In the lighting world, one of the most useful items is a good cart. Although it’s not a light, or a stand, or something to rig, you use it on every production. When it comes to improving workflow, a good cart is second-to-none other equipment and an absolute must for any serious production. It’s the backbone of the Grip & Electric (G&E) world.
It’s not often that I come across such an essential tool in the post world in 3D animation, but I might just have recently! There are many 3D programs. At Fifth Door we prefer Cinema 4D. Every program has its value and strengths, but one of the many qualities of C4D is being open-sourced. Anyone who can code can create a plug-in for this ever-expanding program.
Now, anyone who has used Microsoft Office programs knows the power of the Undo button, and some programs you even have unlimited undo’s. Keep that image in your mind for a minute. A major challenge in the 3D world is that we work with a LOT of objects at the same time, with each of them being its own entity. After hours, if not days, of hard work, if you want to undo something from 30 changes ago, and you don’t want to undo all the rest of the work that you’ve done. Because, well, who would?
That’s where this story is leading too. This incredibly cheap, but damn useful tool allows you go back on individual elements.
Basically, you attach this tag to any object you may want to go back and forth on, and hit the button. Before this plug-in, a lot of animators used to duplicate the object on another layer just for safe keeping. But it gets tedious and very messy quickly. Imagine you’re stuck with 6 duplicates that you may not need, BUT you don’t want to get rid of them just in case!
It doesn’t save it automatically, but it’s just a press of the button, and bam, you’ve got all the important stages of your model within a complex project. Again, C4D’s open source allows many groups like EyeDesyn and GSG can develop these incredibly useful tools without charging an arm and a leg.
Maybe it’s just me, but to anyone who uses C4D I recommend making this a part of your workflow, you’ll thank yourself later for this purchase (c’mon it’s only 24 bucks!). It won’t make plumes of fire and smoke, but I bet you’ll use it on every single job, just like the trusty cart on set. The most useful tool really is the one that you use most frequently no matter how large or small.
Here’s a link to the website, which has videos on how to use it, and much much more!