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Tag Archives: C4D

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.

Correctly time a movie clip to a texture:

1. Create texture to hold movie clip

(1.5 Create a new Material to use as the texture. In the Material, click the Editor tab and turn on “Animate Preview” to see the texture update in the viewport)

2. Add movie clip to desired channel. In my case, I’m putting an image on a TV screen, so I’m clicking the little dots under Luminance>Texture and adding the movie file as the texture.

3. Click on the name of texture (or the dots), then select the Animation tab at the top of the Bitmap Shader

Click Calculate. This tells me how many frames I have. In this case, 2248.  “Timing” is used to tell the clip to start playing at a different time on the C4D timeline.  I know I want my clip to start when C4D is at frame 1260, so I put 1260 in Range Start.  If I want it to play one frame of movie for each frame of C4d, I have to do a little math:  I’m starting at 1260 in the timeline, my clip is 2248, so (1260+2248) my Range End needs to be set to 3508.

This assumes that C4D and my movie both have the same frame rate. (note that annoyingly, my 29.97 clip–effectively 30fps for simplicity) will read as simply “29”.

Update: When using an image sequence, select “NO” when it asks if I want to save the image to my texture folder. Otherwise, it will only show the first frame of the sequence.

To get the caps of an object connected to the hulls, select the object in the Object Manager, then choose Optimize. In R16, this is found at Mesh > Commands > Optimize.

You can also connect two objects by placing them under the Connect Object, which welds the objects together in a non-destructive way. The Tolerance level determines at what distance they’ll “snap” together. It’s good for snapping caps on extruded text, if you’re not needing any additional modeling, or if you feel like you don’t want to commit to the modifications you’re making.

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.

Adding IK to an existing joint structure:

Add character tag: IK to top of chain (shoulder)
Drag End of chain to IK Tag’s “End” box.
In Tag, click Add goal. This will auto add a goal at the same place as the end.
In IK tag, Set solver for 3D (usually)
Animate the GOAL, not the joint.

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.