Using the Cel Shader to Apply an Illustrative 2D Style to 3D Objects in Cinema 4D

Since presenting for MAXON at NAB 2014, I’ve received a bunch of requests asking me to go further in depth on how I used the Cel Shader in a client spot in my presentation.  In this tutorial, I’ll show you just that:  how to create and apply a cool, stylistic, flat, illustrative 2D look to 3D objects in Cinema 4D. We will achieve this look by using the often overlooked Cel Shader & Spline Shader. Learning how to leverage C4D in your 2D workflow is critical when it comes to saving time creating elements and animating. If you’ve ever tried to make something look 3D with 2D objects, you know how painstaking it can be to sell the 3D depth using flat layers.  I’ll also show how you can use the Cel Shader to apply shadows to objects with 100% luminance.  One final note, be sure when you render to turn up the Anti-Aliasing settings as well as using a sharper Filter than Animation; such as Cubic (Still Image) or Sync so you have nice crisp edges in your animation to sell the 2D style.

Here’s the tutorial I mention in this video that shows you how to create the text material using a Spline Shader that is applied on the ribbon element:

Using the Spline Shader in C4D to Create Text as a Material

And here’s my MAXON NAB 2014 Presentation where I go over many ways to use Cinema 4D in a 2D workflow:

My MAXON NAB 2014 Presentation

And here’s the scene file I used in this tutorial that you guys can mess around with:



If you want to learn more about how to use Cinema 4D in your 2D workflow, check out my Mixing 2D & 3D with Cinema 4D & After Effects course where I go over some creative ways to use the tools in C4D for a mainly 2D workflow inside of After Effects.

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Cinema 4D Quick Tip: Using an Area Light’s Built-In Softbox Option


In this Cinema 4D Quick Tip I’ll uncover a useful feature that turns your Area Light into a softbox shape that shows up in your objects reflections.  I’ll then elaborate and show you some examples of interesting ways to use the Area Lights shape visibility settings to add some nice reflections to your objects.


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Introducing Storage Bin


What is it?

Storage Bin is a unique and essential workflow plugin for Cinema 4D that will change the way you work inside of C4D – every single day!  Storage Bin assists the motion graphic artist by aiding the object creation, modeling, and everyday workflow processes by storing backups of object states as you work.   One of the challenges of working in 3D is that you work with a ton of objects and each of them can be changed or edited.  Now think of how many times you make an object editable or change the look of a piece of geometry.  Hours, even days, of work can go into a single object.  Now what happens if you make a mistake or want to go back to a previous object state?  You have to undo many times and you’ll lose all your progress on any other work in your scene.  With Storage Bin, this is a problem of the past!  With Storage Bin, you can backup and save individual object states with a click of a button!  Backups can then be compared and restored for later use if needed.  It’s in the bin!  Save your Cloner Objects, Motext, NURB/Generator objects, Sculpts, and model states, declutter your Object Manager, and let go of the fear of messing up in the middle of your work!  No longer do you have to worry about manually making a copy before making an object editable!  With Storage Bin, you can store your object states as you go with the ability to go back to an older state and continue on from there.  You’ll never have to start from square one again!


How it Works



The Storage Bin Tag interface has 3 sections.  The number of states, a state slider, state restoration options, and buttons used to restore or delete states.

Saving States

Click the “Save State” button to save your current object state.

Total State Counter

Once a state has been saved, the Total States counter and the Object State edit field will increment to show the proper number of object states for that object.

04-restore_state_buttonToggling States

Once you have saved a new state, or 50 (if you’re that paranoid) you can just click the arrows up an down and it will toggle each state in your viewport like magic!  It’s super easy and quick to compare states!


Restoring a State

Hopefully you don’t mess up, but if you do, you can always cycle back through your saved states by toggling your Object States edit field.


Restore Options

Once you’re looking at the object state that you wish to restore, simply push the “Restore State” button. This will create a copy of that state as a new state, thus preserving the original just in case!  You also have restore options such as “Keep Current Tag Data” so it preserves your objects applied tags and “Maintain Original PSR” which is useful if you moved the object in any way, when you restore your alternate state, it inherits the PSR of your restored object.


Version Compatibility

Storage Bin requires Cinema 4D R12 (Broadcast or Studio version) and above.  Storage Bin is fully compatible with R13 and above.

Click here to get Storage Bin

Storage Bin will change the way you work inside of Cinema 4D!  Work more efficiently by never having to retrace your steps again.  Storage Bin will back you up by always having your work progress saved.  It’s in the bin!