My Cinema 4D animation workflow

Cinema 4D character workflow workflow

I’ve recently had to produce a banner for the upcoming new version of gandi.net. I’ve been asked to use GAD-E (the Gandi mascot in a short .gif animated 3D sequence and here is the result.
It’s been really long since the last time I used cinema 4d animation tools so I needed to plunge back on in once again.
Here is a quick overview of my workflow for this kind of stuff (this is not a tutorial though):

Scene setup

First thing first : we need to set all the needed elements

  • Wall
  • Floor
  • Lights
  • Textures (using cell-shading technique)
  • A rigged character (with IK controllers to move limbs)
  • Sketch and Toon tags applied to elements
  • A camera for our final render
  • Adjust the render settings (output, save, others options..)

Walking cycle

  • Create a loop for the walking cycle (our character is moving forward using jumps). I use the pose morph tag to record key-steps for the loop.
  • Save the loop as a Motion Clip, and set this on the Motion System. This way we can trigger and stop the walking cycle as a parallel animated sequence whenever we need.

Animation

  • Create the route for the character using a simple Spline.
  • Bind the path to the character using an add to spline tag and record the position keys on the tag.
  • Fine tune the positions keys so that it perfectly match with the walking cycle set in the Motion System
  • Create the secondary character animation (custom limbs movements such as head rotation, breaks, body rotation..). I once again take advantage of the pose morph tag to create all needed steps and animate them.
  • Create a moving background (behind doors) using the X-Particles plugin with an emitter, trails, and a Network modifier to get this moving lines.

Output

  • Export the whole animation as a png sequence

After Effects post-production

  • Import the sequence in After Effects and create the flat animation layer (ui elements).
  • Adjust the sequence speed using stretch option or time-warp effects (quicker than rendering the scene again).
  • Export the sequence as an uncompressed .mov file

Photoshop Gif rendering

  • Import the movie in Photoshop using Import > Video frames to layers
  • Adjust output option in ‘save for web’ to get a reasonable .gif file size
  • Export the sequence as a gif and test it in a browser

Final thoughts

That’s a lot of steps to get the results but, with practice, the process become fluid as we get used to it.

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