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Making 3D Bullet Case

Lathing in Cinema 4D By Ko Maruyama
The question of rendering spent shells falling or ejecting into space in slow motion, a la The Matrix has been on message boards since the movie made its theatrical debut.  This week, I'll show you how to make your own geometry easily.  Although almost every 3D application can perform the same task, we'll use Maxon's Cinema 4D.

First you'll need to know what the case looks like.  There are different parts of a cartridge, but once used, they separate.  Although many people call the pieces by incorrect names, the bullet is the part that comes out, the projectile.  The pieces that are most commonly requested are the case and primer.

The base is usually the brass part and the primer is the bit which the hammer hits to ignite the charge, sending the bullet out of the cartridge.



Cases all look different depending on the arms that they are designed for.  Jewelry designer site bulletforge.com has some nice pictures of inert jewelry bullets.






Use an image to trace if you need to.  We'll only need the profile of the case.




Select the FRONT or RIGHT view to view the reference (if needed).  Use the spline tool to create the outer profile of the casing, starting at the bottom of of the shell, X=0, and tracing your way toward the top.





At the top, stop.  Use "v" on the keyboard to pull up the contextual HUD menu.  Select "Create Outline".  The Attribute window will change to reveal the active tool's parameters.  At this point, you may want to choose to create a new object.  Change the distance to 1.5 and click "Apply".





With the new spline selected, Option-select the LATHE NURBS object.




Optionally, you can add a primer (cylinder) that will stick out of the bottom of the lathe.




You're finished modeling.  Next is texturing.  Fortunately, your copy of Cinema 4D came with several materials to start with.  Metal 007 is a good material to use as a base.  Remove the Environment property by turning it off in the Basic Properties window.

 Add a simple white texture to the primer.  Add a little bit of metallic reflection to the primer texture.



Next up, different methods of animating these new models.  For updates on features, tutorials and more, be sure to subscribe to the email newletters, including RENDERS here on DMN.

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Ko Maruyama is a freelance animator in Los Angeles.  In addition to working on film and broadcast animations, Ko teaches at Pasadena's Art Center College of Design - focusing on motion design.  When working, writing or testing software allows, you can find him lending a hand in the After Effects board and lurking among the Cinema4D, Visual Effects and Photoshop posts within the DMNForums.
Related Keywords:Bullet, 3D Bullet, Matrix, case, jacket, 50mm bullet, Cinema 4D,

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