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Bringing Your Architectural Vision To Life With Cinema 4D Architectural Version
Part 1: Let`s take a look at how the architectural version of Cinema 4D works By Kevin McAuliffe

My father has been an architectural designer here in Toronto for longer than I have been alive. What he does is design extensions, renovations and full house plans for customers to take to a contractor to have built. One downside to what he does is that with the drawings that are produced, you really only have a 2D wireframe version of what your house is going to look like when the job is finished. It's really not a great way to show a customer what their "dream home" is going to look like.

After seeing a few of his drawings, I thought to myself that there has to be a better way to show customers what their homes would look like. That is where I came across Cinema 4D's Architectural (C4DA) edition. One thing I am going to say before I start is that I have used Cinema 4D on an extremely limited basis. To be perfectly honest, before I wrote this article, I had used it for all of 10 minutes for a previous article on Photoshop, but since I'm always up for a challenge, I presented this idea to the people at Maxon, and needless to say, they were a little bit hesitant.

Their main concern was that I really had no experience with a "true" 3D application, and my argument for them was that this program is talked about as being the easiest to use 3D application on the market, and after a little bit of back and forth by e-mail, they agreed to let me use it for this article. Let's take a look at how the architectural version of Cinema 4D works, and how it can be an extremely useful addition to any animators toolbox, not just architects.

In C4DA, there are two basic ways of working. The long way and the short way. I'm going to go through both methods, and show you how you can produce excellent looking results with both. For the first of our two part series, we're going to take a look at "The Long Way"!

Before I started writing this article, my father was working in AutoCAD 2004, which is an older "2D" CAAD program that he designs all his projects in, and for me, it was the perfect place to start. The first step of any process is taking my father's drawing and importing it into C4DA for me to start working with. C4DA supports the import of many different types of CAAD drawings including DWG, DXF, 3DS, OBJ, FBX, VRML and many more.

My father works primarily with DWG files, so I had him e-mail me a drawing of a house he was working on where the people wanted to see what the new deck on their house was going to look like. I thought that since I had no idea how to build a house in C4DA, I would build the house, along with the deck, and some exterior landscaping, so these people could see what their "dream deck" would look like.

To get the DWG file into C4DA was very easy. In C4D, simply navigate to FILE>MERGE, and then locate the CAAD drawing you wish to import, and press O.K.

On a side note, one thing that Maxon has done for C4DA is that they have added an "Architecture" layout primarily for architects who are brand new to C4DA, and want quick and easy access to the tools that they will use on a regular basis, which for them, and any other newcomer is a great way to get up to speed quickly.

Taking a looking at the CAAD drawing after I've imported it, it basically looks exactly the way it did when it was in Autocad 2004, except for one main difference, and that is that I now have hundreds (possibly over a thousand) of little splines that make up this entire drawing.

To be perfectly honest, it looks like a big mess, but a mess that can be easily cleaned up.  Let's do some organization. Since I have been given four layouts (back, first floor, second floor and basement), I'm going to delete the one that I don't need, which is the basement. Next, I'm going to select each view, by using the "Rectangle Selector", and grouping them into three categories, so I can easily navigate through the sections on an individual basis.

For this drawing, the deck on the back of the house and the garage are the most important, as they are what is being added. Once I have grouped my floors and the back of the house into three separate "Groups", I'm going to lay them out in a "true 3D" fashion.


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