Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Cinema 4d star wars scene

Just a quick blog to let everyone know that I'm back from my holidays and ready for action. So, what have I been up to in the Cinema 4d world this past couple of weeks; well I'm still working on my little Star Wars project and it's almost ready for its debut on You Tube. There have been problems galore though. The toughest problems I faced didn't involve special effects or modelling, no it was the setting up of the scene that gave me a few moments of frustration. To give the impression that the star destroyer was even bigger than it looked I played around with aperture width and the focal length in the camera settings.

As promised I will put up a tutorial of how to set up the scene in a future blog but first I have a film to finish. That's all for now.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Star Wars opening scene: in Cinema 4d

I have decided to challenge myself to see if I can recreate the opening scene of Star Wars in Cinema 4d, beginning with the famous crawl and ending just before we enter the blockade runner scene. I've built the two ships involved in that opening section (the Star Destroyer and the Rebel Blockade runner) and hope to put everything together so that it is as close a match to the scene as possible. Once it's all done and dusted including editing, music and sound effects I'll upload it to You Tube. After all of thats out of the way I'll put up a tutorial on my blog pointing out how I put the scene together. But first I have quite a bit of work to do. I'll keep you posted. That's all for now folks.

Here's a pic of the Rebel Blockade Runner.

Friday, 20 August 2010

cinema 4d: build a car using points

I have taken the plunge into advanced cinema 4d territory by creating a using the points based method so I thought I would write a series of blogs about my experiences. This won't be a step by step look at building the entire car but I will provide enough information to get you past the initial stages. In this first blog I will focus on setting up the blueprints.

1) If you're new to car modelling it would be best to choose something that you would be relatively easy to create rather than a car that has too many awkward features. You can find a decent range of car blueprints at the following web address;

Typing car blueprints in to Google will bring back plenty of blueprint web sites.

2) Once I've found my blueprint I'll copy and past it into photo editing software such as paint or Photoshop. Your blueprint should have three perspectives; top, side and front. Select the top perspective by using the selection tool, right click on it and then choose crop. Save as a j peg file to your Cinema 4d folder and then do the same with the other perspectives. Make sure that the front end of the car is facing right for the side perspective.

3) Open up Cinema 4d and choose the four way perspective. Go to edit - configure - in the top view. In the attributes manager go to back and click on the image button. Locate your top perspective image and open it up to load it to the screen. Do the same for the right and front perspectives. Make sure that the images are facing the correct way. In the top view the front end of the car should be facing down and in the side view the font end should be facing right.

4) Now comes the tricky part. Add a null object and in the top view place it at the front of the car in the middle. Now it's just a case of aligning the other images so that the null object is situated at the front of the car in all viewpoints.

It's important to take time setting up the blueprints otherwise problems will occur down the line. Well, we've come to the end of the first part of the tutorial. Hope it went OK. Any comments would be appreciated. Thanks. That's all for now folks.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Cinema 4d car rigging problems

I've been away from the world of blogs for a for couple of weeks and I put this down to car rigging in Cinema 4D. Trying to find a tutorial on how to rig a car is an almost impossible task particularly for Cinema 4D users but I managed to come across a basic tutorial which looked at wheel turns and movement. The tutorial was informative with easy to follow on-screen directions.

Just click below to check it out;

Now I am trying to add a suspension system to my rig which is a totally different level of difficulty altogether. I tried using spring dynamics but couldn't build a frame around the spring set up. I'm sure it's possible to use dynamics to build a spring based suspension rig as I have seen videos on You Tube which demonstrate this method. Well after searching through various forums I came across a Cinema 4D plug-in called Roll-it. I was impressed with this plug-in as it managed to plant the wheels of my car firmly on an uneven surface and keep them there as they rolled over the terrain. So I would like to say thanks to the developers of Roll-it.

You can download the plug-in by clicking below;

I have had a play around with this Plug-in and have so far been impressed. It's easy to get the ball rolling, pardon the pun, by simply dropping a terrain in to the floor tag and selecting geometry. Thankfully you can download an instruction manual from the same website to get in in depth look at how it all works. As far as my car rig was concerned I achieved a mixed bag of results. After applying the plug-in the wheels connected to an uneven surface but the car didn't move up and down with it. I would have to animate the movement of the car separately. This is not the fault of the plug-in though as it can't solve all of my problems. Anyway, I'll continue to play around with Roll-it and let you know if I discover anything new.

That's all for now folks.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Tag challenge: Day 08: A photo that makes me sad

One part of my life that I regret the most is somehow losing all of my family photos when moving house. I only have one photo left from my childhood which was taken while on a school trip. It makes me sad to think that this is the only photo I can look at as a reminder of the past. I don't know what happened to all the family photos but I remember where they were kept just before the move.

Losing these photos has meant that I have lost all of my family pictures and I'll never get those back.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Tag challenge: Day 07: A photo that makes me happy

The photo that makes me feel happy shows my girlfriend and myself sitting on coach as we began our day trip to London. This photo makes me happy for a few reasons; firstly it's one of the first photos to show us as a couple at a time when we were beginning our journey together. It's definitely something nice to look back on. And of course there is the memory of the day itself. This was my first trip to London and what a good one it was too. I was spoilt for choice as to what to do for the day and in the end we spent much of the day in the Science Museum. As I enjoy all things science based it was entertaining enough to keep me quiet for the day.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Tag challenge: Day 06: retro gaming tickles my fancy

I've been a bit slack with this tag challenge so I thought I had better get back on track and talk about something that tickles my fancy. There are plenty of things that tickle my fancy (must keep a straight face) but none more so than retro gaming and with thousands of old titles lurking out there its an interest that will last a long time. I've been into video games since the early 80s with iconic games such as Pacman eating at my holiday money. Its nice to be able to play these games again through my PC and relive my childhood days of gaming fun without the need for a pocket full of 10p coins.

The games I remember the most are side scrolling Beat em ups, a breed of game that is now pretty much defunct. Notable beat em ups include the Double Dragon, a classic game and one that popularised the genre. This game impressed me at the time with its large detailed sprites, realistic sound effects and most importantly the memorable music. Final Fight is also considered by many to be the ultimate scrolling beat em up. This game improved upon Double Dragon with even larger sprites and more action. The genre started to disappear in the 90s but this is when my favourite beat em up hit the arcades. Cadillacs and Dinosaurs renewed my faith in the genre after a few years without a decent release. The title says it all really. I like cars and Dinosaurs so together they are an unbeatable force. Throw in a multitude of weapons including Uzi's and Grenade launchers and you have a beat em up to beat the rest, erm, up.

So you can now see that I kind of like retro games.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Hollywood films that use Cinema 4D

Cinema 4D has proven its versatility in the film industry many time in such films as District 9 and Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs. The latest film to add Cinema 4D to its arsenal of special effects software is Tron Legacy, the sequel to a film that needs no introduction. It's kind of nice to know that the software I use to create 3d models is used in big budget Hollywood blockbusters. So I just wanted to give this and some other films a quick mention. Quite often Cinema 4D is used for Matte painting but this time around the 3D applications spline capabilities are being used for the bike scenes.

District 9 took advantage of Cinema 4Ds Bodypaint 3D capabilities for the aliens. Cinema 4D has powerful tools that can help replicate smoke effects and these were used in the Bruce Willis film Surrogates. GI Joe: Rise of the Cobra used Bodypaint 3D to texture various models in the film. Here's hoping Cinema 4D continues to be used for future film releases.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Tag challenge: Day 05: favourite quote

I didn't have to think too long about this one. 'Here's another nice mess you've gotten me into'. This quote brings back memories of watching Laural and Hardy in my younger years so it is something that has stayed with me. This is one of the most enduring quotes in film history and is still remembered by many people to this day however it is often misquoted as 'Here's another fine mess you've gotten us into'. So there you go, a well remembered quote from a well remembered comedy duo.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Tag challenge: Day 04: favourite book

My favourite books are the Fighting Fantasy series by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone. They are probably not considered to be classics in the same way as the Lord of the Rings books but to me and many other fan boys Fighting Fantasy was a great form of escapism. If I had to choose just one book in the series I would have to say Talisman of Death which also happened to be the first Fighting Fantasy book I ever read.

Talisman of Death really did make me feel like I was thrust in to a fantasy world with a range of characters to interact with and monsters to fight. Anyone who has ever read/played one of these books will remember rolling the dice to determine luck and the annoyance of rolling too high a number. Although I am sure many would admit to cheating here and there.

So there you go. There's not much more to say apart from happy reading and if you stumble across a Fighting Fantasy book you might want to give those dice a roll.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Tag challenge: Day 03: favourite TV show

It's so difficult to pick a favourite a TV show as so many spring to mind. For me the best way around this is to write about the TV show that is most prominent in my mind at the time of writing this bog. So before I change my mind I will pick Gamesmaster.

My interest in Video games began in the 80s with arcade greats such as Double Dragon and Final Fight, so I was over the moon when a show dedicated to my favourite past time hit Channel 4. I didn't think much to Gamemaster after watching the first episode but the mix of challenges and reviews grew on me. At first I didn't like the studio audience but after watching a few episodes it just felt right. And lets not forget the celebrity guests (Although most have been forgotten) from the likes of Vic Reeves (Memorable and still on TV) to Hacksaw Jim Duggan (Not so memorable and not quite probably not on TV).

The fourth season was my favourite as this saw the return of a more sarcastic Dominic Diamond which meant for some witty banter between him and the guests.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Tag challenge: Day 02: Favourite film

The task of choosing a favourite film is pretty much an impossible one given the amount of films that I have enjoyed over the years so I'm going to cheat just a little bit. What I am going to do is this; place each of my favourite films in a particular category, a category created by me. Right then, on to the first.

1) The film I have viewed more times than any other.

Terminator 2: Judgement day

This film is is easy to watch and it has a decent plot too. It expands on the first film with more action, bigger chase sequences and to top it off, two Terminators.

2) The film that had the biggest impact on my life

Star Wars: A New Hope

Star Wars changed the way I saw films and through it I enjoyed a whole universe of great toys. I first saw the film when I was 7 so the film certainly captured my imagination. I was amazed by the special effects and the characters found there way in to my toy collection via the action figure range. This film definitely brings back a lot of happy memories.

3)The film that got me thinking


I have been a fan of marvel comics since the 80s so a film that delves in to the genre certainly gets my vote, particularly one that is as well made as unbreakable. All the way through the film I wanted to believe that David Dunn had superhuman abilities. The film had an excellent build up and the twist at the end truly blew me away. For me it was one of those films that doesn't come along very often.

4) The Batman film that I had been waiting a long time for

The Dark Knight

I don't know were to start with this film, it has so much going for it. I'll start with the obvious. Heath Ledgers performance of the Joker was first class acting. His version of the Joker was dark, edgy and above all believable. He felt like a genuine threat to batman. But there was so much more to this film; action, drama, suspense and a clever story.

So there you have it. Some choice films from my life.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Tag challenge: Day 01: Favourite song

I have put plenty of thought in to what my favourite song is and it has been a difficult question to answer. There are so many bands that have had an impact on my life particularly from the 80s electronic scene but I decided to go with a song from the following decade. The song in question is by James but its not one of there mainstream hits.

I bought the James B-Sides album back in 2000 not long after it was released and was impressed by many of the songs. I felt that some of the songs were of a similar quality to the best of their single releases but one song stood out for me over all the others and that song is 'I Defeat', a catchy ballad with just a little bit of angst. I like songs that create a mood and this one certainly does just that with an edgy guitar riff and lyrics to sing to.

Well there you go, that's my choice for favourite song. And a difficult choice it was too.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Overcoming the symmetry tool in C4D

A few days ago I followed a tutorial that showed me how to create a humanoid head in C4D which didn't go too well at the time. This was partly down to how some of the tutorial was written and also because of the difficulty of using the symmetry tool. The symmetry tool can be of great help when modelling a character as it quite literally does half the job for you but there is a lot that can go wrong when using this tool. One of my previous efforts started to show signs of a bump which ran down the middle of the model. No matter what I did I couldn't rectify this problem however not all was lost as I managed to disguise the defects. I then found the tutorial mentioned above in the hope that I could learn how to avoid the common mistakes often associated when using the symmetry tool. I found the tutorial frustrating at first but on the whole it did teach me some valuable information that I would have not known otherwise.

For my first try at using the symmetry tool I used a primitive cube object which I placed in a HyperNurbs object. I then placed the cube object under symmetry and then placed both of them under HyperNurbs. Now it was this mistake that made the modelling process difficult. Instead I should have cut the primitive object in half and then placed it in a symmetry object. This made so much sense and I don't know why I didn't think of this in the first place. There is still the risk of a split down the middle of the model if a selected polygon is pulled outwards.

I have just begun a new model and I am pleased to say that this one is going smoothly thanks to the symmetry tool.

Below is my effort from the tutorial. The model on the left demonstrates what happens when I connected all of the objects together. For some reason the pixels seem blocky compared with the model on the left.

For anyone who is interested in checking out the symmetry tutorial just click on the link below;