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New in Cinema 4D R19: Rig and Animate Characters with Improved Weighting and Pose Space Deformation

Cinema 4D Release 19 features
several new enhancements to improve your character rigging workflow.
From new and improved correctional morphs and weights mirroring, to improving
the weights manager workflow, Release 19 will help you rig faster and
with better deformations from start to finish. In previous versions of
Cinema 4D, if you wanted to bind, say, all of these sunglasses’ meshes to
the same joint, like this head joint, it wouldn’t work properly. You’d instead
have to run the Bind command for each mesh, because meshes were included
as influence objects. However, in Release 19, you can now select multiple
meshes and whatever joints you wish to bind them to, and run the Bind command
successfully. You’ll see that when you do that, each mesh will be given a skin
deformer, as well as a weight tag filled with only the joints that you have
selected, and not any meshes. Once you’ve bound your character, you
can now start painting your weights. In Release 19, the weight tool has gotten
some updates. The first thing you’ll notice is that there’s no longer a joint
list in there. You can now very easily select your influences just by
right-clicking on your mesh. This will bring up a pop-up menu that will show you
whatever influence you have selected, as well as all of the influences
that are available on a given point. You can see by switching to just the chest
joint here, that is all that’s selected, and I can begin painting it. You can also
hold down SHIFT to select multiple influences and paint
on them simultaneously. Another handy feature in Release 19 is the
ability to access the dropper mode using a shortcut. If you wanted to sample the
weight of your selected influence at a particular point, you used to have to
switch to this dropper mode and then click somewhere. And in doing so you’ll notice
that your strength would adjust. In Release 19, you can now access the
dropper from the weight tool by pressing CTRL+SHIFT. You can see now that my icon
has changed to the dropper mode and if I were to click somewhere on my mesh, that
my strength adjusts to this new value. So, you can very quickly and easily
sample weights on your mesh. The weights manager has also seen
some new improvements in Release 19. First, under the Joint Filters menu, you
can change how your joints are filtered, as well as what weight tags
are displayed in your joints list. By default, you’ll only see
weight tags that you have selected, but if you were to turn off this option
here, I now have access to all the weight tags within my scene. The Weights tab has
also seen some improvements into its filtering mechanisms that allow you to
filter out joints and weights based on a certain set of criteria you decide. You
also have the ability to now use multiple weights managers, so that you can have
side-by-side displays of your weights as well as your joints list and its
commands, if that’s what you choose. There’s also now options to turn on or off
the Mouse HUD that displays the weights, as well as changing the color
and the transparency of it. Cinema 4D’s weight mirroring algorithm has
been completely rewritten for Release 19. Now it’s much easier and simpler to
quickly get a good, clean mirroring of your weights across your character. In
this example, I have a shirt that’s only got weights on one half of it. I can
right-click, choose Select All, to select all my influences that I want to
mirror, and I simply say, Mirror + to – and in doing so, it automatically mirrors
everything over from left to right. The other great thing is that this can
work on meshes that are not topologically symmetrical. For instance, these pants
have weights on half of it as well, but if we were to look at the topology,
you can see that there are cuts kind of all over, random, really bad-looking
geometry and it’s not symmetrical. The point order is different on one side
versus the other and they just don’t match up 100%. However, with Cinema 4D
Release 19’s new mirroring algorithm, that doesn’t matter. I simply click the
mirror button and it will automatically mirror across. No muss, no fuss. Once you’ve finished painting your
weights, you can push your character’s deformations even further using Release
19’s new pose-based deformation morphs, or PSD morphs. PSDs allow you to sculpt
corrective shapes in a current pose. For instance, if I were to turn off
this pose morph tag real quick, you can see that we’re getting a bit of
crunching happening when we bend the elbow and we’re not going to really be able to
resolve all of that with just joint weights. However, if I turn on my pose
morph, what you’ll see is that, as we bend the arm, we’re able to get
nice, cleaner deformations as well as even simulate some levels of anatomy
with a bit of a bicep bulge here. This is all being driven with just a
single shape that’s connected to the rotation of my elbow. So, it’s super
simple and super easy to immediately improve upon your
deformations of your character. Another example is to check out the
head. If I turn off this pose morph tag, when I rotate the head, and this is easier
to see when I turn off the textures, you can see that our joint weights are
kind of limited to only a few spans. And that’s to prevent it from kicking out
all this weight when you bend it forward and backwards. So, we’re getting
kind of a sharp fall-off here. However, if I turn on my pose morph, you
can see we’re able to really allow the pose to kind of interpolate down the neck
and even simulate a little bit of muscle anatomy here. So, if I were to rotate
this, you can see that we’re having that muscle engage. We’re also cleaning up the
deformations along these spans and dispersing it further down the neck. So,
you can see we’re just taking already pretty good weights and improving
upon them even further. Let’s take a look at how we can create
PSDs. We’re going to create a corrective shape for our right elbow here. So, to
start, I’m going to pose my character where I want it to have that shape.
I’m going to do that, say, negative 80. And I’m going to select my
pose morph tag, jump into the Edit menu, and click Add Pose. Now, to really
understand what’s going on with PSDs, I’m going to leave this in relative mode
and try to adjust my points of my character here. So, if I’ve got this point
selected, and if I click and drag up, you’ll notice that the point itself isn’t
actually going up. It’s kind of going off to the left a bit. And that’s because in
this pose, when using relative, it’s not taking in the skin deformer’s
deformation into account. So, it’s not a one-to-one relationship.
So, if you were to try to sculpt in this pose using Relative Mode, you’d have
points kind of flying all over in weird ways. So, what you can do is just
switch this to Correctional PSD, and you can see now I’m getting a
one-to-one relationship here. That’s because it’s allowing me to
pose these points. Post Deformers, you can see, it turns it on automatically
here. And now I can use any of Cinema’s tools, like the Brush tool for instance,
and I will just kind of smooth this out real quick and dirty-like, just to get us
cleaner-looking deformations. You know, obviously you would want to take
your time more to sculpt something a little bit better, but I’m just doing this
for a demo, so what I’ll do is I’ll just bulge it out like so. And
that’s basically it, right? You can do whatever you have to do to get
your shape, switch to animate mode, and now watch as I take my controller
and bend it in and out of this pose. You’ll see that the pose will fire
on and off automatically. Now, notice how it’s automatically firing. We
didn’t have to set up any Xpresso. That’s because the morph tag has this PSD
section now, which allows you to enable this auto-weighting for any PSD poses
and there are three options here. You can auto-orient, auto-twist and
auto-position points. So, if you’re rotating on, say, the X- or Y-axes,
you would turn on auto-orient. If you were trying to do a twist along,
say, the Z, you could turn on auto-twist. And if your joints were being positioned
instead of rotated, you could turn this on. But automatically,
with this auto-weighting, it will fire, and you could
see that the average output from these three values
here, it changes as I go in and out of my pose. If you don’t want
this, you can just turn it off and you’ll see that your pose will be firing at all
times, just like in the past and you could animate it manually yourself or through
Xpresso. So, it’s super easy and super quick to set up PSDs. It’s easy to see how
with these new tools and workflows in Release 19, will enable you to create
better-looking character deformations. Be sure to check out Cineversity
for all of our quick-start videos, and quick-tip videos, and all the
reference videos coming out in the coming months for Release 19. You’ll be able to
get up to speed and running quickly with all the new features of
Cinema 4D Release 19.


  1. Clément Le Bouc Author

    When I select one joint and the opposite joint and click the Miror + To – it does nothing. Is there anything to do to make it work?

  2. vdike media Author

    The only weak side of cinema 4d is dat u hardly find good tutorials on character reference modeling, rigging and animation on youtube. Especially for beginners. Is too bad for a software of dis nature. Iclone, 3ds max have channel that can guide u true dis but cinema 4d has none. Too bad.


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