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Create an Abstract Disco Ball Scene with Cinema 4D

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In this tutorial you will discover how easy it can be to create compelling abstract CG images with Cinema 4D. Follow along as Konstantin Muromtsev demonstrates how he created his animated Disco Ball scene, using primitives, structure tools, the Mograph Cloner object, and random effectors. Adding post effects like Caustics and Glow, and rendering the scene with Advanced Render will also be discussed.


Additional Files/ Plugins:


Step 1

Create sphere object with a Radius of around 180m (Objects > Primitive > Sphere), and make it editable (Functions > Make Editable or C on keyboard).

Step 2

Select all polygons (ctrl+A), and use Extrude Inner (I on keyboard) with an Offset of 0.75m and the Preserve Groups option unchecked.

Step 3

Extrude the selected polygons with offset of around 4m. Press Selection > Set Selection.

Step 4

Create a Cylinder object (Create > Primitive > Cylinder) with a Radius of 2m, and the height around 1000m. Move it above the sphere. Make the sphere a parent object to the cylinder (in the object manager, drag the cylinder object into the sphere).

Step 5

Create a plane object (Create > Primitive > Plane), with a Width and Height of 3800m, and +Y orientation. Move the Sphere object upward a bit.

Step 6

Duplicate the Sphere object, and scale it down until it has a 100m Radius.

Step 7

Create a very tall Cylinder object, with a Radius of around 1500m.

Step 8

Create a Spotlight object (Create > Scene > Spot Light), and under the "General" tab, change "Shadow" to "Shadow Maps (Soft)", and "Visible Light" to "Volumetric".

Step 9

Under "Details", change the "Outer Angle" to 63 degrees.

Step 10

Under "Visibility", change the "Outer Distance" to 2500m, the "Sample Distance" to 20m, and "Dust" to 40%.

Step 11

Under "Caustics", check both "Surface Caustics", and "Volume Caustics". Change the "Photons" for "Surface Caustics" to 120,000, and to 30,000 for "Volume Caustics". Change both "Energy" values to 180%.

Step 12

Place Light objects above both Spheres.

Step 13

Create a new Light object (Create > Scene > Light), make it Blue (79, 89, 255), and set the "Intensity" to 10%. Place it under the big Sphere.

Step 14

Create a new material by double clicking the material manager. Under "Color", change the "Color" to light Blue (223, 235, 242), and "Brightness" to 5%.

Step 15

Under "Reflection", change the "Color" to light Blue (203, 207, 235), the "Brightness" to 95%, and check the "Additive" option.

Step 16

Under "Specular", change the "Width" to 58%, the "Height" to 80%, the "Falloff" to -19%, and the "Inner Width" to 18%.

Step 17

Under "Specular Color", change the "Color" to (238, 240, 251).

Step 18

Duplicate this material, and change the "Color" and "Reflection" to an Orange hue.

Step 19

Create a new material. Under "Color", change the "Color" to dark Blue (32, 32, 54), and un-check "Specular".

Step 20

Create a new material. Under "Color", change the "Color" to light Blue (215, 224, 255).

Step 21

Under "Alpha", use a Gradient as the texture, set the "Gradient Type" to "2D Circular", and uncheck "Specular".

Step 22

Assign the dark Blue material to both Spheres and Cylinders. Assign the Orange, reflective material to the selection on the big Sphere, and the Blue, reflective material to the selection on the small Sphere. Assign the material with the alpha channel to the Plane.

Step 23

Create a Cloner object (Mograph > Cloner object), and under "Object", set the "Mode" to "Grid Array", "Clones" to "Random", "Count" to (5,5,5), and "Size" to 900m in all dimensions. Add both Spheres (without the Cylinders) to the Cloner object, and scale them down.

Step 24

While the Cloner object is selected, add a Random Effector (Mograph > Random Effector). Under the "Transform" parameters, tweak the "Position" to match your needs (values around 100m), and set the "Scale" to "Uniform Scale" 0.5.

Step 25

Find a good camera angle, and add a Camera object (Create > Scene > Camera).

Step 26

Under "Project Settings" (Edit > Project Settings or ctrl+D) change the "Maximum Time" to 180 F.

Step 27

Select frame 0, then select the big Sphere, and go to the "Coord" tab. Right-click R. H, and go to (Animation > Add Keyframe). Under the "Keyframe Properties", un-check "Auto Tangents". *To open the keyframe properties, click on the keyframe in the timeline.

Step 28

Select frame 180, set R. H to 359, and press "Add Keyframe". Under "Keyframe Properties", un-check "Auto Tangents".

Step 29

Select frame 0, then select the small Sphere and go to the "Coord" tab. Right-click on R. H, and got to (Animation > Add Keyframe). Under "Keyframe Properties", un-check "Auto Tangents".

Step 30

Select frame 180, set R. H to 718, and press "Add Keyframe". Under the "Keyframe Properties", un-check "Auto Tangents".

Step 31

Select the "Random Effector", then select frame 0, and under "Effector" add a keyframe to "Seed". Under the "Keyframe Properties", un-check "Auto Tangents", and change the "Right Time" to 7 F. *The "Left Time" value will be changed to -7 F.

Step 32

Select frame 90, and change the "Seed" to +1 (ie. if your value was 12345 make it 12346). Add a keyframe. Under "Keyframe Properties", un-check "Auto Tangents", and change the "Right Time" to 30.50 F. *The "Left Time" will be changed to -30.50 F.

Step 33

Select frame 171, and change the "Seed" back to the first value. Under "Keyframe Properties", un-check "Auto Tangents", and change the "Right Time" to 11 F. *The "Left Time" value will be changed to -11 F.

Step 34

Add a "Compositing" tag to the Cloner object, Cylinder, Plane, and both Spheres, and set a unique "Object Buffer" number for every object.

Step 35

Open the "Render Settings" (ctrl+b or Render > Render Settings..). Under "Output", change the settings to meet your needs (in my case its 1280x720, square pixel aspect, 29,97 fps), and change the "Frame Range" to "All Frames".

Step 36

Under "Save", select the appropriate format, and check "Save" under "Multi Pass Image".

Step 37

Under "Multi-Pass", add "Diffuse", "Reflection", "Caustics", "Atmosphere", "Atmosphere (Multiply)", "Post Effects", "Depth" and all used "Object Buffers".

Step 38

Under "Anti-Aliasing", change "Anti-Aliasing" to "Best", and "Filter" to "Sinc".

Step 39

Add "Glow" and "Caustics" effects.

Step 40

Under "Glow", in "Glow Settings", change the "Size" to 8%, the "Intensity" to 10%, and the "Balance" to 30%. Under "Distance", check "Use", and change the "Start Range" to 100m and the "End Range" to 900m.

Step 41

Under "Caustics", check "Volume Caustics", and change the "Step Size" to 1m, the "Sample Radius" to 5m, and the "Samples" to 256.

Render, and you're done! Hope you learned something new!!