Rarely do any of us pick up a book, especially an instructional guide and read from beginning to end. Even for a comprehensive grasp, we tend to ‘peek ahead’ at areas of special interest; with special effects and in particular, Cinema4D, peek ahead at animation.Checkout animating characters c4d for more info.
Animation is what differentiates special effects, motion applications from say a very sophisticated graphic application such as Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop. Photoshop incorporated video and 3d in CS4 so even the lines that define have blurred a bit. Cinema 4d is a full 3d 64 bit application with textures and lighting and everything you need to create realistic scenes and objects and even more, create fantastic detail. Video games, cartoons, Harry Potter, ‘stretch’ reality and that’s the magic of applications like Cinema 4D.
So while it’s necessary to ‘learn the basics’, to introduce yourself to the primitives and basic building tools, if you are tempted to ‘sneak a peek’ ahead, go for the animation. Animation is the Life and animation is the Story. Whether your message is subtle, following the gaze of a character and their expression or there is an object blazing through the sky or an explosion, the action and movement tell the story.
Introducing yourself to the animation tool is easy, as easy as creating a single primitive object. Under the ‘Window’ menu heading, there is a timeline option. This will present a separate control module with all the objects in the timeline and the materials used. However, in the upper left section of C4D is the little thumbnail for preset menus and choosing the animation preset will place the complete timeline in your current workspace layout. This plots all objects with their ‘parent’ relationships against the timeline with keyframes and special controls visible.
Looking below your main perspective view, you see familiar start/stop go to beginning/end arrows and next to them are some special control buttons for animation. Three are bright red followed by four orange buttons. The red buttons are for setting keyframes along the timeline, automatic keyframing, and object selection.
Before we use those buttons, create a simple primitive object, click on the ‘Coord’ tab under the ‘Attributes’ menu, and notice as you move any of the axis arrows, the corresponding x,y,z coordinate reflects this movement. You can select the small circles to the left of these coordinate using your ‘ctrl’ key and this will create a keyframe. Now that value is set for the position, the ‘time’ you occupy on the timeline. You could choose any or all three of the coordinates.