New Series: TurbulenceFD Tests

When evaluating a plugin’s usefulness, I like to ask the question “how hard would it be to do what this plugin does if I didn’t have it?” Well in the case of fluid simulation plugin Turbulence FD by Jawset, the answer is “damn near impossible.”

Creating animated fire had always been difficult. The way in which fiery flames move and behave is so organic that attempting to create it purely from software can fall pretty flat. Often times my best bet would use clips of real fire and composite it together in my project, it was as realistic as I could get.

Once I saw what TurbulenceFD could do inside Cinema 4D, I was amazed. Getting great looking fire looked so easy, with lots of flexibility inside of my own 3D project. But once I started using the plugin I was a little lost initially. Then I got sidetracked for over a year with other material and forgot just about everything I learned initially.

So once I got back to square one, I did things differently this time. I feel like there’s not a whole lot of great material available for learning TurbulenceFD online. Many tutorials tend to just plug in numbers in different parameters and skip out on explaining why you’re doing what you’re doing with the plugin. So as I tried learning the ins and outs of the plugin, I decided to renderer out some tests to visually understand how the parameters change the fluid simulation. My process was to just change  one parameter at a time, then compare and contrast the results side by side to see how the change affected the simulation. And I figured as long as I was learning the plugin,  I figured maybe I could help other out a little too by posting and explaining the comparisons.

All these test videos can be found here, and on my Vimeo album if you want to sort through them that way. Here’s a sample file which I used as the starting point for all these sims. I’m still learning the plugin and getting better at it, so I’ll keep posting videos as I go along.

Video Training Series for X-Particles

I just wrapped up working with cmiVFX to publish a training series on the powerful particle plugin for Cinema 4D, X-Particles. It’s a 10 part and roughly 4 hour long series of tutorials that can get you familiar with the plugin that is definitely growing as a fan favorite among Cinema 4D users, and opening doors for you to create awesome particle effects in Cinema 4D.

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I have been using X-Particles for awhile now and I love how much more functionality you gain inside Cinema 4D by using it instead of the regular particle system, and I find it at least thousand times easier to use than the clunky, XPresso-based Thinking Particles. I find X-Particles feels almost like an extension of MoGraph, basically instead of Cloners you have Emitters and instead of Effectors you have Modifiers. You’ll notice how fast and stable it is right away, it previews and renders very quickly, allowing you to visually see you particle simulation change on the spot.

In these lessons I hit as many topics as I can on X-Particles as I can in about 4 hours. If you have never used the plugin I’m pretty confident after watching my training you will have a good grasp of how to use X-Particles and what you could potentially create with it. I start out going over most of the terms and tools at the base level of X-Particles, and the last few chapters get into some more advanced setups and projects. The goal as always is to give you enough information for you to be inspired to create designs on your own with the help of this new tool.

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Included with the training is a bundle of projects that you can use to follow along and breakdown how you can build these X-Particles designs. I tried to develop some projects that give a good example of how you can combine many of the different tools available to you inside the plugin, with the final result being something that would be far more difficult to create in Cinema 4D without the help of X-Particles.

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A demo of X-Particles can be found here. You should be able to follow along with the lessons just fine if you want to learn it before you commit to buying it. I feel like it’s a worthy investment for the price. The plugin is being developed further (Thinking Particles? Not so much) and it will only get more useful with better integration with Cinema 4D as we go forward.

So please head on over to cmiVFX and check out my training series if you are interested in learning some X-Particles.

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.

New Tutorial: Automated Bar Graphs with Xpresso

I produced a new tutorial for CGTuts that can be seen here. This tutorial demonstrates how to use Mograph and Xpresso in Cinema 4D to create a sort of mini-application that can be used to design and animate your own bar graphs. The Xpresso is the key, because it gives us the ability to enter and keyframe data from a control panel, and it updates automatically in our scene.

I felt deflated when I found that Andrew Kramer produced something very similar about 2 weeks ago on his site using After Effects. It’s a totally different way to make bar graphs, but it looks like I jacked the idea from him. I had developed this over a month ago, it just took awhile to produce and get it posted. I didn’t even check his site for it until someone mentioned the relation to mine. They are very different tutorials for different programs that happen to produce something similar. The timing just makes me look sketchy, oh well.

Cinema 4D Tutorial: Animated Bar Graphs with Xpresso Part 2

Check out my tutorial on CG Tuts to learn a way to create bar graphs using Mograph and Xpresso. These 2 Cinema 4D components make it so we can create our on data and input to drive the look and style of the graph. Once you create the base file, you can use it as a template to create bar graphs whenever you need to. You can export a video with graphs from Cinema 4D instead of creating a static, boring one in Powerpoint for your next presentation.

Cinema 4D Tutorial: Animated Bar Graphs With Xpresso Part 1

Check out my tutorial on CG Tuts to learn a way to create bar graphs using Mograph and Xpresso. These 2 Cinema 4D components make it so we can create our on data and input to drive the look and style of the graph. Once you create the base file, you can use it as a template to create bar graphs whenever you need to. You can export a video with graphs from Cinema 4D instead of creating a static, boring one in Powerpoint for your next presentation.

New Tutorial: Revealing Curtains in After Effects

I just posted my newest tutorial, where I demonstrate how to create a set of curtains that spread apart to reveal footage. It’s like a theater stage or a movie theater style set of curtains that parts in the middle, and you can place your footage behind it and have it be revealed. I’m thinking of a new welcome video for my site based on this, but I’m not sure yet. So check it out on the tutorials page.

After Effects: Moving Curtains Reveal

This tutorial shows you how to make a set of curtains that part in the middle, and reveal any footage you desire behind it. All is a few effects (mostly fractal noise) and some keyframes before you get a nice animation. If you render this out with an alpha channel, you will have a clip of these curtains that you can just drop into any composition and you won’t have to mess with the keyframes again. It could be a cool way to reveal a movie trailer or a demo reel.

New Tutorial: Make a Subway Train Scene in Cinema 4D and After Effects

Last month I made a subway train scene using Cinema 4D and after Effects, and the folks over at Envato liked the idea so I got to produce and distribute a tutorial for them showing how to do it. So I didn’t upload this to Vimeo or embed it on my site since it is on CGTuts+, that’s the rules. So follow the link and check it out.

Cinema 4D Tutorial: Create a Realistic Subway Station Scene using Cinema 4D and After Effects Part 2

Follow the link to view my CG Tuts+ tutorial about how to create a fast-moving, 3D subway train in Cinema 4D and then composite it into a subway station photo to make a realistic scene. The modeling in done in Cinema 4D, and the compositing is done in After Effects

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