Digital character design in Cinema 4D

As usual I like to set myself extra goals. As soon as I was introduced to the Cinema 4D (excited as hell) I wanted to experiment with designing my own character. The character I wanted to make is a bit of an alien, an intruder, a stranger. A bit of me people would say ha

I have started off with scultping a face just to take baby steps. That was fun. The outcome: creepy, old version of Thomas the Tank engine 🙂

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I have moved on to creating a full body character. After watching many different tutorials I can see that there is many different ways to do it.

I found one when you create a character out of your sketch and that is exactly what I had a go at.

For those who use digital packages I don’t even have to explain that sometimes third time lucky is not a rule. You fail badly then you fail then you fail again but when you finally get it right it feels right. My issue is that I want to get things right straight away. Unfortunately, unlike analogue I am not not much in control, my hands can create what I want, with digital I can crate as much as much learnt skills will allow me to.

So I have sketched out a quick character.


This is the view of the screen divided into 4 sections so as you can make sure it’s all symetrical.

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I have created a cut out from a cube which then dot by dot connected to my drawing so as it can get into shape.

The tutorial I followed made a model with no head. I have done it just to get a gist of the idea but then I have redone it including a head.

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Adding hands is a case of extruding it from the existing body. As you can see hand drawn images help me to make sure hands are in the right proportions to the body. I used to be overwhelmed of the amount of details you get on each screen but now I love it as I can see things happening especially when things go as I have planned.

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Creating a character was not enough for me as now I am ready to animate it. This next step has proven more difficult than I thought. I have tried few different approaches. Creating a skeletal structure and connecting it to the model I made earlier and also creating a spinal structure first then modelling around it.

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I have been quite good with documenting my work by making sure I take screenshots. This is extra effort needed for digital work but it is what it is.


Each part of the root had to be adjusted to the right place so as it can be controlled right. “Adjust” is the word very familiar to me as currently I am working as a chiropractic assistant so I understand that I have to get the spinal structure right for the character to move correctly.

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The screen is divided into 4 parts so as you can make sure it’s all adjusted correctly because what you can see from the front view might be misleading.

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One of the other options is to create joints but then movement is more limited than when you have a spine created as you have more control over each individual part.

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Okey first attempt failed. He supposed to walk, simply walk. I don’t get put off by it because I know I am exploring very advanced areas and as a student I will not achieve first time effects that professionals do. I have always had an admiration for people who create cartoons,  moving image as learning and experimenting it I know how much it takes.

I used to be too desperate to use my experimentation, that I have spent a lot of time on in my final so as I can show how much effort I have put into it. Now I will definitely do what works best for me and I know that creating a digital character and animating it is not going to bring me as much satisfaction as hand-made models. What I always wanted to do is give clay animations a go, so called claymation. In my next blog I will research into some inspirational examples I have looked at.

Bring on claymation!!!


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