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Simple 3D Modeling Tips in Cinema 4D

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Sometimes a simpler 3D model looks better, speaks louder, and just WORKS

Photorealistic models are a lot of fun, but they can take literal days to mold, polish, and perfect. Sometimes, your project just doesn't require that level of detail. Even more, some project work better with simple, stylized figures. What if you could spend more time focusing on the animating rather than the creation of your 3D assets?

Chef cutting sushi.

This is an exclusive look at one of the lessons learned in our Workshop "The Essential Ingredients to Creating Stylized 3D", featuring the enchanting animations of Jonathan Lindgren. While the Workshop focuses on putting your work in front of the right people to land big jobs, Jonathan has a few great tips for how simple 3D models can speak volumes for your projects, and we couldn't keep those kinds of secrets any longer. This is just a sneak peek at some of the amazing lessons Jonathan has in store, so grab order up some nigiri, garlic edamame, and about a metric ton of those chicken pot stickers. It's time to make some sushi.

Simple 3D Modeling Tips in Cinema 4D

The Essential Ingredients to Creating Stylized 3D

Every freelancer knows how difficult it can be to get their work noticed. It can be even more difficult to change someone's perception of the work you create. In 2018, Jonathan Lindgren was determined to change the way people viewed his work and in turn, the creative opportunities that he was receiving. The result was Jonathan’s short film, How to Make Sushi. His love of 3D, character animation and the attention to detail in every frame of this piece deserve all the spotlight it has been given.

How to Make Sushi is a personal project and 3D masterpiece by Jonathan Lindgren. Determined to change the way people viewed his work, Jonathan set out to combine his love of all things 3D, character animation and Japanese manga and anime. In addition to the video walkthroughs, this Workshop includes various project files that were used directly in the production of these films. From initial mood boards and storyboards, down to production project files.

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Full Tutorial Transcript Below 👇:

Jonathan Lindgren (00:15): It's definitely fair to be scared of modeling. Cause, uh, I'm still kind of scared of certain aspects of modeling. I'm not good, like subdivision, like box modeler. I usually try and get by with the volume builder or like extruded nerves or sweeten IRBs or different kinds of deformers like whatever works just to achieve the division that I have works and not just try and not focus on the technical aspects, but yeah, we can definitely take a look at how we modeled some of these elements that I'll start with this table layout. Seeing that kind of goes throughout the short, uh, I can show you something that I personally really liked to do in instead of going the, the box modeling routes. So I really love using extraordinary herbs, for example. Uh, but the only issue with that is that if you, if you're using splines through an extruded nerves, you might not get, you know, the smoothest edges around the caps, regardless of how many sections you're using on that cap.

Jonathan Lindgren (01:10): So I am this like small little trick that I, that I really enjoy using when I'm, when I'm modeling. Uh, so for example, for this cutting board is where I've used that. So as you can tell, this cutting board has a very like smooth, the coroner's smooth edge and everything, but it still has a very graphic shape, which is what I wanted. So I'm just going to go ahead and display our lines here so we can see our topology. And I'm going to go ahead and deactivate this subdivision surface. So this is how the actual extraordinary abs looks and, um, usually what's blinds. The default is the adaptive intermediate sampling, which just means that, I guess, I guess it just means that the cinema places out points along the spine where it's necessary. So for example, the rounded corners, but if you're doing this, you're not going to get like even topology around, around the edges and that kind of stuff, which is usually what you want when you want to smooth objects out in cinema.

Jonathan Lindgren (02:08): So if you just hit uniform, you can decide how many points a cinema will just distribute along display uniformly. So I've set this to 40 because then I get like a good rounding, uh, around a corner for this shopping board. And in the extruded nerves, the, the default setting here is usually the end gone, which means that it will not have any geometry on the flat surface of the extra nerves. And if I would go ahead and smooth this out, you would get this, which is a visual nightmare. Like you, you did not want this, uh, if you want a smooth surface. So if you, instead on this, go ahead and deactivate this again. If you go to regular grid, you can decide the size of the core. So you actually also have to hit quad dominance. So to make sure that you get, you're getting the quads and the triangles, and I've set this to, I think it was 1.3.

Jonathan Lindgren (03:05): So I've set it to a value where I'm getting the least amount of like triangles forming around the edges here. Like you're still going to get some, but it's not going to matter too much. And if I go ahead and smooth this way, subdivision surface, do you, you're getting a completely smooth shape, but you can also go ahead and just adjust the radius if you, if you would need to with a pretty good like geometry. So you're keeping things very open and very JS open for changes, really, which is usually how I like to work, because I don't want to just create a box model that's just finished as it is. I want to be able to change it if, if my creative vision needs for it. So that's kind of a neat trick, but, um, like on top of that, there are moments where you do need probably to, um, get into like property subdivision modeling.

Jonathan Lindgren (03:58): So for example, this spoon here, like I wouldn't be able to get, you know, the high tear, the height difference here along the edge of the spoon, or to get this hole to where it can nicely in a smooth DOP way. So in some cases you do need to kind of get into some form of box modeling. However, in this case, like this is, um, I'm not great at it, which means that it's gonna look garbage. One site unclicked is the, the subdivision surface. So this is, this is how the spoon looks, but I mean like this works, uh, and you can all, and like, you can already see where the box originates from. So this is like the original box. And then you just kind of shape these things out. Think of top view. And initially, and you kind of just add these like height differences.

Jonathan Lindgren (04:46): So this is probably just took this and like pull this off just to kind of get the difference in height, then you, uh, just extrude this handle out. And I wanna just, just like a bit more of a detail around the handle. So adding a hold to it, I thought could be a and just a nice touch, but I wasn't sure how to add holes in like a box modeling. Cause then extraordinary was you would just use a, like a splined mask and then you would subtract it like you would do an illustrator or anything like that. But in box modeling, it's just a bit, it's a bit more complicated, but making a hole out of a box, it's actually not too hard, but just to kind of show you how, how you create a whole, which is super simple. Uh, I'll just go ahead and solo this into you yet.

Jonathan Lindgren (05:32): So we can see the bottom of the spoon as well. So if I go ahead and select both of these, um, I can just go ahead and help down to extruded enter. So that will kind of create these, uh, these faces for us to extrude the hole. So one of the principles of, of like something we should modeling is that we're, we're trying to get even amounts and even shaped, uh, amounts of quads. So you don't want to try and triangles, you want quad shapes to get a nice, smooth surface. So we have a four point square here, like around the entire shape, which is what you need. So if I just go ahead and delete both of these, um, you can see that we're kind of almost almost there. So the only thing you need to do that is his bridge and then just go over to your edges and then you can just pull these down. Like now you have a hole through your shape. Yeah. And once you it's moved, like you get that and that's it. You don't need to be like an expert at this, but it's definitely useful to know the basic principles. And the basic principle is usually just to like, keep quads. Like that's what you want. You don't want to try and goals. Cause then you will get the pinching and they aren't even in geometry and that kind of stuff. And yeah, it's sort of as simple as that.