An Introduction To Character Animation In Cinema 4D


One of the most sought after jobs in 3D Animation is that of a Character Animator, or Character Technical Director. Here's how you get started using Cinema 4D.. A character animator can be an incredible job, bringing characters to life. Anything from humans to aliens, from cars to fish. It’s an awful lot of fun… and work.

But where to start? In my opinion, it's best to start looking at a pre-made rig and have fun animating it. The classic starting job is a walk cycle. Let's get started!

Creating a walk cycle using Cinema 4D

In this beginner's tutorial, we will look at a Character rig and the things that make it go! All the controllers and buttons, sliders and movers that mean you can move your character and bring it to life. It won’t make you an expert, but I hope it does give you a good starting point, if you have never explored this type of animation before.

Here's what we'll cover in this first tutorial:

  • How to navigate around a simple Character Rig.
  • How its controllers effect the movement of key areas of the body.
  • How Cinema 4D’s PoseMorph tag allows you to control facial expressions with sliders.
  • How Cinema 4D's Xpresso has been used to help control fingers.
  • How to use Cinema 4D’s Automatic Keyframing to produce a simple walk cycle.

Hopefully, you succeeded in part one. If not, do let me know on the comments below. Now, let's try a bit of movement by making this little guy wave at you. Roll on part 2!

Making a character wave at you using Cinema 4D

In the second part, you will experiment with the rig to produce an animated wave.

You will learn about the principles of animation called Anticipation and Follow through.

These help to give more realistic movement to your characters.

And there you have it. You've started your first steps in character animation. It's not so scary to get started is it? Naturally, there's so much more to learn. I'll teach you about rigs and other character tools in future tutorial. Do let me know how you've got on by leaving a comment below!

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Having worked for Maxon UK since its creation in 2001, I know of a LOT of great resources for Cinema 4D. If I I listed them all here, this would be one long post! But fear not, because if you want them, you can have them!

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  • 15 applications that work great with Cinema 4D
  • Image & Animation formats that work great with Cinema 4D

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About the MAXON Blog

Welcome to the official MAXON UK Blog. This blog provides the most up-to-date official information about MAXON, its products – in particular its flagship product Cinema 4D – and the Cinema 4D community. You can expect to see posts from a wide variety of MAXON UK employees.