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Red Plasticy Material in CINEMA 4D

Recipe to Go! Go! Go! By Ko Maruyama
If you're a 3D artist watching television this week, you've probably noticed a flood of new graphics, including some great looking red plastic stuff. Back in the day, there were great little Chinese toys that were made of a dense red plastic.  Here's one recipe to create a similar vibe using MAXON's CINEMA 4D. Special thanks to Pixel Corps member Mark Rigby for his translation skills.  What are some chanting? ("Jiayou") Go! Go! Go!  

In CINEMA 4D, it's important to note that you can stack materials.  In some cases, stacking materials is the only way to get some materials to "behave." For broadcast design, it's important that you can control not only the material element, you'll need to composite changes and revisions as quickly as possible, separating the elements is essential (but we'll get to that in a different quick tip).

click images for larger view if available

The red plastic material is pretty straight forward in CINEMA 4D. As a matter of fact, the material is completely procedural, so High Definition close up 3D renders is not a problem.


Double click in the materials window to make a new material. This will also open up the attributes window for that material.  (You might want to name it: just double click on the name to type the new name)


I suppose your molded plastic could be any color, but I've chosen a dark red (this will also be complimented by our transparency).

NOTE: Change the Chroma values with the RGB sliders, brightness with the slider below. You can also modify the brightness by changing how much RGB you put into the chroma, but you'll have more control by using them separately.  It makes changing the hue easier too.


There are a couple of things going on here. The first is the color of the transparency (Since writing this, R11 has announced, and I'll probably want to retool this so that the transparency uses the new absorption feature). The color of the transparency imparts some amount of color to the entire element, and can be used to effectively change the look of the object and its shadows.

Adding Fresnel to the transparency will also change the color of the transparent areas, but more than that, it will also impart a value of transparency based on the luminance of the gradient. (If you don't know about fresnel: check wikipedia for two brainiac discussions [1], [2])

Click on the small color gradient (or the word "fresnel" in the long bar) to bring up the gradient control. I've changed the colors to compliment the red tone, and also control the amount of transparency falloff around the edge of the object.


In order to get the simulated distortion on the surface of the geometry, without long render times, I used a bump map. It's not a lot, just enough to allow the material to "catch" some light in the scene. Remember, this doesn't change the model's edge like displacement would, so the alpha is nice and clean, even though the image looks rough.

When you click on the flyout menu for "Texture," you can choose "Noise."

After you've selected noise, double click the box, or click the word noise to get to the properties that control the noise. Not only are there parameters that you can modify to change the noise that you've selected, but there are many different types of default noise standards to choose from.

CINEMA 4D has several different noise variations that you can use. Rather than stacking up noises to create this look, I just used one, STUPL. 

You can pulldown in the NOISE parameter to select from the list of names to start out with a default noise. You'll quickly become familiar with the names of your favorites, but there might be names in there that you might never remember (or at least not remember what it presents as).

It's hard for me to remember all of the names for the different formulae, but the popup window makes it easy to preview the variations and pick one that "looks" good.

That's about it. 

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Ko Maruyama is a freelance animator in Los Angeles.  In addition to working on film and broadcast animations, Ko teaches at Pasadena's Art Center College of Design - focusing on motion design.  When working, writing or testing software allows, you can find him lending a hand in the After Effects board and lurking among the Cinema4D, Visual Effects and Photoshop posts within the DMNForums.
Related Keywords:tutorial, 3D, material, chinese eps, illustrator, cinema 4d, adobe illustrator , chinese translation JIaYou, 加 油, Mark Rigby PixelCorps

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