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Signage Animation Suggestions Please


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Hi Everyone,

I'm not sure if this is the correct place for this, but I guess "Mechanical" means any mechanical style animations? Anyway, I've been slowly learning C4d after 12 years of using Cheetah3d and about 3 years of Modo for still shots. We're doing a series of mechanical semi-exploded view animations that cover our most popular interior sign products. It's just a quick way to show how the inserts work and give some motion to the landing page. 


I already did the first prototype animation in C3d. I needed to be able to get this done in a few hours so my boss and our web designer could meet with the head of our company about it. So I just stuck with the app that I knew I could get it done quickly with. There are some things to fix on this one and I'd like to possibly move this first animation over to C4d and finish the other few the same way. This first one I made each animated part a child of a spline (circle) and then key framed  the circle for animation (see screen shot). That works ok for these parts, since they snap out of place from the chassis.



Some of our  other products have either flexible inserts or the inserts are rigid and slide over and then rotate out.  I did some similar animations a few years ago that I combined point animation with standard key-frame animation. But if there is a better way to go about this, I'd appreciate any input anyone might give. I did view a GSG tutorial on exploded animations, but it wasn't detailed enough about exacting mechanical motions to be fully helpful. There's also a series on Cineversity, but it's only available to premium members. I can't drop $300 just to watch one series of tutorials. Would it be possible to use MoGraph to animate these type of movements?


Flex Insert Example:


Rigid Insert Example:


I can post some files converted to C4d later if that helps. I have a few other projects to finish right now.



C3d Screen Shot.png

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49 minutes ago, StageFive said:

I'm not sure if this is the correct place for this, but I guess "Mechanical" means any mechanical style animations?

Yes, this is exactly  the sort of thing I had in mind with that category ! :)


49 minutes ago, StageFive said:

Would it be possible to use MoGraph to animate these type of movements?


Not so much. MoGraph's primary use is in making lots of objects do broadly similar things in a largely procedural sort of way, so I'd say it doesn't have much application here, where you need 1 or 2 items doing very specific things at specific times. I would tackle both those ad-board animations in Cinema exactly as you have been doing in other programs, via simple keyframed PSR and deformer animation, which Cinema can also handle admirably... we just need to make sure your hierarchy in the Object Manager is set up in the most helpful way to achieving that animation...


For me that involves animating mostly nulls, which then contain the actual objects I need to move and transform. That way, the client can have all their mad ideas and changes, and your animation never needs redoing because you animated the nulls and not the objects within them !


In the case of your bendy ad-boards you may not even have to resort to 'full' point level animation - there are numerous deformers (bend seeming to jump highest in this case) that can be keyframed as easily as PSR, or, for more difficult deformations there is the vastly powerful Pose-Morph which is a way of doing point level or pose-based animation via simple sliders, which can also be keyframed.




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Thanks for the tips Cerbera, and glad I'm in the correct section! Those are the methods I've been using, although C3d doesn't  have any type of Nulls. They have folders for grouping, which I guess could act as Nulls. Some of the suction cup tools I animated using point animation, and then some of them have different morphs applied to them. I did have a problem with using a bend deformer because I needed the bending to be different on each end of the insert. So I ended up using a single line spline that I extruded up and the gave thickness to. Then I had to animate the spline to match the shape of bending acrylic / paper. The hard part there was making sure the spline stayed the same length since paper and acrylic don't really stretch. I used Illustrator to make sure the spline lengths didn't deform. Is there a built in way in C4d to make sure the spline length never gets stretched, or at least a way to measure it to maintain that length? This will be something I have to do a lot of. 


I'll make a basic example file and if I post it here and maybe you could give me some pointers of what would be a better workflow please? It might not be until tomorrow before I can finish  it. As always I appreciate the help!

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Here's a quick screen capture of the spline bending animation done in C3d if it helps. I turned the rest of the sign visibility off and added magenta to the clear material so it can be seen better.  I put the camera on the bottom for a better view. The suction cup tool used morphs like you've recommended. I just need to figure out how to recreated them in C4d. 




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That's a reasonable way of doing that, and Mospline could do it for us here, but just as easy to get 2 bend deformers to do the same thing...

'Keep Y axis length' ticked to preserve the length....







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  • 8 months later...

I'm interested in exploded view as well. Any progress?

It's pretty straightforward in product design-oriented programs, but seems out of reach of Cinema 4D, which is too bad because my renders look so good!

Ideally, I'd like to not have to dive all the way into pose morph, and no offense to GSG, but their tutorial on this in R19 assumes that you want to fracture the geometry, which is definitely NOT what I want to do (client would like to keep their nice geometery, thanks very much)

So I either need to bite the bullet for Cineversity and go through their tutorial, or manual keyframe?



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I found this post from 2015 and it seems to fit the bill as far as what I want to accomplish.


1) fairly easy to get the basics working (PoseMorph with basic expresso)

2) Adjustable and more flexible than just raw keyframing and dealing with all of that

3) Range mappers for some additional extensibility

4) He has a sense of humor, which is more than I can say for anything at Cineversity

5) Doesn't waste a bunch of my time with CAD software

Video only here


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