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Deforming meshes from Maya to Cinema tutorial

There's only one thing that's better than having one powerful 3D animation package at your disposal :

Having two powerful 3D animation packages at your disposal!

Often it's desirable to import animated meshes from one package to another, so for example you could animate characters in Maya and then export and render them in Cinema. Here's a short tutorial that shows how to do this with a simple example and highlights some of the options you need to set to make it work smoothly.

Watch here.


Maxon Walkcycle Tutorial Files

Here are the rigs and scripts I used during the tutorial videos, all in one handy Zip folder. The scripts are a mixture of COFFEE and Python, install notes are in the folder.

Download here.

Watch the tutorials here.



bh_scaleKeys and bh_fadeKeys scripts


Here are a couple of Python scripts that allow you to work faster in Cinemas F-Curve editor.

'bh_scaleKeys' allows you to scale FCurves more interactively while 'bh_fadeKeys4D' gives you a very fast workflow for animating shakes, vibrates and staggers.

Please watch the video above for a short tutorial/demo on how they work.

Download the scaleKeys script here.

Download the fadeKeys script here.

Install by opening the Script Manager (Python Tab) and go to File>Import and navigate to the unzipped folder and select the Python file. The Script Manager will see the icon and load that automatically. Drag the icon to your UI and save layout.



WalkCycle Buddy 2


Here's a script that mirrors the pose of two controllers to make setting up walkcycles quicker.

New Feature added 02-05-2012 - I've rewritten it in Python and it will now support Userdata as well as the position and rotation mirroring the old COFFEE version had.

So now it's just one click to mirror a foot pose, including any foot roll, toe wriggle etc.

The script will also work on things like IK hands, IK Elbows and even shoulder controllers, depending on how the rig is set up.

Download the script here.

Install by opening the Script Manager (Python Tab) and go to File>Import and navigate to the unzipped folder and select the Python file. The Script Manager will see the icon and load that automatically. Drag the icon to your UI and save layout.


Lowman4D - Free Character Rig for Cinema 4D R10+


This is a cartoony character rig for Cinema based on a Maya rig with blend shapes by Kate Knott who kindly gave me permission to convert the rig for Cinema 4D.

I rigged the character in R11.5 so it should work in Cinema R10 and newer. The rig needs Cactus Dans plugins to work, but if you don't own the plugins you can still use the rig in 'runtime' mode by going to Dans website here and installing the plugins. The rig will then work fine for animation, but you can't change the rig unless you own the licensed versions of the plugins. It also includes a Mocca Visual Selector if you have Mocca/R12 Studio, but will still work fine without that if you don't.

Please check out the videos on the face rig here, and the body rig here to see how to use the rig.

The rig is provided 'as is' and I don't have much time right now to make changes to it, but do let me know if you have any issues with it and I'll keep them in mind for future updates. I've entered an 11 second club competition with it and found the rig worked fine for my needs. You can see a couple of examples of what I've done with him on my animation reel, including 'Low Gran' and 'Low Kirk' versions : )

Please note this rig may not be used for any commercial purposes.

Have fun animating with it!

Download the rig here


Deforming the Camera Deformer - Cartoon and Abstract fun in R12


Here's a 13 minute video tutorial where I demonstrate a cool trick you can do with the new Camera Deformer in R12 to create all kinds of cartoony and abstract effects. Credit for this is due to Bunk Timmer who was the first one to demonstrate that a setup like this could work.

The video is 1280x720 and has a lot of motion so the file size is quite large to keep the video quality high.

NB This effect needs R12 Studio.

Download the tutorial here. (135mb zip folder, unpack and open HTML page in your web browser to view).


Camera Switcher - Animation workflow script

Here's a little setup/script I came up with to help toggle between a camera and the editor camera, something I do a lot while animating.
All you have to do is to add a Stage Object to your scene, rename it 'CamSwitch' and assign a camera to it (ideally one that's animated or locked in place with a Protection tag). Then install and call the CamSwitch script from a hotkey or layout icon and it will toggle back and forth between the camera and the editor camera.

Nb Needs R11 or higher, as the Stage Object had no 'off' switch in older versions.

Download the script here.


C4D Nudge Tools - Animation workflow scripts


These are a set of 5 scripts designed to make creating in-betweens and breakdowns much faster when blocking in poses for character animation. For best use assign them to hotkeys via the command manager. I have the Nudge scripts tied to the Plus, Minus, CTRL&Plus, CTRL&Minus keys (hence the names!).

The Nudge scripts work in set increments, the Plus and Minus versions work in a 50% rate between the current and next/previous keyframe, whereas the CTRL versions are for more fine control and work in 10% increments.

There's also one called Tweener that uses a dialogue, select the controllers you want to tween, call the script from the Icon or a Hotkey and you can choose a percentage value to tween the pose by, 50% is exactly in the middle of the previous/next keys, 0% is the same as the previous key, 100% is the same as the next key..and so on.. you get the idea!

These were inspired by Justin Barret's 'Tween Machine' script for Maya.. which I believe was inspired by a similar script for Max.. and now we have one for Cinema so that character animators can use a very similar workflow.

These scripts can be installed by dropping them in the Scripts folder (Edit>Preferences>Open Folder>Library>Scripts) and restarting Cinema. They need R11 or higher to run. NB these are written in COFFEE, unlike some of my newer scripts above which are written in Python, so make sure to choose the right type if importing them via the script manager.

Watch a video here that shows the scripts in use and explains the best working methods to use with them.

Download the scripts themselves here. (R11.5 and older)

Download R12 versions of the scripts here.

Download R13 versions of the scripts here.



Move&Snap Animation Pivot - Script and Tutorial

Sometimes when you're animating it's very handy to be able to move the pivot of an object. This is a script which makes this much easier to do. You can see an example of me doing this while animating a rolling cube on the Lab page.

To explain how to use the script I've recorded a video tutorial where I go through a couple of examples, first recreating the rolling cube animation and then using the same principles on a character rig.

You can download the tutorial which includes the script in the folder here.


Rewind and Play Button


A lot of the time when I'm animating in Cinema I like to work with the timeline in Simple mode, ie I set a play range using the powerslider and then rewind and play a particular sequence to see the transitions in the poses. I have cycle switched off as I want to see the last frame held. While doing this it occurred to me that it would be useful to have a Rewind and Play' button instead of hitting both buttons each time. So to make things handier I made a very simple script that calls both commands and made an icon for it and added it to my layout.

To Install :
Just put the script in the Library>Scripts folder and then on restarting Cinema you can drag it from the Script Manager or Command Manager (search for 'rewind and play') into a layout to have it as a button, save the new layout and done. You can also assign a Hotkey to it using the Command Manager.

If you push the button while the timeline is playing it will just rewind and stop as the play command toggles, but of course you can double click to jump back to the start and play which is still quicker than clicking on two different icons.

You can download the script here.



Gramps - Free Cinema 4D Character Rig


Here's a Cinema 4D rig I built a while back. This is rigged using Cactus Dans' character plugins. If you don't own the plugins you can still use the rig, just go to Dans' site and download and install the plugins and they will run in 'runtime' mode.
The model was created by C4DCafe member Randy Webb and after I rigged it we made it available for download on Randy's website. This site seems to be offline at the moment so I thought I'd make the rig available here if anyone wants to use it for non-commercial purposes.
It's a pretty simple rig but it's nice and resposive and has a couple of nice features (if I say so myself!) like an 'auto step' attribute for the feet and full IK/FK blending on the arms with slider controls to give predictable FK rotations.

I made a short video demonstrating some of these features that you can download here.

You can download the rig itself here.


PS5001 - Simple Robot Arm Style Rig


Here's a simple Robot Arm style rig I built as an example for a C4DCafe member. This is rigged using Cinemas' native tools and needs no modules or plugins. One thing to be careful with is that if you save this to the Content Browser and reload the file the IK often breaks. I've noticed this happening with other Mocca rigs and believe it's related to a bug with the CB, so best to save to another location or use the excellent OLX plugin.

You can download the rig here.


Rigging Tutorial - Rough Guide to Weighting with CD Joints&Skin


A couple of members over on the C4DCafe were asking how to bind and weight a character using the CD Joints&Skin plugin, so I've recorded a very quick video tutorial showing the basics of my usual workflow.

It's by no means exhaustive and if you're using CD Joints&Skin for any length of time you probably don't need it, but if you are just getting started it may be useful. NB There's one thing I could have explained better - the Smooth painting mode wasn't really 'taking the weights away' as I said in the tutorial, instead what it does really is smooth the transition of the weighting between areas that have a lot of weighting influence and areas that have very little, so it sort of averages out the points in-between. If you play around with it a bit (especially with the character posed as I show in the video) it should become intuitive.

You can download the tutorial here.


Rigging Tutorial - Adding a CD Cluster to a Mesh


This is a very short screen-capture video that demonstrates how to apply a CD Cluster (part of the CD Joints & Skin plugin) to a mesh object. There's no narration on this video but it should be pretty easy to follow. Right-Click and Save-As if you want to download the video rather than watching it in your browser (1.7mb QT).

You can download the tutorial here.


Rigging Tutorial - Applying Morph Targets from a Duplicate Mesh


This is a very short screen-capture video that demonstrates how to apply a morph target to an object when you have modeled the target from a duplicate of the original mesh. In the video you'll see me do this first with the CD Morph plugin, and then with the Mocca Morph tag. When I added the Mocca Morph tag it was slightly outside the screen capture area, but all I did was select the object, right-clicked and chose Character Tags>Morph Tag. There's no narration on this video but it should be pretty easy to follow. Right-Click and Save-As if you want to download the video rather than watching it in your browser (2.5mb QT).

You can download the tutorial here.



Please visit the rest of my site to see my animation and rigging work with Cinema 4D and Maya.

I am available for hire!

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All work on this website (C) Brian Horgan 2015. All Rights Reserved.