Women’s Murder Club

While researching for this teaser spot for Women’s Murder Club, I noticed that police tape was a common theme throughout existing graphics. My suggestion to the client was to construct a simple crime scene in 3D where the camera pulls back, revealing evidence and resolving in the title on police tape, with the channel identity and times below.

The spot was created using Maxon Cinema 4D and Adobe After Effects. The bullet casings and gun are free models and the shoes were purchased from Turbosquid. The evidence markers were created from a cube object. The floor has a Layer Shader applied with two materials, combined using the Overlay mode. Layer Shaders are an excellent way to create detailed looks easily within Cinema 4D.

evidence_marker

Soft omni lights with falloff were used to light each of the models individually. The red and blue flashes were created using a red and a blue spot light parented to a rotating null object. Include and Exclude modes were used with the lights to ensure nothing was over exposed.

The police tape was created using Mograph Spline Wrap and Displace Deformer. The Displace Deformer also uses a Layer Shader, including a gradient to give the plastic a stretched appearance and a Noise layer animated to make the tape vibrate slightly. Here’s a top view of the scene.

wmc_top

The scene was rendered with various passes, including a Depth pass, used as a blur map with Compound Blur in After Effects, to create the depth-of-field effect. The red and blue lights were also rendered separately so the illumination could be adjusted in After Effects.

The Cinema 4D scene was exported with an  After Effects composition (AEC) including the camera and lights. Trapcode Particular was used to add smoke particles into the scene. In Particular particles recognise After Effects lights, allowing the smoke to be illuminated by the lights imported in the AEC.

Discuss
  1. Eden Soto
    Reply

    Very nicely done.

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Thank you Eden.

  2. eladbari
    Reply

    Wow! Great breakdown, John! thank you for sharing :]
    ive always wondered why people usually tend to do the DOF\Blur effects in AE, rather than within C4D [which, i bet comes out nicer].
    Are the render times THAT long in C4D, that you give up on it?

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Hi Eladbari, I don’t have the Advanced Render in Cinema 4D at my office so didn’t have the option to render with depth of field. Having said that, the After Effects option is fast and easy to fine tune once the final render is complete.

  3. Mike Hankins
    Reply

    Wow! Very nice job… thanks for the breakdown as well.

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      You’re welcome Mike, I’m glad you found the breakdown useful.

  4. Grischa Theissen
    Reply

    I would love to get a more detailed look at the DOF pass export from Cinema4D to After Effects. Is there a good tutorial for that?

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Hi Grischa, I’ll record a quick screencast on how I set the depth of field pass up in Cinema 4D and After Effects.

      • Grischa Theissen
        Reply

        Thank you John. I was searching for that on the net for some time but haven’t found something useful.

      • Benjamin Eshagpoor
        Reply

        That’s a great idea…I’ve been curious how to do that myself!

  5. Izzy
    Reply

    I agree with Grischa.

    John, might you be able to do a quick overview of the DOF/Depth Pass in C4D and how best to utilize it in AE?

    That would be sweet:)

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Hi Izzy, I’ll record a quick screencast on how I set the depth of field pass up in Cinema 4D and After Effects.

      • Izzy
        Reply

        Sweet, thanks again John, I look forward to it:)

  6. Simon Bronson
    Reply

    Well executed piece and elegantly linked article John.

    Regardless of having dof available within your 3d app, I’ve found that using a depth matte in the comping stage makes things a lot more flexible and can save re-rendering if something goes out of focus.

    I’m more familiar with using depth mattes with lens blur in after effects, does compound blur have any advantages?

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Hi Simon, thanks for the feedback. Compound Blur has far fewer features than Lens Blur but renders faster. When I do my screencast I’ll do a comparison. Regards, John.

  7. Ben Hood
    Reply

    Great spot John! Loved the red and blue lights and a very simple and clever solution to doing them!

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Thanks Ben, it’s the simple things that are often the best 😉

  8. Benjamin Eshagpoor
    Reply

    Great Breakdown! I’m really enjoying my journey into C4D, and these examples, tips and your great MILG 6 series have all helped tremendously! I just finished my first spot using C4D for more than just extruding a logo. I’m proud of it!

    Thanks again, JD!

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Hey Benjamin, you’re welcome! I still have a long way to go with Cinema 4D but it’s fun to share my journey with you guys too. Best, John.

  9. illd
    Reply

    Hi JD,

    thanks once again for sharing a great project. Somehow I cant see any Particular-smoke you where talking about. Is this due to the web compression, or did you have to remove it for the final?

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Hi illd, it’s only a subtle effect but the compression is also making it difficult to see. Best, John.

  10. pev
    Reply

    Looks great, good job

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Thankyou Pev. Best, JD.

  11. Josh Johnson
    Reply

    Looks Great. One thing that would be nice is to give the crime tape some movement as if their was a very slight breeze. I think it would help sell it being outside.

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Hey Josh, great to get your input. I actually put a slight animation on the tape using a Noise shader layer but wanted to get it “vibrating” as if being blown by the wind. The main reason I didn’t was time and that I didn’t know the best approach. If you have some ideas let us know 🙂 Best, JD.

  12. John Dickinson
    Reply

    Thank you Laith. All the best, John.

  13. Lenny
    Reply

    Hey John, very nice work, but i have never heard of this software called Cinema 4D. It looks pretty awesome and i’ll do some research into it. I do wish however that your composition had sound :(, copyright issues?

    • John Dickinson
      Reply

      Hi Lenny, 90% of the time I create graphics with no audio supplied by the client and aren’t able to get access to the audio version. I actually was able to get the version with audio for this spot but felt the audio didn’t do the spot justice. All the best, John.

  14. THEOPHILUS
    Reply

    NICE

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