During my first years in college I was fortunate enough to take an animation class at USC taught by Bernie Gruver, who had a long career as a draftsman and worked on the classic A Charlie Brown Christmas special that's aired on CBS and ABC since the mid-1960s.
One evening Bernie took our class on a field trip to Bill Melendez Productions, the company responsible for producing many of the Peanuts animated specials and motion pictures. Bill was a character: with his enormous handlebar mustache he looked like a caricature come to life. We were surprised to learn that he provided the "voice" for Snoopy whenever he spoke (really just a bunch of gibberish played at high-speed).
That trip was my first exposure to the world of professional animation. Years later, I read that Bill Melendez was one of the most active participants in the Disney strike of 1941, which led to the formation of animation unions, and protections for artists who painstakingly created drawings of characters that live on to this day.
Bernie Gruver passed away a few years after I attended his class, but his work, and the work of Bill Melendez, director, producer, writer and tireless champion of the labor movement, have not been forgotten.
Points to Circle is a kewl Cinema 4D script that makes life a lot easier when you're trying to a) create a circle on a polygon object and b) not pull out your hair. It's primarily meant for flat objects but I've had success using it on a sphere. Remember, it's a script, not a plug-in, so look for it under the Script tab once it's downloaded into Cinema 4D. It was written by David Wickenden; a shout-out to 3DKiwi at C4D Cafe for posting it.
You can download it for free here:
Cactus Dan was a character. He created a set of plug-ins for Cinema 4D called CD Tools, which were invaluable for character rigging. His website featured a colorful-looking desperado, complete with cowboy hat and handlebar moustache, plastered on a "wanted - dead or alive" poster, that I presumed was a work of fiction.
It turns out that the graphic was a photo of the real Cactus Dan, who lived in Utah, rode horseback and hung out with goats. I know this now because I was in the process of emailing him a question about one of his plug-ins, only to discover he passed away in September. I'd corresponded with him on several occasions and he was always quick with a knowledgeable reply.
You can read more about him, and see photos of his colorful life, here:
Several years back the good folks at Greyscalegorllia created GSG Flame, a great shortcut for making and animating flames. It has sliders for adjusting brightness, shadow, frequency, amplitude and more so the flame will end up looking just the way you want. I'd never used it before but it came in handy for this menorah. Oh, and it's free.
This blog entry is technical, so if you'd rather check Facebook or wash that laundry that's been sitting by the bed, I completely understand. Although, some technical entries will have a prize hidden within, so it's up to you.
Point Morph is a free Cinema 4D plug-in from C4D Zone that substitutes for Cinema's built-in Pose Morph tag, making facial animation set-ups a little simpler. In my case, getting the Wee Purple Thing to blink turned out to be tricky because the eyelids close over eyes designed as flat, recessed circles tucked into a sphere-shaped head/torso. Point Morph adds the ability to connect vertices to splines and also allows you to utilize the Iron and Slide functions, which came in handy.
There's a really helpful instructional video on the C4D Zone site that's a must view (pay particular attention to the Attribute Manager and where to place Subdivision Surfaces if you're using them for your model). The plug-in can be used with any version with Cinema 4D. Okay, there was no hidden prize in this entry. Maybe next time.
I'd bet that you could find a potato peeler in a complete stranger's home in under a minute. Toilet paper? Your stranded-self would have to yell from the bathroom for help. Fire extinguisher? Forget about it. But the potato peeler? It's always in that kitchen drawer next to where the utensils are kept, buried under the corkscrew, pizza cutter and manual can opener. You, me, everybody, we all know it's there. We just don't discuss it. It is, as the folks from Papua New Guinea would say, "mokita."
The creative impulse is a lot like the potato peeler. It's there, in us. But for the most part we don't talk about it. 3-D software has changed that. It's made it easier for that potato peeler to stick its pointy little head out of the kitchen drawer.
I've been using Cinema 4D for about 15 years. It's the program used to create some of the 3-D graphics on this site. There are lots of great resources about Cinema 4D online in the form of tutorials and plug-ins. Some of my favorites can be found at Greyscalegorilla, Nitro4D and, for really terrific tips on creating art for the scientific community, MadMicrobe Studios. I'll be posting things I've created, and links to places that have helped me create, on this blog.
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Copyright 2015 - 2021 The Brandywine Company. All Rights Reserved.