Sketches in Cinema 4D

I'm always playing around in Cinema 4D so I thought I'd upload some of my recent tests. They're not for a particular project, just playing around with stuff after watching tutorials and just messing around on my laptop on the train. 

Quite a few of the techniques and ideas are taken from the excellent Advanced Production Techniques series which I highly recommend. Some of the setups may look a little complex but they're really not, they're most likely a few simple techniques layered on top of each other. If you don't understand, go watch the tutorials! :)

A couple of the setups use the brilliant X-Particles plugin so you'll need to get hold of that but most of the scenes will run fine in C4D Studio. 

Download the scene files here

1. Long Hair
I simply added some very long hair to a platonic object and let the Wiggle tag move it around. I used low gravity and some turbulence to make it 'floaty'. I used a number of hair shaders to create a more interesting look. 

2. Turbulence
I used hair set to Generate geometry to form the 'plants'. They in turn have other hair growing from them. I've the plant geometry to spawn X-Particles plus I've add some standard particles which feed a Cloner with Soft Body planes blowing across, they also have some Aerodynamic forces acting on them via the Soft Body tag. Everything is effected by the Turbulence and Wind forces. 
It's interesting to note how the Hair shader controls the width of the hairs even if they're generating geometry. 

3. Loft Trail
I've created a Tracer from each point on the cube and then used a Loft Nurb to create the surface. I used Thinking Particles with a Custom Channel but this can be realised a lot more easily in X-Particles. Personally I'd like to see an easy way to create dynamic spline trails but no-one else seems that enthusiastic about it so I'm just going to have to create it myself, but it may take a while as my progress in Python is slow. The Matrix objects in here could be removed, in fact the whole scene could be simplified, I was just trying to work out a way to automate the scene more. 

4. Strutting
This is based on some free BVH mocap data. I converted the joints into geometry (a nice tip by Yader) and extruded them to create something a little sculptural. I also wanted to create a MoExtrude on the figure but that didn't work with the joints in Geometry mode. I exported the sequence as Alembic and then re-imported it, then I could apply the MoExtrude and create some Effector based distortions. 

5. L-System Grow
This is a more complex setup based an approach used by Simon Holmedal, again, this is explained in detail in Cinema 4D Production Techniques. It's a very powerful approach which essentially enables you to access any attribute within the Mograph setup rather than just those provided by the Effectors. In this case I'm using an Effector to drive the Growth value of an MoSpline in Turtle mode (an L-System). The Effector is the same shape as the Spotlight so it gives the effect of the light making the splines grow. 
I've added some X-Particles which spawn when the Light/Effector passes over them. I've also added in some 'fruit' which are cloned onto the L-system. There is a special setting which allows you to define where in the L-system you'd like to place the clone. (The J,K commands in MoSpline and Groups in the Cloner) 

6. Swarm
This setup is based on Simon Fiedler's talk from Cinema 4D Advanced Production Techniques. Basically it allowed me to get my head around the applying Vector Maths in Cinema 4D which really isn't as scary as it sounds. The Xpresso may look a bit complex but really it's just lot of simple expressions layered up on each other. The whole setup is Xpresso driven with no particles or Mograph in there. 
I'm just using the distance node to define if the 'particles' are pushed away or pulled towards the red cube. I then apply this to all the objects via the powerful Hierachy node. I also use the Hierachy node to access the MoExtrude objects via the slightly confusing Start/Iteration paths. 
I used the noise node linked to the objects index to create a bit of turbulence. I also use a couple of bits of Xpresso I learned from Matthias Zabiegly's excellent Xpresso tutorials. I really recommend these if you're trying to get your head around Xpresso. 

7. Change Shape Flock
I wanted to create some flocking particles that changed their shape when they collided. They also decrease in size every time they collide so they get smaller as the animation runs. For the flocking I linked my hierarchy of primitives to a basic X-Particles setup. 
I then used the Dynamics Collision node to tell me when the Platonics collided. When they did it adds '1' to Type property of the Platonic making it change shape. Each time a collision occurs a small amount is subtracted from the Primitives diameter. I also used this technique described by Tim Clapham here to generate Thinking Particles when the Primitives collide. The particles are used by the Cloner (Red Colllision Particles)  to generate dynamic particles. These particles also force the Primitives to change shape when they collide with them. 

8. Instance
This is using the MoInstance object to create a series of 'echoes' of the keyframed shape. The Effectors just twist it a little to create interest. 

9. Umbrellas
This uses a similar process as the L-System Grow files. My objects (Umbrellas) are linked to a Cloner and the animation is driven by an Effector ('Control'). If you look at a single umbrella you'll see that I've linked all the animation to be controlled by a single slider (Under the uControl tab). This slider is driven by the Effectors strength. 
The downloadable setup runs quite slowly but gives you a good idea of how it works. I've developed a way to vastly optimise the scene and run very complex setups by caching the object animation and using the Effector to control the playback. 

Particle Hair 
This scene is relatively simple, it is just some Hair linked to a cube. Each hair strand is created of generated Instances. I've also added some secondary Hair linked to the first. I used the built in presets to emit Thinking Particles from the ends of the hair strands.