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Path Deformer for Cinema 4D

A new way to distort your geometry By Ko Maruyama
Want to bend your geometry?  Whether it's as simple as a falling ribbon, or as complicated as some character animation, there is a new plugin available to Maxon Cinema 4D users that will help to get the job done quickly and easily.  This plugin will soon be the 3D broadcast designer's weapon of choice, just as shine quickly gained popularity in the 2D world.  Get ready for Path Deformer.  

Renato Tarabella is a is an Italian 3D designer who wrote a plugin which deforms an object along a spline without damage to the proportions of the model.  Originally from Turin, Renato started working on computers in 1980, using a Sinclair ZX80!  Later, in 1987, while enrolled in the Army Service, he started creating animations using an Amiga 2000 for local TV stations in the Liguria region using Videoscape and Dpaint.

In 1992, Tarabella was awarded the Jury Special Prize at the Bit.Movie Computer Art Festival at Roccione.  In 1993, at an Amiga Expo in Colonia, Tarabella saw Cinema4D for the first time.

Today, Renato uses Cinema4D for broadcast animation.  After requiring specific custom tools, even after purchasing the R9 package, he decided to make his own.  Fortunately for us, there is now a free copy of his useful tool available for download.

PATH DEFORMER LITE

Actually, he's produced several plugins - for both Mac and PC use.  On Tarabella's Cinema4D page you'll find Path Deformer and NOTA (Not Only Text Animator) - which will be covered later.

When you click on the icon for PATH DEFORMER (the orange worm), you'll navigate to a page dedicated to Path Deformer and Path Deformer Lite.

To purchase Path Deformer, click on the PayPal icon that is located in the lower right hand corner of the window.  The price is 44Euros, or about $50US, but purchase it soon, as the dollar is slipping against the Euro; and this may convert to a higher US price.

Alternatively, you could simply navigate to the link at the bottom of the page.  The text in bold letters reads: GET PATH DEFORMER LITE FOR FREE.

Yes, it's true, Path Deformer Lite is free.  While it shouldn't be considered a "demo" of the purchased version, it does share some of the features, most notably the ability to assign a spline and animate the position of a shape along it.  This will help you get a quick overview of the potential that lies within this simple deformer and its more complex sibling.

There are several worthwhile elements that are notably missing in the free release, including a second rail path, which controls banking - similarly to that found in the align-to-spline tag; twist and scale parameters, which will be very important to the broadcast designer; weight mapping, use of splines to act like bones is absent, and, finally; parented Nulls do not aid in tracking from object to object below a Path Deformer object.

With those exceptions, Path Deformer Lite works quickly and easily to deform geometry along the spline of your choice.

One of the nicest characteristics of Path Deformer and Path Deformer Lite is the ability to work with a very basic skill set to complete a very complex animation.



INSTALLATION.

Installing PathDeformer Lite couldn't be easier. Simply place the entire folder that you download into the Plugins Folder within you Cinema 4D folder.  I'm going to use Cinema4D version 8.5.  NOTE: This plugin works with versions 8.2 - 9.1.  If you're using any version prior to 8.2, it's probably a good idea to upgrade as soon as possible.  The added productivity tools will make the upgrade work more for you.



You'll do this with almost every plugin in Cinema 4D.  Some plugins will require a serial number or activation code, but here's where you'll store the plugin data.

Once you have the plugin in the folder, launch Cinema 4D. (Note, I'm using 8.5 because the "LITE" build does not work well with the Pro version - - but if you have the Pro version, there's no need to install the LITE version as well, unless you have to import a project from someone using the LITE version.  Renato will release a fix for this as more Pro users request it).


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Related Keywords:MAXON, RENATO, TARABELLA, PATH DEFORMER, CINEMA 4D, C4D


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