My NAB 2013 Presentation

So Maxon posted videos of all the presentations from NAB 2013. Mine was about how XPresso can help optimize your workflow in Cinema 4D. I demonstrate how you can create control panels with User Data to streamline all your relevant project settings into one spot. Here’s the project files that went along with it.

I had a blast at NAB and a great time with the Maxon crew. It was inspiring and an honor to be in the company of so many creative C4D users from around the world.

Check out the video and if you have any questions please contact me.

NAB Rundown

I’m presenting for Maxon at NAB today in Las Vegas. I’ll be demonstrating how to use XPresso to enhance you Cinema 4D Projects. This post contains everything you need to follow along with my presentation on C4D Live:

I’m on Twitter @bigmikedesign

Here are the sample projects to follow along during my presentation.

Here is my reel.

Here is a link to the C4D Games Projects if you wish to check them out and download them all.

Here is link to my donationwareCinema 4D Twitter project with a sample video showing you all the controls in action.

Thanks, if you wish to contact me after the presentation with comments/questions you can email me at mike@bigmikedesign.com

Cinema 4D Twitter Feed Made with XPresso

I keep seeing all sorts of TV shows post tweets during broadcasts, you can’t escape it. I keep seeing people post the same generic Twitter layout for displaying tweets, it’s probably just a basically template in Photoshop that is updated daily by interns. There is usually no movement or anything animated, just a boring, static graphic.

I started to build a 3D Tweet as a way to display a tweet inside Cinema 4D, and before long I built an entire Twitter feed and web browser.I looked at a Twitter feed and translated it into a MoGraph object, it’s basically just a linear cloner that iterates tweets. So I rigged a ton of XPresso to give the user compete control over everything you’d want to customize in the feed. You can customize the browser window, trending topics, your summarized Twitter profile, and obviously the individual tweets. You can enter in the text you want and all the secondary information to make the tweet appear exactly how you’d see it on Twitter (well, like 99% accurate, this is 3D animation not web design).

Here’s a video I posted showing how you control it, the file is available here for free. I decided against making it a pay file and just as donationware, so enjoy.

C4D Twitter Donation



Other Amount:



I’m Presenting at NAB Next Week

Maxon asked me to be a presenter for their software demonstration at NAB in Las Vegas this year. Naturally I accepted; it’s a pretty cool honor to have them notice your work. And of all the people in the world using and creating great stuff with Cinema 4D, I won’t ask too many questions why they chose me and instead just enjoy them bringing me out to Vegas.

Three to four years ago I was down on my luck after walking away from the glamorous lifestyle of mass producing local car commercials. I couldn’t get a design job anywhere. In September 2009 I didn’t make it past the first round of interviews for a part time job designing animated advertisements for a flat screen TV inside and Indian grocery store in Iselin, NJ. Yes apparently there were a second set of interviews for this position. That all sounds funny now that I see it typed out. Since then I got my foot in the door somewhere, I eventually got hired, I wrote a book, and enough people think I am smart and qualified enough to give me these opportunities. Honestly it’s a cool position to be in; I’m only 27 and I keep improving my knowledge and creative capabilities every year. Hopefully my presentation will share something cool and insightful about Cinema 4D. It will lean heavy on XPresso.

Check out C4D Live on Wednesday and Thursday for my presentation.

C4D Games: Duck Shoot

So this has been done for awhile, but I completely forgot to post it. Like 5 months. Oops. I obviously run a tight ship here on my site.

This installment of C4D Games is recreating a carnival style game of Duck Shoot. You take aim at moving duck targets, some are big and some are small. You can specify point values for the different sized ducks, and the game automatically tallies the score for you. You can shoot one bullet before having to reload (musket style weapons) just so it’s more challenging. Check out the sample video to see how this is coded with XPresso, and how all the MoGraph an Dyanmics settings are configured to get this game working.

Click here to download the game and check it out.

Meta Balls Rorschach Test in Cinema 4D

While working on a project I stumbled into a cool design with Meta Balls in Cinema 4D that creates this 3D version of the Rorschach Test. It’s the famous test where you are given 10 different ink blots to stare at by a psychologist and you are asked what you interpret the image to be. They are just smudges but sometimes you can make out the silhouettes of certain objects or themes, thus determining if you are 100% completely insane or not.

Using a Cloner with a sphere, a Random Effector, a Formula Effector, and Meta Balls, I was able to create a free-flowing version of a test. The great thing about Using MoGraph with this is you can alter the random seed, the number of clones, or any number of different options and get a completely different looking animation. Pause the video at any point and look at the pattern. See anything interesting?

Clearly this is the Dog from Dunk Hunt laughing at you when you fired and missed shooting at the duck.

2012 Reel Intro Design

I figured out awhile back that making something cool that introduces your reel is a free and easy way to create something completely unique on your own, without any clients being involved. You have the first and the final say in however it looks. It’s important to have something cool at the start of the reel to set the tone for the rest of your work; you want anybody checking out your stuff to have a positive first impression of what you are capable of designing.

So clearly the only correct answer in this situation is to create some sort of cylindrical, rejected, mechanical prop from Tron 2 and place a flat screen TV inside it with some glitchy video.

I started out just trying to create some sort of video revealer, and I watched and loved a lot of graphics on NFL Network this year so I think this sort of procedural-building-mechanical animation style was on my mind. If only all my work could look like Big Machine’s instead…

I made the basic a shape and cranked up the details, making some sort of sliding space tube. I imagined the TV inside presenting my reel, so I attached it to the inside with these robot claws and pieced the whole thing together. I experimented with different materials, and toyed with a sort of all white, clean room kind of look, but I love the super reflective black look, it probably makes people think I’m super-dangerous and slick. Maybe.

It was a heavy render out of Cinema 4D, I applied Ambient Occlusion to get some shadow detail inside the crevices. I used an External Compositing tag to replace the edit I did to introduce my reel with the footage inside the screen. It’s a more interesting way to introduce myself and tease the contents of my reel.

Finally, I updated my reel with some new stuff and final;ly scrubbed it of all those nasty car commercials. BIg day for me. I also added some new music from the Vimeo Music store, it’s a track by Human Factor called “Step on Back.” Well worth a $1.99, I love this track.

Univision Holiday Campaign Animation

This animation I made aired throughout the holiday season on Univision. My producers wanted it to be similar to the animation I did for their summer campaign.

The actual logo animation is a very simple spin inside Cinema 4D, it’s not going to rock anyone’s socks off. I created a very reflective red material for the logo because I wanted to try and make it look like it was a Christmas ornament.

The part I ended up liking the best were the gold ribbons, which were a technique I developed after to avoid dealing with the frustrations of working with Cloth in Cinema 4D. I hate using Cloth in Cinema 4D, I will avoid it at all costs. The ribbons are a Plane object modified with a Spline Wrap deformer to get their overall shape and control their path on a Helix spline. But if you stop there you have just a flat and dull looking line circling the screen. The key to making them float and fly in an organic manner was to apply a Displacer deformer to them as well. If you bump up the Height of the Displacement and the Global Scale of the Noise pattern you pick in your Shading options, you can get a wide level of displacement that makes the ribbon look more natural as it flows through the scene. Then you can just change the Seed value on the Noise shader and you’ll get different looking patterns for the ribbons, and you can find one that you like the best. Much easier than using cloth for ribbons.

Some Dynamics Examples From My Book

Here’s the end results of the lessons in chapter 10 of my book on Dynamics in Cinema 4D. I cover most of the dynamic features of the program like the Dynamics Body tag, springs, connectors, Soft Body dynamics, how to make MoGraph cloners dynamic, dynamic cloth, dynamic splines, and hair.

The key advantage of using dynamics is you can create realistic looking reactions and collisions without using keyframes. You set up a world and how your objects interact, and let Cinema 4D handle the rest. In my opinion it’s one of the the more fun areas to explore in the program, you can do some very creative and interesting stuff (like making cereal for example!) with dynamics.

You can find my book avilable for purchase here.

Rube Goldberg Machine Made with Dynamics

This animation is the result from the final lesson in my book. The last chapter deals with configuring dynamics in Cinema 4D, which is the process of making objects interact with each other with collisions, as well as forces, gravity, and more.

From the moment I started using dynamics in Cinema 4D I always thought of making a Rube Goldberg Machine, an elaborate contraption that yields a very simple result through chain reactions of many objects. It’s basically like creating a big game of Mouse Trap, except you have to make the whole thing yourself and kids will get really bored watching you tweak settings like Rotational Mass, Collision Noise, Linear Damping, and Angular Velocity Threshold.

I designed as many pieces as I could and tried dozens of combinations to get a complete sequence that results in the big finale. The lesson in the book takes you through the process of taking a bunch of static 3D objects and making them behave as this complex machine. The entire process requires no keyframes at all, which is all thanks to the power of dynamics.

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