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Morph Targets for Poser with Cinema 4d

Author: shanna

Tools Needed

  • Poser
  • Cinema 4d.

Introduction

If you are new to making morph targets, here is a very simple walkthrough for making a simple mt for a set of horns for the DAZ toonimal lamb.

As this is not the ideal way to create a set of horns for the lamb (his mesh doesn't really have enough points), there will be a second part of this tutorial to create a smart propped pair of horns, which will build on the techniques used in this first part.

You need to be able to create morphs for the bumps on his head the horns will sit on.

This method will work with any Poser figure.

With practice you will be able to create any morph you want providing the models mesh is dense enough.

I am using C4d r8.5 for this tutorial, but it will work with any version of C4d.

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Step 1 - In Poser

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Load the lamb into Poser. Don't move it. The lamb loads in a zeroed position.

If you are using a different model, make sure it is completely zeroed before exporting but do not pose it in any way.

Select the 3D studio export option.

Do NOT export as an obj. This will cause the vertices to become rearranged when imported to Cinema and the resulting morph will not work when you take it back to Poser - you will just get a crumpled mess.

Remember to uncheck the universe and only export the figure. I tend to export the entire figure but you only need to export the body part you intend to create a morph for. In the case of the lamb, if you do not export the entire figure I recommend you export his ears as well as his head, that way you won't try to make a morph target that is using points that are under his ears. They would look very strange when applied.

When asked if you want to export with groups select yes.

Save in a location you will find easily with a name you will recognise and you are done with Poser for now.

I have a folder in C4d called exported Poser stuff which is where I keep this kind of thing and I will create a folder called toonimal lamb, then name the exported figure 'toonimal lamb unscaled.3Ds“

Step 2 - Getting ready to make your morph

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Open C4d and import or merge the exported 3Ds lamb.

Do not move the lamb even though he is so small you can't see him, we will fix that first.

It is very important that you do not move the figure. If you do, when you apply the mt in Poser, it will apply it to the moved position and you will find the body part shooting off to wherever you have moved the model to.

Only move the points to make your morph.

It is a good idea to save your c4d project as soon as you've loaded the lamb.

That way, if you make a mess of moving points around, you can revert to your unchanged lamb and start again.

He will also come in handy later to make sure you have not accidentally moved your morphed model. I'll save him as 'unscaled lamb.c4d'.

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You will find your poser figure is so tiny it is almost impossible to work on as well as hard to see, so you need to make it bigger.

First, group all your imported body parts together.

In the object manager window, go to edit > select all the body parts, then go to objects > group objects.

Your group is now called null object. You can rename this if you wish.

Make sure the model tool is selected and scale the group up by 1000.

If you select Frame Active object from the viewport edit tab, you will find your lamb is clearly centered in the viewport. If you want to centre this on one body part, select the body part and choose Frame Active object.

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Remember, always move the camera, not the object.

Now your tiny poser figure is suddenly easy to work with.

If you plan to make quite a few morphs for the same figure, now is a good time to save your figure. I will save with the name 'toonimalLamb scaled 1000.c4d', so I don't get confused later. Simply by looking at the file name I will know how much it needs scaling down to export for Poser.

Step 3 - Make your Morph Target.

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Make your morph by moving points from their original positions to their new locations so that you have your desired shape. I've chosen to make a very basic horn morph for this tutorial and I'm working with points.

First I have opened up the group containing all of the lambs body parts and selected the head.

Then I have simply selected a small group of points and moved them upwards and backwards for simplicities sake in this little tutorial. This mt took about one minute to make.

Do not move the figure or the body parts. Only move the necessary points to create your new morph target. Do not add or remove any points or the morph target won't work.

To make your selection of points, use the live selection tool (from the drop down tool box at the top of the screen) and select some.

To add points to this selection hold down the shift key and move the live selection tool over the points you wish to add.

To remove points from the selection, hold down the ctrl key and move the selection tool over the points you wish to remove.

Selected points will be red.

If you wish, you can set a selection tag by scrolling to the set selection option in the drop down selection box at the top of the screen.

This means you can easily reselect just this group of points at any time - very useful for making more complicated morphs.

To move, scale them or rotate your selected points, just click on the appropriate icon at the top of the screen.

It is a good idea to make sure you have the 'select only visible elements' box ticked so that you do not accidentally select some points on the back of the lambs head.

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Step 4 - Getting Ready to go back into Poser.

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When you are happy with what you have done, making sure you have the model tool selected once more scale the group back down by .001 and it will be the correct size for Poser. It is a good idea to save your project before scaling it down in this case I am saving it with the name lamb with horn morph scale 1000. Don't overwrite your original file or you will have to go through the whole process again to make another morph for that figure.

That way, if you decide you want to tweak the morph later, you can go back to this point and not have to start again.

If you have set a selection tag for the moved points you will easily be able to adjust those specific points by selecting them via the tag.

If you are unsure you have scaled it down correctly, import the original unscaled lamb and it should load exactly where your newly morphed lamb is. If it loads anywhere else, you have moved the figure and your mt won't work properly in Poser.

Now delete any body parts you don't need if you have imported the whole figure. In this case I delete all of the body parts except the head as that is the part I have just made a morph for. The easiest way to do this is to pull the morphed body part out of the group then just delete the group.

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Step 5 - Exporting your new morph Target.

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Export your morphed body part as an obj and save in a place you will easily find with a name that makes sense to you. I'm calling this morph Little horns and I'm saving it in a folder called mts for toonimal sheep.

Strictly speaking, it really doesn't matter what you call it, as you can name it anything you want in Poser, but it is a good idea to always name things clearly so that if you need them again you will know what they are.

Make sure the only thing you export is the body part you are applying the morph to.

We're now finished with C4d.

Step 6 - Applying your morph target in Poser

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Open Poser, load the toonimal lamb in his zeroed position and select the head.

Under properties, click on the add morph target and browse to your morphed head obj that you have just exported from C4d.

Choose a name for your new morph target – I'm calling this mt little horns - or it will end up called shape 1.

Once you have applied your morph target, you will find you have a new dial in the lambs head called (in this case) little horns.

Twist the dial and your morph target will be applied. If your morph target or the entire head moves off somewhere unexpected when you do this, you have moved the figure in C4d or had moved the figure before exporting it.

You will have to start all over again.

It is a good idea to also check at this stage how your morph target looks when you apply other mts already in the figure, so mess around and see how it looks.

If you are happy with your morph target, save the lamb back to your figures library with a different name so that you don't overwrite the original and you're done.

You can overwrite the original file if you wish to, I prefer not to.

Don't forget to turn the morph dials back to zero before saving or your figure will load with the mts applied every time.

If you are not happy with your morph target, don't save the figure to the library and it will be gone along with its new dial next time you load the figure.

Just go back to your saved lamb in C4d and start again remembering to apply your new morph target to a new lamb when you take it back into Poser so you don't end up saving with the unwanted mts.

I would suggest you delete morph targets that are no good in order to save confusion later on.

Step 7 - Finishing up

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Now, when you load your new lamb from your figures library, he will have your new morph target ready for you to use whenever you want.

To create and add more mts, just go through the above steps again.

If you have saved your Cinema 4d files, you can start from the end of step 2 using your 'toonimalLamb scaled 1000.c4d' ready to just get straight to work on your new morph target.

Once the morph target is applied to your figure and saved into your library, you no longer need the morph target obj file, but it is best to save it somewhere as if you need to reinstall, or lose your poser files for some reason the original lamb will not have them.

I save mts in the same folder as the original figures installation files in a folder named 'mts for (whoever they are for)' so I always know what they are and who they are for.

Hopefully, this tutorial will give you the information you need to start creating your own morph targets - don't forget that the more you practice, the better you will get.

In the second part, we will mix morph targets and smart props to create a much better looking set of horns.