Cinema 4D Handbook: Chapter 4, Part I

All through September I am going through the Cinema 4D, r10 Handbook in hopes of gaining a new skill and better understanding of 3D modeling. I plan to (from here on out) cover two chapters a week (longer chapters will be broken into multiple posts). Stay tuned for new chapters. This post will cover Chapter 4: Polygon Modeling, Part One.

Chapter 4: Polygon Modeling, Part I

There are two ways to go about polygon modeling: box modeling and additive modeling. With box modeling, you start with a primitive and change it from there. With additive modeling, you start without anything, create points, and add from there. The first part of this chapter focused on Additive Modeling. This chapter also introduced the idea of an N-Gon. An N-Gon is a polygon, where “n” stands for the number of sides. Most models are composed of triangles, and quadrangles. When you subdivide a tri or a quad, you will get four from one. When you subdivide an N-gon, you will end up with “n” amount of divisions. “If you have a 25 sided N-gon, and you subdivide it, the result will be 25 quads each sharing a single vertex. This “starring” is something to avoid.”

Tutorial 4.1: The Basic House

The major things this tutorial taught me were:
•Point and Polygon Creation
•Point, Edge, and Polygon Tools
•Selections Modes


There are different screen layouts that are each tailored to a specific action in C4D. They suggest using the animation layout to animate, the modeling layout to model, and so on. Layouts can be changed in the main menu or in a pull out menu found under the Undo button.

Create the Floor:
1) Go into Top View, and activate Lines and Isoparms by hitting the “N” key and choosing the corresponding options (“G” and “I”).
2) Go Objects> Polygon Object, then select the Points tool.
3) Select Create Polygon from the tools menu (Structure> Create Polygon), or use the “M”key to bring up a pop-up menu.
4) Create 6 points to create the base of your house.
5) Use the Structure Manager to align the points.

Create the Frame by Making Points:
1) Select the corner points in the Structure Manager or with the Live Selection tool.
2) Clone the points. Functions> Clone
3) Change the “Offset” position and apply.
4) Repeat the steps for cloning the door points.

Make the Walls:
*This step introduces the Bridge Tool. It’s a lot like working with NURBS and splines.
1) Go into  the Points tool, then hit “B” to choose the Bridge tool.
2) In Perspective View, click and drag the lower left corner point, to the top left. The Lower right to upper right. This fills in the wall.
3) Repeat for the back, and other side wall.

Fill in the Front Wall:
1) Go into the Create Polygon tool. Press “M” then choose it from the pop-up menu
2) Click on the points of the front wall, hitting all the point (including those for the door frame) in a clockwise pattern.

Create a Sloped Roof:
1) Enter Edge Mode. “V”> Tools> Edges. Then use the Live Selection tool to select the front and back, top edges.
2) Select the Edge Cut tool. “M”> “F”
3) Apply the default settings.
4) Select the Points tool, then bring up the Bridge tool. Shortcut= “B” key
5) Bridge the roof by using the six points on the top edges.
6) Enter Auto Switch Mode (See description below). “V”> Tools> Auto Switch Mode
7) Use the Live Selection tool to select the middle edge.
8 ) Use either the Coordinates Manager or the Move tool to raise the edge.

Auto Switch, Default, and Tweak Mode

There are three modes you can use to make changes to a model: Auto Switch, Default, and Tweak. Auto Switch Mode will allow you to have quick access to all three polygon elements. By hovering over a given portion, Auto Switch Mode will detect if it is a point, an edge, or a polygon. Default Mode is best used when you need to do extensive cutting and extruding to a model. Tweak Mode allows you to select and edit elements in a single motion; instead of selecting the object, then editing it.

Cut Out a Window:
1) Select the Polygon tool and enter Front View. “V”> Tools> Polygons
2) Use the Live Selection tool to select the front polygon.
3) Select the Knife Tool from either the modeling tool palette, or press “K.”
4) Go into the knife options to change the mode to “hole”  and to turn snapping on.
5) Click four times on the front polygon to create a hole. To close the hole, click on the first point again.
To Shrink the Window:
1) Select the Edge tool, and then the Live Selection tool. “V”> Tools> Edges
2) Choose the four edges of the window and select the Scale tool.
3) Click and drag to shrink the window.

Create the Roof:
1) Using the Polygon and Live Selection tools, select the angled roof polygons.
2) Extrude, the shortcut for extrude is “D,” the polygons up.
3) Use Loop Selection to select the newly made faces. Selection> Loop Selection. *NOTE: Loop Selection chooses its loop by what edge the cursor is over. It will light up the ring you are about to choose.
4) Extrude the looped selection.

Create an Attic:
1) Use Live Selection to select the middle of the roof.
2) Use Extrude Inner to create a frame for the attic base. *NOTE: Using Extrude Inner allows you to make a face shrink or grow parallel with the polygon’s plane. **Use it here so the walls of the attic grow vertically instead of on a diagonal with the roof.
3) Perform an Extrude by hitting “D.” Use the  Coordinates Manager to change the height of the walls.
4) Perform a second Extrude to create the walls of the attic roof.
5) Use Loop Selection to select the roof edges and then Extrude.

Frame the Window:
1) Select the Edge tool. “V”> Tools> Edges
2) Use Live Selection to select the edges that frame the window.
3) Extrude to pull the edges wider.
4) Switch to Polygons and use Loop Selection to grab the frame.
5)  Extrude.

Here’s what my house looks like:

Polygon Normals

Sometimes when you create polygons your faces can get reversed. “Every polygon face has a front face and a back face. To see which direction a polygon is pointing, select it.  A red polygon is facing toward you. A blue polygon is facing away from you.” If your polygons are facing the wrong way, then you can reverse them by first Aligning Normals, Functions> Align Normals, and then Reversing Normals, Functions> Reverse Normals.

Once again, practice makes perfect. So, tonight I will be doing the second half of the chapter; which is a tutorial on HyperNURBS.

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