Fractured Reality

I’m still amazed how attractive (to spammers and search engines) a blog can become just by having the word “porn” in a blog title. *lol* I’m still down with my infection and new medication piling up after each doctor visit, so there’s not much going on, but yesterday I had a bit of a fallout with my favorite bald head on the planet (well, next to Patrick Stewart, anyway), Mr. Kopriva, and since you little buggers seem to have the hots for that Cineware and Cinema 4D Lite thing, I thought it would be useful to repeat the info we exchanged on the forum and via mail.

The starting point of the whole conversation was whether you will be able to create eroded or fractured text using just Cinema 4D Lite. The simple answer is: No, you won’t. There are a few reasons for this:

  • You won’t get the Spline Wrap and Shrink Wrap deformers to create shrivelled or wrapped appearances.
  • You don’t get the sculpting tools that would allow similar.
  • You don’t get the sub-pixel displacement rendering stuff.
  • Cinema 4D has no built-in fracturing tools.

Following my last argument, Todd noted the you will get the Fracture object, but not so fast. The Fracture object is merely a means of animating already separated entities, meaning either split polygons or objects and items you drop into it in the hierarchy. This is almost the same like when using the Explosion and Explosion FX deformers. For some things it’s gonna look okay, but it’s not gonna give you the fractured debris most people think of when meaning fractured objects. Luckily, this has now become quite standard, so even for Cinema there are some choices. First, there’s Catastrophe and the free Thrausi from Nitro4D. Another totally free alternative comes by ways of the Fracture Script for Blender. It looks a bit awkward to use and I use Blender way too rarely (mostly when looking exactly for these kinds of free solutions to specific problems) to tell you how good it is, but it should do the trick and you then could export the result as an OBJ not just for Cinema 4D but also Element 3D and other tools.

Moving on to commercial programs, there’s a similar script for  modo discussed on the forum. I tried it once, but since booleans aren’t exactly modo‘s forté, it takes forever to smash up larger items. Lightwave added a fracture tool in version 11 and it does  a reasonable job, but I guess if you’re really serious about this stuff, you have to use one of the big 3 – Maya, MAX and Houdini. The latter has all sorts of fracturing tools built-in ever since version 11. For Maya there’s Blastcode and ultimately, MAX steals the crown with RayFire and the latest Thinking Particles 5. So as you see, if you have access to one of those tools or are willing to download a demo version, you have a few options, at least for a while. And what does that mean for Cinema? I’d bet that we see a suitable MoGraph object or deformer in R15. With such steep competition all around it feels inevitable that Maxon finally give in and grant us that wish…

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