Cinema 4D: MoGraph and Bullet Dynamics

This past week has been my spring break, which really hasn't meant much, except that I got to take one day off and play.  In the mean time, however, I also picked up a copy of Cinema 4D R13 Studio while I could get it at an academic discount.  I have always been a fan of Cinema 4D, even though it isn't used heavily within the United States for animation.

I had a previous version of C4D on my computer, but not with all the bells and whistles attached to it.  This new version adds a lot of features that bring it up to speed with a lot of other comparable 3D packages.  One of the coolest features that is is mainly used for is called MoGraph.  It allows for some pretty interesting motion graphics to be created just by using expressions and simulations.  For example,  the following video called "No Keyframes" was created using MoGraph without any keyframe animation, just scripts:

One of the powerful things about MoGraph is its ability to clone a single object multiple times in whatever shape you want.  I decided to give MoGraph and the dynamics engine a test last night just for fun.  I took a simple cube and cloned it using MoGraph to a 20 x 20 x 80 matrix of cubes.  All in all, that turned out to be 32,000 cubes!  It was more than my computer could display at once if I rotated the camera, so I had to be careful on how I did things.  I ran the dynamics simulation of a heavy metal ball hitting the tower of cubes to see what would happen, making sure to save the cache.  It took a good half hour per element to run the simulation, which isn't bad considering that you have to simulate the paths, rotation, and velocity of  32,002 individual objects.  The cache wound up increasing the file size to almost 3GB, which tells you how much data is involved with something like this.  I rendered it out and added motion blur and the depth of field in After Effects:

All in all, it turned out okay, especially for a test.  There are guys in the industry that do this all day long with fluids, smoke, and other things.  I can't wait to get into some other cool features of MoGraph and learn it.  Cinema 4D, although it isn't the main staple of the animation industry in the United States, still has some fun potential.  In closing, take a look at this little short called "Hooked", made completely in Cinema 4D:

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