Discovery Channel Rebrand Tutorial Sneak Peak

April 29, 2010 - By 

I wanted to give you guys a sneak peak into the next tutorial based on the latest rebrand for the Discovery Channel. This one took a while to figure out how to do. At first glance, It looked easy enough to pull off. But as I got into it, I quickly found out that there were quite a few tricks needed to make this work. This will be a HUGE tut. I really am excited about this one. Part 1 should be out by Monday. In the mean time, try hopping in Cinema 4D and figuring out how YOU would try to do this effect.

Posted In:  Inspiration News
  • Awesome stuff can’t wait to see it.

  • Nice stuff, bring it on

  • Those shadows on the blocks sure looks sexy, and I have no idea how to manage it, so this tut will be helpful 🙂

  • Just a guess, do you do a projection mapping to each side of a cube, then animate a rotation, duplicate the cube do create a sort of grid, then offset the keyframe animation of each cube?

    • edit: not a cube, a prism

    • me again. ‘simplier’ version. would it work if you set up a composition tag for each side of the prism, with each side its own color, then you could just bring it in after effects and change the color with a picture (ex: red = beach, blue = whatever)

    • I think you are in the right direction, what i thought was very similar, a compositing tag on each face, then i export an object buffer of each one, and the in AE i can build some luma mattes with the pics, right?? maybe could work, but i will not be sure until…

    • Espen Jakobsen May 2, 2010 at 5:08 am

      I’m also thinking som kind of object buffer solution. But how would he put different object buffers for different faces on the same cube??

      Maybe he animated one cube first, then put it in a cloner object, then made a grid array out of it, then current state to object so he could select the faces and make different object buffers for AE. How he made the cubes animate at random order I have on idea. Looking forward for the tutorial!

    • douglas amorim May 3, 2010 at 6:23 am

      If you want to use object buffers, then you should disconect the individuals faces from each other. Then you would have a cube formed by six diferent polygons and all you have to do is define a object buffer for each face.

      But here goes a warning: if you’re doing the version where all the cubes are ramdom sized this shoul be your first step. or at least you shold do this before you turn your clones into fracture objects, otherwise you would have to repeat this step for every single object in your hierarchy.

      The way i’m doing it is a little bit more simple. Assign a solid color for each face, then, inside of after effects use the color material to create a matte for each face simply by isolating each color.

      Hope this helps. Cheers!

  • I’ve finally started doing your Cinema tutorials. They’ve been on my to-do list for a while and so far, I really love them. Thank you for the time and effort that you put into these. This one looks like it’s going to be great.

  • do i detect sarcasm with the ‘huge tut’ line. it looks so easy but i bet it’s not…Can’t wait nick great site. You have taught me loads.

  • Hi, Nick! Incredible coincidence, but the young designer from Russia Mike Yudin also attempted to replicate this effect! And he did it came out very well! Here laid out three parts of this video tutorial!
    It will wait for your version!
    Sorry for my English

  • Looks hot. Didn’t Science Channel have something similar? Is Discovery unifying the looks of all their sister channels?

  • Steven Griffiths April 29, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    Looking Good Nick! I look forward to the Tutorial.

  • ok nick i want to say: cs5 is good for us cinea 4d users?

  • A tutorial already exist on that topic on vimeo it was uploaded a few weeks ago..

  • Damn i was going to do this and ya huey is right thats what made me not do it.

  • How about the card dance effect in after effects?

  • AHH! I’m so psyched! I’ve been plinkin around on this one for a few months and haven’t really gotten a good look. You’re a mind reader!

  • Awesome x 2. Have been tinkering with this animation for quite some time. Digital High-Five…Bam!

  • If you could speak Russian then this link is for you
    There you’ll find a very detailed tutorial. In 3 parts Mike shows how you can create this animation in C4D and export it in After Effects. Also he shows how you export everything the way so you can replace BG pictures in After Effects without rendering it again in C4D.
    Good Luck.

    • Wish I knew Russian. Wish I knew about this tut too before spending all week trying to figure it out. Looks like we have similar techniques. Although, not quite.

    • If you make a tutorial in English using some of his ideas and giving him a credit for it, then I don’t think he will be upset or something 🙂 Anyway, I’m sure there are much more people who understand English than Russian.

    • In Soviet Russia… Tutorial does you!

      .. Seriously though, my first thought was to use two projection cameras and it worked! But there must be an easy way to bring it all into After Effects

    • You dont have to know Russian, he speaks c4d language 😉

      I was able to watch his tutorial and complete my project in couple of hours, he does a very good job.

      He also has a source file:

      Wish Nick would provide source files from time to time 🙂

  • Ohhh, very exciting for this tut, that`s the one i was waiting for a long time, thanks to answer my suggestion Nick, u rocks!

  • It seems like it would be a cloner object set to grid with a shader effector with 2 texture tags set to project on the front and back….but the third change….looking forward to this!

  • Did an experiment with this king of thing a while ago.

    Made my brain hurt. Not as many pieces but I’m sure the texturing technique must be similar. Look forward to finding out!

  • I think it’s been established now that there’s a tute for a similar effect in Russian. Not knowing russian I think I’ll give this one a go instead. Looks awesome, cheers nick!

  • After watching a part of that that russian guys tutorial, all im interested in until Nick has released his tutorial is what he was laughing about at the start xD.

  • Nice!, hope one day you can make a tutorial of ribbons like the video you show us in the BEVEL text effect tutorial, Thanks

    • I was playing around with recreating those ribbons and used the spline wrap in Mograph. Try starting with a small cube-ish pane polygon object and color the sides with a different material. Looks cool!

  • Think you have to colorize different faces on the blocks in cinema, then you can key out certain faces of the blocks so when they turn they turn from say pink face to green face. The AO pass goes over everything to pull it together and create the illusion that the images are actually on the blocks instead of just being revealed as the blocks turn..

    I am sure you will do a better job explaining it and look forward to watching you do it.

  • wooww awesomee!! youre the best Nick!

  • Ok Nick, this is how I would do it.
    A cloner object, of course, cloning a single prism.
    And two effectors :
    – a plain effector for the rotation, with use of linear falloff for each “pass”.
    – and a random effector : the trick I guess is to apply the effect on the tiles WEIGHT, after switching the cloner display from NONE to WEIGHT in the transform properties, and then increase the Weight %. So that the prisms rotation happens in a random order.
    The random effector has to be applied on the cloner BEFORE the plain effector to make it work I think.
    After that, it’s a matter of tweaking the falloff width and the rotation speed. And animate materials in a texture tag so that you can show more than two images (one on the front and one on the back) …
    I didn’t have time to test it, am I right or wrong Nick ?


  • I am so curious how you solved the puzzle. I did something like it but with far fewer tile’s. I animated it with keyframes in c4d and used a texture that I devided into tile’s in photoshop to get the complete picture after the tile turned

  • I know Russian, and I think that Mihail is made a good job. But I wait Nick to make a cool tutorial whit more details.

  • As for the rotation cube, i figure a cloner object on a cube, with a target object to follow rotation may work. As for the imaging, my guess would be projection mapping, though, I’m too much a novice in that area.

  • AE – the carddance plugin – would probably be the lazy solution 😉

  • Beauty!! Can’t wait to check it out Nick!

  • Looks great 🙂 looking forward to this one, i hope it is alot of after effect stuff but it seems too be a 3D thing

  • This was good fun, a real head scratcher. Mine’s not as slick as your version Nick but I’d like to think it works as a proof of concept.

    I often think that having multiple ways to achieve the same thing is the mark of a good piece of software. That’s certainly the case here.

    This is what I did:

    1) Set up a wall of cloned cubes, the cube has selections set for front, back, left, right, etc

    2) Apply textures with flat projection, restricted to the selections.

    3) Use the MoGraph selection tool to pick out a few cubes from the wall. I used two selections, the first with just a few cubes, then the rest of the wall. More selections would give you greater control.

    4) Set up a noise shader and have a shader effector use it to effect the rotation of the cubes. I used two shader effectors, one for each MoGraph selection.

    5) Keyframe the noise shader, 25% K = 90 degrees, 50% K = 180 degrees and so on. I used noise so I could make the two noise colours change at different times in order to randomise the cube rotation a little.

    6) Light the scene with three GSG Softboxes 😉

    That’s it. It’s almost certainly not the ‘best’ way to do it, not sure how I’d go from 90 degrees to -90 degrees.
    Interested to see how others approach it.

    • Looking good. Pretty close in technique actually. I use the brightness of the noise shader to move my clones with the shader effector. The shadowing is all Ambient Occlusion too. Hope that helps.

      PS. Thanks for using the kit! 🙂

  • Can’t wait to see this, keep it up Nick!

  • heyy guys!
    im russian too, but i cant see anything “bad” in that situation with Mike’s tutorial and Nick’s upcoming video 🙂
    Every cewl author has his own style of work, “artview” etc//

    btw! All resourses have articles or tutors about that fu*ing ROTOBRUSH tool or “AE FOR BEGINNERS” 😀 — but thats not a problem 😉

  • Can’t wait to get started on this tut. Here is the address of the actual rebrand spots.

  • Awesome!! I cannot wait! Thanks Nick.

  • My solution is to wait for GG’s tutorial.. hehe..

    Actually.. Cubes, Cloners, Effectors, Multipass Rendering, and using RE:MAP by Re:Vision Effects or something similar would be on my list of to do’s…

    Looking forward to seeing your solution!

  • Hey Nick. Is this tutorial going to implement After Effects? Looks wicked. Can’t wait for it to come out.

  • Ah, you incorporated music into this one! Excellent!

  • Very exciting looking! i think ill try to get an attempt of this up before the tut comes out 🙂

  • Very funny, I was trying to tackle this one myself about 3 weeks ago. To no avail obviously. I’ll be curious if your first steps are in the same direction I was going.

  • Props to Royale for the original! 😀

  • i love the russian tut how its track mattes and shadows dragged into AE to easily swap out the actual graphic used.

    hoping the english tut ends up in AE too!

  • When I grow up, I want to be Nick Campbell…although we’re the same age…so… when I’m old, I want to be a young Nick Campbell, or something like that.

  • I really hope you can incorporate a neat trick like using that Youveelizer plugin for After Effects Nick, here is a link:

    I can see this technique being very useful for people in the TV industry if we could easely replace the footage without 3D rendering.

    If i wasnt so lazy i would ofcourse do a tutorial myself, but now that your already on it, why not make the tutorial even better by making it super useful? 🙂

    Thanks! 🙂

    • He is, it’s After Effects based with mattes rendered out of cinema he mentioned on… Don’t think it’s using UV’s but there’s a lot of trickery going on and the images may not actually be physically rotating as they appear to be

    • Yeah, to get the 3D effect, requires to use normal pass as a displacement in AE, then mattes or object buffers to replace footage in AE.

      I’m doing the other tutorial, got everything setup, but having trouble trying to attach an object buffer to just a face, any ideas? This is the last step before rendering.

    • Douglas Amorim May 1, 2010 at 12:02 pm

      color mattes might be an alternative. set up a solid color for each face to create a color matte pass. hope it helps! cheers.

  • Awesome Nick, I was looking to make something like this a little time ago! You rock man!

  • Card Wipe in after effects does this..

  • I did something similar few month ago with AE only.
    I wanted to create a template where you could just drop the pictures or movies in.

    But I wasn’t pleased with the result.

  • Nice effect Nick!
    Looking forward to the tutorial…as always 🙂

  • I watch a lot of Discovery Channel and I’ve been loving those transitions. I tried to replicate this a while back and got stuck on a couple things, which I don’t see in Nick’s version either.

    1. All the cubes in Discovery’s version are not the same size. Sometimes they will have rows of larger cubes, other times I’ve seen large cubes randomly placed within the smaller cubes…

    2. How do they get a certain area to rotate first, like when they reveal the logo in one spot while video is still going in the un-rotated spots. Then they rotate the rest of the cubes for the full transition.

    • so I’m a moron, I just noticed that Nick’s example does use my number 2 question towards the end. Nevermind on that one!

  • Nick, I got a question, do you know how to add an object buffer to a face/polygon only? I’m trying to use the object buffer as a matte for the different sides of a cube.

    Did you use a normal pass and put into a displacement in AE? That’s give it a more cubic look.

    I couldn’t wait for your tutorial, but i did the other cause it had different sized cubes.

    Here’s a preview of mine:

  • oh, one other thing… their cubes don’t always rotate on the same angle either.. Some are rotating the Heading, while others are rotating pitch.

  • Looks like another great tutorial in the making. Im looking forward to trying it out.

  • I think it’s cool that you gave a teaser like this and challenge people to figure it out.
    So looking forward to getting your version of this.

  • If you realy wanna achieve this result, then make them random size (like in the reference).
    Otherwise it want cost nothing!

  • Just watched the new trailer for Call of Duty: Black Ops and they use this exact effect at the end of it. Pretty interesting.

  • did something similar too:

    looking forward to your tutorial

    cheers, tom.

  • Hi Nick, can we put video on cubes? I mean instead of having a picture wall there should be a way to put a Movie in cubes to make a movie wall in After Effects.
    I can’t wait for your tutorial, again you are a genius

  • Well shit. I was working on this awhile ago, too, but couldn’t find a way to automate the animation for the effect I was aiming for.

    My second prototype:

    In 3d, make/animate your geo and render out an AO pass.

    The faces of the objects should each be a different (solid) colour; RGB.

    In AE or your compositing program, use the relevant channel as the image mask — for example, red for the original image, green for the one you want to change to, et cetera. If you want the animation change for the next image transition, just cut to the new render but have the basic image the 2nd one from the 1st sequence. If that’s understandable.

  • I did it ! at least like you did nick…
    It’s pretty simple once you know how work “weight transformation” 🙂

    I tried with different cube sizes, like in the ad, but i’m getting confused on how they managed to make cubes “rotate randomly”, i mean some are rotating on P, others on H, but they all reveal the same texture… Too hard for me now…

    • douglas amorim May 4, 2010 at 8:00 am

      If you’re doing your final composite in after effects it really doesn’t matter how they rotate, because all you have to do is combine the mattes of the faces that end up in front to reveal the same image. I’m doing it a little bit diferently. I’m using color mattes(a diferent color for each face) so when I set up my rotations I make sure they all end up in the same color. In after effects I can isolate each color to create a matte for each face and then use these color mattes as track mattes for the images I want to reveal. If you whatch the original frame by frame in QT you will notice that the images are just “standing still” an being revealed by a matte corresponding to each face of the cube. What really sell this effect is the Ambient Occlusion pass.

  • Looks awesome!
    Waiting waiting…

  • I have been thinking about this for months now, i cant wait!

  • Well? It’s Tuesday…

  • Thank you for that informative post. I really love to read articles that have good information and
    ideas to share to each reader. I hope to read more from you guys and continue that good work that
    is really inspiring to us
    mesin air minum

  • Hi, everybody,

    here is my job about cubic transition with 3 sides shown.

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.