Oct 10, 2012

WORKFLOW | Shattered Man

I spend a lot of time experimenting in Cinema4D late at night, so I thought I'd start sharing some of the more exciting ones.
You can click on an image to view it in the lightbox, then use the arrows to browse them.

This one is: Shattered Man.

I can't really remember where this idea came from, but I was clicking around randomly and ended up with this:

So I decided to start over and make another, darker one:

Here's my base model. It's the stardard "Figure" object in the Objects menu. I like to use him for experiments that usually don't require complex models. It's very useful.

I made the guy editable and used the rotate tool to reposition the arms. When working with an editable figure object, click on the Forearm or Upper Arm when you wanna select and rotate. The elbow and shoulder spheres don't seem to be connected directly.
Also, I find this a lot easier than building bones and IK and binding. I already know the pose and rotation can do it for me.

Okay. I've taken the main group and added a PolyFX with Z position increased, other transform properties remain at zero. I then add a Cloth NURBS with negative thickness and no subdivisions. This effectively makes it look like all the faces have been extruded without preserving groups. The main advantage to this is that everything is procedural; we can change things later.

I select the PolyFX object and add a Random effector. Random comes with crazy position values, which I switched off and only applied randomness in Pitch rotation. You can see the axis their rotating, but in random amounts, thus the name of the effector.
If you wanted equal amounts all around, try a Plain effector.

I run my first render, which takes less than a second, and immediately notice the need for Ambient Occlusion:

Great! With Ambient Occlusion applied, it looks a tad more realistic, and only takes 4 seconds to render.
Ambient Occlusion is a technique that darkens polygons based on their distance from another polygon. If two polys are extremely close together, they'll darken, as you can see around the neck. It is extremely useful in adding realism to scenes! Remember to change the "Maximum Distance" in order to account for differently scaled scenes.

It's probably too soon to think about lighting, but I really wanted to see what I could get out of this. I've added an Omni light with Shadow Maps and placed it to the top-right and slightly in front of the face but behind the first arm. Very ominous! I really like it.

I added a blue fill light and the mood almost completely changed!

Added another light overhead and the mood has changed again. I don't like it.

Okay, changed up the lighting again. I'm liking this now, though I'm starting to get other ideas...

I tried out placing lights inside the geometry. Here I have a light with Inverse Square falloff and Volumetric visibility. They're also set to cast Soft Shadows, to add detail to the rest of the body, and also keep it from lighting occluded objects.
I liked the head one a lot, but the hand one also had its appeal. What if I had both....

I learned something interesting. When testing the in-body light, I had actually moved it. In order to get the settings I had on the first one, I copied the light (Ctrl+C), hit "Undo" (Ctrl-Z) until it was back in the head, then hit Paste (Ctrl-V). Both lights now!

I think I'm about to go overboard, so it's time I hooked up some materials:

Added a new material, applied reflections. But, we need something to reflect! So I added a sky object with a HDRI from zbyg's HDRI pack. This is one of the best packs in my inventory, and definitely most used. You can get it for free on zbyg's deviantART! This is HDRI 10.

I like reflections as much as the next guy, but I prefer fresnel shadows. I added a fresnel to the texture channel and rendered:

View in lightbox and use the arrows to compare. Huge difference.
Now for the lighting. One thing I know for sure is that it has to change. The reflections have added highlights on the back, which probably won't work with my current lighting:

Quite right. Everything has changed now, so new lighting is required!

Okay, I've added a Lumas texture to the color channel, to give it that machined look. (Texture > Effect > Lumas).
In order for it to work the way I want, I've changed the color of the lumas to black (via the "Shader Properties" tab) and changed the blend mode of the texture to "Add". This way, the only thing Lumas is adding is the specular-like effect, rather than brightening things up like it would if it wasn't black.

So this is the point where the lights became red. It was a random thought that I ended up sticking with.

And the hyperNURBS comes in. Currently subdividing at only 2 levels. This was going to happen to add more blocks. Cool! Now to add more detail!

No, I kid, I added a Plain effector to the PolyFX with only Z-position effect at about 150m and sphere falloff. It basically pushes every polygon outward in the direction of their normals. Keep in mind, I used a plain effector for the Falloff, otherwise I could've used the settings in the PolyFX.

A few things happened now.
I moved the Plain effector to where the eyes should be then set it to "Scale" and set scale to absolute and a value of -1. This way, the scale will be set to -100%, which is zero! So those polygons essentially disappear!
I then added two random effectors with spherical falloff with only Z-position, then placed one on the shoulder and the other on the hip. This made the nice explosion effects, which were inspired by the happy accident a step ago.

These were pretty easy. I duplicated the entire Figure+PolyFX+HyperNURBS set and deleted the effectors from the new PolyFX.
I then selected it and added a Shader effector. The Shader has a high scale noise applied to it (250%) to randomize but keep uniform the distribution. I then set random X, Y and Z values, but more Z than the others. Next, I went into the PolyFX settings and changed the Scale values to 0.1 in the "Transform" tab.

I really wanted to highlight the detail in the explosions on the shoulder and hip, so I copied the lights in the head and moved them into position. I dimmed the one at the hip because it was drawing too much attention. Notice also that the lighting has changed slightly.

FINALLY Ambient Occlusion ON. Shadows are cast, effectors are all on and so on, so it's time to render the final file.
I used the Physical Renderer with Depth of field for this one. Though you can't really see the DoF, it does some cool stuff to the particles and the hand in the foreground.

1920x1080 render. 6min 34sec to render.
And that's it! Hope you enjoyed this workflow post :-D Feel free to drop a comment, ask questions, etc

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