Shattering Glass

In this 3 tutorial series we’ll look at how to build a glass shatter effect, based on a recent project for Damages 2, using Illustrator, After Effects and Cinema 4D. Part one includes capturing the template in After Effects, paths in Illustrator and setting up imported splines as polygons in Cinema 4D.

In part two we look at how to shatter the polygon object using Cinema 4D Explosion FX, add a glass material and image map to the face of the glass, and use an HDR image with the Sky object to create reflections.

In part three we look at how to add some more detail to the shatter in Cinema 4D using the Knife tool, add dust in Adobe After Effects using Trapcode Particular, create a quick background and fake refraction using the Displacement Map effect.

Note: After adding the Particle Null, right click the layer and choose Cinema 4D Tags > External Compositing. This will ensure the null is available in After Effects.

Discuss
  1. John Stanowski
    Reply

    Awesome. Lots of great C4D tips I didn’t know about. I even learned something about Illustrator. Can’t wait for Part 2! (So glad you’re making these.)

  2. brawk
    Reply

    necisita part 2!

  3. Fehry
    Reply

    yes,great..
    thanx john.C4D tuts more..

  4. KJ
    Reply

    Thanks John!

  5. illd
    Reply

    WOW, tahnk y ou so much, I was waiting for this for years…

  6. illd
    Reply

    HI JD, may I ask you why you didn ´t use the Livetracer inside AI to define the paths? I am not that much into AI, but isn ´t it possible to avoid handrawing the whole structure- at a certain point this will be really a lot of work doing it by hand…

  7. James Wicks
    Reply

    JD,
    From a design perspective why did you choose to shatter in C4D and not in AE? What I am puzzled about is that you use the AE glass shatter map as your template. Aren’t you re-creating an identical shatter, but in another program? Don’t get me wrong, AE and C4D are my two favorite programs – so the more tuts on both the better. I’m just curious why all the extra steps?
    Best, James Wicks Zfx Studios, LLC South Florida

  8. John Dickinson
    Reply

    Illd drawing the path manually gives clean paths with minimum control points, and it actually didn’t take very long. Jim I wasn’t recreating an identical shatter, the Shatter template was just a guide to get me started in Illustrator. The final version has a lot more detail, including more longer shards and a bunch of smaller ones. The Shatter effect in After Effects is great for some things but just doesn’t compare with the results possible when working in a dedicated 3D app, especially when it comes to materials.

  9. Steph
    Reply

    Very nice, thanks!
    When is part 2 coming?

  10. RemingtonM
    Reply

    Before I start this, it looks awesome by the way, Do you think what you are teaching will translate to 3ds Max? I don’t want to get far into it and realize I don’t have the ability to do something. I’m fairly new to 3ds max so it may be difficult to translate…

  11. John Dickinson
    Reply

    Part 2 will be out in a few days. I don’t know how this would translate across to 3D Studio Max as I haven’t used that software, sorry.

  12. RemingtonM
    Reply

    I watched it and so far were good, thanks for responding. Hopefully you don’t lose me on part 2! If you do I’ll just get a trial of Cinema 4D because this effect is just to cool. I think it nice someones making tutorials for c4d because the majority of them are 3ds max.

  13. giezkaluvorsky
    Reply

    Looks like a damn good tutorial..
    Thanks A lot John

  14. rev65
    Reply

    Great look, John! Love that you’re doing more tuts in C4D. Thanks!

  15. RemingtonM
    Reply

    I’m kind of stuck. I’m using cinema 4d ,and I’ve done the illustrator portion. But I can’t seem to bring the shatter map into cinema 4d. I’m using illustrator cs4.

  16. John Dickinson
    Reply

    Hi RemingtonM, make sure you save your Illustrator file as version 8 before attempting to import it to Cinema 4D.

  17. RemingtonM
    Reply

    Thanks for your quick response, How do you you save it as an Illustrator 8 file? I looked around for a while, but didn’t find anything. I really want to make this work, because this effect is amazing! I’ve never used cinema 4d or Illustrator before this.. I’m a 3ds max, AE, photoshop kind of guy.

  18. RemingtonM
    Reply

    I figured out how to save it as an .eps file. I selected Illustrator 8 and it still seems to not be working.I’m using the latest cinema 4d, I think its 11

  19. John Dickinson
    Reply

    It can’t be an eps… must be a .ai file. If you still have problems send me the file and I’ll save it for you. (john at motionworks dot com dot au).

  20. RemingtonM
    Reply

    It worked! I was saving it to send to you and a box popped up asking me which version I wanted to save as. Thanks for your help, I really appreciate it. I’m sure I’ll be back with more questions later on.

  21. Lesley
    Reply

    Hi John,

    Thank you for these tutorials. I am new to After Effects and am following part 1 of the Shattering Glass tutorial. When I try to save the psd file out of the AE render queue, it doesn’t save. I have to choose Composition, Save frame as, Photoshop layers. Am I doing something wrong here or is there a bug in my program?

    Thanks
    Lesley

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Hi Lesley, when you add something to the render queue you choose the format eg. Photoshop, in the Output Module section.

  22. Mark Spencer
    Reply

    Thanks John, used this technique in a modified way for a VFX shot for a feature – great tut, really appreciate your sharing. Lots of good little “gotcha” tips in there, like fixing the texture to the polys…

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Thanks Mark, I worked through this project with Tim Clapham as my help-line 😉 Much of it I screen recorded as I was doing it so that I could create this tutorial. Best wishes, John. By the way, you might want to set up a Gravatar so we can see your pic with comments on blogs like mine 🙂

  23. Erik
    Reply

    Splendid teaching John. As a novice on C4D you really speed up my learning curve. Pdfs don’t do it for me – spending hours finding the answers I look for converts the text into ants after a while.

    One question; Why is it important to check the hierarchical box in objects after selecting the Nurbs? When else do I need to consider this?

    Thanks //Erik

    • Erik
      Reply

      I think I got it. Othetwise only the first path, in a chain of paths, will be extruded?

      • John Dickinson
        Reply

        Shazam! That’s it Erik, well done.

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Thanks Erik, I can see from your next comment that you worked out the answer, well done. Best wishes, John.

  24. rancomar
    Reply

    Espero poder descargar este fabuloso tutorial y seguir aprendiendo, gracias por el aporte se ve muy bueno

  25. Erik
    Reply

    Gente como John Dickinson y Andrew Kramer merecen un premio Nobel por hacer educación accesible a todo el mundo :]

  26. Nasirou
    Reply

    I love your website

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Thanks Nasirou 😉

  27. Fabio
    Reply

    Hi, I lie this effect and I’d like to buy the project file (I’m on a deadline so unfortunately I don’t have the time to follow the tut by myself). One question: would it be possible to apply a texture (one image, a photograph for example) to the glass so that when it breaks the picture itself breaks apart? I mean every fragment of glass keeps the texture of the corresponding fragment of the image during the shatter.

    Thank you

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Hi Fabio, yes, for that the “Stick Texture” tag is used. Best wishes, John

  28. Shark
    Reply

    How do you make the text come forward, and break the glass and then the glass just explodes into pieces and shows the text clearly?

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