Cinema 4D / Materials & Lights

March 17, 2014 § Leave a comment

> Firstly we need to create an environment, this is done using the environment object (top button bar), creating a (infinite) floor. Using the same tool, but holding it, select ‘background’.

> Next we use the material editor (bottom window) > Create > New material (or double click) > dragging it then to the floor, and the background on the object list.

> To change the aspects of these objects > select object (such as the floor) > right click ‘Cinema 4D tags’ > ‘Compositing tags’ > then turn on ‘compositing background’ which allows the floor to be transparent, this is good as it allows for shadows to be captured.

> Next we create some lights on the scene > after inserting the light, select it in the object window > go to the ‘coordinates’ tab, positioning it to (x)600 by (y)1000 by (z)-1000; this is the main light and will cast shadows. > Light (form objects) > ‘general’ tab > from the shadow drop down select ‘Shadow Maps Soft’.

> To be able to see the shadows in the viewport, go to the ‘Mode’ tab on the attributes window > ‘view settings’ selecting ‘view’ and ticking ‘shadows’ and ‘enhance openGL’ this allows the graphics card to see the shadows. While in this menu tick ‘Action safe’ so you can see a border on the viewport

> Next we create some objects > create a sphere > by dragging it up and down you can see the shadow. Adjusting the coordinates in the attributes for this shape you can change where the shadow appears, for this reason you want to have the shadows viewable so you can actually see what attributes you’re changing, visually.

> To create a material for the object: double click the material editor > go to the ‘colour’ tab > using the sliders to change the colour, or clicking the swatch using the editor > to apply the material either drag the material onto the object in the viewport, or onto the object editor.

> To sharpen up the shadow > go to the light object > ‘Shadow’ tab > shadow map is set to 250×250 (this is how many pixels are used to generate the shadow), increase this to increase shadow clarity > 750×750 gives a slightly soft edge, whereas 2000×2000 gives it quite sharp edges.

> The ‘shadow density’ can be changed to change the intensity of the shadow, making it more or less harsh, you can also change the shadow colour in the shadow options.

> The highlight on the object is called specularity, this emulates light hitting the object, this can determine what the object’s material looks like. To change this > click on the material that’s applied (in the material editor) > go to the ‘Specular’ tab > change the settings here.

> To apply a reflection to an object > click on the ‘Basic’ tab > select ‘reflection’ > to maintain the colour click on the ‘Reflection’ tab and turn down the brightness.

> To adjust what the reflection looks like, we can add a ‘texture map’ in the reflection channel > click the ‘texture’ button > select ‘Fresnel’ > this adds a gradient to the reflection, adding more reflection to the edges and less in the middle > this can be adjusted > this setting overrides the brightness setting.

> Depending on the desired effect, these materials can be very simple, or very complicated.

> Using the ‘noise’ texture, you can gain the appearance of roughness to an object, such as bumps to a material (bump channel can be selected in the ‘basic’ tab) > go to colour tab/channel > to copy the noise texture you’ve created: click the texture channel > ‘copy channel’. Next go to the ‘bump’ channel (tab) > paste the texture in the same manner > next selecting the preview box > the bump channel only works in black and white > this gains the bumpy texture of the original image (following the same patterns/lines/etc.) > the bump settings can be altered, changing the strength of it

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