Getting Started with Cinema 4D, Part 07: Using Fields with Deformers

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Instructor eyedesyn

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In this video, you will be introduced to the concept of Deformers and how they can allow you to manipulate existing geometry.

In this video, you will be introduced to the concept of Deformers and how they can allow you to manipulate existing geometry, like using a Bend Deformer to bend our submarine scope element and creatively utilizing the Wind Deformer to deform and animate our seaweed.

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In this video, I'm going to introduce you to the concept of fields and how you can use them in conjunction with Deformers to be able to control the areas in which the deformation from the deformers occurs on your object. So let's go ahead and say that I wanted to add some nice undulation, some displacement on the sand here to make it less boring. Now, I know we have our sand mounds created with Landscape Objects but the rest of the sand just looks pretty flat and boring. So this is where we're going to utilize a very powerful deformer that's called the Displacer Deformer. Now, what the Displacer Deformer allows you to do is basically use a displacement map to deform and displace geometry. So, what I want to do is, actually, make the displacer deform the sand Lathe Object. Now, we're having a little bit of an issue because, typically, you'd want to make the displacer a child of the object you want to displace. But because our sand geometry is actually created or generated from this Lathe and this spline, we have to set this up so this displacer actually deforms the whole entire Lathe as a single object. So, remember, the other way that you can have a deformer deform an object is to also have it in the same level of hierarchy as that object. And then that deformer can then deform that object that it shares the same level of hierarchy with. So, let's go ahead and do this. I'm going to select both my Displacer and my Sand lathe, right-click and Group Objects. Now, this will just be our Sand Group. And now you can see that my Displacer is now on the same level of hierarchy as my Sand lathe, and now this displacer can easily act upon and deform our sand objects here. So, how the displacer works is you need to load up a displacement map in the Shading tab. Now, what we can do to load up, say, some just general noise, which is basically like your Fractal Noise inside of After Effects is by clicking this little arrow button to go all the way down to Noise. And this will load up our Noise Shader. And if I click on this little Noise button, you'll see if I go to the Shader tab of the Noise Shader, we basically just loaded up some noise. So what's going on is the noise, the grayscale values in the noise are actually determining the strength of the displacer and acting like a displacement map. And you'll see that this noise is working through the displacer and deforming our sand lathe. Okay, now everything's looking fairly chunky at this point. So what we can do is actually adjust the scale or global scale of our noise. So let's go ahead and see what happens as we move the global scale up. You can see it's less kind of ripply and chunky and more smooth, kind of deformations going on here. So if I maybe bring up the global scale to, say, 550 and go into the Displacer object and go to its Object tab, here, you can actually see the height of the deformation. So, if we go into the height, you can see that we're getting some nice displacement here, but we're also displacing the bottom of the sand. And we actually don't want any displacement happening here because all of this sand would actually be resting on and conform to the shape of our fishbowl. So this is where fields are going to come in handy. Now, fields have a multitude of uses. But in this instance, we're going to use fields to actually control the areas and isolate the areas in which we want this displacer deformation to occur. So, almost think of fields as a falloff area, or a falloff shape of our effect. So you'll find fields in this Falloff tab. And here we have a bunch of different falloff options or field options. Now, if I click and hold on this Linear Field, you can see what type of falloff shapes that are available to us. Now, since our sand object is fairly cylindrical, I'm going to use a cylindrical field. And you're going to see that our cylindrical field creates an object, it's a child of the displacer and you're going to see that all the displacement goes away on our sand. And that's because this cylindrical field is not overlapping the sand object in our geometry. So watch what happens when I actually moving this cylinder down and again pull these handles out. And this basically controls this falloff or cylindrical field like an actual cylinder primitive object. So these handles should be kind of familiar to you. So if we bring this down, you're going to see that only the deformation is actually happening on the bottom. And if I go into the Gouraud Shading (Lines), and let me go ahead and hide in my fishbowl from viewport by clicking this top dot twice, you're going to see why this is happening. Why we have all this nice deformation on the bottom but not on the top, and it has to do with subdivisions. Now, remember, if you don't have enough subdivisions on your geometry like our seaweed here, the deformations won't be as smooth. So in order to get more geometry from our lathe object, we need to go into our spline that's actually creating the subdivisions and change the intermediate points of what is actually creating our spline, and change it from Adaptive to something like Uniform. And what Uniform is going to allow you to do is change the subdivision or the intermediate points of our spline to create more subdivisions and more geometry that we can then more easily displace and deform this geometry. So you can see the difference between adaptive which basically tries to adapt and really create the least amount of subdivisions as possible, just for speed's sake, and change it to something like uniform and you'll see that now this is uniformly subdivided based on this number we set here. So the higher the number, the smoother the deformations can happen. So now we can go ahead and use this cylinder field and just adjust the height of it so only the very top of our sand will be deformed or displaced. And you can see that occurring right now. Now, I think this displacement is a little bit too much. So we can go into the Displacer, go to the Object tab and adjust the actual height of the displacement. So we just have some nice little indents here and it's looking a lot more natural than it did without the actual displacement at all. So you can see, as I turn this on and off, this is looking much more interesting. Now, if we go to our Displacer and check out the Type, basically, what's going on with the Intensity (Centered) is that it is pushing and pulling the geometry. So it's pushing the geometry down and indenting it while also pushing the geometry up. Now, if we just use Intensity you're going to see that the only direction that the displacement is going is down. Now, if I change the height to say a negative number, you're going to see that the displacement direction is upwards. So this is a good way to control where, if you just want hills, you can just use the Intensity, put in a negative height and there you go, or if you have Intensity (Centered), you have the push and pulling effect. And you can basically choose which one you want depending on what you want to happen to your sand. I think I like having this displaced both ways. So, I think the one thing I'm going to need to do is go and push these little landscape objects and move them around so you don't see the edges of these landscape objects, so maybe something like that. And you can just see how much more natural this sand looks. It looks way more realistic. I can up these subdivisions to maybe smooth out this edge because I think this edge is going to need a little bit of smoothing. So we can really crank this up to get this nice round edge there, and we can go back into our Gouraud Shading without the lines, and we got this really nice shading going on. Now, if you wanted to edit this further, we can, of course, go into the Shading tab, go to the Noise and adjust the seed to basically generate a new type of noise. So, I think I'm liking that seed right there. Now, another thing we can do with this cylindrical field is control the falloff or the contour of the falloff here underneath this Remapping tab. Now, we have the Field tab which basically controls the height and the radius. You can also, again, control that with these little handles. So we're going to go into the Remapping and I want this to be more of a smooth rather than a linear falloff. So what I'm going to do is go to the Contour Mode, and if you don't see it just make sure you click this little menu here to untwirl these options. And I'm just going to choose a nice curve, and this is going to bring up a spline editor that if I click on one of these points, I can just round this out. And you can actually see how this is affecting the actual geometry here. Now, if I scale this up, you can see we have this nice, gradual smoothing rather than if we had it like this, and you can see that most of the deformation's happening in the center. But I think I'm liking what's going on here, where we have just the very fringe edges of our displacement field is affecting the sand. Cool. So I'm really liking this a lot. Again, you can keep adjusting the strength, the curve of this spline, adjust the inner offset, which is basically where 100% strength of the field is occurring within this inner cylinder and then how it tapers off to the outer cylinder shape, in between here is where this falloff is occurring. So feel free to keep playing around with that. I'm liking that for right now. And again, if we want to hide this cylinder field from our viewport, we just click on that top dot till it turns red, and you'll see that it now goes away. So let's turn back on our fishbowl. And you can see, we have some really nice sand that looks a lot more interesting. So, Fields unlocks a whole other level of control when working with the deformers. Fields are the big new feature in Cinema 4D that has a lot of powerful uses. And I'll actually be covering more about fields later on in this series, so be sure to keep watching.
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