One of my favourite short projects to teach in Cinema 4D is The Swimming Pool. In about an hour, you can come up with a fairly convincing animation of a swimming pool complete with rippling surface and dancing pattern of light on the pool's floor.
Please skip to Part 3 if you want to go straight to the caustics bit. Part 1 covers the modelling, and Part 2 is about the texturing.
I really like caustics because it's one of those things that adds a lot of realism, looks great, and is pretty straight forward when you know how.
I hope you'll have fun creating your very own pool, and I hope that caustics will come in very handy with your projects. A little play now often pays off in the future!
Part 1: Modelling the Pool
In Part 1, you'll create the swimming pool model. For the main part, you'll use a Cube as your starting point. You'll use a Sweep object to create the border around the pool. You'll create steps using a Sweep for the rails, and cubes for the individual steps. You'll also model pool lights using primitive shapes.
Part 2: Texturing the Pool
In Part 2, you'll texture the pool. You'll learn how to use the Tiles shader and how to apply it to parts of the pool using Cubic and Flat Projection. You'll create a shiny metal, which you'll use to texture the steps as well as the rings of the pool lights.
Part 3: Adding Water and Caustics
In Part 3, you'll add water and use caustics to create the beautiful patterns of light on the pool floor.
For caustics to work, the water must have a rippled - not completely flat - surface. To achieve this, you'll use a Displacer modifier. You'll explore the caustics settings. And you'll use Physical Render to get a better result.
Now for the most fun part: you'll render out your caustics animation and hopefully marvel at the dancing patterns of light!
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