Unit 52 3D Animation


Our Tutor had introduced us to a program called ‘Cinema 4D’ that is used for rendering 3D objects and possibly animating a 3D environment. This was a new  for me based on the fact that I had no experience with creating 3D objects with digital media. I honestly had a little difficulty with understanding the program from the very beginning, but it was helpful of the Tutor to lend us A4 sized instructions so that the rest of class, including me would understand what to do. I do feel that looking at the objects I made, I feel as if I should done more rendering to them (e.g. sources of lighting, reflections etc).

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Rendering a background
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Creating an ipod

Rendering an ipod wasn’t very difficult (thanks to paper instructions given to everyone in class). I do feel that adding texture and lighting would have improved how it looked. It was a good experience to learn on how to render and change size in height, length and width. I really wished that I had spent more time wisely in this assignment. I do feel like I could have done more with the lighting to give it a more realistic look.

Making a Vase

Our Tutor wanted us to have a go at rendering a vase or two vases. From this we learned how to  convert a 2D object to a 3D object, using a Akina Spline (for tracing an area of the base picture) and Lathe Nurb (used for rendering your 3D shape based on the area you have traced and selected. I had been fiddling around for a while before getting half of it traced to render the pot on a more symmetrical form (unlike the picture).

base picture used

This image of a vase was useful as a reference for creating and rendering a vase for practice for when I need to render containers and objects in the future. I did this using the Freehand and Hyper nubs tool in Cinema 4D. It took some time for me to make it with textures.

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full shot picture

I originally wanted to created a checkered pattern with MatPat’s logo, but I was too stubborn on asking for help on how to do so that in the end, I didn’t even bother and left it how it was. I do think that making was an improvement from the last two mini projects that I did (shapes and ipod images).

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zoomed in

Plane modelling and animating

For animating, we had to use Unity (a well-known engine which a lot of indie game developers have used. I more or less had focused on rendering and animating a flight sequence. I had been messing around with this program for quite a bit, which did waste some time that I had to actually complete this task. I don’t know how I managed to create this strange alien gun. I was just messing around with moulding and building with 3D shapes on Cinema 4D. It was made using the editing tool.

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odd alien gun?

This was made when I mainly struggling with making my model. I temporarily gave up and decided to create something foreign by accident. I didn’t understand what I was making, but I went along with it in hopes that I would be able to use it in my animation. It could be used sci-fi animation.

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plane model
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plane model (front)

After creating the plane model, I created a new material and messed around (again) with the editing settings, affecting the reflection and transparency especially.

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3D animation screenshot

Finished Animation

Rolling Ball animation

For this task, each of us had to create 3D ball rolling across. I was quite happy with performing this assignment, since I haven’t had as much of a struggle as I did the last time. It mainly involved motion tweening for the ball to roll.

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Ball rolling up ramp

This is just to show the rough sequence of a ball rolling up and down from start to finish. I wanted to be sure that I had the right flow of movement in the right places when I was animating this.

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halfway there

This was where I had to change the shape of the tween and add rotation the ball for it to appear to be rolling as well as be rolling up and down the ramp.

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close to the end

Final animation

Second ball animation

This second task was a challenge set by our Tutor in order for us to experiment with different angles and directions to move our ball in the environment that we set with obstacles. I wanted to take a look at my setting from different angles, so that I can take a look at how I can adjust it so that it isn’t out of place.

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in the process

I wanted to start off by creating 3D objects and landscape from the menu. I was originally messing around with different shapes and finding a sky-box to fit in there with a sky material added.

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landscape view
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full shot
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ball in midair

I didn’t know how to fix the split sky problem. It wasn’t noticeable for me until I changed the camera angle, but it was unintentional.

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adding more

I mainly wanted to take a look at different shots of the whole animation sequence. I thought that I could add in a tube for the ball to travel through in a looped sequence. I wanted to attempt to edit the tween for this to happen on my own.

Finished Animation

Rendering Earphones

Our Tutor showed us his demonstration of rendering an earphone and a wire, using the free-hand tools in Cinema 4D and soon set us a task to create this as well. From first glance, I didn’t expect this to be a piece of cake. I am happy with how the earphone turned out for my first try, even if it is fairly disproportionate. I’m happy with how I managed to create a fairly accurate-looking earphone without the use of a reference.

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first attempt
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extra earphone
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angle change
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glass floor and adding reflections
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tweaked reflection and glow

Text animation

Our class was told to create an animation sequence involving text. I really enjoyed doing this if I’m not honest. I mainly got to decorating and changing the look of the animation simply for aesthetics. I didn’t really focus a lot on the animation, which is what I should have done.

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key framing and rendering
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render preview

I edited the glowing and reflection settings on this font sequence. I liked the effect it had on the animation so I kept it there.

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added a plane
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soft shadow and spot light
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back view
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floor texture change
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sky texture

Finished animation

Rendering a character model

It was a great experience to attempt to render and recreate ‘sack-boy’ from Big Little Planet, using line art of a front and side profile of sack boy.

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starting point
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shaping out the head

I started out with a cube sliced it up, using the knife tool. By slicing it up, I was able to edit the edges to make it easier to change into a similar shape to the head. I used the hyper nubs tool to give it a rounder appearance. I carried on the same procedure again for each body part until I got the model shown below.

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my disfigured character model

After getting the rest of the body parts, I started to move them closer together and change the width and height of a certain body part until I felt that it was the right length.

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character model from different points of view

When I finished and grouped then all together, I decided to give my sack-boy a ‘ghostly’ look. I even messed around with the setting, giving sunlight for the environment I’ve put my sack-boy in. I was immersed in creating a look that I would have been happy with at the time. I still should of focused on finishing the surroundings rather than wasting time on what type of textures and lighting I wanted.

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Adding texture and lighting
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added sunlight

I wanted to check how the setting would look with more lighting, but I wasn’t happy with how bright it appeared. I wasn’t able to see my sack-boy when I checked the rendered preview. I thought it would look better with the lighting so I eventually removed it.

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removed the sunlight

Creating a rig

Our Tutor showed us step by step on how to create a rig using a figure. I tried my self, using the techniques that he showed us. I managed to follow most of the instructions that we were told, but I had trouble with binding the rig with the model.

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My attempt

After calling my Tutor, he checked through what I had done. It turns out that I just had bad luck with the program itself and that I actually managed to get everything else right. We just saved, closed and opened it again.

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Finding the solution
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rigging my sack-boy

When I attempted to rig my sack-boy I made earlier.

What I learned

I managed to learn to render models using images as guidelines. I’ll be able to create my own models using my own sketches. I have also gave some basic knowledge on how to insert regular shapes, change lighting, shadow settings. I do still have some trouble with animating and rigging sometimes.

3D animation in Industry

3D animation has been used for different purposes, whether it be artistic, entertainment or educational. It always been useful to have around. I’ve seen other people create 3D animations for presenting a project in its’ early prototype or even just presenting how your product will look in the future. People have used this form of animation to create video game cutscenes or as a form of environment for gameplay which would required coding between the environment and the character that you play as. I’ve even seen other people who were previous students of my college who made 3D representations of buildings. It has been used to create footage for video game advertising.

This was a short sci-fi film I watched a few years on youtube. I was pretty impressed with the concept of a apocalyptic future, survival and cyborgs. It makes me want to fit in a robot as my main character as my Tutor did agree that they would be easier to animate than organic characters. I honestly think that a apocalyptic environment would more suitable. I would probably have the environment isolated with the exception of the robot character that I’ll probably put in there.

Mind map

Animation concept mindmap
Initial ideas that I had put in there

Mood boards

Since I was aware that we had to make a short animated film on the topic of science fiction, I knew that it was important to do some form of research of what I want to include in my animation. I picked the two main elements that would be involved in my animation. Main character is a robot based on my fascination with them and how can the future can be affected with them. I have always been interested in

robot moodboard
space moodboard


Working title:

I want to create a short Sci-fi 3D animation.

Target Market:

This would appeal to my class as most of us are fans of sci-fi.

What you will work towards producing:

I want to make a short animation involving a robot exploring an abandoned planet.

Influences, starting points and contextual references:

I have watched sci-fi animated films before, including films that have to do with robots (my main character is a robot). I also have come across some animated films that explore the topic of human extinction and how the earth carries on after that. I have also heard of a  sci-fi animated TV series (called Parasyte) that carries on the topic of human survival.

Early ideas research and sources: (What are your sources for contextual and personal research?)

When the Tutor decided that we were able to make a sci-fi 3D animation, I had some flashbacks from previous animations I have watched that relate to sci-fi and it’s was helpful for me.

Intended techniques, non digitial and digital processes:

I will use cinema 4D (for animating) and IMovie (for editing scenes).

Timescales: (Please insert weekly targets of what you intend to work on from the beginning to the end of the project)

Roughly 3 weeks.

Proposed methods of evaluation: (How will you evaluate your project?)

Other peers will watch my animation and gives their own thoughts and opinions based on what they’ve watched.


Doodles from the top of my head.
what did I draw?
Robot protagonist

Since I’m aware of the basic idea of creating a sci-fi 3D animation, I doodled what popped up in my head at the time. I initially want to make a simple 3D animation that’s linked to sci-fi somehow. I would need to think about the environment, the props and the characters that I would want to create and adapt into it. I may include foliage in my environment and set the film in that type of environment. I’m also aware that my character model would need to be rendered and animated. I’m thinking on how I can possibly take a simplistic style and use that for the animation to make the process easier. After having a chat with my Tutor on making a simplistic-looking character rather than an organic-looking character.

My Storyboard

FullSizeRender (1)
just the idea

I know that I needed to get the storyboard done and out of the way if I want to know what sequences I will animate in chronological order.


I tried to make the character model, using my knowledge of what I learned in Cinema 4D from the workshop at the beginning. I do want to try my best to make my animation in the best quality that it can, since that’s what the Tutor cares about the most with this assignment.

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Taking basic 3D shapes
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checking the lighting

Rendering and shaping the character was quite simple for me to do since I made a simplistic-looking design for my robot character. I wanted to give a nice, polished look for it. I was originally unsure on how to create the model, but my Tutor managed to help me with the bone tool, deleting and combining.

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adding a landscape
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rendered view

When I was inserting a landscape for my robot character, I wanted to scale it to resemble a huge, abandoned planet where my character was supposed to explore. From time to time, I would take a look at how I can improve the look of the landscape by looking at it in the rendered view.

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attempt at rigging character
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my tutor helping me rig again

Rigging the character has had some problems, due to some problems. Luckily, my Tutor has able to help me fix my problems with rigging my character, otherwise I’d worry about how I can create that animation if I can’t even move my character around.

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added a sky texture

It didn’t feel right to leave the setting without a sky or space so I thought that it would be a good idea to add a skybox to put in more the environment. I was taking a long time with picking and adjusting the appearance of the material for the skybox.

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change in lighting
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changing surface texture
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character’s texture was changed


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camera following character


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tweening the next scene


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rendering a camera panning scene


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Putting scenes together and editing




Final Animation

Final Evaluation

People had commented the good use of variety of camera angles focusing on the character. It was better than shooting it in one angle for the entire animation. I’m glad that people agreed with the type of  8-bit music that was selected for this animation. I honestly thought that electronic music was fitting for a robot/sci-fi setting. I was disappointed that the final product was different and a lot shorter than my original idea, but when I thought about it, I didn’t really have the patience and dedication to put in a lot of detail into it for it to be longer. I understand why some people were confused from the sequence of scenes and the order I had placed them in. I even noticed the constant change of quality in some camera shots, but then again.







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