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Forums Maxon Cinema 4D Techniques for adding spikes to any object and making them look like a cactus

  • Techniques for adding spikes to any object and making them look like a cactus

     Jim Scott updated 2 weeks, 5 days ago 2 Members · 10 Posts
  • Scott Green

    August 31, 2021 at 10:50 am

    I’m looking for suggestions on how to apply spikes to any object and also make the object look more cactusy.

    Here’s a mock-up where I basically stretched a model of a cactus and positioned it on a wind turbine to sell the idea to them, which they loved but is not an ideal way to do it as we discussed adding spike to various objects such as a globe, batteries and a piggy bank.

    Firstly, I’d like to be able to make the process as simple as possible so that I can just take any object, drop on the modifiers/deformers/whatever and hey presto!

    I though about creating my spikes and then using a cloner to apply them to the mesh which should work fine but then how might I add imperfections to the surface of the mesh in the same positions as the spikes to give it dimples or bumps to make it look more like a cactus?

    I’d also like to think about adding a bit of ‘plumpness’ to my objects to they’re not so flat with straight edges and have a sort of roundness to them.

    The best way I can think of describing it is like adding the dimples similar to those you might find on a Chesterfield sofa?

    Any insights or recommendations for techniques would be very much appreciated.

    Thank you.

  • Jim Scott

    September 1, 2021 at 9:48 pm

    So, you want to make this “as simple as possible”? What fun is there in that? Unfortunately, the “Presto” button won’t be added to C4D until R50, if ever, so get over it. 😉

    As you suggested, one way to create and distribute the spikes would be by using a cloner. And with simple geometric objects like cubes, where the polygons are all aligned neatly in rows, you could use displacers with grayscale images to create the plumpness you’re after by adjusting the mapping of those images with tiling to align the dimples with the spikes. But with complex objects that technique unfortunately won’t work because the spikes won’t be distributed evenly. You could sculpt the dimples but that would obviously get very tedious. Perhaps someone else has a solution for that, but so far I don’t. Here’s a sample just to demonstrate the possibilities with some grayscale images I made in Photoshop. I used one cube with fewer segments as the object for the cloner, and a second cube with dense segments to give sufficient resolution for the displacer to work properly.

  • Jim Scott

    September 1, 2021 at 9:49 pm
  • Scott Green

    September 2, 2021 at 9:02 am

    Thanks for your input Jim, that works perfectly. Here’s a render of what I created using your technique.

    Could you suggest a method for using a map or painting areas where the displacement texture is higher in some places and not in others?

    The reason being is that we discussed applying this texture to an object of a piggy bank, so the texture could be quite deep and thick around the body area, but around the face and feet it should be less prominent/deep?

  • Jim Scott

    September 2, 2021 at 3:07 pm

    I’m glad it was helpful Scott. One method for selective control of the displacement would be using fields/falloffs to control where and how much it is effective. In the image below I elongated the cube and applied a spherical field to just the first displacer. Another method, which I haven’t tried yet, might be to create a greyscale image on an unwrapped UV map that would have lighter and darker areas where you want thicker and thinner texture, and put that on another displacer. And now that I think about it, I suppose you could do the same for all of the dimples and bumps. It would just be a matter of determining where the spikes are and placing darker areas around them for the dimples, etc. I’m going to have to play around with that idea to see how feasible it is.

  • Jim Scott

    September 2, 2021 at 4:44 pm

    Also, I forgot to mention that you can use selections to choose exactly which polygons the cloned spikes are being created on when using the Polygon Center, Vertex, or Edge distributions. But you probably already knew that.

  • Jim Scott

    September 3, 2021 at 3:13 pm

    Another option for controlling where the displacement occurs is adding a polygon selection or vertex map to a restriction tag on the displacer. In the first image below I used a diagonal polygon selection, while in the second I created a vertex map weighted in the middle and bottom of the object. Each was placed in a restriction tag added to the first displacer. The advantage of the vertex map is that it allows for blending the displacement, whereas the polygon selection causes an abrupt shift from displacement to no displacement.

  • Scott Green

    September 6, 2021 at 9:59 am

    That works well, I like that.

  • Scott Green

    September 6, 2021 at 10:00 am

    This could be useful but no I didn’t;t already know that. I’ll need to look into how to do this selection method.

  • Jim Scott

    September 6, 2021 at 1:53 pm

    Here’s a helpful tutorial on selections and vertex maps:

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