TRON Legacy – How to create a lightcycle scene in Cinema4D – Initial scene setup

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by Davide Mantovani, Marco Porcaro, Simone Villa


For this tutorial we will use After Effects Creative Cloud and its integration with Cinema4D.
To simplify we’ll use a pre-existing model of the Tron Lightcycle available free at this address: (http://robocasters.com/tron-bike-3d-model-free-download/).

In After Effects, create a new Cinema4D fileselecting Layer > New > File MAXON CINEMA4D.

In Cinema4D, click on the lamp in the top toolbar to add a new light source and play with the settings in the bottom-left box until you’re satisfied.

Cinema4D has a Floor Tool that creates an infinite plane surface in the 3D space origin. For the texture, create a black image of 500×500 pixels in Photoshop and with the Selection tool draw two blue rectangles to create a cross in the center of the image. Export the result in a jpg or png file.

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Create a new material, check the Color checkbox and select the image you’ve just created as texture. Enable the Luminance field and leave the default values. Drag the result on the floor to apply the material.

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Download and import the Lightcycle model (in .fbx format), place it and resize it in the 3D space using the translation, scaling and rotation tools.

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Modify the materials with the following instructions:

  • For the emitting materials, enable Color, Luminance and Glow, with the desired colors. The Luminance field defines the amount of light emitted by the material with the Brightness parameter. The radius paramer in the Glow Field determines the width of the glow, while Inner and Outer Strength control the intensity of the glow effect. For instance, in the trail of the Lightcycle, we set Radius at 1cm, Inner Strength at 50% and Outer Strength at 200%.
  • For the Lightcycle and the biker, use the Color field to define the base colors and enable the Reflection and Specular checkbox to make the materials shiny and reflective.

Create a cube and scale it to create the trail of the motorbike. Give it a bright material (using Color, Luminance and Glow as we saw before) and place it behind the back wheel.

At the first frame create a keyframe (with a click on the red icon with the key below the 3D view) to lock position, rotation and scale of the elements.

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Go to the desired frame (for instance frame 200) using the slider below the 3D view, move the Lightcycle and its bright trails forward and set a new keyframe.

Add a target camera (Create > Camera > Target Camera) and place it wherever you want.

Select the camera and set the target object to be the bike (or the biker) to make the camera follows its movement.

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Go to Cameras > Use Camera and select the camera you’ve just created to use it for the rendering.

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Save the file and close Cinema 4D.

Switch to After Effects CC. First of all we need to create a new composition.
Drag the C4D project from the resources tab and drop it in the composition timeline then set the Cinema4D camera as virtual camera.

In the effect controls tab of the C4D file, set Render: Standard (Final).

In this way you’ll have a rough Tron-like scene. Watch the following videotutorial to improve it and add a face to the biker.

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