Cinema 4D: Shaping splines

Updated: Sep 26, 2020

This is very easy to do, and it always looks fantastic.

a twisty, tapering shape applied to a spline in cinema 4D

First, draw your spline – and bear in mind that drawing splines in ‘perspective’ view is generally a BAD idea as you can’t really judge the position of the points. Try drawing in ‘top’ view first, then switch to ‘right’ or ‘front’ view and then switch to perspective view to play around with the vertical positioning of the points along the spline. Then you’re much more likely to get a reasonable result.

To move a point, select it with the Move tool and also select ‘point mode’. Then you can select individual points. If it’s a curve point, handles will appear to either side. You can grab a handle and move it, but it will behave kind of like a see-saw: both sides move at the same time. To ‘break’ this, hold down the ‘shift’ key as you drag.

the original spline object, and the shape that will be applied to it

To apply a shape to’ll need a shape. So maybe create a ‘star’ spline. Scale it up or down until it’s about the size you want. If you find it’s too big, or too small, you can always change it later.

the generators available in cinema 4D, and a 'sweep' generator added to the the object manager window.

To add it as a shape along the first spline you need a ‘sweep’ generator. All the generator objects are green, and they’re all amazing.

The way in which these are arranged in the Object Manager is not only absolutely important, it’s logical. Think of it like this: ‘I want the sweep generator to apply itself to the star object all the way along this spline’. Then you know the order you need. So drag the sweep generator to the top of the pile in the Object Manager. Pull the ‘star’ inside it, then pull the spline in, but beneath the star. And you should see the result immediately.

the basic result is the shape applied as an extrusion all the way along the spline object.

If you select the sweep object and check the Attributes Manager, you’ll see lots of great options. For example, ‘end scale’. Try reducing that, and one end of the spline will become smaller. Or, ‘end rotation’, to apply a twist along the spline’s length. Add a few lights, and a background of some kind, and let your imagination fly.

Cinema 4D is GREAT!

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