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  1. 3D & Motion Graphics
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How to Create a Computer Screen in Cinema 4D: Part 2

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Follow this tutorial step-by-step to create a 3D Computer Screen model to use in video games, graphic design and illustration projects whilst learning Cinema 4D quickly. 

Some of the skills you'll learn in this tutorial include creating basic 3D modelling, importing reference images, adding lighting to the scene and basic rendering techniques.

In the first part of the two-part tutorial, I showed you how to:

  • How to Import Reference Images
  • How to Prepare for Modelling
  • How to Model the Computer Screen

In this, the second part of the the tutorial series, I'll show you how to:

  • How to Create Colored Materials
  • How to Add Lighting to the Scene
  • How to Render the Computer Monitor

9. How to Convert State to Object

Step 1

Select all the objects associated with the Boole modifier. This will include the two cube objects that make up the computer screen.

Apply boole to computer monitor objects

Step 2

With the Boole objects still selected, go to Mesh > Conversion > Current State to Object

Convert current state to object

Step 3

This creates a version of the computer screen objects with all the modifiers collapsed. This means that the new objects lose their modifiers, but retain their shapes so that we can colour them easily. 

You can delete the original boole objects as they won't be needed in the project anymore. 

Two copies of the same object will appear

Step 4

Feel free to rename the objects to something which is easily recognisable.  

Rename 3D objects

Step 5

Select the neck object and go to Mesh > Conversion > Current State to Object. Once you've create the new object, you can delete the original one to avoid clutter and confusion.

Convert neck into object

Step 6

Select the Phong Tags and press the delete key on the keyboard to remove them. 

Delete phong tags

10. How to Create a New Material

Step 1

Located near the bottom of the screen there is a material selection window. Click on Create > New Material to create a new material to use that you can edit. 

Materials are used to colour in the various objects and parts of the Computer Screen.

Select new material

Step 2

Double click on the new material icon (displayed as a sphere). This brings up the Material Editor where you can adjust the various properties of the material such as the colour, transparency and reflectance. 

For this particular style I'm only be interested in flat colour (Luminance).

Open up the material editor

Step 3

Tick the button for Luminance and untick the boxes for Color and Reflectance. This gives the cel shaded look for the final image. 

Select luminance

Step 4

Colour the Computer Monitor by adding the material to the object. Drag and drop the material to the object using the mouse. You can also drag and drop the material onto the object listed on the right of the screen. 

Apply the new material to the computer screen

11. How to Adjust the Material Properties

Step 1

In the Material Editor, click on the arrow button next to Texture and select Sketch and Toon > Cel from the menu.

Select Sketch and Toon

Step 2

Click on the new Cel button that appears next to Texture to bring up a new menu.

Click on the cel button

Step 3

In this new menu, adjust the settings as follows:

  • Change the Diffuse to match the image at below. It should be grey scale with the colour getting light from left to right
  • Deselect Camera
  • Select Lights
  • Select Shadows 
  • Select Multiply from the drop down menu
Adjust the cel settings

Step 4

Select a colour by double-clicking on the color option box . 

The Material Editor gives many different options for choosing and picking colours. These include RGB, HSV and so on. 

Choose whichever option you are most familiar with as a flat colour. Because of the Multiply shading mode, the different colour shades also appear in the material.

If the material has already been applied to the model, the colour of the model is automatically be adjusted to the new material colour. This is useful if you change your mind on a certain colour or a certain part of the Computer Screen model.

Select a color and set shading mode to multiply

Step 5

Because I've already applied the material to the model, the colour of the Computer Monitor will automatically be adjusted to match the new material.  

New material settings will be applied

12. How to Adjust the Shading

Step 1

To get a better idea of the shading and how the render will turn out as you work on it, click and hold on the Render Button and select Interactive Render Region from the menu. 

Select interactive render region

Step 2

Use the mouse to adjust the selection window so that it fits around the Computer Screen model. Look for the very small arrow on the right hand side of the window and use the mouse to drag it to the top right corner of the box (this increases the resolution). 

Decrease the resolution by moving the arrow down if you find that the performance is decreasing.

Increase the resolution of the preview window

Step 3

To change the way the light source is facing go to Options > Default Light.

You can also add a light object to the scene if you are more comfortable working that way.  

Select default light

Step 4

Change the light source in the Default Light window. Click where you'd like the light source to come from on the sphere and it will sync with the view port. Experiment with different lighting positions to come up with a lighting situation that you like. 

This can be adjusted at anytime so you can change the lighting again if you changed your mind.

Adjust the default light

Step 5

Secondary-click on the arrow and select Alpha Mode in order to reveal the rest of the viewport. Some people may find working this way easier.

Select the alpha mode

13. Other Lighting Solutions

Step 1

To set up the basic lighting, go to the Floor button located in the top menu bar. Primary-Click-Hold and then select Physical Sky from the menu.

Select physical sky

Step 2

Make sure that Physical Sky is selected in the menu on the right, a new menu will appear on the bottom right of the screen. Select the Time and Location tab and choose a time using the left and right arrow keys. 

This changes the lighting of the scene (according to the time of the day). Choose a suitable time to light up the scene. You'll see how the lighting affects the scene in the viewport.

Adjust the time and location

Step 3

To add a light to the scene, select the Add Light button in the top menu bar at the top of the screen.

This creates a Light Object which you can move around the scene. Move the light object using the Move Tool to a suitable position.

Select the add light button

Step 4

To customise the lighting further, experiment with the light object options in the bottom right of the screen. Here you can adjust the Intensity, Light Type and even Color.

Adjust the lighting settings

14. How to Colour the Computer Monitor Screen

Step 1

Open up the Material Editor and change material color to the following:

  • R: 194
  • G: 222
  • B: 236

This changes the basic colour of the computer that you can add to the other main objects (i.e. the neck).

Select a new color for the material

Step 2

To create a new material we can duplicate the material by holding CTRL on the keyboard and then using the mouse to click and drag the material to the side.

Duplicate the material

Step 3

Double-click on the new material to open up the Material Editor and select Luminance. From there we can change the colour to the following:

  • R: 56
  • G: 47
  • B: 66
Select a purple color for the new material

Step 4

Apply the new materials to the screen by clicking and dragging it directly onto the screen object.

Apply the new material to the screen

15. How to Color the Monitor Bezel 

Step 1

Create a new material. You may also duplicate a previous material in order to keep the same settings as before.

Double-click on the new material to open up the Material Editor and select Luminance. From there you can change the colour to the following:

  • R: 70
  • G: 69
  • B: 65
Create a new dark grey material

Step 2

Use the Polygon Selection Tool to select all the polygons that make up the bezel of the computer monitor.

Select the screen boder with the polygon selection tool

Step 3

Apply the new material to the selected polygons by clicking and dragging it into the selection. 

Apply dark grey material to the selected border

Step 4

Now that all the materials and colours have been applied to the model, use the perspective view to look around the computer screen to ensure that the colours have been applied properly.

Check the 3D model from all angles

16. How to Create the Power Button 

Part 1

Click on the small back arrow on the Cube button and select Cylinder from the list of options. This will spawn a Cylinder in the scene.

Create a new cylinder object

Part 2

Rotate the cylinder 90 degrees and then use the Scale Tool to scale it down to the appropriate size of a power button.

Rotate and scale the new cylinder

Part 3

Delete the Phong Tag from the newly created cylinder object.

Delete the phong tag

Part 4

Use the Polygon Selection Tool to select the base polygons making up a circle. Press the delete key to remove the polygons from the cylinder object. 

Select the base of the cylinder object and delete it

Part 5

Use the Edge Selection Tool to select the edges of the open hole and then use the Scale Tool to make it larger. 

Select the edges of the cylinder and expand it

Part 6

Once you are happy with the size of your power button, use the mouse to secondary-click the selected edges. Select Close Polygon Hole from the menu.

Cap the empty hole

17. How to use Boole

Step 1

Click on the small black arrow in the bottom right corner of the Array Tool in the top menu bar. Then select Boole from the list. This creates a Boole tool in the list of objects on the right of the screen.

Select boole from the menu

Step 2

Drag and drop both the screen and the new cylinder object into the boole. Ensure that the screen object is above the cylinder object. This will create the power button in the screen.

Add the screen and cylinder objects to the boole

Step 3

With the boole objects still selected, go to Mesh > Conversion > Current State to Object. This will create a copy of the objects with the boole collapsed.

Select the bool and convert current state to object

Step 4

Use the Polygon Selection Tool to select the power button. Then drag and drop the dark grey material colour into the selection.

Select the polygons of the power button and apply a material

Step 5

Check the camera and perspective view to make sure that the computer screen looks correct. Make any final adjustments to the materials to get the colour combination that you want.

Check the model from all angles

The End Result

The computer screen model is now ready for use and to render. Now that the project is complete you can repeat the steps above and change the camera or the view port to create a new image from a different angle. 

Throughout the course of the project you have successfully learnt:

  • How to Import Reference Images
  • How to Prepare for Modelling
  • How to Model the Computer Screen
  • How to Create Coloured Materials
  • How to Add Lighting to the Scene
  • How to Render the Computer Monitor

Feel free to share your own creations below. You can also export your image into Adobe Photoshop to enhance it further or to use it as part of a larger image.

The final computer model

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