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How To Change the Opacity of An Animated Human Figure?

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James Kozick
How To Change the Opacity of An Animated Human Figure?
on Apr 4, 2018 at 4:03:51 pm

Hello,

I've created an animated human figure in Adobe Fuse/Mixamo. Then I opened it up in C4D and it animates and looks good.

But, what I want to do is reduce the opacity on the figure so that it is semi-transparent throughout the animation. I've attempted to apply the Display Tag to all of the elements of the figure and set the display at 70%. However, when I observe the animation in playback and after render it still displays at 100%. How can I adjust the opacity of the animated human figure so that it is semi-transparent throughout the animation?

Thanks!


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Jim Scott
Re: How To Change the Opacity of An Animated Human Figure?
on Apr 4, 2018 at 5:18:05 pm

The Display Tag visibility setting will only affect the rendered image, so you will see no change in the viewport during playback, and you must have Transparency enabled in your Render Settings:






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Steve Bentley
Re: How To Change the Opacity of An Animated Human Figure?
on Apr 4, 2018 at 9:39:40 pm

Have a look at the fresnel shader/settings as a transparent option. With straight transparency you don't get that build up at the edges or where things overlap. But Fresnel adds this volumetric feel to things.



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James Kozick
Re: How To Change the Opacity of An Animated Human Figure?
on Apr 4, 2018 at 10:46:50 pm

I highlighted all of the elements of the figure and applied the Display Tag set to 60%. Then I made sure that Transparency was enabled in the Render Settings and rendered the animation. After the render was complete, the figure in the render still showed up at 100% opacity even though visibility in the Display Tag was set to 60%.

Any other ideas why it is not displaying as semi-transparent?

Thanks.


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Steve Bentley
Re: How To Change the Opacity of An Animated Human Figure?
on Apr 4, 2018 at 10:51:30 pm

Is there something in the background for us to see through to? Unless you have an alpha (and even then I'm not sure) if there is nothing in the background the transparency may not show up the way you think it should.
( you can also just put the display tag on the parent and that will filter down through all the other children unless they have their own display tag)



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James Kozick
Re: How To Change the Opacity of An Animated Human Figure?
on Apr 4, 2018 at 11:38:25 pm

Yes. In the C4D file I have a green background. When I view the rendered QuickTime movie the green background is not seen at all through the animated figure. Also, when I import the rendered movie into Final Cut and apply a Keyer to it, the green background is keyed, however, the animated figure appears at 100% opacity with no transparency.


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Jim Scott
Re: How To Change the Opacity of An Animated Human Figure?
on Apr 4, 2018 at 11:39:26 pm

James, can you upload the project file or at least a screenshot of your scene with all of the object hierarchies expanded? That might help us locate the problem.



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Steve Bentley
Re: How To Change the Opacity of An Animated Human Figure?
on Apr 5, 2018 at 12:30:46 am

What is your raytracing depth set to? There might be so many layers that the rays peter out before they get through all the objects.



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James Kozick
Re: How To Change the Opacity of An Animated Human Figure?
on Apr 5, 2018 at 1:14:23 am

I haven't uploaded anything yet in this forum. I'm not sure how to do it and what file size limitations there are.

Please let me know the file upload process and file size limitations. The size of the C4D file is about 16.5 MB. If that's too big perhaps a screen shot like you suggested might work instead.

Please advise.

Thanks!


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Steve Bentley
Re: How To Change the Opacity of An Animated Human Figure?
on Apr 5, 2018 at 1:26:06 am

The limit is 100mb so you're well under. Hit the little floppy disk icon above the text entry field when you go to reply (its the last one on the right). Then follow the instructions (which aren't great) Hit the browse button, choose the file on your drive, then once its found it the file name will appear on the right hand column. Select that file and then hit upload. The system will zip that file and generate a link for you to copy and paste into the text of your reply (choose the top one it gives you of the two to copy) . It will be a link to the file in the forum with HTML stuff around it.
You can close the uploader windows to get back to the reply text entry area and paste it there.



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Jim Scott
Re: How To Change the Opacity of An Animated Human Figure?
on Apr 5, 2018 at 2:12:05 am

You can also just drag a file into the message window.



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James Kozick
Re: How To Change the Opacity of An Animated Human Figure?
on Apr 5, 2018 at 2:22:36 am

I'm not sure I was able to complete the process successfully. I got as far as finding the file on my drive and the file name appeared in the right hand column. However, when I selected the file name I was unable to locate an upload button. So, I was not able to complete the rest of your instructions as you detailed above.

Please advise.

Thanks.

12323_armshiphopdanceopacity.c4d.zip


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Jim Scott
Re: How To Change the Opacity of An Animated Human Figure?
on Apr 5, 2018 at 2:39:52 am

The upload worked fine. All you need to do is to enable Visibility by clicking on the "Use" check box for each of your tags. And as Steve pointed out, you could place all of your body parts in a null and apply just one Display Tag to it. Also, the joint objects don't need a tag because they don't render anyway.





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Jim Scott
Re: How To Change the Opacity of An Animated Human Figure?
on Apr 5, 2018 at 2:52:47 am
Last Edited By Jim Scott on Apr 5, 2018 at 2:54:32 am

Here's the simplified object list:



(I had added a cube just to see the transparency better)


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James Kozick
Re: How To Change the Opacity of An Animated Human Figure?
on Apr 5, 2018 at 4:44:53 pm

(I just submitted a post and it seems to have disappeared. I'll enter it again now.) I feel as if I might be missing something here. As seen above, I created a green Background. Then, I included all the body parts in a null and then added a Display Tag to the null. I checked the Display "Use" box, activated the Display and set the transparency at 50%. Then, I rendered the file to a QuickTime movie.

a) When I play the QT movie back, the animated figure appears at 100% opacity. Shouldn't I be able to see some green through the animated figure if it was set to 50%?

b) When I import the QT movie into Final Cut I overlay the movie onto other QT footage and activate the Keyer on the animated figure movie. All of the green is keyed, but the animated figure still appears at 100% opacity. Shouldn't the animated figure appear 50% transparent revealing some of the video through it?

What I'm ultimately trying to achieve is "b" above. Thanks so much for all of your help. Any suggestions as to why I am still not able to achieve semi-transparency with the animated figure?


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Steve Bentley
Re: How To Change the Opacity of An Animated Human Figure?
on Apr 5, 2018 at 5:34:05 pm

IS that green an actual object? Like a plane or just the C4D background? If the latter and its just the world color that may not show the transparency. Is there a composting tag on either the character or the background object and if so is "seen by transparency" set to on in both of them?
What happens if you render with a straight alpha?



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Steve Bentley
Re: How To Change the Opacity of An Animated Human Figure?
on Apr 5, 2018 at 6:19:01 pm

Ok now that I have the project open - that background object will work correctly with transparency. But none of the display tags I see have their visibility turned on. (and more than Jim was alluding to - they don't even have transparency set ) that might be a versioning thing - what version of C4D are you running?

FYI the visibility setting doesn't really do a good transparency - its a more a faded density look. Using transparency in the material would give you more options with edges building up to show volume and rear faces more dense than close faces etc.
Do you have a reference image of the look you are going for? The display tag is more often used to make things not show up in the render and for matte generation than for making something transparent in the usual sense of the word.



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James Kozick
Re: How To Change the Opacity of An Animated Human Figure?
on Apr 6, 2018 at 3:49:59 pm

I'm running R17 Studio. I've implemented and tested all of the suggestions above and am still running into the same result - 100% opacity of the animated figure. As is suggested above, perhaps the Visibility setting isn't really the best approach to achieve semi-transparency.

It was suggested that transparency in the materials might be a better approach. As I mentioned earlier, I'm importing figures from Adobe Fuse/Mixamo where you can easily select varied figures with a variety of looks and clothing options. The animated figure arrives in C4D all created and rigged with the materials. The materials arrive with full transparency enabled. One needs to uncheck them to enable opacity. Unfortunately, there is no transparency adjustment available that I can locate. The two extremes are either 100% transparency or 100% opacity.

So, unless there is some way to adjust the transparency of the materials that I am not aware of, it appears that there is no way to achieve the semi-transparency effect with an animated figure. Please let me know if you have any other suggestions. Thanks.


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Steve Bentley
Re: How To Change the Opacity of An Animated Human Figure?
on Apr 6, 2018 at 5:47:44 pm

Hi James,
Can you upload the project again? The one I played with didn't have the display tags turned on or any textures. You can definetly tweak the shaders that come in from Fuze or Mixamo and make them C4D ready complete with transparency options (and that is a better way to go for what you are trying to achieve).
I'll take a look and send it back with new materials.



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Jim Scott
Re: How To Change the Opacity of An Animated Human Figure?
on Apr 6, 2018 at 6:18:47 pm

(while I was writing this Steve added his last response, and I will leave it up to him to help further, but I have included it in case it may be helpful)

James,

With all respect to you as someone who appears to be a relatively new user of C4D, I think you are experiencing operator error because of a misunderstanding of C4D settings and terminology. And though I am using R19, if my memory serves me R17 is essentially the same in regards to the following discussion. My apologies in advance if I am mistaken.

First, I don't know what you mean by your statement: "The materials arrive with full transparency enabled. One needs to uncheck them to enable opacity. Unfortunately, there is no transparency adjustment available that I can locate." Could you please elaborate (or provide a screenshot) on just what you are unchecking to "enable opacity." The transparency that Steve is referring to as a better alternative to using a Display Tag involves adding a Transparency channel to the materials. Based on your responses, I suspect that you are not familiar with this.

In looking at the original file you uploaded I noticed that you had mistakenly added a keyframe for using the Display Tag's visibility setting without actually enabling it. What you effectively did was to keyframe it off, but never on. For future reference, you can animate both the use of Visibility (which is what you added a keyframe for), and the Visibility setting itself. All you needed to do was enable the Visibility setting (check the "Use" box), and enter a visibility value. No keyframes are necessary unless you want to animate the visibility value (or animate the use of Visibility).

To show you that the Display Tag will work, I have included an image below. Because your textures were not included with your project file I replaced them with simple C4D materials (and I replaced your background with a checkerboard cube to make the transparency more obvious), but the same settings would work with your materials. Perhaps you could do the same with your latest project file and upload that (just drag the file into the message window where you write your response), and I would be glad to take a look at it.





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Steve Bentley
Re: How To Change the Opacity of An Animated Human Figure?
on Apr 6, 2018 at 6:30:31 pm

I also noticed on the old file that the textures were mapped many many times over the entire body instead of one material "fit to object" which is what should come in from Fuze. But that could just be a C4D versioning issue.

Keep in mind too with the transparency (in any form) you will see the eye orbs, the eye rig, the eyelashes and the mouth parts through the head. You might want to turn those off and/or weld an arc of "skin" over the eye sockets to get the only part of the eyeball you can see from outside. Empty eye sockets can be creepy.



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James Kozick
Re: How To Change the Opacity of An Animated Human Figure?
on Apr 7, 2018 at 12:04:21 am



I attempted to include a copy of the image of the Material Editor I referred to above. I'm not sure if the image can be seen by you or not. I'm not sure how other to describe it than when you open a Material Editor window "Transparency" is listed along the left side of the window. When you first open a figure from Adobe Fuse/Mixamo the default setting of Transparency is checked. When I unchecked it, the figure shows its opacity rather than transparency.

You were right about operator error and my mistakenly setting a keyframe with the Display Tag. I tried it again making sure not to set a keyframe and finally a semi-transparent figure appeared.

You were also right about the limitations of achieving transparency with the Display Tag. The image quality suffers considerably compared to that of full opacity. Considering the limitations of the Display Tag and my own limitations as a C4D newbie I think it might be best to put semi-transparency aside for the moment.

Thank you both for your invaluable help and patience. It is most appreciated.


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Jim Scott
Re: How To Change the Opacity of An Animated Human Figure?
on Apr 7, 2018 at 1:22:16 am

I understand now. What you were referring to is the Transparency channel that Steve and I were talking about. Leave it enabled and you can easily adjust the material's transparency by reducing the "Brightness" setting in that channel, or through the use of a fresnel shader as Steve mentioned. When you double-click on a material and bring up the material editor it shows the same settings as the Attributes window will display when you double-click on a material in the Objects menu.



I can see the image you uploaded just fine. When you are working on a message and have uploaded a file (or simply dragged it into the message window) you can click on "Preview Post" and see just what your post will look like before you post it. And once it's posted we will all see it just like you can in the thread listings.

Have fun with your project.



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