Cinema 4D – How to use bones in cinema 4D

In this simple tutorial, we will understand how to use bone deformer to move a part of the object in a natural way. This function is very useful for creating organic animations like movement of a character’s leg or hand. I am using Release 11 for the purpose, but I think you can do this tutorial in any version. 1. Open Cinema 4D, click primitive objects and select cylinder. 2. In the attributes manager (in the lower right hand corner), choose cylinder object and enter the following parameters: Radius: 30 Height: 500 Height segments: 3 Rotation segments: 3 3. Select cylinder in the object manager (in the upper right hand corner) and hit C on the keyboard to make it editable.

4. Click polygon mode and using live selection tool, select the upper portion of the cylinder as shown below. Make it sure that ‘only select visible element’ option in the attributes manager is unchecked so that no portion remains unselected.

5. At this juncture, we will use an interesting function called ‘set vertex weight’. From the upper horizontal menu bar click selection menu and choose ‘set vertex weight’ option. Type 100% in the value field and choose ‘set’ from the dropdown menu in the field called mode. Click ok. You will get the following screenshot for the set vertex weight setting.

6. When you complete this exercise, your screenshot will show you a picture of cylinder that is partially red from the bottom and partially yellow from the top, something like this:

7. The thing to remember here is when you use ‘set vertex weight’ option; the yellow area is the place, which the bone deformer will affect. The effect will not be visible in the red area. In this exercise, we will use bone in the upper half of the cylinder so that when we fold the upper portion, lower portion should remain stable. For this, we are using the vertex weight option. 8. You now need to decide how much area of cylinder you want to fold. Accordingly, you can adjust the vertex weight. I want to use fold more than 50% of the upper portion. 9. I will therefore bring down the yellow area. For this, I will have to drag the first segment downwards. Go to edge selection mode, select the first edge from the top and drag it downwards. To do this more precisely, go to the selection menu, click loop selection and then select the first segment using live selection tool. You can move it downwards using the move tool as shown below

10. That’s ok. But I can still see some area between the two segments where yellow and the red are mixing. To make it more precise so that the influence of the folding the above portion of cylinder doesn’t effect the lower portion, we will have to fix this mixing of yellow and red areas. 11. In the edit edge mode, go back again to the selection menu, choose loop selection and using live selection tool, select the second segment. Using move tool, drag it upwards so that it almost touches the first segment. To do it precisely, use the front viewport. Here you can see the edges clearly.

12. Check your results in perspective viewport. You will now find that the cylinder is perfectly divided with more than 50% area from the top in yellow and the remaining area from the bottom in the red. There is no mixing of yellow with the red.

13. It’s now time to use bone deformer. Go to the deformer menu, choose bone deformer. You will notice that by default the bone will lie of Z axis.

14. But since we want to fix it on Y axis into the cylinder, we’ll have to rotate the bone deformer 90 degrees. In the attributes manager, go to coordinates menu and type 90 in the R.P field

15. We now have our bone where it should be, i.e., on Y axis. We’ll now set about fixing this bone into the cylinder. 16. Click bone in the object manager and go to the front viewport. Your screenshot will look like this.

17. Length of the bone matters. It should fully fit in the area you want to manipulate. But in this screenshot, the bone is not reaching the topmost point of the cylinder. To make it do so, click bone object in the object manager, choose object menu from the attribute manager, go the field called length and increase the length to make the bone fit into the upper portion of the cylinder. The screenshot should be like this:

18. Since bone is a deformer object, it will work only when it is made a child of the object in the object manager. So drag and drop the bone into the cylinder. 19. With bone selected in the object manager, click fixation in the attribute manager and click the tab named ‘fixed bone’. The bone is now fixed in the cylinder.

20. The bone on its own doesn’t yet understand that it’s fixed in the upper portion of the cylinder and that it has got to move only that portion. You need to tell it that. Yes, you will need to tell this bone that it should affect only the yellow portion in the set vertex weight setting. In short, we need to restrict it to vertex weight. Do the following now: 21. Right click bone object in the object manager. It will give you several options from which you have to choose Cinema 4D tags>Restriction.

22. You will now get Restriction Tag properties in the attribute manager. There are six fields entitled ‘names’ here. But we’ll use only the first field.

23. We now want to convey to the bone via restriction tag to restrict itself to the vertex weight. This is pretty simple, which is why I love C4D. Simply choose the vertex map that is first item opposite the cylinder object in the object manager. The other two are phong tag and UVW tag. 24. Click vertex map and drag and drop it in first field in the tag properties called name. Let the V value be 100%. The screenshot is like this

25. Now go back to perspective viewport where you’ll find your bone perfectly fit and ready to move the upper portion of the cylinder. With bone selected in object manager, choose the rotate tool and rotate it. Voila, the upper portion is moving seamlessly without disturbing the geometry of the cylinder.

Congrats!! You now know how to fix a bone and use it to move a part of the object. Have fun with Cinema 4D.