CV-Splines to Objects: Extrude, Lathe, Loft, & Sweep Splines with Powerful Single-Click Commands

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Instructor Donovan Keith

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Extrude, Lathe, Loft, & Sweep Splines with Powerful Single-Click Commands

CV-Splines to Objects is a set of plugins that speed up the process of converting splines into polygonal objects. Follow along with this video to model an Electric Guitar from pre-drawn splines in just a few clicks. Tools covered include:

  • CV-Extrude Splines: Extrudes multiple splines in a single click. Intelligently names your objects. Don't sweat the small stuff, let us.

  • CV-Lathe Splines: Lathe objects in context. No need to reposition your reference to world-center, or only lathe around World Y. Lathe multiple objects where you want them to be, but give each it's own object for easier texturing. Save yourself the annoying work of perfectly lining up points on the Y-Axis in order to create a water-tight mesh.

  • CV-Sweep Splines: 9 times out of 10 you just want to create a pipe with an easily controlled number of segments. Now you can select as many splines as you want and easily sweep them with an N-Side polygon in a single click. Use the Scale to immediately after sweeping to adjust the pipe radius by eye.

  • CV-Convert to Loft: Select splines in space, and then loft them. Stop trying to differentiate between 15 splines named Spline.7.

  • CV-Render Splines: Make your splines renderable with a single-click. No need to remember to add hair tags to multiple objects, or a render effect, or special tags if you're working with deformed splines.

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    - CV-Splines to Objects is a new set of plugins for Cinema 4D that makes it super intuitive to take your splines and turn them into 3D objects. Here is a guitar that I have modeled using this tool set and over the course of this video I'm going to break down each of the different tools and use it to recreate at least some part of this model as you watch. So let's just go to my project where I've got these elements started out here. I'm starting in a layer where I've only got the elements that I want to extrude and we see here I have the guitar body. So if I select this object and use CV-Extrude Splines, it's going to automatically take that object and extrude it out a given distance. That was just a single-click operation. I can increase the depth of that object if I want and I can go into Caps and I adjust my rounding settings as well. Notice that the fillet cap or fillet cap option is already turned on. I can also come in here and grab my face plate and extrude that as well, but I see that it's been extruded into the surface of my object. So in order to move it out in the opposite direction, I'm just going to hold down the Alt or the option key as I click on this and now my extrusion is going happen in the opposite direction. I've also got this head over here for my guitar which I want to give some thickness. So again it's that same operation, but one thing I want to point out is that I drew my spline over here on the right because I was tracing a reference image. But because I drew it over here, the axis is all the over here and it's a real mess. So if I click on CV-Extrude Splines, it's going to create my extrude object exactly where I want it to be and it's going to locate it in the center of my spline. That's a nice handy helper and that you don't have to move the axis of your object. Now another common thing that you'll run into is you want to extrude a spline and it's not necessarily lined up with the Z-axis. In this case I've got a spline, the axis is over here in the center of the scene and I want to move it over on X. So it's going to be a real mess with the traditional tools. Well, CV extrude splines. I just click on it once and it's automatically going to extrude it out using the normal of the spline which it calculates based on going in, sort of a clockwise direction. Now the radius here is a bit strong for these so I'm just going to reduce that down and now I've got a nice little clip that can hold down my strings as need be. Let's just go to the next layer and see what else we can do. The next tool set that we're going to take a look at is the lathe tool set. So I'm just going to frame up my scene and you see that I've got a bunch of different nobs that I've drawn in different locations and this is because I was just sort of tracing over my reference imagery. It's a little hard to make out some of them. This guy right here is a volume nob. So if I frame it up by tapping the 'O' key, I can now come in here and choose CV-Lathe Splines. Now if I just go with the default settings, it's going to lathe my spline around the center of the world as you are used to with your other spline tools. But if you come in and adjust the options, you can choose to lathe around the bounding box of this object around the Y-axis and I'm choosing from the lower left because I want to round from that corner right there. When I choose OK, it has now lathed the spline for me and it automatically has moved the points that are near the axis, exactly to the axis. Let's take a look at another spline, this one's a little bit more challenging because it is lined up not with the Y-axis but with the X-axis. So for this guy, I'm going to choose CV-Lathe Splines again, but now I'm going to revolve around the X-axis and choose OK. Now my spline has been lathed around the X-axis in space and the axis is now moved to some place intelligent right near my object. Last but not least, I've got this string attachment over here. Notice that when I tap the O key to frame it, the axis is all the way over here which is not a lot of fun so I'm going to zoom in on this and I'm going to choose to lathe this as well. I'm again going to choose that bounding box mode. I'm going to revolve around the Y-axis and because I traced it on the left side of my object, I'm going to choose to rotate from my upper right. Now when I press OK, I've created this object in space. If I was to go in and unhide my extrusion, I can see that I now have these pieces more or less in place. This guy right here I can just rotate and place on the surface. So let's take a look at another tool set here, the sweep tool set. I decided to just draw out each of my frets as spline points instead of working with different models because I just found the workflow a bit easier. So for that I'm just going to select my frets which is a single spline with a bunch of different segments and I'm going to choose CV-Sweep Splines and CV-Sweep Splines is going to take that and sweep an n-sided polygon around each of those paths. It defaults to an n-side because it's super easy to adjust the size and also you can adjust the quality by going into your n-side profile and adjusting the number of sides or radius and you can get a really clean, simple to work with model. Now that was one spline and that's not too much faster than the traditional workflow. But what if you want to work with a bunch of different splines at the same time? Well just call CV-Sweep Splines again and we now have all of these splines all together. One other thing I want to point out is that the scale tool has automatically been selected. So now I can just, in one step, click and drag to make these smaller for each of my strings and we're just going to pretend that all the strings are the same size for now, but if I want, I can come into each and every one these and adjust the scaling. One other thing I want to point out here is that notice that my spline was named “String” and my sweep is now named “String Sweep.” All of these sweeps, lofts, extrudes are going to automatically adjust their name based on the name of the object. The typical loft workflow is not that difficult. If you're really disciplined and you create your splines in order, everything will go pretty well. You're just dragging your splines one after the other after the other, but you'll sometimes find that you get a bunch of objects with very similar names and it's not clear which order they're really in. In that circumstance, that's where CV-Convert To Loft is really helpful. So I can come in here and I can select each one of these splines in order and run CV-Convert To Loft and it's automatically going to loft each of them in turn. Not so impressive with three, but if I come in and I take a look at say, a more complex shape like this one, I can again just paint the selection in the order that I wanted to loft, CV-Convert To Loft will loft this. Now it's automatically adding caps to this so I can turn off my caps on both ends and see that shape. You can also come in and adjust your amount of subdivisions if you want a cleaner look. Now one other tool in here that's pretty nifty that I'd like to show you is a way for taking a single spline and converting it into a loft with a bunch of different splines. So I'll take this first one and I'm just going to extrude it, and I want it to extrude in the opposite direction so I'm going to hold down option when I do that. And I'm going to extrude this off in Z. Now if I want to have a bunch of lines along the length, I can adjust the number of subdivisions here. And if you turn on Gouraud Shading with Lines, you can see the subdivisions as we add them. Now if I want, I can take this extrude and convert it to a loft and I will automatically get a series of splines along the length evenly spaced that I can go in and modify and adjust. So that's another nice, easy way to play around with lofting. Now last but not least, let's take a look at CV-Render Splines which allows you to...let's add some text... like CV-Splines To Objects for example and add CV-Render Splines, what that's going to do is add a hair tag and hair material to your object, add the hair system to your renderer and now you can render out any of your splines without creating any actual geometry. Again, all of these tools can be used in combination to create really complex projects like this electric guitar that you see here. If this a tool set that you're interested in and you want to install it, well, download it through the CV toolbox and once you've got it, go to plugins, CV-Splines To Objects and just load up the CV-Load Splines to Objects palette. It's going to bring up your customized commands window and what I'm going to do is just double click here and delete what would normally be my HyperNURBs or my Subdivision Surface object and drag in my subdivision surface and now I'm going to turn off Edit Palettes, close both of these. I now have access to that full tool set and if you like it, go to Window, Customization, Save as Startup Layout and it'll come up every time you open Cinema 4D.
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