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No, Really, It's Just a Cube!

Creating geometric texture backgrounds in Cinema 4D By Ko Maruyama
It's used all over, and all over used, but you are still trying to figure out how to make those slick geometric background textures found on the Web and in print. This might help.

Yeah, you could set out to make the shapes in your favorite 2D paint/composite application, but since there are so many tools in 3D that simplify the creation of these elements, I'll start in a 3D application.

I use Maxon's Cinema 4D XL, but you can use any 3D app you're comfortable with. C4D is now on version 8.1, but I was creating similar images back with v.6, so don't worry about upgrading just to follow along. However, there are several excellent features in 8 that you need if you're really going to keep up in the professional 3D community. Okay, so on with it. Let's create this one:

Part 1: Making the cube thing
Start with a Cube. Any geometry will do; a cube is the easiest to manipulate right off the bat.

I've converted the object into an editable polygon (the default hotkey = c).

Next, I want to create a new object by simply extruding the surfaces of the polygonal cube. First, I will have to switch from the Object Tool to the Polygon Tool.

With the Polygon Tool selected, I'll choose the surfaces I want to effect. Because I want to use all of the surfaces, I can use the Cmd-A in the editor window to choose all of the polys in my cube. Extrude Inner (i) will duplicate and shrink/grow the face edges without adding depth to the planes. Dragging the "extrude" cursor will manually manipulate the amount of extrusion.

Extrude (d) will do the same, but will additionally add depth to those selected polys.

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