Author: eyedesyn

Cinema 4D R14 Features Review by @eyedesyn

 

Cinema 4D R14 Announced!

It’s Christmas in August!  Cinema 4D version R14 has just been announced and I’ve had the opportunity to be able to play with R14 over the past few weeks and check out all the new features. While you may be hearing most about the new Sculpting features in Cinema 4D, I’m going to focus on some of my favorite new features that I think I’ll be using heavily.

Continue to article…

•  Be sure to participate in next weeks #Mochat session where I’ll be answering questions and discussing the new features in Cinema 4D R14.  The next Mochat will be on August 9th at 9PM EST.  Find out more about MoChat here.

 

Motion Graphics Geek Holiday Gift Guide

‘Tis the season!  This year at the Motion League we asked you what motion graphics related things where on your wish list for Christmas, and here are the most popular items on your lists:

A Semester of FXPHD– (US$359)

  • FXPHD is subscription-based online training for postproduction, visual effects, and motion graphics. You can join one or more of 4 new Terms per year starting in January, April, July, and October.

GSG City Kit (US$149), Light Kit (US$69), and Texture Kit (US$69)

  • The motionographers essential additions to your Cinema 4D workflow.
  • It’s like MoDynamics for After Effects.  Newton interprets each 2D layer as a rigid body in a real environment.  Once simulation is completed, animation is recreated in After Effects with standard keyframes.
  • Turbulence Fluid Dynamics (TFD) makes physical simulations of fire, smoke, dust and other gaseous phenomena available directly in CINEMA 4D and LightWave 3D.
  • Huge database of Cinema 4D training for beginners and some good ones for advanced users, for the price, it’s definitely worth it!

NitroBlast for Cinema4D  (~US$52)

  • A new fracturing plugin from the creator of Thrausi and Catastrophe. Allowing completely automatic, collision driven fracturing, Nitroblast is written from the ground up to be faster, bigger, more powerful and better from all angles than the previous fracturing plugins.
    Even though it’s numerous, powerful features, it was designed with simple, easy to use interface in mind. Features include:
    Autobreak: Completely automatic impact based fracturing: You don’t have to do anything, just run a dynamics simulation or even a custom animation with 2 objects colliding, and the auto-break will do the rest. It will break the objects based on their impact point. It supports:
    – Multibreak for multiple colliders on an object,
    – Deepbreak (as described below)
    – Cracks: Generate parametric Cracks for the part of the object that stays behind
Syntheyes (US$399-599)
  • SynthEyes is a 3-D camera-tracking software application, also known as match-moving, which is widely used in film, television, commercial, and music video post-production. SynthEyes can look at the image sequence from your live-action shoot and determine how the real camera moved during the shoot, and where various features are in 3-D, so that you can create computer-generated imagery that exactly fits into the shot.
  • The must have set of plug-ins for any After Effects user.  Trapcode Suite is the industry standard package for high quality broadcast design and 3D motion graphics. Its full-featured tools create beautiful realistic effects — with an emphasis on flexible 3D content — for text titles, animated backgrounds, logo treatments and VFX design. Trapcode Suite gives you 3D styled elements like a powerful particle system, volumetric lights and organic forms, all built for the After Effects 3D environment. Get nine addictive plug-ins at an affordable price for a comprehensive addition to your studio workflow.
  • Very useful when working with composites out of Cinema 4D.  Instead of waiting for the sometimes painful native motion blur in Cinema 4D/3DSMAX, do it in post inside After Effects with this plug in.  Render out your Motion Vectors out of C4D/3DSMAX and have full control over the plug using this plug in.  Renders way faster than Cinema 4D’s native blur too.

Frischluft Lenscare (US$199)

  • Like ReelSmart Motion Blur, this gives you the ability to add Depth of Field blur inside of After Effects, again cutting down on render times out of Cinema 4D/3DSMAX.

Video CoPilot Optical Flares (US$124.95)

  • Optical Flares is a plug-in for designing and animating realistic lens flares in After Effects.  For those of you that are used to using Knoll Light Factory, Optical Flares is the roid’ed up brother.  This is a robust lens flare plug-in with limitless customization to make your own kinds of lens effects that can change dynamically as it animates across the screen.  This is a must have for most motionographers out there.  Additionally, you can buy Andrew Kramers “Pro Presets” which run an additional US$25 that have a nice set of presets if you don’t feel like digging into the interface and making all your own custom presets.

Vray for C4D (~US$1,035)

  • Sure, it’s a pretty hefty price tag, but using the VRay renderer is what you’ll be wanting if you want to get ultra-realistic renders and fast GI & AO renders out of Cinema 4D.
  • Sick of using Beam effect and an expression to get objects you’re animating to be connected by a line?  Get this plug-in which does it simply and easily, plus it works in 3D space.

Cintiq 24HD (US$2599)

  • Saved up enough of that freelance money to splurge?  The Cintiq 24HD combines the best in high-definition LCD performance with the ability to work with Wacom’s most advanced pen technology directly on the surface of the screen.
Intuos 4 (US$229-$789)
  • And for those of you who have a bit more modest budgets but still want to use a pen with you computer, there’s the industry standard Intuos pen tablet.  For working professionals and serious creatives alike, Intuos4 represents the finest pen tablet experience ever created by Wacom.

ZBrush 4 R2 (US$699)

  • For the hardcore modellers, there is this amazing plug-in for Cinema 4D.  ZBrush 4R2 revolutionizes digital modeling and unleashes your creative power by delivering a topological-free sculpting process with new tools like DynaMesh. When sculpting with traditional techniques, polygons become stretched and difficult to work with. Now with a quick gesture, ZBrush will instantly generate a new sculpting-friendly model with uniform polygon distribution. This makes it possible for you to focus only on the visual aspects of your model, without worrying about its underlying geometry.
  • Stuck on ideas for your next project?  Want to find a good font & color combination for your logo design?  These little books are nice for flipping through and sparking your creative genius!

Animator’s Survival Kit by Richard Williams (~US$24)

  • The definitive book on animation, from the Academy Award-winning animator behind Who Framed Roger Rabbit?  In this book, based on his sold-out master classes in the United States and across Europe, Williams provides the underlying principles of animation that every animator–from beginner to expert, classic animator to computer animation whiz –needs. Urging his readers to “invent but be believable,” he illustrates his points with hundreds of drawings, distilling the secrets of the masters into a working system in order to create a book that will become the standard work on all forms of animation for professionals, students, and fans.
  • This is the first book to be published on one of the greatest American designers of the 20th Century, who was as famous for his work in film as for his corporate identity and graphic work. With more than 1,400 illustrations, many of them never published before and written by the leading design historian Pat Kirkham, this is the definitive study that design and film enthusiasts have been eagerly anticipating. Saul Bass (1920-1996) created some of the most compelling images of American post-war visual culture. Having extended the remit of graphic design to include film titles, he went on to transform the genre. His best known works include a series of unforgettable posters and title sequences for films such as Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo and Otto Preminger’s The Man With The Golden Arm and Anatomy of a Murder. He also created some of the most famous logos and corporate identity campaigns of the century, including those for major companies such as AT&T, Quaker Oats, United Airlines and Minolta. His wife and collaborator, Elaine, joined the Bass office in the late 1950s. Together they created an impressive series of award-winning short films, including the Oscar-winning Why Man Creates, as well as an equally impressive series of film titles, ranging from Stanley Kubrick s Spartacus in the early 1960s to Martin Scorsese s Cape Fear and Casino in the 1990s. Designed by Jennifer Bass, Saul Bass’s daughter and written by distinguished design historian Pat Kirkham who knew Saul Bass personally, this book is full of images from the Bass archive, providing an in depth account of one of the leading graphic artists of the 20th century.
Drobo S (Starting at US$799)
  • Hard drive fails with all your work on it…aw crap, now what?  Stop that situation from ever happening and get yourself a nice external RAID backup.  Drobo S is a five-drive storage array that features a triple interface (Firewire 800, USB 3.0 and eSATA connections) and single- or dual-drive redundancy, making it ideal for creative professionals and small businesses with “set it and forget it” storage needs.  Works for both Mac & PC!

SpacePilot PRO 3D Mouse (US$399)

  • For the serious 3D modelers, this is like the Rolls-Royce of computer mice.
Vimeo PLUS Membership (US$60/year)
  • Like showing off your work but hate the long convert lines and no HD embedding?  Vimeo Plus is for you!  A plus account includes unlimited HD embedding, advanced user statistics, 1080P playback & AVCHD support, and mobile conversion of your videos!
Tell us your wish list in the comments section!  Have a Happy Holiday from all of us at MotionLeague!

[Image from Andrew Kelsall]

 

Free #C4D Models: Holiday Pack

Tis the season!  Here are 4 free Cinema 4D models for use in you holiday animations this season!  You’ll get the 4 models along with the .OBJ format versions for people using other 3D programs and earlier versions of Cinema 4D.  Included in the files are the HDRI textures I used for some of the nice reflections.  Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

Download Holiday Pack

Girder/Scaffolding
Girder/Scaffolding

Free #C4D Model: Girder/Scaffolding

Girder/Scaffolding

Girder/Scaffolding

 

Another free Cinema4D model for you today, this one is of a metal scaffolding/girder.  I used this in a industrial looking promo for the an NHL team and figured I’d let all you fine folks mess around with it.  Included in the download is a C4D 12 or higher compatible file, along with an .OBJ for those of you stuck in R11 or earlier.  Enjoy!

Download here.

 

FREE C4D MODEL: Movie Projector Screen

Free C4D Model: Movie Projector Screen

FREE C4D MODEL: Movie Projector Screen

Here’s a free C4D model of a movie projector screen I made awhile back. You’ll need version R12 or higher to use this. If you need an earlier version, please post in the comments and I’ll add an .OBJ version. Enjoy!

Click here to go to C4D R12 & above model download page

Click here to go to .OBJ model download page

Wacom has an “Inkling”

Wacom has finally let the cat out of the bag about it’s “mystery” product that it’s been teasing on its website for over a week now.  That mystery product is the “Inkling”, Wacom’s newest digital drawing capture device, using a physical pen-and-ink clipboard that captures, stores and then transfers your actual drawings to your computer as layered vector files you can use in Illustrator or Photoshop, among other software.

We all know using Wacom tablets for mograph is great after the initial adjustment period, but when having to draw or sketch on a tablet, drawing onto a plastic tablet and looking up into a computer monitor lacked the absolute control you’d want when drawing.  Inkling gives you that control of drawing with a real pen and paper because, well, you ARE drawing with a real pen and a physical piece of paper.  And at a fraction of the cost of a Cintiq tablet, where you physically draw on a computer monitor, the Inkling’s $199 price point makes it an attractive alternative.

So how does it work?   The Inkling is the size of a clip on an A4 clipboard that can attach onto any piece of paper, notebook, etc, and uses a pressure senative stylus (just like the Wacom tablet stylus) only this stylus is an actual pen with ink.  You draw on your paper clipped to the Inkling using the pen and the detachable sensor records all of your pen strokes.  Tapping a sensor on the Inkling creates a new layer allowing even more control to edit later in Photoshop or Illustrator.  Using the software that comes with the Inkling called the Wacom Sketch Manager, you can import your sketches via a USB port as vector-based drawings where you can then export out for use in Photoshop or Illustrator (Autodesk Sketchbook Pro & Sketchbook Designer is also supported) If you don’t want to do any editing, you can also export them out as un-layered JPG, BMP, TIFF, PNG, SVG and PDF files.

It’ll be interesting to see how well the physical pen strokes convert to vector, I could see dealing with a mess of bezier handles while cleaning up your sketches.  But at the $199 price point, it’s less expensive and gives you more control than an iPad and a Cintiq.  Even replacing the ink is inexpensive, as it just takes standard Mini Ballpoint refill cartridges.  I don’t see why any designer would want to be without this.  I can think of many benefits when it comes to easy manipulating sketched out storyboards, logo creation and brainstorming.  One of the features I think HAS to be figured out is some way to be able to record your pen strokes for use in a video in, say, an After Effects motion graphics piece.  Using the Write-On effect with a Wacom is pretty messy, imagine having the same amount of control with a pen and paper making those same kind of animated pen strokes.

The Inkling arrives in stores in mid-September.  Here is the official video from Wacom:

Chicago Transit 101

When we created this site, we did it to help showcase some of the underdogs and smaller studios banging out some awesome work but due to the nature of the business, never quite gets the exposure it deserves.  Motion League is all about day to day heroes, and here we see some stellar work done by Washington, DC creative boutique, The Duke and the Duck.  It’s run by only two individuals, and with their occasional freelancer or two, produce some impressive work.  Here is a video they just completed and showed off to an animation meet up I attended last night.  Note the silky smooth and well timed camera movements, intricate keyframing, and the occasional humor thrown in to make what I’m sure on paper looks like a boring subject into an enjoyable 2 minutes of animation.

Cinematography for the Motion Artist: “Dutch Angle”

Welcome to the first of hopefully many posts about the use of cinematography tips and techniques to help make your motion graphics animations more dynamic and interesting.  In this first post, we will be covering a technique that is used a lot in both cinematography and photography to add uneasiness or tension into a shot.  The “Dutch Angle” is achieved by tilting the camera off to the side so that the shot is composed with the horizon at an angle to the bottom of the frame.  Adding just a slight value to the “banking” value in your Cinema 4D camera can make big differences in the mood of your animations, adding energy & making something more dynamic looking.

For example, let’s take a look at the use of the “Dutch Angle” in BEELD.motion’s Telecine Rebrand reel:

In numerous shots you can see the use of Dutch Angle where the horizon line is not straight, but diagonal.  In these instances they don’t exactly emit a certain mood but it does add energy to the shot and it looks more interesting than if it was shot with the horizon straight.

In the second shot here, the Dutch Angle adds some more playfulness to the festive activities in the scene:

If anyone has ever had the unfortunate displeasure to see “Battlefield: Earth”, they used Dutch Angle in almost the entire film, and was ripped for it by the critics.  The name of the game here is to use it, but don’t abuse it.  Any effect can be overused and in turn, not be as impactful as a result.  The next time you build something in 3D, I urge you to try out this technique and try to step back from the Xpresso, textures, dynamics, and mograph and instead take a look at how you choose your camera angles and compose your shots.

Feedback is welcome and I hope these cinematography posts can be useful for motion graphic artists!

What the F-Curve!?

What the F-Curve!?

What the F-Curve!?

Hopefully some of you out there know where I’m coming from.  You’ve been using Cinema 4D or whatever piece of software for years, and of course we all know it’s impossible to know EVERYTHING about the software.  But in our valiant effort to learn everything…we miss extremely useful nuggets along the way.  One such nugget…the F-Curve editor in Cinema 4D.

Much like in After Effects, I pretty much avoided the F-curve editor because it was difficult to understand, but soon, I learned how all those wiggly lines could work for me and take my animations to the next level while saving time and being more efficient.  One of the most useful ways to use the F-Curve editor in C4D is to be able to edit multiple animation curves at the same time.  See, I used to only work in Key Mode, it made the most sense for me and no one ever really shed light on F-Curves until I was thought to myself “There had to be an easier way than selecting curves 1 by 1 and manipulating them.”  Well, there was.

 

Key Mode

Key Mode

Go to your Timeline window and you’ll see the default “Key Mode”.  Hit spacebar.

F-Curve Mode

F-Curve Mode

Say hello to the “F-Curve Mode”. (Hit space bar again to toggle back)  In this window you can select whatever attribute on an object you want (Position, Rotation, etc.) and by holding down shift and selecting other attributes in other objects, the F-Curves of those objects will appear.  By clicking and dragging a bounding box over, say, the last keyframes of an objects animated attributes, you can do things such as easy ease the heck out of it by pulling the bezier handles to your hearts content.  You can now take your animations to the next level with very precise keyframing.  Sometimes the key to great motion graphics is the painstakingly intricate keyframing.  Subtleties sometimes separates the good animations from the great ones.  Happy F-curving!

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