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Cinema 4D Quick Tip: Keeping It Simple

Modeling and animation techniques that save time By Ko Maruyama
Oh sure, everyone knows that we're supposed to keep our projects simple to ensure production efficiency. However, when you put any 3D tool in the hands of a designer, sometimes all of the buttons and functions can get too overwhelming, and we want to press them all. In a 3D package like Maxon's Cinema4D, which affords users multitudes of modeling and animation tools under readily available icons, many designers find themselves "playing," when simple solutions are equally easy to find.

In this project, the job requires a vague shadow of a shark to pass in front of camera. Not only will there be camera moves, which require the outline to have volume, but the movements of the shark should be fluid. Finally, it needs to deliver before lunch.

The first thing to remember: What options are available to allow you to avoid 3D's costly modeling, animation and render time. It is possible to create rotosplines and add light wrapping effects in attempt to fake it. However, the turning of the shark and rotation of the camera will be difficult to morph points for. Rotoscoping a real shark is an option, but you are then confined to the actions of the photographed shark.

An additional consideration is the cost of the model versus the cost of modeling. Will buying a model save you money? If you lose one or two days to modeling your shark, you might consider purchasing one instead. A good model will cost you between $50 and $150.

For our $0 Budget, we'll create the fish ourselves. All of the fine details we can leave out. Only the gross mass of the fish will cast a shadow over our camera. This is the part we need to model. The head, body, fins, and tail. If you have a model of a shark, skip down to "Part Two: Making it swim" on page 4.

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