moved that image or made a copy to the luminance channel. Let's turn that channel on and switch off the color. We won't see this in the preview really, it's too small, but if we apply it to the buildings. Let's start with the large and by the way, these are the small buildings, and copy this over. Select both the tags and change the projection to cubic. When I do that, we should start to see some lights show up. Right now the pattern is just too small, we need to make it at least 500 percent of the original size. So this is in the texture tags, the length U and V in this cubic projection. Now, we start to see the lights, now in the distance it seems too foggy to see and still too small so let's go for 1,000 further back, just to make those lights a bit larger. They're starting to appear. Let's make the whole thing stronger. In the luminance channel, the brightness should be 250. You see nothing happens, that's because the mixed mode with an image needs to be set to multiply if we want to have that brightness control do anything. As soon as I do that, now you see our lights are more visible. 9. Adding the Sun: Next up is the outrun sun. In the luminance channel once again, let's turn off everything else. This time we're going to load up texture and gradient. Go into the gradient, change the type to 2D-v, so it's going up and down and then just set the colors. It's that same pink on one end and then yellow on the other. Maybe about there, T5 or so maybe 40. We can actually adjust this later in after effects anyway, but it's good to have a good preview in the program too. I'm going to move this onto or apply this onto our sun. Adjust the whole null object. You see right there, so it's upside down. Right-click the "Gradient" and invert. We want the yellow to be at the top. Also we want this pink to be more visible down the middle. As I move this, you can see in the viewport it's changing with it. Just pick a position you think you like, I think about there looks pretty good. Now I've noticed we've created a wider effect than the original example. Those lines were much smaller. It's just a slight variation. It can be updated very easily though, so if I half the y size, just 20 divided by 2, the lines are smaller. Then, if I half the distance between them, so 40 divided by 2, those lines are smaller too maybe too small. I would have to adjust the movement to just start not so low. Then bring that in. Anyway I shouldn't have gone on that tangent, but I just wanted to show you that can be adjusted if you want. 10. Exporting from Cinema 4D: As far as the look in Cinema 4D, that's it actually, most of what you see here, the stars and the way the layers are blended, that was some post work in After Effects, just using the layers in a particular way. Let's output this or show you the render settings for this that's going to allow you to do that in After Effects. In the Render settings, we're going to start by putting our Frame Rate to 24. Let me just check the project is also at 24. It wasn't, but now it is. We're rendering all the frames, but let's switch that on last. Let's go to the output here. Let's do 1920 by 1080 or this could be any frame size you want, actually. This is just the standard HD frame size. Then in the Anti Aliasing, this has to do with how cleanly small details and edges are rendered. Now for this retro style, it actually, you could lean into this rougher look. It's part of the retro style. But if you wanted those edges to be a bit cleaner, you would change this to, let's say best and already you see, is it just refresh the preview there, things are looking a bit nicer than before so if I go the other way and change this to none, everything looks very crisp, and it would be flickering between frames. Keep that in mind. It will take longer to render the better settings you use, but it will also look cleaner. I do have a few folks wondering if we should fix the fog glitch. Yes, and thank you for bringing that up. For those of you who don't know, the fog glitch is to do is when you use fog like this and then you close the project down or send it to someone else. When they reopen it, the fog does not reset to the correct position. You would just have to take my word for it. It's going to happen. I have brought this to Max and the guys who would develop this app, and they basically said, we are aware of this issue, but it's hard-coded into the software. We're not going to fix it and that's how it is. I don't know whether it's going to be like that forever but anyway. How you fix it, is if you go to the physical sky, we just have to animate one of these values at the beginning. If I set a keyframe next to the start height, and move forward one frame to Frame 1 and then just change that value by one and then set another keyframe. Now, there's no visible difference in what we've just done. But what this does, is it's going to force Cinema 4D to reset the fog from that frame onward every time this project is opened. Keep that in mind anytime you use fog in Cinema, it's going to save you a lot of headache. I like it. Yeah, it's one of those quirky things about Cinema that's been there for years, and they just refused to fix it, but it is what it is. Yeah, what can you do, I guess? But in the render settings, I think we should move on to the safe paths. This is just where your files are going to go. Also, the format I like to use PNG 16 over 8 because 16-bit creates smoother gradients, has more information and so on. Some people go to 32 bits with formats like EXL, PSD but I think that's overkill a lot of the time. It's definitely overkill for this project, so let's just keep it simple. Make a new folder Render 2. You can see the first frame is just main so that's where that's going. We are also going to be outputting multi-pass layers, and I think it's best to just breeze through this section and show you. That would be also PNG, same location. I'll call this one multi. What multi-pass layers are, it allows us to separate the different layers that make up our final image so that we can control them individually in After Effects. Also in this example, we are going to be using layer masks, so we can control particular objects in the frame, as well as the different layers that make up those objects. Starting with the ambient pass, this is going to contain all the materials with luminance on them so our building lights and the colorful sun in the distance, there. Then another layer is the atmosphere that's going to contain our fog, and in this scene, actually, those are the only two layers we're going to export. But if we add reflections, shadows, and all that stuff we wanted to control later, we would add those two, but this is a very simple scene with just these two. Next up, we're going to create some masks for these objects. Starting with the sun, let's right-click "Render tags" and "Compositing" and "Object buffer", that's what the masks are called in Cinema 4D. Let's enable object buffer Number 1 for our Sun. The large buildings, we can drag and copy this using Control and make that buffer Number 2. So we just need to separate this out for each of the elements we want to be able to target separately in After Effects. But that's basically it. Maybe the floor can be the fourth one. I also want to make one which combines the floor and the buildings all together. If I just go to all of them, the buildings and the floor, we can enable five. Objects can be in a mask on their own, or you can combine them into a group mask. This is enabled on all of them but each one is also in its separate group. Just to show you all of this, what this is going to look like in the render if I go to multi-pass, we need to create the buffer layers for those five buffers we have just set up. It's a bit tedious, but it's very useful. We have five there. Select all five, and then just name them to match what we set up on the object. So 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 and then just to test this out, I'm going to render just one frame to the picture viewer and this is what it looks like. If I go to Layer, the default picture view just shows you the whole thing, but if we go to Layer and Single Pass, next to this section, we can see the different layers that we have just set up. They're in alphabetical order so starting with the atmosphere, that's our fog layer. Ambient contains everything with the luminate materials and then we have these object buffers. There's a mistake here that should just be the sound on its own. We can sort that out shortly. The tall buildings, small buildings, floor, and then buildings and floor together. These are going to be useful to allow us to select just those parts of the frame in After Effects. We need to make sure that the floor is not in object buffer Number 1, and then if I re-render, now you see it's just the sun in that layer. A slight mistake there, but that's it. Then I would go to my output, and by the way, that's PNG 16-bit 2. I'll go to this and do all frames for the final output and you would send this to your Render Queue, where you line it up here and then start the rendering. Here we go, add to Render Queue. It will ask you to save the file and then you can render this out. Now, obviously, I have done this already before, so we're not going to watch this thing re-render altogether again. But that would be the end of the part of this project in Cinema 4D. What's left now is just some quick compositing in After Effects. 11. Compositing in After Effects: I'll just jump right into After Effects. So what we had was we need to bring in all the layers. Excuse me, I hope you guys can't hear those notifications. What we've got is the main render sequence. This is what I did before and I'm just going to Control A because I rendered everything to the same folder. Multiple sequences, I can take that and import and After Effects will automatically detect the sequences for you. Now, there's a portrait version here. Sorry, guys, I just need to close any window. Here we go. There's a portrait version, which I just wanted to include as an example of what else you can do with the same scene. But that's the only difference, the frame size. Let's remove all those versions. With our layers, let's bring in the ambient layer first. So you see it's just the light materials. So what I would then do is get the utmost layer, place it on top of that and change the mode to screen. Now, you can already see actually on this first frame, the fog did not render correctly, and that's that fog glitch. But if I move forward one frame, that's how it's supposed to appear. So if you didn't do that trick all your frames would have looked like this, which is completely wrong. Now, we only lose one frame. But because that one frame is the same as the end frame, it's actually fine. We need to cut that off anyway for that perfect look. So what I did in After Effects, or rather let me show you the advantages of using this method of the various layers, we could go to the Hue and saturation and change the fog layer just on its own without affecting anything else, so that's the level of control you can have. But I think I like the color as it is already, so let's just keep that as is. But what I do want to change is the sun layer. So for this, that was a different layer, the first time I did this object buffer number 3, if I bring that in. Actually, I can just make a copy of itself and cycle to the Track matte menu. If that's not there, press "F4" and change the lower layer to Luma Matte and point to the layer above. What this does is it creates a transparent sun layer like this. So if I toggle the transparency, you can see how that works. So now, I can right-click both of these, pre-compose them and call it sun. So pre-compose moves everything into a grouped layer. So these two will now behave as a single layer. The reason I did this was I wanted to recolor the sun in After Effects. So if I go to Generate gradient ramp, I can then pick any two colors that I want. Now, for outran, you're basically going to be using yellows and pinks anyway. But I just wanted to show you the level of control you can have with this. We can move that 0.2 right there, and this to the top or anywhere along there. Just like that, we can change just what the sun looks like and just make sure it's below our fog layer, so all of that blending is still there from Cinema 4D. But if I turn this on and off, you can see the difference. It's a big part of the look. The next thing was the sky. We have some stars, and also the color of the sky. So if I bring in the stars image, that's this right here, is an effect which I won't have time to go over. But if you see here, we have these stars flickering. I will just show you the breakdown of that but I want to show you the whole process but it's quite simple anyway. But we can bring the sky or the stars in. It's a very large layer, so let's make it smaller. We're going to mask it to the sky area using this mask, which contains everything but the sky. But what we do with that is the luma matte will be inverted this time, so with the stars layer below that point to this mask. Now, you see the stars are just in the sky. Now, it needs to be below both our sun and utmost layer. These two layers need to move together. That's it. We can then create another layer, a solid. Let's call this gradient sky. We're going to go from that pink to more blue at the top. So right-click "Effect," generate gradient ramp, and just do a similar thing. Maybe about there but not so bright on one end, and then this pink on the other end. Then we can once again use that same buffer. I'm going to copy it, move it above our sky, and then luma inverted. This one is going to be below everything else once again. But that means the stars layers blending mode needs to be add so we can see the gradient underneath it. We could change where the gradients are anchored. If you want more pink or blue up here, you can just change that to be whatever you want it to be. So that's looking quite decent. That first frame is completely broken. So let's press "Page Down" to advance forward one frame, and then press "B" to make that the new stack frame, so when we render this out, it's going to go from that point. Let's copy the sun, and go to Effect stylize and glow. The threshold should be, 100 seems to work well. Then the radius, maybe about 50 for this kind of effect. It looks nice on the sun itself and it also starts to blend in some glow on top of the buildings, which I think is a nice look. Let's create a final adjustment layer. Here we could, again, just apply some glow on top of everything. It looks really bad at first. So let's change it up, 100 percent for the threshold and the radius, I'm going to set to 100 or something much larger. This is an overall hazy effect on top of everything. Just helps with the overall blending, although it's too strong. The strength, we can maybe lower this to about 0.25 or thereabout. It's a very subtle effect but I think it looks quite nice. So this is what I would move forward with for the final render. I would just send this to the render queue then. So composition add to render queue. Out of After Effects, I always do QuickTime Animation, and that's it. This creates a very large file, which if you're not playing it back off like an SSD or something, it's going to be very laggy. But in Premiere Pro, it handles those files better. 12. Finishing in Adobe Premiere: Then go to Premier Pro, import it into this, and then we would do a new sequence from that clip. That's what it would look like when we play it back in this program. I can make color adjustments in the Color tab using. Lumetri Color, you can do all adjustments in here. You could fade it, the standard RGB curves, and so on. Obviously, I would take a bit more care with this, but I'm just conscious of the time here. This first frame it needs to be cut off, so if we just remove it. Go to the end. Set that out time. This would be our final thing, so let's make it loop in the playback. But that would be here. Now, I did promise to just show you the breakdown for the stars effect, so let's look at that quickly and I think we'll then close. The version which you can see this is the portrait, this is the old one. What this was it's the same stars image, but then I also have this solid layer with this grid effect. This is just the grid effect in After Effects. You can add it from the Effects menu if you just search for grid. What you want to do is just create these stripes going up and down like this. Then I just animated them to move sideways, slightly. I used that as a luma matte mask for the stars. What that does is it cuts into the stars at different points and makes them appear and disappear, and that's how you create that flickering stars effect. Is just something that creates a bit more interest in the final piece. From this point, you export from Premier Pro. I just use the general H264 and then various presets for Twitter, YouTube, and so on. My most used preset is the YouTube one which I even upscaled to 4K even if the video is in 4K. It seems to look better on the final thing. I do the same for Instagram, I just copy this height. Go to the width, paste it there, and then scale to fill to create that square Instagram frame hours post square or portrait videos to Instagram. Again at double resolution, it seems to end up looking better when it gets compressed on both YouTube and Instagram. 13. Final Thoughts: I would just say if you do want to learn more about making loops and visuals in cinema 4D, the rest of my other classes are obviously a good place to begin and the beginner class which I did at the start of the year is particularly good for people who have never used Cinema 4D before and want to learn all the fundamentals from the ground up and then you can jump to the more project-based classes and then I think that's a good progression. I've put a lot of emphasis on doing classes where at the end of it you have something which you can post to these various platforms. Because if you want to do this for a living, for example, I would say 90 percent of the jobs I've received are from people who have seen my stuff on Instagram, YouTube, Twitter so it's really important to just do something, finish it and post it because you never know who's going to see it and that's where I think a lot of the opportunities can actually come from if you want to get work as an artist. I think that's all I'll say and I'll leave it there.