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



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New Tutorial with Motionworks: Collision Deformer

Hey head over to John Dickinson’s site Motionworks and check out this tutorial I made using the new Collision Deformer in Cinema 4D. In my book I go over this new tool in release 13, and this is a new example I developed where we create a figure object who is completely bulletproof; we animate bullets the bounce off of our hero and fall to the ground. All we need is the Collision Deformer and some dynamics.

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.

Protagonistas Show Opening

Me and a couple other animators were given less than a week to prepare an entire graphics package for this new show called “Protagonistas.” The producers left the graphics on the backburner in the hands of some animators that weren’t cutting it for about 3 months. I would have loved to collect checks and produce subpar graphics for 3 months, but instead I was asked to make something nice in about 5 days.

Protagonistas follows the cookie cutter reality show format of: Auditioning contestants in front of 3 judges -> move selected contestants into house -> sit back and watch them fight/argue/have sex/argue about sex fights -> vote contests off until a star is born.

This show searches for the next big telenovela star. I was denied an opportunity to be on the show to which I am still outraged. Just because I’m white and don’t speak Spanish shouldn’t preclude me from becoming a telenovela star. I could totally be on Que Hora Es? and they know this. I will have to catch my big break at another time.

I highlighted the main part pf the show’s opening that I did in this clip, they added some sound effects and music for the broadcast addition. I had to make a tunnel full of screens showcasing clips of the contestants on the show. They wanted all this to feel like we are going into the camera lens, which is the main element of the show’s logo. The tunnel is a heavy render in Cinema 4D with the help of MoGraph. I modeled one flat screen TV and placed it in a radial cloner, then made a linear cloner of each radial cloner. The camera is set to have a very wide lens to make the tunnel appear a lot deeper than it actual is. I had to apply different clips to each TV so there was some variety among the monitors, so there were a lot of materials. I didn’t have Cinema 4D 13 at my disposal so I couldn’t use the new multishader setting where you can add entire folders to just one material.

The shutter is a transition I made with another radial cloner to the contestants on the show. They wanted a sort of “beam me up Scotty” effect to introduce the characters. Each contestant enters through a combination of effects like linear wipe, turbulent displace, and emitting some particles using Trapcode Particular. I used a lot of tech overlays from the Motion Designer’s Toolkit because having pre-rendered footage like that is the only way I could pull that off in a few days.

This intro marks the first time in Univison history that the female contestants are wearing more clothes than the males. Despite concerns from me and multiple other people with common sense that framing the male characters waist up without a shirt will make people think they are naked, this is exactly what the shows producers wanted to infer. There was plenty of room for me to include the tops of their pants, but I was told to scale them up so that viewers will obviously be so captivated by a bunch of naked hombres on the screen. This will clearly lead to incredible ratings, increased advertising revenue, and ensure that the visionaries that insist on shooting guys waist up without shirt get promoted.

Fix it in Post: Summer Campaign

If by any chance you’ve seen a commercial break on Univision in the past few months you’ve probably seen my promos for the network, suggesting you to enjoy the summer on Univision. Since it’s August already, I strongly recommend you tune in ASAP and absorb one of the many different promos I did for summer before it’s too late for you to disfruta el verano. They feature various on air personalities doing cheesy-fun summer stuff outside. Strangely I myself was not cast to be in any of the fun vignettes with beach balls, picnics, and tropical drinks with umbrellas in them. Weird. Maybe next time.

But you know you’ve hit it big when your work is featured across the web among articles wondering how Paulina Rubio looks in a bathing suit after having a baby.

Each promo ends with a shot of a nice summer scene where I placed an animation of the Univision logo splashing out of the water. The one shot that was deemed the most important of all the endings was a tilting shot from the hotel balcony overlooking beautiful Miami Beach. It was to make you want to jump through your TV on the spot and hopefully land in the Atlantic, except that it looked like this:
green beach

/sad trombone

Awwwww. Why is it all…green? Did we have to shoot directly into the sun? There’s no detail in the water and sky, you know, the stuff that will make it look kinda nice. Really, this is the shot I’m supposed to work with? OK BRING IT:

Basically I created a scene that wasn’t technically real at all, I replaced, enhanced, and added just about everything you see. This is what I feel like a beach is supposed to look like, whether you can actually find a beach that looks like a postcard is not TV’s problem. I could direct you to way better effects breakdowns from bigger studios to show you that the best composites actually go unnoticed, and you have toruble figuring out what parts of the the image are real and what’s been fixed in post production, or you probably don’t think about it at all.

I started by tracking the camera move so that I could position all my new layers properly in the animation. The originally clip needed a massive color correction, the white balance of the camera wasn’t even close, so I had to remove a lot of green to make the beach look somewhat normal. The sun had blown out the exposure and made the water and sky look awful, so I basically took the water detail from the right hand side of the screen and finessed it into the left side of the screen so there would actually be something there. I replaced the sky with a clear image, and color corrected both new pieces to look very saturated and rich, something to original image lacked entirely. From here it was adding the 3D logo I animated in Cinema 4D, as well as compositing the water into the composition. I wish I knew how to use Real Flow, but the water is from the Compositor’s Tool Kit from Digital Juice. I matched up some pieces and had to time remap the clips just so the splashes and condensation looked right with the logo. Then I added a fake sun to make the image a little hazier, I simply placed it in the same spot as the original sun.

The result is a scene that would be nearly impossible to capture in nature, but since you are accustomed to seeing picturesque beach scenes like this, you hardly give it a second thought as to if it’s real or not. And then you rewind your DVR to watch Chiquinquirá Delgado float by on the raft again.

Yea I really wish I could have gone on location for this shoot.

Musical Particle Streaks

Here’s a sample of some particle streaks that I made in After Effects using Trapcode Particular. They were for Univision’s Upfront presentation in 2011, where the network unveiled new programming and company statistics for the upcoming year. It was like a big interactive Powerpoint presentation, except Pitbull performed. I’ve never made a Powerpoint presentation with Pitbull.

This was the opening sequence of the event, almost like a countdown with musical instruments tuning up before the show was about to start. I didn’t have a whole lot of time to do this, less than I would have liked. Each shot with a musician was to be contained in one of 8 screens spread around the New Amsterdam Theater in New York. The trail was designed to lead the audience across the stage to the next screen, and have the trail die off in the next frame. I couldn’t really show that without the actual set up in the venue, so I just combined them into one video for the post.

Each streak is actually 4 different kinds of emitters: one for the puff of smoke in the beginning, the main fat streak, the other skinny streaks, and the floating dust particles. I probably set a personal record for most particles ever used, they were a bit heavy when rendering in HD.

Live Performance Loops – Premio Lo Nuestro

I did a some content for the show Premio Lo Nuestro this year. This is the second awards show I’ve done content for, also for the 2010 Latin Grammys. I designed the video content that goes on the screens behind the artists when they preform. It’s not just a giant TV behind them, but it’s little accent monitors and displays around the entire stage and venue. It’s definitely a different medium to showcase your work and requires different techniques than traditional motion design for television. In this case, the art is not the focus of the viewer, it’s supplemental to the live performance by the artist. It took me awhile to not think in terms of designing a music video, but something larger that lends itself to the style and artist of the the performance. And once I actually see the content on broadcast TV, it becomes apparent from various camera angles and perspectives that you rarely see your entire design, unless it’s a very wide camera shot. Therefore things can’t appear too big on the screen, and you also can’t focus too much on minute details because they become lost in a performance with singers, dancers, flashing lights, panning cameras, stage effects, etc.

I’m not sure how long these videos will last before the Univison lawyers go off on them, but I’ll try and keep them up as long as I can.



The first one I did was for Ricky Martin. It was not my favorite piece by far. I was given very little time to produce this because of various hold ups with his management. I spent only a couple days designing and executing a iece that was over 3 minutes long, while my other loops were tested and fleshed out over the course of a several weeks. It was too generic for my taste, basing it on a Trapcode Form style animation was not my idea or personal cup of tea.

The next artist I did content for was Tony Dize. The performance was supposed to have a Japanese theme in terms of art direction, so I styled my loops accordingly. I didn’t feel like the set and stage props really tied it together, and I felt like my loops were a little out of place. The opening was a Japanese style room with sliding paper doors revealing a peace bridge scene outside. I also made a koi pond with rippling water and some koi fish I was pretty proud of. I took a still photo and manipulated it to move using some bend effects in After Effects, so it appeared to swim as a real fish. I also made some falling cherry blossom petals and falling red maple leaves for separate scenes. I originally had them paint on over the duration of the loop, but the creatives above me didn’t feel like the effect translated well to the big screens, so I left it on the paper canvas and added the final paint texture to the entire duration of the loop.

I’d like to thank Nick Campbell, the Greyscale Gorilla for publishing a tutorial awhile back based on an effect he saw using reflective glass. It was pretty much exactly what my creative director described that he wanted here for Prince Royce, and I had previously viewed the tutorial so I knew what to do. I added a twist to part of it by launching the reflective glass pieces into the air and having them fall back down with gravity out of the bottom of the frame.

The last artist I did was for Fuego, and it was the act thgat closed the show so that was kind of cool. Obviously being named Fuego, we tied in a fire theme. I presonally love working with fire footage, and I used this 3K FIre Footage from Rampant Media Design Tools for some of my content. I made some nightclub lasers, a full concert stage, dancing girls among fire, as well as various generic fire loops to tie in to his 2 song medley.

All in all it’s a cool gig to design for, it definitely breaks up the monotony that can come from designing the same things for TV all the time.

Snow Globe Animation – Lower Third Countdown

I forgot to post this after the start of the New Year, but it’s a little snow globe countdown animation I did for the show Despierta America. It popped up in the corner every hour or so on the TV broadcast to remind you how soon Christmas was coming. I made 2 versions, one counting down the days until Christmas and one counting down until New year’s Day. I had to come up with something holiday themed, so I designed this snow globe and made it happen. The globe was modeled in Cinema 4D with some reflections and glass materials. I added the numbers inside the globe and made them kind of flow back and forth with a Formula Effector in Mograph, then I randomized it for each number so that they would be slightly different each day.

I brought it into After Effects and first positioned and animated it in the bottom left corner of the screen. Once it was in place I created a little snow storm inside it with Trapcode Particular. I have only seen snow once in my life, so I had to do hours and hours of research to study how exactly now moves to get the best looking effect I possibly could (no I didn’t). The rest of it was adding little glows, flares, snowflakes, and sparkles to make it fun and festive to go with the holiday. I drew a simple zig-zag Christmas tree and traced it on underneath the effects. It’s a simple but effective animation.

The New Year’s one was very similar, but instead of the tree I created a confetti particle system that launched colored confetti all over the corner of the screen.

Fuego Cruzado Title Sequence

This is a short title sequence for a segemnt on the show Aqui y Ahora called “Fuego Cruzado” which means “Crossfire.” Crossfire was a sweet game I had when I was a kid. I thought about this game nonstop while I worked on this animation.

Damn those effects are sick, that song rocks, I wish I still had this game…
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