Cinema 4D / BodyPaint 3D Program Documentation Tutorials
Function available in CINEMA 4D Studio

Character Builder Tutorial

By Sebastien Florand

In this tutorial, we will learn how to build a rig, bind it and animate a walk cycle for a simple character using the Character and CMotion objects introduced in Cinema 4D. This is an introductory tutorial meant to show how the tools work.

What is the Character object?

The Character object is a tool designed to simplify the rigging process. It uses rig templates that can be created and customized with the Component tag or simply pulled from a Preset Library to fit a specific project or a specific pipeline. What’s most interesting, though, is that it can be used by anyone - even people with little knowledge of the rigging process.

Contrary to what other applications offer, the Character object offers much more flexibility by allowing any type of rig to be used. Whereas most other automated rig builders are tailored to build a biped or quadruped rig, the Character object can accommodate anything. For example, it can be used to add regular objects to the Project, such as a lighting rig and/or studio, at the click of a button.

Some of the Character object's options and its simplified hierarchy of components in the Object Manager

Depending on how the template is set up, creating a rig can be as simple as clicking on one button to get a fully complete rig, or as complex as choosing which part of the rig to build next. The objects generated by the Character object are called Components. Components are container objects (similar to application packages in OSX, for example), that contain full hierarchies of joints and controllers, which can also be hidden from the Object Manager for easier selection during the rig creation process and animation. This flexibility, combined with simplicity, is what makes the Character object so appealing.

We will cover the Character object more in-depth later in the tutorial. First, let's talk about the CMotion object

What is the CMotion object?

CMotion is a new object that has been designed to easily create dynamic walk cycles. It can be viewed as a set of expressions that generate motion cycles on the various parts of rigs. It generates steps automatically based on timing and stride length, and can easily generate a walk cycle and place steps automatically based on a path - even with surface detection to make your character walk on another object.

This is a very flexible and powerful tool that can be used even by people having little knowledge of the animation process.

Some of the CMotion object's options.

While initially designed for characters, CMotion can be used to generate cycles for any object you want to throw at it (e.g., to animate a ball rolling on a surface).

CMotion can also store and re-use animation presets so you can easily swap between them and generate Motion Clips at will.