Animate a Dancing Ice Cream Bar in Cinema 4D and After Effects
In this 125 step monstrosity of a tutorial you will learn everything you need to know to make a dancing ice cream bar animation in Cinema 4D, and then composite it in After Effects.
You will start off by modeling the Bar, making procedural textures for it, and creating a Soft IK rig with Cinema 4D. Then you will light the scene, set up cast shadow and AO passes, and export the final renders of the animation using batch rendering. Finally, you will bring it all into Adobe After Effects to compose the final sequences, add post blending effects, and create some simple text animations. Don't miss this one. Seriously..it's HUGE!
Every few weeks, we revisit some of our reader's favorite posts from throughout the history of the site. This tutorial was first published in July of 2009.
The software that will be used is the Cinema 4D R11 Mocca module (for rigging purposes), and Adobe After Effects CS4. You will also need the "ReelSmart Motion Blur" plugin for After Effects, but it is not absolutely necessary.
You can download the necessary sound and font files, as well as the Cinema 4D and After Effects files, from the download link below. The techniques described in the tutorial are for Cinema 4D R11, but you should be able to follow along with any version above 8 (with the exception of the rigging, which has been greatly updated in R11). You need After Effects CS4 to open the AE files, although you can complete the tutorial with any version above CS.
Additional Files/ Plugins:
Final Effect Preview
Step 1 - Modeling
First off, let's start by creating a cube object.
Adjust the cube's properties in the Attribute Manager, under "Object Properties".
Go to the Front view ('F4'), and hit 'C' on to make the object editable.
Select the "Use Point Tool", and RMB click in the viewport to access the menu. Select the "Knife" tool ('K').
In the Attribute Manager of the "Knife" tool, set the mode to "Loop" and uncheck "Restrict To Selection".
Hover your mouse in the viewport, and you will see a white line. Put your mouse cursor outside your object, so the cut goes parallel to the X-axis, and press 'Shift' to lock the cut value (don't press LMB yet).
Go back to the Attribute Manager, and in the "Offset" field, enter a value of '60%'.
Now press LMB anywhere in the viewport to finish the cut.
Follow the same technique to make a cut at lower part of the object. Note: the offset value depends on how your mouse is moving in the viewport. So if you move your mouse downwards on the Y-axis, your offset value will be different than if you move upward on the Y-axis. In this case, if your cut is not in the right place, try to input '40' instead of '60'.
Select the "Rectangle Selection" tool.
Uncheck "Only Select Visible Elements" in the Attribute manager's "Option" tab. This way you can select points that are invisible to camera, or when points are overlapping in a certain view.
In the viewport, select the topmost left and right, and lowermost left and right points. You should have 16 points selected.
Select the "Scale Tool" ('T'), and scale your object to '150' on the X-axis, and '440' on Y-axis. You can also adjust the values in the Coordinates Manager manually.
Go to the Right view ('F3'), and with "Rectangle Selection" tool, select the 24 innermost points, and scale them to '60' on the Z-axis.
Jump back to the Front view ('F4'), select the "Knife" tool ('K') with the mode set to "Loop", and add two cuts with an offset of '50%'.
Select the "Live Selection" tool.
Uncheck "Only Select Visible Elements".
Select the "Use Polygon Tool", and select the inner polygons of your object. You should have 24 selected.
RMB in the viewport, and select "Extrude Inner" (or use the shortcut 'I').
Click and drag in the viewport to start the extrusion. Dragging right will extrude outwards, and dragging left will extrude inwards (which is what we need). Keep extruding until the offset reaches '10' (you can also input that value manually).
With the polygons still selected, jump back to the Right View ('F3'), and select the "Scale" tool. Give the cube a bit more volume and scale it on Z-axis to a value of '90'.
In the Perspective view ('F1'), hold down the 'ALT' key, and select "HyperNURBS" object. This way our cube becomes a child of the HN cage.
Time to create the a stick for the Ice Cream. We could use same technique that we used before to model the actual Bar, but let's try something else for this part. In the Front View, create a rectangular spline with the "Add Rectangle Object".
Adjust the size so the width is '40', and the height is '200'. Enable "Rounding", and leave the "Radius" at '20'.
Hold down the 'ALT' key, and select "ExtrudeNURBS" to make our rectangle object a child.
In the Attribute Manager's "Objects" tab, set "Movement" on the Z-axis to '6'.
Under the "Caps" tag, set "Start" and "End" to "Fillet Cap", with "Steps" and "Radius" set to '2'. Leave "Fillet Type" as "Convex", with "Phong Angle" set to '60'. Be sure to enable "Constrain" so the rectangle keeps its original proportions.
Select the "Move" tool ('E'), and move the "ExtrudeNURBS" downwards on the Y-axis to a value of '-250'. Also adjust the 'Z' position to '-3' (so it's in the center).
Step 29 - Creating the Text
Now lets create the 3d text "ICE CREAM" that will be sitting on top of the object. In the Front View ('F4'), select "Add Text Object".
Go to the Attribute Manager's "Object Properties" tab, and in the "Text" area, type "ICE CREAM". For your font, use "Insaniburger" (provided with the project files), using the regular "Typeface". Set the "Height" to '73', and the "Horizontal Spacing" to '1'. Size doesn't matter, as you will scale the text object later.
Add the text object as a child of the new "ExtrudeNURBS". Under the "Object" tab, set Z "Movement" to '5'. Under the "Caps" tab, set "Start" to "Fillet Cap", with '2' "Steps" and "Radius" set to '1'.
Select the "Rotate" tool ('R'), and rotate the "ExtrudeNURBS" object by '90' degrees on the Z-axis (hold down 'Shift' to constrain the movement). Select the "Move" tool, and move it on the Y-axis by '-25' units. Now jump to the Top View ('F2'), and pull the "ExtrudeNURBS" object out on the Z-axis, so that the text pops out of the ice cream.
Rename your objects so you can find them later. Rename the"HyperNURBS" object to "CREAM", the "ExtrudeNURBS" stick to "STICK", and the "ExtrudeNURBS" text object to "TXT".
Step 34 - Rigging
After the modeling is done, it's time to start rigging. This is going to be an easy Soft IK rig, but to complete this part you will need the Mocca module.
Start by dropping one bone into the scene. Go to the Front view ('F4'), and then select "Character > Soft IK/Bones > Bone".
As it's probably starting to get messy in the scene, hide your TXT object by double clicking on upper traffic light (until it turns red). For the "STICK" object just disable "ExtrudeNURBS", and disable "HyperNURBS" for the "CREAM" object.
Move the bone downwards on the Y-axis by '-150', and give it a rotation of '90' on P, so it is pointing upwards.
Zoom in, so you can easily see the position of the bone, and "Cream" object's subdivisions. In the Attribute Manager "Object" tab, lower the "Length" value until the bone touches upper subdivision. In my case the length was '75'.
Now you need to add some more bones to make a chain. Select your bone, and go to "Character > Soft IK/Bones > Bone Tool.
As soon as you do that, the Attribute Manager will update with the "Bone Tool" properties. Press "Add Child Bone" three times to make some new bones. Notice that your bone object has 3 new bones as children. Rename the parent bone to "Bone UP".
Create one additional bone to hold out the "STICK" object. Go to "Character > Soft IK/Bone > Bone", then move it down on Y-axis by '-150', and rotate it on P by '-90' (so it's pointing downwards). Rename it 'Bone DOWN'.
Now you need to create a master bone that will serve as a null. Create one last bone by selecting "Character > Soft IK/Bone > Bone". Set it's position to '-150' on the Y-axis. In Attribute Manager, go to the "Object" tab, and enable "Null" (this way it will not cause any deformation to our object). Rename this bone to "Bone MASTER", and make "Bone UP" and "Bone DOWN" it's children.
To set up the IK chain, select "Bone MASTER", then go to "Character > Soft IK/Bones > Setup IK Chain". As soon as you do that, you will see that hierarchy changes. Cinema 4D automatically adds tags to your bones, and also "Tip Goals and Effectors". "Tip Goal" is the point that the chain will try to resolve to, and the "Tip Effector" is the end of the chain. For this animation you don't need "Tip Goals", so just go ahead and delete them.
Select the "Bone MASTER" IK tag, and in the Attributes Manager, under the "Tag" tab, disable "Hard IK" (because you need soft IKs).
The next thing you need to do, is to set rest positions and rotations. In the Object Manager, select all of your IK tags, and go to "Character > Soft IK/Bones > Set Chain Rest Position" to set position, and "Set Chain Rest Rotation" to set a rotation.
Now select the IK tags for the "Bone UP" objects (5 of them), and under the Attribute Manager's "Rest" tab, enable "Force Position" (so bones don't stretch out during animation), and set rotation "Strength" to '40' (lower values will have more drag while higher values will spring back much quicker).
Select the "Bone DOWN" tabs, and also enable "Force Position", but set "Strength" to '100' this time.
Deformation objects in Cinema 4D have to be a child of the object that is going to be deformed, or have to be in the same level of the hierarchy. The same goes for IK as well.
Select "Bone MASTER" and add it to the null object by clicking 'Alt+G' on the keyboard. Rename the new null object "ICE CREAM". Select the "TXT", "STICK", and "CREAM" objects, and drop them into the "ICE CREAM" null.
As the hierarchy is now set up, and the bones are in the places they need to be, it's time to make some final adjustments. Select "Bone MASTER", and in Attribute Manager's "Fixation" tab, press "Fix With Children". Now press the "PLAY" button on the timeline ('F8'), and move your "ICE CREAM" object around in the viewport to see how the Soft IKs are working.
Now give some springy action to your "ICE CREAM" when it stops. Select the "Bone MASTER" IK tag, and in the Attribute Manager under "Tag", enable "Dynamics", and set "Drag" to '0'. This way, when the "ICE CREAM" stops, it will wobble to it's rest position. Note: If at any point you get a strange look to your object, that just means that Cinema 4D needs to redraw it. To fix it, hover your mouse over the "Editor" window, and press 'A' to update the view. As long as the "Play" button is enabled, however, you shouldn't get this strange behavior.
Step 50 - Animating
With the Soft Iks completely set up, it is now time to begin animating. This is a pretty simple animation, as you will only be animating objects on the XYZ coordinates, and giving them just a little bit of rotation. Start by switching to "Animation" palette.
To add some sound to the project, create a new null object ("Objects > Null Object") and rename it "SOUND". This will serve as a soundtrack handler. Now select the "SOUND" null, and in the Timeline Manager, go to "File > Add Special Tracks > Sound".
The Attribute Manager should now update with the Sound properties. Press the dots button, and navigate to the sound file. I have provided a 12 second, 44kHz file, that you can find in the "Sound" directory. Also, be sure to enable the "Play Sound During Animation" button on the timeline, otherwise you won't hear any sound while playing the animation.
Now adjust the "Project Settings". Hit 'CTRL+D' on a PC, or 'CMD+D' on a MAC, to access the "Project Setting". Set the "frame rate" to '24', and "Maximum" to '255'.
In the Timeline Manager if you unfold "SOUND" null you can see a waveform of our track. Sometimes it's good to have it visual when you're doing animation, but for this tutorial I've already nailed keyframe positions so lets hide our wave form. Go to "View" > "Show" and enable "Show animated". This way we'll see only animated properties on our timeline.
Add camera to the scene ("Objects > Scene > Camera"), and position it at X=0, Y=400, and Z=-700, and set the rotation at P=-20. Now add a "Protection" tag to camera so you don't move it accidentally. Select the camera, and RMB "Cinema 4D Tags > Protection".
Time to animate. Go to frame '0' and select your "ICE CREAM" null in the Object Manager. Set its coordinates to X=-100, Y=0, Z=400. Hold down 'CTRL' and LMB on 'P' for each axis, to add a keyframe. As soon as you do that, your "ICE CREAM" object should jump to that position. You might want to press 'A' to update a Viewport, and so the "ICE CREAM" object goes to its rest position.
Now move to frame '9' and update the "ICE CREAM" position to X=57, Y=0, Z=250. Remember to record the keyframes as well.
Now input the following position and rotation coordinates on the appropriate frames: Frame 17: position X=-90, Y=0, Z=150; Frame 25: position X=0, Y=0, Z=0, and rotation H=0; Frame 32: position X=0, Y=0, Z=0, and rotation H=360; Frame 40: position X=-110, Y=0, Z=-155, and rotation H=360; Frame 48: position X=-110, Y=0, Z=155, and rotation H=0; Frame 55: position X=140, Y=0, Z=-315, and rotation H=0; Frame 62: position X=140, Y=0, Z=-315, and rotation H=360; Frame 70: position X=-45, Y=0, Z=-420, and rotation H=360; Frame 77: position X=-45, Y=0, Z=-420, and rotation H=0; Frame 85: position X=110, Y=0, Z=-285, and rotation H=0; Frame 92: position X=110, Y=0, Z=-285, and rotation H=360; Frame 100: position X=25, Y=0, Z=-40, and rotation H=360; Frame 107: position X=25, Y=0, Z=-40, and rotation H=0; Frame 114: position X=170, Y=0, Z=100, and rotation H=0; Frame 122: position X=170, Y=0, Z=100, and rotation H=360; Frame 129: position X=-45, Y=0, Z=200, and rotation H=360; Frame 136: position X=-45, Y=0, Z=200, and rotation H=0; Frame 143: position X=0, Y=0, Z=0; Frame 241: position X=0, Y=0, Z=0, and rotation H=0; Frame 249: position X=0, Y=0, Z=225, and rotation H=360.
After you have finished keyframing the Timeline, you should get similar curves to the ones shown below. If you don't see curves, that means that you are in "Keyframe" or "Motion" mode, so hover your mouse somewhere in the Timeline, and hit 'Space' to toggle between the curve, keyframe, and motion modes.
Step 59 - Editing Curves
Now your curves are set up in a weird fashion. Every motion is too soft, and there is no jumping on Y-axis. Let's correct that.
First adjust the "Position X" curve tangents. To do that, unfold the "ICE CREAM" null in the Timeline (if you haven't already) and select "Position X". Now you should only see keyframes on the X-axis.
To make the object to stay still on X-axis while it's rotating, select the 4th frame in a row, and then every second one, and press "Set the selected keys to a linear interpolation".
Make same adjustments to the Z keyframes as well. Select "Position Z", grab its 4th and every second keyframe, and convert them to "Linear" keyframes.
The Y-axis is a little bit trickier. If you select "Position Y", you will see that all of the keyframes are set to Y=0, and there is no jumping. Let's correct that.
Hover your mouse in the Timeline, and hit 'CTRL+A' on PC, or 'CMD+A' on MAC, to select all keyframes. Press 'Shift' and move the right handle of the tangent to break a connection. Pull it straight up until you reach a value of '150'. Do the same to the left handles.
Now you should have an object that is jumping all of the time, but remember, you need to disable the jumping when it rotates. Deselect all keyframes, then select the 4th and every second one, and make them "Linear".
Now tweak the rotation keyframes, by selecting every second one of them and making them "Linear".
To see what you have so far, jump to frame 0 and hit 'A' few times to update the Editor window. Then deselect all of your objects, and go to "Render > Make Preview", or simply hit 'ALT+B'. A dialog box should pop up. For test or preview renders you should use "Software Preview", as it's super quick and exports the Editor window animation. I don't recommend using "Full Render", as it will take a much longer time to render the preview. You can also adjust the "Image Size", but make sure you use the same "Frame Rate" as the timeline (24 FPS).
When the rendering is done, you will see that, at the end of animation, the "ICE CREAM" doesn't get to its rest position. To fix this, set frame range to '270' (press 'CTRL+D' or 'CMD+D' to enter this value).
The main animation is now complete. For the sake of time, I'm not going to explain how to make the other "ICE CREAM" objects jump, because I used the same technique as shown in the previous steps (you can always copy and paste the animated "ICE CREAM" objects from C4D file I provided too if you like).
Step 65 - Texturing
Now to dress and light the objects. Switch to "Standard" Cinema 4D layout.
Create a new material by double clicking in the Material Manager. Now double click on the new material to access its properties, and name it "STICK". Make sure you have enabled the "Color" and "Specular" options. In the "Color" tab "Texture" slot, hit the little triangle to access the menu, and select "Layer".
You preview window should become black, but that's OK. Access the "Layer" properties by clicking on the Texture slot "Layer". A new window should come up. Press on "Shader", and select "Fresnel". Now press on the little rectangle, near the word "Fresnel", to access its properties. Press on the triangle near word "Gradient" to reveal the gradient options. Select the first knot, and set "Pos" to '45', and RGB values to '153'.
Select the second knot, and set "Pos" to '65', and RGB values to '255'.
Go up one level, and add some color by selecting "Shader > Color". Access the "Color" properties, and set the RGB values to '249/190/176'.
Go up one level, and add noise by selecting "Shader > Noise". Access the "Noise" properties, and set "Color 1" to pure white (255/255/255), "Color 2" to yellow (222/201/131), "Noise type" to "Electric", "Relative Scale" to '40/550/100', "Low Clip" to '16', and "Brightness" to '-9'.
Go up one level, and set the "Noise" transfer mode to "Multiply" with an opacity of '94', and the "Color" transfer mode to "Multiply" with opacity of '65'.
Now make the chocolate material by double clicking in the Materials window to create a new material. Double click on newly created material, and rename it "CHOCOLATE". Make sure to enable the "Color", "Luminance", and "Specular" options. In the "Color" tab, set the RGB values to '74/25/7'.
In the "Luminance" channel, enter an RGB value of '41/38/35' for "Color". Hit the little triangle near "Texture", select "Effects > Subsurface Scattering", and set the "Mix Mode" to "Multiply".
Access the "Subsurface Scattering" properties and select the first knot. Set its RGB values to '87/36/8'.
Create a new knot by mouse clicking below the gradient line. Make sure its "Pos" is '100', and enter an RGB value of '27/10/1'. Set "Strength" to '400', "Filter Length" to '25', "Absorption" to '20', "Samples" to '10', "Minimum Thickness" to '20', and "Scattering Length" to '50'.
Jump to the "Specular" option, and set "Width" to '100', and "Height" to '38'.
Create new material and call it "TXT". Enable the "Color" and "Specular" channels. Set the "Color" RGB value to pure white.
You should also make some background color, so you don't get any black areas around your object. Create new material, and name it "BG". Enable "Luminance", and in the "Texture" channel, press the little triangle on the right to select a "Gradient". Access its properties, and set the first knot RGB values to '180/210/240', the second knot RGB values '44/74/101', and "Type" to "2D-Circular".
In the Objects manager, create a null object that will hold all of the objects except "ICE CREAM". Go to "Objects > Null Object", and rename the new null "scene". Select the Camera and "SOUND" nulls, and drop them into the "scene" null.
Add a background object to the scene by selecting "Object > Scene > Background". Drop this "Background" object into the "scene" null as well. Now apply your textures by simply dragging them from Material Manager onto the appropriate objects.
Step 81 - Adding Lights to the Scene
Create a light by going to "Objects > Scene > Spot Light", and name it "Key Light". Position it at 'X=1000, Y=2000, and Z=-800'. Under the "Details" tab, set the "Outer Angle" to '36'.
Create another spotlight and name it "Rim Light". Position it at 'X=5000, Y=-100, and Z=400'. Under the "General" tab, set its color to '255/255/166', and under the "Details" tab, set the "Outer Angle" to '36'.
Now drop in another light, but this time choose an "Area Light', and name it "Fill Light". Set its coordinates to 'X=2500, Y=400, and Z=-3400'. Under the "General" tab, set its "Color" to '255/255/238', and its "Intensity" to '41'.
Under the "Details" tab, set "Size X" to '1200', and "Size Y" to '1600'.
Under the "Shadow" tab, set "Shadow" to "Area", and "Density" to '40'.
At this point your lights should be pointing in the wrong direction, so create a new null object that will serve as a target. Go to "Objects > Null Object", and rename it "Light Target". Select your "Fill Light", RMB, and then select "Cinema 4D Tags > Target". Now drop that "Light Target" object into the "Target Object" slot.
Similarly, apply targets to the other lights, and then select all of the light sources and "Light Target" objects, and drop them into the "scene" null.
If you haven't animated your other "ICE CREAM" objects, or copied them from my file yet, please just copy and paste them from the project files that were provided.
If you jump to frame '205', and hit 'A' to refresh the viewport, you can see that the last row of "ICE CREAMS" is pretty dark. You need to add one additional light to solve this problem. Create another Spot Light, and name it "Fill Light Left". Then position it at 'X=-2000, Y=2000, and Z=300', and rotate it to 'H=270, and P=-40'. Lastly, under the "General" tab, lower down the "Intensity" to '40'.
Now render your scene, and on frame '205', you should get something like this.
Step 89 - Rendering a Color Pass
For the main render pass, turn the "Background" object's traffic lights to red (so we don't get any artifacts when rendering the alpha channel). If everything is looking OK now, and you don't want to go back and tweak anything, you can start rendering.
Open up the "Render Settings" (shortcut 'CTRL+B' on a PC and 'CMD+B' on a MAC), and go to the "Output" panel. Set the "Width" to '800', and the "Height" to '600' (you can set these values to whatever you like, but make sure that the proportions are still 4:3). Another thing to pay attention to is the Frame Rate. Your animation is running at 24 fps, so set the "Frame Rate" to '24'. For the "Frame Range" choose "All Frames", as you want to render the entire animation.
Under the "Save" panel, set the destination of your renders to go to the "C4D Renders > ICE CREAM MAIN" subfolder (you can actually set it to where ever you like, but I encourage you to render here, because the After Effects file that I provided will look for sequences in this directory). Name it "ICE CREAM MAIN_", and select either TARGA or TIFF sequences as the file format (this way, if your computer hangs up, or your electricity goes off, you can continue rendering from the last saved frame). Finally, enable "Alpha Channel" and "Straight Alpha", so you can change the background later on.
Step 91 - Optional
If you know you have some spare time, you can enhance your rendering by choosing "Effect > Global Illumination" (this will cause a longer render time, but will provide more sufficient and balanced lighting for your objects). Under the "General" tab, leave "GI Mode" on "IR (Still Image)". For animations, where your object is moving, you should choose a different GI method like "IR + QMC (Full Animation)", but leaving it on "IR (Still Image)" will still produce good results in this case. Under "Irradiance Cache", set "Stochastic Samples" to '50%' instead of '75%' (this will reduce render times dramatically), and for "Record Density", set "Max Rate" to '-2' (this will reduce caching passes greatly, and also reduce render times).
You are now ready to render your main pass, but as a final step, you should always check random frames in the timeline, and render them to the Picture Viewer, just to see if everything is OK, and to make sure you're happy with render times. If everything appears to be fine, hit 'Shift+R' to start rendering the sequence. Note: You can leave this render for later, as we'll be setting up the "Batch Renderer" later on.
Step 93 - Shadows
For Shadows and Ambient Occlusion, you will need to make few adjustments to the scene. Save your previous work, and call it "Ice Cream MAIN". Save the file once again, and name it "Ice Cream SHADOW" (that's the file that you'll be working on to make your shadow pass).
In the Object Manager, disable all of the lights you created for the main animation, and create a new Floor object ("Objects > Scene > Floor") and drop it into the "scene" null. Adjust its position to Y=-200.
RMB on the "Floor" object, and select "Cinema 4D Tags > Compositing". Under the "Tag" tab, enable "Compositing Background" (this will get rid of the seam between the horizon and the sky).
Create a new material, and call it "WHITE". Enable only the "Color" channel, and set the RGB values to '255/255/255'.
Apply this newly created material to the "Floor" object. The "Background" object already has a texture that you don't need for this part, so just select and delete it, and apply the "WHITE" texture instead. Now set the "Background" traffic lights to regular (grey).
Create a new area light, and name it "Shadow Caster". Set its coordinates to X=200, Y=710, and Z=-500, and under the "Details" tab, set "Size X" to '500', and "Size Y" to '500'.
Under the "Shadow" tag, set the type to "Area", and lower the "Density" to '60%'. Then apply a "Target" tag, and drop the "Light Target" null into "Target Object" slot.
The result that you are looking for, is a Black and White image that represents the "ICE CREAM" objects shadow on the floor. So, in this case, you don't need to see the actual "ICE CREAM" objects at all, only the shadows they are casting. Select the "TXT", "CHOCOLATE", and "STICK" materials from the Material Manager, and disable all of the channels except "Luminance". In the "Luminance" channel delete all of the textures, and set the RGB values to '255/255/255'.
Now render to the picture viewer, and you should get similar results to this (everything is white except shadows).
Open the "Render Settings" window to tweak the parameters. Disable the "Global Illumination" check box, and the "Alpha Channel" box (in the "Save" palette). For the save "Path", navigate to the "ICE CREAM SHADOW" directory, and give it the name "ICE CREAM SHADOW_".
Step 102 - Ambient Occlusion
Save the "Ice Cream SHADOW" project as "Ice Cream AO". In an "AO pass" you don't need any lights, so disable the "Shadow Caster" light. Like in the "Shadow pass", you only need the "ICE CREAM" object to provide AO, so select the "TXT" object, in Object Manager, and apply a "Compositing" tag. In the "Tag" tab, disable "Seen by AO". Apply the same tag to rest of the "TXT" objects.
Open the "Render Settings", and select "Effects > Ambient Occlusion". Under "Save", set the "Path" to "ICE CREAM AO", and name it "ICE CREAM AO_".
To see the AO effect, render frame '205' (the AO should only be applied to the "ICE CREAM" object).
Step 105 - Batch Rendering
Now you have three projects that needs to be rendered. But before you set up a batch renderer, I encourage you to check your projects, to be sure that all of the render settings are set properly, and that all objects are animating the way they should be. Very important: Open up every scene, and jump to frame '0'. Then press 'A' to refresh the viewport, and save the project. If you don't do that now, after the rendering is complete, you will find out that the first object is not in its rest position!
Now you can fire-up the "Batch Renderer". Close all projects, and leave an empty Cinema 4D project. Go to "Render > Batch Rendering". A new window will pop up. Press "Job 1" and navigate to the "Ice Cream MAIN" project, then "Job 2" and navigate to the "Ice Cream SHADOW" project, and finally "Job 3" and navigate to the "Ice Cream AO" project. Hit OK to start rendering.
Step 106 - After Effects
With the renders complete, we can finally bring it all into After Effects. Open up After Effects, and in the "Project" palette, create three folders: Video, Sound, and Comps. The Video directory will hold all of the sequences that you rendered from C4D, the Sound directory will hold your soudtrack, and the Comps directory will store all of the compositions.
Now import the sound file to the Sound directory, and import all of the video sequences to the Video directory. When you import the "ICE CREAM MAIN_" sequence, AE will ask you about the alpha channel interpolation. Choose "Straight - Unmatted".
Imported sequences should be set to 30 fps by default, but you used 24 fps in C4D, so you have to change that now. Select one sequence file in the "Project" palette, and press RMB "Interpret Footage > Main". A dialogue box should pop up. In the "Frame Rate" area, choose "Assume this frame rate", and set it to '24'. Do the same for the other sequences.
Create a new composition, and name it "!_Ice Cream MAIN". Set the "Width" to '800', the "Height" to '600', the "Frame Rate" to '25', and the "Duration" to '12' seconds. Now drop this sequence into "Comps" folder.
Select your sound and sequence files and drop them into composition. Make sure that the "ICE CREAM AO_" and "ICE CREAM SHADOW_" sequences are above the "ICE CREAM MAIN_" sequence. Set the "ICE CREAM AO_" and "ICE CREAM SHADOW_" sequence modes to "Multiply", and lower the "ICE CREAM SHADOW_" sequence's opacity to '50'.
Create a new layer by going to "Layer > New > Solid", and rename it "BG" (it's going to be your background image). Press "Make Comp Size", to make it the same dimensions as your composition. You can choose whatever you like for the color, because you will applying some effects to it next anyways.
Move the "BG" layer to the bottom of the scene, then RMB and choose "Effect > Generate > Ramp". In the "Effects" palette set the "Start of Ramp" to "400, 300" (the center of the stage), and for the "Start Color" set the RGB values to '180/210/240'. For the "End of Ramp", set it to "400, 600" (outside the scene), and for the "End Color", set the RGB values to '44/74/101'. Finally, set the "Ramp Shape" to "Radial Ramp".
You also need to apply a Fast Blur, by going to "Effects > Blur & Sharpen > Fast Blur". Set the "Blurriness" to '100', and enable "Repeat Edge Pixels". You should now have a similar background image to what you had in the C4D project.
The sequences are 11 seconds and 6 frames, but you need to expand them to 12 seconds. Select your sequences in composition and enable "Time Remap", by hitting 'Ctrl+Alt+T' on a PC, or 'Cmd+Alt+T' on a MAC. Now go to 11:23 (the end of the timeline) and hit 'ALT+]' to expand tracks.
Step 113 - Animating the Text
In the composition window, create a new text layer by going to "Layer > New > Text", and then type in "I Scream". In the "Character" palette ("Window > Character"), choose the font "IceCream Soda", and set the font size to '43'. In the "Paragraph" window ("Window > Paragraph"), make sure to use "Left align text". Now drop this "I Scream" text layer below the "ICE CREAM MAIN_" sequence.
In the timeline, set the "I Scream" layer to start at frame '20', by going to frame '20', selecting the layer, and hitting '['. The in-point of this layer will now snap to the current position.
Press 'P' to reveal the layer's "Position" properties. For frame '20' adjust it so X=285 and Y=240. Now go to 1:02 on the timeline, and set a new keyframe where X=127. Leave some time for the text animation, go to 4:16, and set a new keyframe where X=80.
Select the first keyframe, RMB, and go to "Keyframe Assistant > Easy Ease Out". Then, for the last keyframe, choose the "Easy Ease IN" option, and convert the middle one to "Auto Bezier", by pressing "Ctrl" on a PC, or "CMD" on a Mac, and then LMB on the frame.
Now make the text a little bit jumpy. Unfold the "I Scream" text layer by pressing on little triangle, and then unfold the "Text" properties. On the right side of the "Text" properties, there's an "Animate" function with a little button. Press that button, and select "Position".
As soon as you do that, you should see a new "Animator 1" appear. For the "Position" set the "Y" value to '-9', then unfold the "Range Selector 1", and set the "End" value to '8%' (now only the first letter is raised up). Go to 1:01 and record a keyframe with an "Offset" value of '0', then go to 1:09 and record a second keyframe with an "Offset" value of '100'.
If you playback your timeline, you should see your letters jumping. Now, make it so they jump again in the opposite direction. Go to 1:16 and record a keyframe with an "Offset" of '100', then go to 2:00 and record a keyframe with an "Offset" of '-8'.
Now make your text fade out. Go to 1:16 and press 'T' to reveal the "Opacity" properties. Record a value of '100%'. Then go to 4:16 and record second keyframe with value of '0'. Convert the first keyframe to "Easy Ease Out", and the second one to "Easy Ease In".
Next, RMB on the "I Scream" layer, and select "Effects > Blur & Sharper > Lens Blur". At 1:16 record a keyframe with the "Iris Radius" at '0', and at 4:16 record another keyframe with the "Iris Radius" to '30'. Apply the easing functions to them as well.
Set the "I Scream" transfer mode to "Overlay". Press the "Toggle Switches / Modes" button ('F4' on keyboard) to go to the "Switches" mode, and enable "Motion Blur" for the "I Scream" layer. Also, make sure to enable motion blur for the scene, otherwise you won't see any motion blur in your animation, unless you render your movie out. Test your animation to see if you like it:)
Create a new text layer "Layer > New > Text", and type in "You Scream". Set the font size to '60'. Move the "You Scream" text layer above the "I Scream" one, and set its position to 1:22 on the timeline. Open up the "Position" properties, by pressing 'P" on keyboard, and record a keyframe at "400, 295". Then at 2:05, record second keyframe with X=150. Leave some room for sliding, go to 4:22, and set another keyframe with X=80. Apply easing functions same way you did for the "I Scream" text.
Now make the letters jump upwards. Unfold the "You Scream" layer, select "Position" once again, and set the 'Y' value to '-9'. Then go to 2:08, unfold "Range Selector 1", and set the "End" value to '8', and the "Offset" value '-14'. Record a keyframe. At 2:15 and 2:22, record a keyframe with an "Offset" value of '100', and at 3:06 record a keyframe with an "Offset" value of "-9".
Go to 2:22, and record a keyframe with the "Opacity" at '100', and at 4:22 change the "Opacity" to '0'. Apply easing functions to them. Then apply a "Lens Blur" effect, and at frame 2:22 set the "Iris Radius" to '0', and at 4:22 set the "Iris Radius to '30'. Apply "Motion Blur" to this layer, and set the transfer mode to "Overlay".
If you test your movie now, you can see that the "You Scream" text pops out of nowhere. Try to make it so it appears out from behind the "ICE CREAM" object. For that you will need to use masking.
Create a new solid, by going to "Layer > New > Solid", and name it "You Scream MASK". Set its color to what ever you like (I use green for all masks). Place this "You Scream MASK" layer above the "You Scream" text layer and reveal its position. At 1:22, record a keyframe with X=730, and at 2:05 record a keyframe with X=760.
Now for the "You Scream" layer to be visible outside the "You Scream MASK", you should set a track matte. Press on the word "None" for the "You Scream" layer, and select "Alpha Inverted Matte "[You Scream MASK]". Test your movie and you should get the desired effect. Note: To animate the "We All Scream" text, use same techniques as before.
Create a new text layer, and type in "ICE". Use the font "Insaniburger", with the "Font Size" set to '77'. Set the "in-point" at 4:10, and position it above the "We All Scream MASK" layer in the composition.
Record a first keyframe with position values of X=800 and Y=515. Then at 4:18, record a second keyframe with X=250, and at 6:22, record a third keyframe with X=195. Apply easing functions to these keyframes.
Apply a "Lens Blur" effect to this layer, and at 6:13 set the "Iris Radius" to "0", and the "Opacity" to '100'. Then at 7:09 set the "Iris Radius" to '40', and the "Opacity" to '0'. Apply easing for these keyframes as well.
Finally, enable "Motion Blur" for this layer, and set "Transfer Mode" to "Overlay".
Now create another text layer, and type in "CREAM". Use same font as you used for the "ICE" text. Set this layer's "in-point" to '5:00', and set a keyframe with position values of X=-270 and Y=515. Then at 5:09 set a second keyframe with the position at X=445, and at 6:22, set a third keyframe with the position at X=505.
At 6:13, apply a "Lens Blur" filter with an "Iris Radius" of '0', and an "Opacity" of '100'. Then at 7:09, change the "Iris Radius" to '40', and the "Opacity" to '0'.
Apply "Motion Blur", and set the "Transfer Mode" to "Overlay".
If you test your movie now, you will see that everything is moving nice and neatly, but there is no motion blur on the "ICE CREAM" sequences from C4D. If you had to applied the motion blur back in C4D, your render times would have increased dramatically, but if you apply the motion blur in AE (like you did for other objects), you won't get any results. The only solution for this is the "ReelSmart Motion Blur" plugin from Vision Effects, Inc. If you do have it, please go ahead and apply it to the Shadow, AO, and Main "ICE CREAM" renders.
OK, so that's it! Congratulations...you finally made it!!
I hope you all found this tutorial at least a little bit interesting, and maybe more than a little bit useful. If you have any questions, or you find some steps confusing, please do post a comment, and I'll try my best to clear that up for you. But for now summer is still on, so let's all grab some Ice Cream!!:)