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Cinema 4D XL Quick Tip 2

Creating a wavy flag effect for use in motion graphics By Ko Maruyama
With some effects, achieving a "3D look" is sometimes better left to an actual 3D application. Let's say, for example, that you want to create the effect of a flag waving and dancing across the canvas like a snake. Well, some of you might be tempted to try this inside your motion graphics package. But here's a quick and effective way to do it in Maxon's Cinema 4D XL, which you can then render and bring into Discreet Combustion, Adobe After Effects or any other compositing application.

We begin with a simple striped plane, which will sneak onto screen like an advancing snake on a deformation path. Why would we want to build this effect in a 3D program? Well, if we were only talking about a static shape, that would probably be the way to go. But for this effects, you'd have to create one set of masks for the wave and another to reveal the wave, which might be too much of a headache. Also, a pre-rendered 3D effect is much easier to keep track of in your motion graphics timeline.

Now, there are several ways you can achieve this effect in CInema 4D (or other 3D apps), but here's a straightforward and easy one. We'll only need to use a plane for our geometry, a wind deformer to move the geometry and a procedural texture to give us the shape of the stripes in the flag.

First, start with a plane. Make sure the Orientation is -Z.

The second part is to add the deformation. The "Wind" deformation tool does what you think it would, simulates a directional wind. The attributes of the Wind Object are pretty simple:

Amplitude: How deep the deformation is.
Size: How long in between peaks
Frequency: How often does it generate a deformation
Turbulence: How much does the tool distort the object other than the above factors.
fx: The amount of frequency scaling on the "x" axis
fy: The amount on the "y" axis.
The last little box is "Flag" This defaults "on" Let's turn if off.

Once the Wind is introduced to the scene, make it a child of the Plane object. Drag the name/icon onto the name/icon for Plane in the Object Manager. Notice right away that the tool begins to deform the plane. The Wind deforms its parent from the axis center in its axis direction. So, we'll need to drag it to the edge of the Plane. To make positioning easier, you can either use math or turn off the effect and look at the project from the front view. Because I know my default plane is 400 m wide, I'll reposition the Wind to -200.

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