Create an Event Poster with C4D and Photoshop
This tutorial follows up on Using Typography from Photoshop to Create a 3D Text Render in C4D in order to create a poster. We'll be modifying the scene, adding props and more text before heading over to Photoshop to finalize the poster design.
We'll start the tutorial where we left off the previous one, "Using Typography from Photoshop to Create a 3D Text Render in C4D". You will have three C4D scene files provided with this tutorial. The end scene of the previous tutorial containing just the text in the studio, a scene with the props needed to create this poster, and an end scene for the project, with everything in place to make the final render.
While the first part was roughly 50/50 C4D/Photoshop, this one will be considerably heavier on the C4D part, at roughly two thirds C4D. Photoshop is only used to complete the poster and retouch colors.
You may be expecting to learn how to model the props in this scene, however this tutorial focuses only on how I placed and posed these props in the scene. There are plenty of free tutorials on the web that teach you how to model and texture objects, which I suggest you follow if you want to create your own props to use with this tutorial's techniques instead.
An alternative to learning how to model is to scout the internet for free or commercial royalty-free 3D objects to include in your scene. For example, the guitar included in my props comes from here, which was then imported into C4D and given different materials.
With that being said, let's begin the tutorial!
- The final result scene file from Part 1 of this series as a starting point
- Cinema 4D, demo available here
- VRAYforC4D, demo available here
- Even though I don't go through creating this element in my tutorial, the blue paint was created with a liquid simulation program called Realflow
There are two ways of starting this tutorial. You can either open the end result from Part 1 in C4D which contains just the text in the studio, in case you want to import your own models or you can open the file "part_2_start.c4d" provided with this tutorial as a starting point, which includes the text in the studio as well as my props and objects used to create the final design.
If you chose the latter starting point, open the file and press render (Shift + R), you should see the result below. This will have a few edge problems and not look quite right, but this is because for now we will be working with the Very low preset in the Global Illumination options in the Vray Bridge from the render settings. We will later bump this back up for the final render.
Now we'll start the process of populating the scene with these wooden mannequins/marionettes performing all sorts of actions and poses. We'll also place the props in the scene to go along with the design.
On the right panel in C4D, you'll see the object list for the scene. You can select the models by clicking on them in the viewport or in this list. We'll be moving and rotating objects a lot, so it's a good idea you learn the keyboard shortcuts for Move (E) and Rotate (R).
It's also a good idea for you to learn how to deal with the hierarchical way objects are organized in the object list if you're not familiar with this concept, as this will help you in posing the mannequin figures.
If you expand the cross on the object list next to "mannequin_hip," you see the way limbs are parented. If you rotate the shoulder, you see that the forearm and hand follow. If you rotate the chest, then arms and head will follow. Have a play around with this. To move or rotate the whole figure, move its root, which is the hip in this case. Make sure you never move any other limbs, as they will just detach from the figure. Always rotate!
Lets start by placing and posing the top figure. This guy has reached the top, completed an art course and is now truly excited about the show! So lets make him look as happy as he feels. Select the hip, press Command + C, then Command + V. This will make a copy of your mannequin.
Move him by the hip so that he is placed on top of the letters, then rotate the limbs so that they form the pose you want. If you struggle to get a nice, believable strong pose, get in the pose yourself! Feel which limbs and muscles carry your weight, and try to simulate that with your figure. If you find you can't see properly because of the wireframe, on your viewport click Display and choose Quick Shading.
Tip: To center the camera so that it revolves around the object you have selected, right click on an empty space and click on Frame Active Objects. This will make it easier to work around your figure.
To make more figures, select the hip from the original T-pose mannequin and Command + C, then Command + V to duplicate him once more. This time we'll make the ballerina.
You can pose the figure outside it's final position within the text, then move it into place after it's posed so that you can see it better as you're posing. In this case, since I'm not a professional dancer, getting into the pose myself would be disastrous. A quick online image search for ballet poses gave me plenty of reference to work from. Feel free to do the same! Unless of course you are a professional ballerina, in which case do go ahead and get into some extreme poses. Just don't break anything please.
Once you are done posing the figure, select the pink skirt prop, move and rotate it into place. You will probably find that the skirt is too big, which means you can adjust its size with the Scale Tool (T). You should now have something similar to the image below. Unless you aren't a ballerina but got posing anyway, which means you will instead have probably caused yourself some serious bodily damage. I did warn you...
Proceed to place the ballerina between the Y and E of the second row.
Duplicate the original mannequin once again, and pose the new one so that he is sitting in the O of the top row.
He will be studying/reading a book, so select the book prop and place it in his hands. Move, rotate and scale the book as needed for it to look like the one below
By now you should be getting used to duplicating the figures, moving them around and posing them. Duplicate another one, so that we can make the guitar dude.
We'll place him between the E and A of the second row, taking advantage of the shape of the text to create an interesting pose. Move the guitar, rotate and scale so that it looks about right.
As I had mentioned before, this guitar object came from here, I just gave all the components different shaders to make the object work better with my image. Feel free to use your own objects, the point of this is to have fun and create a scene that suits your purpose!
Repeat the previous steps to create the artist + easel and the model. They will sit next to the Y of Year, above the S of Show. Again, take a few seconds to stand up and feel the poses. It will make you understand what limbs need to be where, and how each limb should be bent.
Do the same thing for the sneaky photographer. Place him on the S of show.
Next, move the paint into place, create a figure to place inside the paint as if it is being dragged along by the force of the paint being spilled through the O.
Create a couple more figures to balance out the image and liven up the scene even more. You can place one crawling through the hole in R of Year, and one hanging off the ledge of the E in End.
This is it! Nearly anyway...Most of the hard work is done. You should now have a very charismatic scene, full of life and character. The next step is to modify our studio and create more 3D text for indicating the different courses that the event we're making a poster for encompasses.
If you want to tidy the scene up, in the object list you may want to name all your figures and delete the figure in the T-pose you have been duplicating.
In a side view, create a bezier spline like the one below. You want it to be relatively similar to the previous one, except you'll want it going downwards a little after the objects in your scene. Keep practicing, because bezier splines are things you have to do several times until they look right!
Copy and paste this spline, them move them both to roughly where you want the new ends of your new stage to be. Then, create a Loft NURBS object and drag the splines inside it. If you can't remember how to do this, consult Part 1 of this series where this procedure is covered in detail.
Your scene should now look something like the image below.
We're going to create text right from inside C4D now. From the top toolbars, under the splines button, select the Text Tool.
From the attributes panel on the right, you can type in the text you want. You can also pick the font by clicking the Font button. For this, use a simple font like Arial.
Scale down your text and move it forward so that you can see what you're doing better.
Just like in the first tutorial, create an extrude NURBS object, then in the object list drag the text into the extrude NURBS.
It will be hard giving you settings for the NURBS object, since it can look different depending on how big your text is. For the sake of example, assuming the text is at a size where each letter is roughly slightly smaller than the head of the mannequins, use the settings below for nice rounded edges.
From the top toolbars, create a cube. Scale it and move it so that it's essentially a rectangular badge behind the text you just created.
On the materials panel at the bottom, click File > Vray Material. Double-click the icon of the newly created object and use the settings below for the Diffuse Layer 1 section.
Then close the Material Editor, and drag this material from the materials panel onto the rectangle you created behind the text.
OK, we'll need an extra light to shine light on the section we've been creating. Select the top front light of your scene, copy and paste it, rotate and move it as shown below. Under the VrayLight settings in the attribute panel, bring the intensity down to 10.
In the render settings, navigate to the VrayBridge under Effects, then in the Global Illumination settings, bring the preset to Medium. Then do a render. You should see something similar to the following image.
What you can do next is duplicate the Extrude NURBS objects of the text as well as the rectangles. Now simply edit the text and resize the rectangles depending on the length of the text.
After you're happy with all the text, get into a nice angle with the camera and make a render. It should look something like the image below.
We're just about done in C4D! Only thing left to do now if you are happy with your scene is to do the final render. In the Global Illumination settings of the VrayBridge options, change the preset to Medium or High. Medium still produces very nice results and is a lot faster to render. Then in the global render settings, under the Output section use the following settings. In the Save section, specify a file name and select the Targa file type.
Finally press Render! It will take a while, so you might want to cool down from all that posing you did earlier.
After your render has finished, open up Photoshop and create a new document. Use an International Print preset of A4 (I am UK-based, US readers will most likely pick Letter).
Next, go to File > Place and locate your render file. Adjust it into position and press Enter.
Click on Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Curves. Then click and drag on the line to create a subtle S-shaped curve like the image below.
Now Right-click the "Final Render" layer and click Rasterize Layer. Then, press Command + J to duplicate the layer, so that you have a backup of that layer. On the newly created one, make a marquee selection on the empty red space at the bottom and press Command + T. Now drag the bottom so that it covers up the white space. Press Enter and Command + D to deselect.
Now create some text. Make it white and use a thick, bold font. I used Avant Garde here which is the same as the End Of Year Show font, but Arial Black is quite a good free alternative. It is similar and looks very nice if it's all in Caps and placed with tight Kerning.
To adjust the Kerning, place the cursor between the characters in text editing mode and use the Alt + Left or Right Arrow keys to adjust the spacing between the letters. We want it quite tight for this poster.
Duplicate the text layer by selecting the layer and pressing Command + J, then press V to access the Move Tool and press the Down Arrow key to move the layer down (hold Shift to do this faster).
Create a new layer under the text layers. Select the Rectangular Marquee Tool and drag a rectangle around the first line of text. Make sure you have black as your foreground color and press Alt + Backspace. This will fill your selection black. Proceed to press Command + J to duplicate the layer, and then Shift + Down Arrow key to move down. Now press Command + T to Free Transform and drag the left-end to cover the line of text with the rectangles.
Now let's add some paint splatters to our document. I will be using the free high-resolution brushes from here, but feel free to use whichever ones you want.
Load your splatter brushes, create a new layer underneath the black rectangles, then pick a blue tone similar to the 3D paint. Pick a brush and press once in the middle of the document (to make sure you get the whole brush). Then press Command + T to Free Transform. Now move and rotate the brush into place. Press Enter to finalize.
Repeat the last step twice in new layers, choosing a different brush each time. Use an orange tone for a new layer above the blue, and a green tone in a layer above the orange.
Yes, here comes the famous gradient map adjustment layer! Layer > New Adjustment Layer > Gradient Map. Choose one of the ugly preset gradients. Make sure this layer is above everything (should be above the curves adjustment layer) and tone it down to 5% opacity.
Only do this step if you feel the poster needs a little tonal uniformity, to bring the overall color dynamics together a little. It will however bring that crisp dynamic white down to a slightly duller tone, but this is entirely up to you.
Save your file. You're done!
As a digital artist it's always good to step out of your comfort zone. If you find the whole concept of 3D daunting, I encourage you to have a go anyway, get your toes wet. One thing is for sure, you won't know any less by trying... you can only learn more!
This is one of those tutorials that only really make sense for the author's original piece. Out of this context, the mannequins would just seem silly. But at least now you have learnt a workflow of getting models and moving them around, lighting and creating sets for your own 3D text. The possibilities of this workflow tweaked to your projects are truly endless!
Combining 3D tools and effects with Photoshop can bring dramatic changes to your work and stunning results. Thank you for reading, I'll try and answer any questions in the comments, and have fun!.