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Using Cinema 4D Art for Augmented Reality with Adobe Aero

By EJ Hassenfratz and Ryan Plummer
Cinema 4D

Learn How to Leverage Adobe Aero to Create Immersive Augmented Reality Experiences with Your 3D Animation Designs from Cinema 4D

Augmented Reality (AR) is a hot topic in the tech world, as we reported from Adobe Max earlier in 2019. A foreseeably democratizing force in AR, Adobe's Project Pronto would combine the benefits of video prototyping and AR authoring in one cohesive system, allowing non-technical designers to express AR design ideas; meanwhile, for professionals, the already available Adobe Aero, an Adobe Max Sneak in 2018, allows designers — with no coding experience — to create AR experiences that blend the physical and digital worlds. Plus, with Aero you're not confined to Adobe apps. In fact, it's never been easier to incorporate your animated Cinema 4D objects and characters into an immersive and interactive AR experience.
In today's tutorial from School of Motion 3D Creative Director and Cinema 4D Basecamp instructor EJ Hassenfratz, we demonstrate how to use Adobe Aero to create AR experiences using your C4D assets.

Augmented Reality with Cinema 4D and Adobe Aero: Tutorial Video

Augmented Reality with Cinema 4D and Adobe Aero: Tutorial Project Files

To follow along, download the project files used in EJ's tutorial video.

Project Files: Augmented Reality with C4D and Adobe Aero

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Augmented Reality with Cinema 4D and Adobe Aero: Explained

Available with a Creative Cloud subscription, Adobe Aero allows you to design and animate interactive AR experiences without the need for code.
Adobe Aero Logo.png
Aero works with PSD files, 3D objects and characters, and even pre-built characters from Adobe Mixamo (which now has its own Send to Aero button) — and comes with several 3D starter assets, including primitive shapes, furniture, plants, product packaging, frames, typography, animated assets, and more.

Preparing Your Cinema 4D Assets for Augmented Reality in Adobe Aero

To optimize your Cinema 4D assets for use in Adobe Aero, you'll want to focus on rendering and processing:
  • Polygon Count
  • Materials
  • Textures
  • Animations
Adobe Aero supports 130,000 polygons. To determine the number of polygons in your scene:
  1. Select all of your objects
  2. Go to Mode
  3. Select Project Info
where to find the Polygon Count in Cinema 4D.png
Aero supports physically based rendering and standard materials from Cinema 4D, including base color channel, specular/reflection, ambient occlusion, and emissive and alpha materials.
Materials panel in Cinema 4D Adobe Aero Accpets materials.png
To be applied properly, Aero requires that all textures be image based, and all image-based textures must be scaled down to 2k or below and saved in a 1:1 dimensional ratio.
Aero supports the following animated parameters:
  • Position
  • Scale
  • Rotation
  • Joint/Skin with Weights (limited to six joints per vertex)
Get animatino read for adobe aero in cinema 4d.gif
Aero does not support:
  • Pose Morph
  • Point Level Animation
  • Fluid
  • Cloth
  • Dynamics
  • Softbody Dynamics
That means that, if you've been using deformers to dynamically drive animations in Cinema 4D, Aero will not support the Jiggle, Displacer, Spline Wrap, etc.
You can still use the Mograph Cloner and Rigid Body animation for setting up your scenes; however, they'll need to be 'baked' out with PSR keyframes.

Exporting Cinema 4D Files for Adobe Aero

To save your Cinema 4D assets as files that can be used in Adobe Aero, export to the FBX file format:
  1. Click File on the top left
  2. Click Export
  3. Select FBX
  4. Uncheck Subdivision Surface
  5. Check Baked Subdivision Surface
  6. Enable Textures and Materials & Embed Textures
  7. Click OK
And then, once the files have been exported, locate the "tex" folder and compress it with your FBX file.
FBX settings for Cinema 4d export to adobe aero.png

Uploading Your 3D Model to Adobe Aero

To access your 3D files in Adobe Aero, upload them to Creative Cloud:
  1. Launch the Creative Cloud app
  2. Go to the Your Work tab at the top left
  3. Click the File menu
  4. Select Open Sync Folder
  5. Drag and drop your newly compressed file into this folder
how to find creative cloud sync folder.gif

Placing Your 3D Model in Adobe Aero

Once you've set up your scene in Adobe Aero, tap the + icon to add the file you stored in Creative Cloud, and click Open.
Animation presets in Adobe Aero with 3D Model.gif

Mastering Cinema 4D for Incredible Adobe Aero Assets

If using in-app 3D starter kits isn't for you, and you want to create your own assets for use in Adobe Aero, you'll want to master Cinema 4D — and there's no more effective course online or off than Cinema 4D Basecamp from School of Motion, created and taught by Cinema 4D expert, 3D rig and tool developer and creator of this tutorial, EJ Hassenfratz.
In Cinema 4D Basecamp, you'll learn modeling and texturing, compositing, keyframes and other animation methods, cameras, staging and lighting.
And, as with all of our courses, you'll gain access to our private student groups; receive personalized, comprehensive critiques from professional artists; and grow faster than you ever thought possible.