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Material Relief Effect in C4D

Using Displacement and Set Selections in CINEMA 4D By Miwa Hirano
There are many times when you don't need to model all of the geometry in an object.  Instead you can rely on a material to deform the shape of the geometry.  This reshaping caused by the material is called displacement, and occurs during the rendering process.  To localize where the displacement occurs, you can easily assign materials to specific selections of polygons.  Here is how to do it in a few simple steps.

In this tutorial we create simple relief you see in sculptural details of the buildings. I am going to create the muzzle part of the Cannon. There are different ways of creating this but I'm going to use displacement, extrude and set selection.

1. First, set the Tube Object to 240m for Inner Radius, 400m for Outer Radius, 40 for Rotation Segments and 136m for Height. Name it "muzzle".

2. We are going to move the edges to make squares on the side. Make Editable by clicking on the icon or press "C." Select the "Live Selection" tool (arrow) and tick off "Only Select Visible Elements" in the Options.

With "Edge Tool" on, go to the Top View and select every other line using the Shift key. WIth the "Only Select Visible Elements" off, we are selecting the edges of the top and bottom at the same time.

If you accidentally select an edge you don't want, use the control key to deselect it.

3. Next, go back to "Live Selection" Option and turn back on the "Only Select Visible Elements". In the Perspective View, use the Shift key and add the edges on the sides (inside and outside) that connects on the top and bottom edges.

4. Make sure you have selected every other lines throughout, then go to Selection --> Set Selection and name it "every other edge." Now that you have saved this selection, you won't need to go back and do this tedious work even when you accidently unselect it. "Set Selection" would create a tag.

Rotate the selected edges till it looks like this.

NOTE: the red edge lines

5. Next, we are going to add two edges across on the side to create the squares we want. Go to the Right View so we see the side. With "Use Polygon Tool" selected, press "k" or "m-k" (knife tool) and click on the left and drag to the right pressing the Shift key. Do another one near the bottom edge. (remember: you should be in POLYGON or EDGE mode to use the knife.)

6. Still with the "Use Polygon Tool" selected, go around the sides and select all the square faces. These are the faces that we'll have a flower reliefs on.   Go to Selection --> Set Selection and name it "flower faces."

7. Now we are going to Extrude these. Press "D" for Extrude tool and extrude the flower faces a little bit.

8. In Photoshop or Illustrator, make a simple flower for the relief. Black is where you don't want any relief and grays are where it'll look like it's embossed.

9. Next we are going to make a material for the flower relief. Turn off "Specular" and change the "Color" to green. Check "Displacement."  We are going to load the flower texture we created in Photoshop or Illustrator. To load the file, next to "Texture", click on the gray box with "..." on it, and select the flower texture file. Check the "Sub-Polygon Displacement" on.  I'll call this texture "flower."  Make another texture that is green which goes on the whole muzzle without the embossed square sides.  I named this "body" material.

10. Put the "body" material on the muzzle, select "Cylindrical" for Projection (Tag Properties) and then put the "flower" material on it and select "Cylindrical" for Projection also. Now we have both materials on the whole muzzle but we want the "flower" material to be on the embossed square parts "flower faces" only.
With the "flower" texture selected, drag the "flower faces" selection (red triangle tag) to the dark gray box next to Selection under Tag Properties.

Test render it. We can't see the flowers quiet yet but we can tell the displacement textures are in the right places, on the flower faces.

11. With "Texture Axis Tool", you can see the coordinates of the texture. This wireframe in light blue needs to match the muzzle size so I scaled mine to 300m in X and Z. 60m for Y. Then I changed the Tile size under "Tag Properties" to Tiles X=20 as we have 20 flower faces.

Test render it and it should look something like this.

That's it!  Now the displaced surfaces will catch light and cast shadows on surrounding surfaces.  Also, you can control the amount of displacement - and even animate the depth if you want to.

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Miwa Hirano is a motion graphic designer in Los Angeles area. She has a fine art background and studied graphic design at CalArts and Santa Monica College. She has over several years of experience in print graphic design. As a motion graphic designer, she worked at Form in W. Hollywood. There, she worked on projects for Motorola and NXcare which featured Carmen Elektra. Currently she is a member of Pixel Corps and working on projects with other artisans on the particle team. She is also a member of MGLA. Through her various experiences, she has knowledge of printing process, QuarkXpress, Illustrator, Photoshop and After Effects.
Related Keywords:CINEMA 4D, MAXON, DISPLACEMENT MATERIAL, miwa hirano, subpoly displacement, edge tool


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