Cinema 4D Handbook: Chapter 4, Part II

14Sep11

All through September I am going through the Cinema 4D, r10 Handbook in hopes of gaining a new skill and better understanding of 3D modeling. I plan to (from here on out) cover two chapters a week (longer chapters will be broken into multiple posts). Stay tuned for new chapters.

Yesterday I posted Part One of Chapter 4, well, here’s Part Two.

Chapter 4: Polygon Modeling, Part II

The first part of Chapter 4 was all about using polygons to create models through Additive Modeling (creating points and forming geometry from that). The second half is all about Box Modeling (using primitives and extrusions to create geometry).

Tutorial 4.2: The Dolphin

This second tutorial is the first introduction into using HyperNURBS. HyperNURBS are a way of saying that you are using subdivisions to model. “HyperNURBS will try to affect any geometry connected to it, but you will find that it is most effectively used in conjunction with polygons.”

HyperNURBS subdivide and round linked objects. They aren’t a “go to” method of modeling because in subdividing an object, with HyperNURBS, you increase the number of polygons. More polygons means more render time.

Tutorial 4.2 taught:
• Basic HyperNURBS modeling
• The Symmetry tool
• Importing and using Modeling Guides
• Box Modeling

Configuring Viewports and Importing Modeling Guides:

When you model to proper proportions you usually need to work from a reference. This means that you need to bring in various perspective drawings (or photos) of what you’re trying to model. A front, side, and top view of what you’re modeling will give you enough data to make your model to scale. This is where viewports come in. by using a 4-Up display, you can easily see how your images form to create your guides.

To Configure the Viewports:
1) Enter into the 4-Up display by using the “F5” key.
2) Click on the perspective view and select “Edit> Configure All.” This will allow you to edit preferences on all four displays.
3) Make global changes to your viewports.

To Import Modeling Guides:
1) Go into the Top View (F2) and hit Edit> Configure.
2) Choose “Back” and click on the “Ellipsis” button.
3) Navigate to your Top View guide and choose it.
4) Repeat for the Right View (F3) and the Front View (F4).

Create the Cube and HyperNURBS:
1) Create a Cube Primitive and change its “X” size to 110. *The cube is where all the geometry for the model will come from.
2) Convert the cube to a polygon. Functions> Make Editable
3) Create a HyperNURBS object and link the cube to it. Objects> NURBS> HyperNURBS

Extrude the Cube to Create the Dolphin Cage:
1) Enter the Right View and select the Points and Live Selection tools.
2) Move the point of the cube so they match the first section of your reference image.
3) Move into the Top View and use the Scale tool to move corresponding points to match the reference. *You now have the base shape for your dolphin.
4) In the Perspective View,  use the Polygon tool to select the front polygon. *NOTE: Enable “Only Select Visible” in the Live Selection tool’s properties. **Double check that only the front is selected by going into the Perspective View, then pressing “N” and selecting Lines (“G”).
5) Go into the Right View and Extrude the face to fill the next block in your reference.
6) Change to Points and Live Selection tools and move the points to match the shape of the reference.
7) In Top View, use Scale to match points to the reference image.
8 ) Repeat until you get to the nose section in the reference. *Stop here because the nose is split into to sections, top and bottom.

Create the Dolphin’s Mouth/Nose:
1) In Front View, use the Polygon tool to select the front face and hit “K” to invoke the Knife tool.
2) Make two horizontal Line cuts, dividing the front face into three equal sections. *NOTE: Holding “SHIFT” will lock your cursor into a straight line.
3) Select the middle and bottom sections. Go into Right View and Extrude. In the extrude settings, uncheck “Preserve Groups.” This will allow you to pull the faces out as separate extrusions.
4) Extrude and Align the nose pieces to your reference image like you did with the Body Cage. (I forgot to switch to the Top View, and had to go back later to do it. Keeping track of the points was much more difficult.)

Make the Tail Section:
1) In Perspective View, use the Polygon and Live Selection tool to select the back polygon of the original cube.
2) Use Extrude to expand the section in the Right View. Move and scale the points like you did for the rest of the Body Cage. *Stop when you get to the fanned out tail section.
3) Use the 4-Up display to Extrude once more. Verify that the extrusion lines up in the Top and Right Views.
4) Select the side polygons of the newly extruded section, using the Polygon tool.
5) In the Top View, Extrude both sections out then pin them back using the Move tool. Adjust the points as needed.

Create the Dorsal Fin and Flippers:
To Make the Dorsal Fin:
1) Use the Polygon and Live Selection tools to select the polygon on the top of the body cage.
2) Perform an Extrude Inner. The shortcut is “I.”
3) In the Right View, raise the extrusion. Then use Points and Live Selection to match the points to the guide.
4) Extrude the rest of the fin like before.

To Extrude the Flippers:
1) Select the polygon on the bottom of the Body Cage that corresponds to the flippers on the reference image.
2) Perform an Extrude Inner then enter Front View. Pull the extrusion down until it matches the reference.
3) In Perspective View, use the Live Selection tool in Polygon mode to select the face that points away from the Body Cage.
4) Extrude the polygon out, using the Front and Right Views to match the reference image.

Splitting and Symmetry

Because the dolphin is the same on both sides, you don’t need to model a completely different fin. You can split the model in half and duplicate the other side. The Symmetry Object is a good way to mirror an image. “[The Symmetry Object] takes any geometry and mirrors it along a specific axis.”

Splitting the Cage:
1) Invoke the Knife tool and go into Front View.
2) Draw a line down the center of the body cage.
3) Use the Rectangle Selection tool to draw a box around the side of the dolphin.
4) Press “Delete” to delete half of the model.
5) Use the Rectangle Selection tool to grab the points that make up the dividing line of the model.
6) Align all the points to the X-Axis. Structure> Set Point Value, set the value to 0

Mirroring the Cage:
1) Create a Symmetry Object. Objects> Modeling> Symmetry
2) Link the dolphin cage to the Symmetry Object, then link the symmetry to the HyperNURBS.

Here’s my finished dolphin:

HyperNURBS and Polygon modeling is a great way to model organic models. Combining the tools here with practice will make them a “serious part of your toolset and workflow.” Chapter 5: Materials and Textures, is a long chapter (61 pages), and will probably be broken up into two sections. But I’ll try to get them both posted this week.

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One Response to “Cinema 4D Handbook: Chapter 4, Part II”


  1. 1 Cinema 4D Handbook: Chapter 4, Part II « Widen Media Blog « 3D Camera « Hitech

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