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  1. 3D & Motion Graphics
  2. 3D
Cgi

How to Create a Retro Game Boy in 3D: Part 1

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Difficulty:IntermediateLength:MediumLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Follow this tutorial step-by-step to create a retro Nintendo Game Boy that you can use in video games, graphic design and illustration projects whilst learning how to model in Cinema 4D

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

In this, the first part of the two-part tutorial, I'll show you:

  • How to Import Reference Images
  • How to Prepare for Modelling
  • How to Model the retro Game Boy

1. How to Import Reference Images

Step 1

Use the middle mouse button to click anywhere on the viewport. This will display all four views. From there, use the middle mouse button to select the Front view.

Four different camera angles to choose from
Four different camera angles to choose from

Step 2

In the Attributes tab select Mode > View Settings.

Select View Settings
Select View Settings

Step 3

In Viewport [Right] select the Back button and click on the button next to Image. 

Select the Back button
Select the Back button

Step 4

Select your reference image from the finder and open it. In this tutorial I'll use the front view of a retro Nintendo Game Boy to help me.

Reference image of a Nintendo Game Boy
Reference image of a Nintendo Game Boy

Step 5

Adjust the image size and transparency to your liking in the properties window.

Adjust size in the properties window
Adjust size in the properties window

2. How to Adjust the Cube Shape

Step 1

In the top menu bar select the Cube to spawn a cube into the scene.

Spawn a cube into the scene
Spawn a cube into the scene

Step 2

In the properties window, adjust the size so that the shape of the cube fits the shape of the Game Boy background image.

Adjust the size of the cube
Adjust the size of the cube

Step 3

The shape of the cube should roughly fit the shape of the Game Boy background image at this stage. 

Ensure that you check the shape using the other camera views as well (perspective, side and top etc).

The cube should fit the size of the reference image
The cube should fit the size of the reference image

Step 4

Ensure that you check the shape using the other camera views as well (perspective, side and top etc). The size of the shape in the Z axis should be roughly half of what the Game Boy should be.

View in perspective
View in perspective

Step 5

Select the Make Editable button to make the shape editable. Next select the Edge Selection button.

Select Make Editable and Edge Selection buttons
Select Make Editable and Edge Selection buttons

Step 6

Select the bottom right corner of the shape. This is highlighted in orange.

Select the right corner of the shape with Edge Selection
Select the right corner of the shape with Edge Selection

Step 7

Once selected choose the Bevel Tool by using the mouse to Right Click > Bevel. Adjust the bevel by changing the settings in the properties window.

Use the Bevel Tool to curve the corner
Use the Bevel Tool to curve the corner

Step 8

Select the remaining three corners of the shape. This is highlighted in orange. Use the Bevel Tool to curve the corners slightly. The curvature of the remaining three corners should be less than the bottom right corner.

Adjust the remaining corners using Edge Selection
Adjust the remaining corners using Edge Selection


3. How to Create the Game Boy Shape

Step 1

Select the Move Tool. To duplicate this shape you will need to hold CTRL button on the keyboard and then click and drag the Blue Arrow using the mouse. Leave a small gap in between both shapes.

Duplicate the shape
Duplicate the shape

Step 2

Duplicate the shape again and place the new shape in in between the other two (in the middle). With the middle shape still selected, use the Scale Tool and shrink the middle shape by about 95%.

Duplicate and scale the object
Duplicate and scale the object

Step 3

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.

Select Cylinder
Select Cylinder

Step 4

Adjust the properties of the size and orientation of the cylinder using the properties window. The thickness of the cylinder should be roughly the same as the small gap created between the two larger shapes.

Adjust the Cylinder
Adjust the Cylinder

Step 5

Once you're happy with the size and shape of the cylinder, place it in between the two shapes in the gap.

Place the Cylinder
Place the Cylinder

4. How to Create the Screen

Step 1

Duplicate one of the larger shapes and then use the Scale Tool to reduce the thickness of the shape so that it becomes quite thin.

Duplicate and scale the object
Duplicate and scale the object

Step 2

Use the Move Tool and combine it with the Points Selection Tool to move the rounded corners of the shape so that it fits the size of the screen border (as shown in the background reference image).

Combine the points button with the move and selection tools
Combine the points button with the move and selection tools

Step 3

Select the points you want to move and then move them into place using the Move Tool.

Adjust the points of the object
Adjust the points of the object

Step 3

Create a new cube and change the shape of it so that it fits the main screen of the Game Boy.

Create a new cube object and fit it to the screen
Create a new cube object and fit it to the screen

Step 4

Once you're happy with the size of the shapes, use the Move Tool to place them on to the body of the Game Boy.

Place the new objects to the Game Boy
Place the new objects to the Game Boy

5. How to Create the Buttons

Step 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.

Select the Cylinder button
Select the Cylinder button

Step 2

Adjust the properties of the cylinder so that it is facing the correct way, has the correct size and has the desired thickness for the button. Then use the Move Tool to move the button into the correct place using the background image as your reference.

Scale the cylinder and place it correctly
Scale the cylinder and place it correctly

Step 3

Duplicate the button and use the Scale Tool to increase the size slightly. You will want to increase the size uniformly so that the centre point of each object is the same (seen from the front view). 

Duplicate and scale new cylinder
Duplicate and scale new cylinder

Step 4

Make sure that the duplicate cylinder is selected and click on the Make Editable Button. 

Select the Make Editable button
Select the Make Editable button

Step 5

Now that the object is editable, we can edit the points. Make sure that the cylinder object is selected and click on Points Button. 

Click on the Rectangle Selection Tool so that we can select the points you wish to edit. Once you've selected the points you can move them using the Move Tool.

Combine the points button with the move and selection tools
Combine the points button with the move and selection tools

Step 6

Use the Rectangle Selection Tool to select half of the cylinder. Then use the Move Tool to move the points to the right.

Adjust the points of the shape
Adjust the points of the shape

Step 7

Duplicate the button and use the Move Tool to move the button to the right.

Duplicate and place buttons
Duplicate and place buttons

Step 8

When moving a whole object, select and use the Model button. If this is not selected, you may find that you will be moving the points, edges or faces instead.

Select the Model button
Select the Model button

Step 9

Making sure that you have the Model button turned on, select all three cylinder shapes which now make up your Game Boy buttons. 

Once all three have been selected, press Alt-G on the keyboard to group them up. You can then rename the Null by double clicking on it.

Group the cylinders
Group the cylinders

Step 10

Select the whole group and use the Rotate Tool to rotate the buttons so that it matches the reference image in the front view.

Rotate the buttons
Rotate the buttons

Step 11

Ensure that you use the other camera views to ensure that the button placement is correct and moved to the right area.

Place the buttons on to the Game Boy
Place the buttons on to the Game Boy

6. How to Create the D-Pad

Step 1

To create the D-Pad, use a similar technique to creating the Game Boy buttons. 

First, create the background cylinder. To do this 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.

Select the Cylinder button
Select the Cylinder button

Step 2

Resize the cylinder using the shape parameters window so that it fits roughly around the size of the D-Pad. Then use the Move Tool to move the cylinder shape in place. 

Place cylinder correctly onto Game Boy
Place cylinder correctly onto Game Boy

Step 3

With the cylinder shape selected you can use the parameters window to adjust the radius, height and rotation segments of the cylinder. 

The more segments you create, the smoother the circle will become. We also want to make sure that the height is not too large, as this shape will only be used on the surface of the Game Boy.

Ajdust the cylinder
Ajdust the cylinder

Step 4

Create a cube and use the parameters window again to adjust the shape so that it is roughly the same shape as half of the D-Pad.

Create a new Cube and adjust it
Create a new Cube and adjust it

Step 5

With the new cube shape selected you can use the parameters window to adjust the size or the D-Pad. This object will need to be duplicated in order to create the second half of the D-Pad.

Adjust the new object
Adjust the new object

Step 6

To duplicate this shape, select the cube from the object list. Press the CTRL button on the keyboard and click and drag the cube object. 

Place the duplicate cube object on the list. This way of duplicating an object means that both objects are exactly the same in exactly the same position.

Duplcate the new cube
Duplcate the new cube

Step 7

Rotate the new D-Pad object using the Rotate Tool and rotate it by exactly 90 degrees. 

Rotate the object 90 degrees
Rotate the object 90 degrees

Step 8

Make sure that you use the other camera views to ensure that the D-Pad placement is correct and moved to the right area.

Place the D-Pad onto the surface of the Game Boy
Place the D-Pad onto the surface of the Game Boy

7. How to Create the Start & Select Buttons

Step 1

Because the start and select buttons have a very similar shape to the shape that was created for the background for the buttons, duplicate the same shape. 

Do this by pressing and holding the CTRL button on the keyboard and clicking and dragging the object using the Move Tool. 

Duplicate shape
Duplicate shape

Step 2

With the new object selected, use the Scale Tool to make the shape around the same size as the start and select buttons in the reference image. 

Ensure that you click on the background instead of the coloured icons when using the tool if you want to scale uniformly.

Scale shape
Scale shape

Step 3

Use the Move Tool and combine it with the Points Selection Tool to move the rounded corners of the shape so that it fits the length of the start and select button (as shown in the background reference image).

Combine the points button with the move and selection tools
Combine the points button with the move and selection tools

Step 4

Ensure the you have the object and Move Tool selected. Hold the CTRL button on the keyboard and click and drag the button to duplicate it.

Duplicate and space the shapes out
Duplicate and space the shapes out

Step 5

Ensure that you use the other camera views to ensure that the start and select button placement is correct and moved to the right area.

Place buttons on to the surface of the Game Boy
Place buttons on to the surface of the Game Boy

8. How to Create the Speakers

Step 1

Because the speakers have a very similar shape to the shape that was created for the start and select buttons, we will be duplicating the same shape. 

Do this by pressing and holding the CTRL button on the keyboard and clicking and dragging the object using the Move Tool. 

Duplicate button
Duplicate button

Step 2

Use the Rotate Tool to rotate the shape so that it fits the angle shown in the reference image.

Rotate button
Rotate button

Step 3

Use the Scale Tool so that the size roughly fits that of the speakers in the reference image.

Scale button
Scale button

Step 4

Use the Move Tool and combine it with the Points Selection Tool to move the rounded corners of the shape so that it fits the length of the speakers (as shown in the background reference image).

Combine the points button with the move and selection tools
Combine the points button with the move and selection tools

Step 5

Ensure that the length of the shape roughly fits that of the speakers in the reference image. 

Lengthen the button
Lengthen the button

Step 6

Ensure the you have the object and Move Tool selected. Hold the CTRL button on the keyboard and click and drag the button to duplicate it.

Duplicate the shape
Duplicate the shape

Step 7

Duplicate the object several times until looks roughly the same as the shape of the Game Boy speakers.

Duplicate the shape many times until you are satisfied
Duplicate the shape many times until you are satisfied

Step 8

Ensure that you use the other camera views to ensure that the placement is correct and moved to the right area.

Place shapes onto the surface of the Game Boy
Place shapes onto the surface of the Game Boy

9. How to use Boole

Step 1

Select Boole by clicking on the small arrow on the bottom right of the Array button at the top of the screen.

Select Boole from menu
Select Boole from menu

Step 2

Select the objects that you want the Boole to effect. This will be the front part of the Game Boy and the speakers (which have been grouped together using Alt-G). 

Put both objects into the Boole and make sure that the speakers group is placed below the Game Boy body.

Group objects under Boole
Group objects under Boole

Step 3

By using the Boole create cut outs using the shapes created. 

Cut out the speakers
Cut out the speakers

Step 4

Use the different camera angles to double check the Game Boy model to make sure that it looks correct.

Final Game Boy model
Final Game Boy model

Coming Next

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

  • Create Materials
  • Colour in the Game Boy Model
  • Render the Game Boy Model
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