3d & animation

Cinema 4D Tutorial: How to Create a Basic Animation

Learn how to animate a cube in Cinema 4D step-by-step, with director, animator, and designer Danaé Gosset

Cinema 4D is an essential program for anyone interested in animation, allowing you to create 3D models and bring them to life with innovative tools.

Danaé Gosset (@danaegosset) is a director, animator, and designer who specializes in mixed-media moving images. Her work has been recognized by institutions such as SXSW, D&AD, The Art Directors Club, Graphis, Adobe, Indigo Awards, and the Type Directors Club.

Join her in this beginner’s tutorial as she demonstrates some fun and simple ways to animate an object on Cinema 4D using the twist deformer tool.

How to Animate an Object in Cinema 4D

1. Choose your object

Choose your basic 3D object on Cinema 4D by clicking on the Cube icon in the toolbar at the top of your screen. Gosset selects a cube from the shapes available.

2. Twisting your cube

To make the cube twist, select the Twist Deformer from the toolbar. It will then appear as an icon on the right hand side of your screen.

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Choose Twist from the options

3. Make the Twist Deformer a Child

Next, make it a Child of your cube by dragging and dropping it over the Cube icon. You can now see the degrees your cube can twist in the Angle option below.

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Drag and drop the Twist

4. Make your first keyframe

Go to the first frame on your timeline and then select 0° for the angle. Make it a keyframe but clicking on the button next to the Angle option.

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Set the angle at 0°

5. Make your second keyframe

Select the middle frame on your timeline, choose the degrees you want your cube to twist at using the Angle option, and set it as your next keyframe. Gosset sets her cube at 260°.

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Set the degrees for your cube at the middle frame

6. Set your third keyframe

To set your next keyframe, go to the last frame on your timeline and set your angle at 0°. This is an important step if you want your cube to make a full loop when played.

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Set your next keyframe with the angle at 0°

7. Rotating your cube

Select the Null object by clicking on the Cube icon in the toolbar at the top of your screen, the same as you did when you first created your cube. It will then appear as an icon on the right hand side of your screen.

8. Make the Null object a parent

Make the Null object the parent of your cube by dragging the Cube icon over it and releasing when you see the downward arrow appear. Then make sure the Null icon is selected by clicking on it.

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Drag and drop over the Cube icon

9. Set the Rotation at 360°

Scroll down on the right and click on the Rotation option. Then drag the bar on your timeline to the very last frame, and in the Rotation option, type in 360° and make it a keyframe.

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Choose 360° for your Rotation

10. Rendering your cube

To render your cube, click on the Render Settings from the panel at the top. Click on Output to check your settings and make sure that the Frame Range option is set to All Frames so that it renders the entire animation and not just your first frame.

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Select All Frames

11. Check your file format

Click on Save and make sure that the TIF format is selected.

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Check the format is TIF

12. And play!

Close the window and click Play to render your image.

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Click Play to render your images

Did you enjoy this tutorial? If you'd like to learn more about animation using Cinema 4D, check out Danaé Gosset’s online course Digital Animation with Experimental Techniques.

You may also like:

- The 20 Essential Keyboard Shortcuts to Boost Your Cinema 4d Productivity
- 10 Online Courses to Learn 3D Animation For Beginners
- 7 Free Tutorials to Improve Your Animation Skills
- What is a 3D Rendering?

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