#FullCircle - BreakDown (Written)
Whilst playing around with Trapcode’s “Soundkeys” I realized how powerful this plugin is and wanted to take it a step further and possibly into 3D (Cinem4d). Parallel to this i was also trying out Cinema’s “hair” module and loved the look of the module’s dynamics. so i took both experiments and mixed it up with the concept of “how things (in life) go out of shape, become something abstract (light/dark, static/moving, cold/warm, hard/soft, artificial/organic, death/life, etc…) but at some point come back to where they came from” - going “FullCircle”
Music, Soundkeys and C4D:
After finding this awesome track of “edIT - Dex” I created a short 1min edit of it and a generic soundmap in AE with Soundkeys - to isolate the “driving” accents from the music that I needed for the object to be moved/changed by. For example: isolating the “clicks” to drive the opacity of polygons with it (in my case layers… see below). The same for the main Hair part: I extracted the bass and the snare for the color and deformation of the object… Mike “The Monkey” Senften has a great breakdown on his AICP 2008 project on mograph.net where I got a lot of information out of - LINK HERE
Essentially I used that Soundkeys data to create a movie file with the length of the entire song, that is generally just blank white but turns red on the bass and yellow on the snare - imported that into cinema4d’s hair material as texture (u can assign separate materials to tips, roots, etc…).
To get the deformation of the object happening on the bass, I extracted that bass data separately (again using soundkeys) and copied the keyframes into a txt file and imported it into Cinema 4D via “ASCII Animation Import option” in your timeline and assigned it to a noise texture that is driving a “displacer” deformer.
Additionally i manually animated the hair length and some of the hair attributes and gravity.
The setup for the beginning bit is a bit complicated but this is how I did it. I setup the whole part in terms of atom array for the objects and data for deformation. I then created 4-5 different camera angles with each angle having to render 7 different object “states” with certain polygons visible and some not. For example: on Cam1 setup1 the object’s polygons A, B and C visible only…. on Cam1 setup2 the object’s polygons D, E and F visible only, … and so on… so i ended up with over 30 different renders.
Lighting is pretty simple and straight forward: A softbox, area light and backgroundobject + a low intensity light underneath the object to fake GI a bit (aixsponza “no keyframes” trick) i quick reference to something similar you can find here at Nick Campbell’s “soft body glass mesh” tutorial: LINK HERE
After Effects, Control and Color Correction: In AE I arranged the normal main atom array renders in the timeline and edited the different angles to the music. I then put a copy of that edited Precomp on top of it and exchanged the atom array renders in there with the different polygon renders but all the same angle and camera according to the original atom array layer. Now I was able to drive the opacity of that top Precomp with Soundkeys and was able to decide what layer to show at what time so it makes sense with the music. That was the only possible way for me to get around some DOF issues I had in Cinema, even though it was very complicated and time consuming. But by doing so i had more control over the on/off states in AE, then having to do it all in C4D, so tried so be safe and consistent + my Xpresso knowledge is not THAAAT crazy yet… ;)
To color correct i used Magic Bullet and some standard AE plugins. There is also some Optical flares in there but only in form of camera lens smudge/dirt. The glitch/rewind effects i did with AE’s time remap function and overlaying effects.
RENDER TIME and INFO: Production time: about 3-4 weeks. Render time is really hard to say since it was built in different parts and not all in one: but here some approximates: - The 30 renders took about a week to get through… because of the amount. - Main Hair part was 25 sec per frame (surprisingly…) Although I think my 12core 2.66, 2xATI 5770 and 20GB of RAM (a.k.a. MONSTA) , might do some magic too… ;)
Hope that was useful to some extend and others are able to benefit from this like i have. Let me know if you have any more questions.