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Cinema 4D Displacement Mapping

Using textures to shape your model By Ko Maruyama
Not everything in 3D has to involve complex modeling. Sometimes there are alternative techniques that can be used to create imagery just as effective as anything you might spend hours building from scratch. This week we'll take a look at one such technique for creating a holiday graphic for St. Patrick's Day. Legend has it, of course, that St. Patrick plucked a shamrock from the earth to illustrate the doctrine of the Trinity. Well, in this tutorial, we'll pluck a shamrock from a clipart library to illustrate displacement mapping in Cinema 4D.

The technique we'll look at today combines a primitive 3D shape with an image that will be used to give our object depth. In this case, the object is a shamrock. We'll take a quick look at how to create the basic effect, followed by a more in depth explanation of height maps, bump maps and displacement maps and their associated parameters.

Quick Tip: Shamrock Coin
1. Download the attached image (sham_height.jpg) here (63 KB).

2. Open C4D and create a disk primitive. In the disk's attributes, increase the disk segments to 20.

3. Create a new material. In the basic attributes, activate the "Displacement" channel. Then open the properties for displacement by clicking the property box (in the row of words above)

4. Click the "Image..." button to select the height map through the finder. Choose sham_height.jpg.

5. Leave the "Strength" property at 100%. Change the "Height" property to 25m.

6. Apply material to the disk object.

7. Add a HyperNURBS object, and make it a parent of the disk. (I usually change the attributes on the HyperNURBS to reflect the same subdivisions in Editor and Render for view window renders).

8. Render Active View.

You can add textures or shaders in the color channel of the material if you wish. You can add an extruded cog, or create a simple cylinder to add depth to your coin.

Want to know how and why this works? Or, if you had a question with any of the steps mentioned above, read on.

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