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Category Archives: Cinema 4D

I needed to animate an industrial product that only existed as Solidworks. I didn’t have a direct line of communication with the CAD guy, which didn’t help. So, from him I got a solidworks file.

From my research, I found the Polytrans might be a good pipeline solution. Their product is basically intended for that conversion. (PC only)

0. If you can get the SW person to turn off what you don’t need before export (like internal parts that won’t show), this would’ve made my job easier.
1. Open the SW or .igs (IGES) file in a trial (or purchased) version of MOI (Moment of Inspiration). It’s a bit of a fringe application, but has the nice feature of being able to open a SW file.
2. Crawl my way through the MOI interface deleting parts that I didn’t need. (It was a complete unit with a thousand internal parts)
3. Export to OBJ. IMPORTANT: There’s an interface that would let me dictate how curved surfaces are tessellated. It took a bit of trial and error to get this how I liked it. I had to do multiple exports because the tesselator didn’t have adaptive adjustments. That means that tight little curves could get by with less tessellation in one export, but long sweeping curves (like the ergonomic desk) needed a higher count. This higher count was too heavy to apply to everything, hence the multiple exports.
4. Open in C4D and ungroup the polys.
5. Enjoy an afternoon of re-grouping every item into a useable hierarchy.

It was a no-cost solution, but by no means an obvious or simple workflow. In hindsight, It’d be worth a few hundred dollars if Polytrans (or other) simplified that process.


When I tried to use a PNG sequence as a texture in Cinema 4D, it only showed the first frame and didn’t animate.

Solution: When I import, it asked “Do you want to create a copy at the project location?” To this I must hit “NO”. Don’t ask me why, but saying yes prevents it from using the sequence, and only uses the first frame.

Despite this issue, don’t forget the correct methodology:
– Make a material, and load the sequence into the Color (or other) channel by selecting the Texture button within the channel.
– Choose first frame of image sequence, say “NO!” to creating a copy
– In the Animation properties, select Calculate at the bottom to load all the frames
– Back in the Material, select Editor tab and check Animate Preview to see it updated in the Viewport.

If I have a group of objects, I often want to adjust their overall visibility without seeing an “x-ray” effect, where I see all their internal structures. I want to just have a semi-transparent group of objects. To do this, I can animate their transparency with the Display Tag, but the group also needs a Compositing Tag with Seen by Transparency turned OFF.


In this image, the torus is seen behind the other transparent objects, but we don’t see the internal collisions of the other objects.

When using the display tag to fade an object out, I kept getting a very not-smooth ‘pop’ in brightness of the underlying object as soon as the above object reached zero transparency. The lower object was darker until we finally hit zero transparency on the occluding object, then the lower object was suddenly bright.

Actual issue: The problem was that the lower object was reflective, and it’s appearance had two layers of the fading object applied to it: 1: the occluding object’s transparency, and 2: the reflection of the occluding object.

Fix: Add a Compositing┬átag to the occluding object and turn off “seen by reflection”. This only works, of course, if you don’t need the occluding object to be seen in the reflection of the shiny object.

Technically, I don’t understand why I have to do this. It still seems that a gentle fade should always end in a gentle fade, even if I’m seeing through the occluding object twice (once through it, once through the reflection of it in my shiny object). But I guess I’ll figure out why it’s this way later.


Here’s a basic setup to attach a spline between two objects. When you move either of the objects, the spline will stay attached. For example, attaching a power line between two power poles.

Get Depth of Field going:

Render Settings: Turn on Physical renderer, and check Depth of Field.


Camera>Object: Adjust Focus distance to desired object.

Camera>Object: Not enough DOF? Try using a longer lens (focal length), then adjust Sensor size to resize the view.

Camera>Physical: Adjust F-Stop down to increase DOF. Unrealistic numbers (like 0.5) are fine if necessary.

I kept getting horizontal streaks in renders of a metallic surface that used an environment reflection only. This happened when the metal was beneath a semi-transparent plastic material. It went away after I turned on Reflections-all types in the Render menu options. It still needed to be turned on even though I wasn’t using any reflections except Environment and my index of refraction was set to 1.00.