Freelancing and Teaching Cinema 4D R21 — Interview with Andy Needham

September 9, 2019 - By 

In this interview, Nick calls up fellow 3D educator Andy Needham to talk about his career, teaching 3D, and learning Cinema 4D R21.

In this episode, Nick Campbell and Andy Needham talk about many of the new features in Cinema 4D R21, working as a freelance 3D artist, and teaching motion design.

You can find Andy’s new series, Greyscalegorilla’s Guide to Cinema 4D R21, streaming now on Greyscalegorilla Plus. For a walkthrough of R21, you can also stream a new tutorial with Nick and Andy here.

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Show Notes:

Podcast Episode Transcript:

Nick Campbell: 00:00 Well. Hello there handsomes and beautifuls. Welcome back to the Greyscalegorilla podcast. We have an extra special episode here. We have none other than Andy Needham from across the pond. They say, Andy, how are you? Good, sir.

Andy Needham: 00:15 Yeah, very well nick. Thanks. Thanks for having me on.

Nick Campbell: 00:18 Wonderful. Andy’s over in London, so I, I got up early and he’s already, uh, already what time you got over there, your, your rollin’ later, right?

Andy Needham: 00:27 Yeah, yeah, it’s about three in the afternoon for me.

Nick Campbell: 00:32 Well, thanks for joining us, man. Um, uh, we’re going to dig into Andy and, and how, uh, how he’s been a part of the Cinema 4D community for so long. We’ve been buddies for a long time, but seeing each other out now, uh, out in La, out in Vegas for, for ’em NAB and just wanting to dig a little bit more into your history with Cinema 4D and talk a little bit more about what the heck’s happened in these days. Andy, what have you been up to lately? What’s keeping you busy?

Andy Needham: 01:02 Well, uh, most recently, uh, is definitely recording some training for GSG Plus and uh, that’s been a lot of fun to do and just really getting stuck into R21 as well. Um, on the surface it might not seem like, uh, one of these major releases, but there’s some really cool features in there and we’re going to dig into that in the training as well.

Nick Campbell: 01:24 Yeah, and I think, I think you’re right when, when this, this, this happens all the time with new versions. We’ll be like a big fancy version with all these really visually sexy things and then, and then they’ll come out with a little bit more of a reserved update that tends to take a little bit of time to see really what is going to be the big hit. So what, what are you finding in the new version R21? And, and we’re excited to have you in the training too, by the way. I know you’ve been digging really deep into the Beta and looking into what’s in R21. What some, what’s, what’s the kind of secret feature in R21 that, that people may be, should be a little bit more excited about?

Andy Needham: 02:05 I mean, I, I think it’s good. I think that it won’t be too secret, um, because I think it’s one of the major, major things because, uh, and it’s a field forces, I think that’s really a really cool way of, um, of making Cinema 4D particles fun again. And um, also just what you can do with, with dynamics and any dynamic object and in a C4D then it’s a, it’s a, it’s a really cool feature and one that does take a little bit to get your head around. But I guess, you know, you can, once you crack it, it’s, um, it’s very powerful and I think it’s gonna open up a lot of new ways of working with, with, you know, not only MoGraph but dynamic objects as well. Because you know, you can, you can make a, emit a dynamic particle that’s in, you know, like a clone or something and you’ve got all of MoGraph available and all of dynamics. And then you can send it around the scene using the field force. Uh, it’s deep. It’s deep.

Nick Campbell: 03:07 Yeah, go ahead.

Andy Needham: 03:09 I mean it’s, it’s, it’s really combining a lot of the forces, but you’re making a custom thing and, and um, I mean, you know, those are people that are familiar with x particles. They have the flow field and it’s similar, a similar concept of that. So, but all there inside of Cinema 4D and um, yeah, I think it’s pretty cool.

Nick Campbell: 03:28 When I first started playing with this, cause I’ve been digging around more in R21 lately too. And I got some tutorials and training, you know, I’m working on and that was definitely the one that had the most secret power. You know, it’s like there’s something in here with this new field forces that I don’t quite get. And then as I dug in more and more and more, I, it started to unlock the potential. But what you reminded me of is that it really works everywhere. Now, I know it works with a rigid body dynamics and like you said, some of the particles, but what are some other ways like that that you can use field forces? Um, and what are the other parts of cinema that, that it connects with?

Andy Needham: 04:12 Yeah, well you’ve got cloth, um, and hair and thinking particles as well. There’s a really simple setup. It’s just a two node set up just to pass, uh, any thinking particle group onto a field force and a field force, um, or a force object in fact in, in thinking particles can be even the old, um, the old forces. So you can still use things like attractor and friction and, and things like that. And those are still still useful. Um, it’s just that if you really wanted to build something really custom, like sending particles along a path, then you can do that really easily with the field force.

Nick Campbell: 04:50 That’s what cracked me up. It’s like thinking particles are back.

Andy Needham: 04:53 Yeah, we would have thought

Nick Campbell: 04:57 They’ve been kind of sitting there. And um, yeah, it was obviously a powerful feature when it came out, but that was years ago. Right. And there really hasn’t been anything, um, other than rigid body dynamics, you know, that you could kind of add to these particles that, that really let thinking particles breathe. But now with some really simple thinking particles and this, this field forces, um, and I’ve seen some of your stuff that you’re working on and I’ve been playing with it more too. You can pull off some really intricate, um, stuff now, not quite as detailed obviously as is some x particles setups, but you can get pretty pretty far. What, what’s, um, what, what have you been kind of building with this stuff? Like what, what can I’m, I’m hoping that this uh, interview comes out around when R21 is launched so that maybe the people out there actually are downloading it right now. Maybe listening to this, what can they start to build with this field forces that, um, is, is, um, is maybe something they pull off before?

Andy Needham: 05:58 Yeah, I think, I think something they probably couldn’t pull off before is, um, just being able to, like I said, something, something that seems so simple, like just sending, you know, directing particles, you know, actually having that control over, you know, the standard emitter. You couldn’t just say, I want it to now curve around without maybe animating it on a, on a curve or something. I don’t even know how I would, I think a bit now. You know, you would just draw via spline path and, and just um, set, set up the field force in a way that the, the vectors point along the path and that, and then, you know, give yourself enough frames or enough, uh, speed in the particles and, and, and you are, you are away. So what this field force is doing is just either adding to the velocity or changing the direction of the particles, maintaining the, the velocity, but you can then incorporate other fields inside the field force to do other things.

Andy Needham: 06:55 So you could add to the speed or subtract from the speed. So you can this, there’s so many possibilities to what you can do now with, with them. So I think that’s, it’s, it’s, it’s one of those things where you’ll just be like, Huh, first, like, how on earth do I even use this? Because first of all, you’ve got to know how, how, um, the fields are visualized and you just need to think about it. I found it easiest to think about it in a 2D view because you’re looking at these vectors in 3d and it’s just a load of kind of tick marks really. And it’s just a mess. And so you want to kill off an axis, uh, and, and um, and just look at it either. I mean, in one of my examples, we just work in the top view mainly because we can just see exactly what’s going on.

Andy Needham: 07:40 And then when you jump into perspective view, it’s like, ah, yeah, it still makes sense now. Um, so yeah. Um, there’s, there’s some key things just to get your head around. And I think, um, when we were talking about it, there was just another great feature is, um, being able to build volumes, um, in the volume builder, sort of vector volumes, which you can then drive a field force as well. So, but we were saying how, how do I get something to emit along the surface of an object and there’s a specific, uh, mode in the vectors that you can use to do that. And uh, yeah, and once it’s like a few key things and then you’ve got it all opened up for you.

Nick Campbell: 08:22 Well, I’m excited to dig deeper into R21 and learn a little bit more about what you’ve been playing with, but I wanted to take a step back a little bit and talk about a little bit how you got into all this stuff. How’d you get into 3d? And also how did you get into teaching because you’ve been, um, you’ve been teaching for for quite a while now. I know you’ve been working with, LinkedIn Learning, which used to be Lynda. We’re excited to have you here working with us at Greyscalegorilla. You’ve also run the x-particles challenges back. Uh, and I think you might, I don’t know, I don’t want to tease anything, but maybe you have one of those coming up soon, but you’ve been helping and being a part of this community for a while. How did you first get into 3d and motion design and all this stuff?

Andy Needham: 09:09 I first got into 3d, um, at university and I was doing, I was using 3d studio Max at the time, uh, just to, you know, simple, simple animations. Little animated films and stuff like that. It’s just part of the course. And, uh, that was just a taste of getting into 3d. And then when I finished uni, I actually switched over to a Mac and I couldn’t use the 3ds Max anymore. And, um, so I thought, okay, well, what’s available? And, uh, tried, tried, Maya didn’t like it, um, couldn’t understand blender at the time. I, uh, still can’t, probably, I just haven’t checked it, but, um, and, but yeah, then there’s this things Cinema 4D. I think I even saw on the back of a magazine or in a 3d magazine or something, I was like, oh yeah, there’s an advert for this. And I looked at the, the small print and their office was just around the corner from my parents’ house. So I went round to Maxon UK and um, just bought, bought a copy. Took my two credit cards with me because I knew I’d have to max them both out to get everything that I wanted. And um, yeah, I met them, met with, uh, Liam Stacey there and um, he, uh, was happy to sell me. Well, it was, I think, was it 9.6? I can’t remember it. I got all the modules.

Nick Campbell: 10:42 Oh yes, the modules. Yeah. We’ve come a long way since, uh, you know, 20 different boxes. You could buy too now, just one thing which I’m so excited for.

Andy Needham: 10:54 I’m really happy about that. It’s just studio now and everyone gets everything. That’s great.

Nick Campbell: 10:59 Yeah. It sounds like you were, you got in right around when I did nine or nine, five I think, or maybe eight something I was, uh, for, for the, for the old timers like me, it was like the duck race DVDs were a part of the training that came built in and um, and before, uh, Mo dynamics or maybe that’s right when they introduced it was right around there where they introduced maybe 11, 10 or 11 was mo dynamics and then the actual dynamics. So you got into it too for a lot of the reasons that a lot of people did around my, uh, kind of when I started as well, which was you had a Mac, you couldn’t use some of the PC only ones. And when you did try them they were, they were a little bit complex. So, what was it about Cinema 4D that kind of hooked you, you finally saw their interface or their way of working.

Andy Needham: 11:57 Yeah, I mean for one, the interface, it was always a lot friendlier. And it just seemed like you could just create straight away. And that’s still true today, even though they’ve just revamped the interface. It’s still the same old C4D that you know, you know, and love. There might be some things in different places now because they’ve actually gone through and organized things, but you can, uh, for now at the moment switch back to a legacy menu if you really, really wanted to. But I think they’ll phase that out in the next release anyway. Um, yeah, it was easy to get in and create. And also I was looking at, um, I think a website called studio daily and they had a feature there where they were showing the after effects integration and I was like, I need this. That’s what I need. And it was just, it, it was just like, I want to have 3d or, and, and I want to be able to integrate with after effects as well and, um, easily send, you know, null objects over to after effects so I can do more stuff in post. And it was things like that that, um, that was the main draws I think. Yeah.

Nick Campbell: 13:03 So as you started learning more about this and learning Cinema 4D, what came, uh, did you start working in a studio? Did you start freelancing right away? What was your kind of path to, uh, doing the stuff for a living? I know a lot of our audience always like finding that path. They might be in the middle of it, they might be, you know, just starting off in that path. So, how did you go from like interested in 3d, discovering Cinema 4D, to actually like getting that first paycheck or what was that story?

Andy Needham: 13:36 Yeah, I think, um, what I did primarily was I did a lot of editing and um, I was, um, you know, there was more of a 2d role where I was, uh, straight out of uni. I’d kind of got this, this, uh, kind of internship type job where I was, I was just working out, working, working with a new, fairly new production company. I think there are only like a year or two old. And uh, so I was just going there and getting pretty much paid my, my train fare, you know, just covered my travel and stuff like that just to kind of go there. And this was in place in London. Um, and so yeah, it was only like a 45 minute train or whatever, but I could just, um, go there and, and, and chill, sort of edit and do the day to day stuff and do some motion graphics and things like that.

Andy Needham: 14:27 And then, you know, like the interest in three d, like I was saying, I wanted to add like another dimension to the work. So that’s when it kind of became interested in C4D. So I would just kind of learn that, um, on my own. I know it was a big investment to kind of put down, but I knew that I could see it in my future, I guess. I was just like, this is going to be doing a lot of this stuff. So, um, and I think, um, I think from there it was just, um, just the case of, uh, practicing. And, uh, at the time, you know, there wasn’t any youtube or anything like that. And I think video copilot wasn’t, obviously it doesn’t do, you know, didn’t do 3d stuff, but it was, you know, there’s that time when it was like he had two, two or three videos on video copilot and you know, still kind of setting DVDs and things like that. Um, and I’m sure you remember those days as well. Like you’ve probably the, I think I remember you saying you got VHS is to learn off and things like that.

Nick Campbell: 15:27 Yeah, yeah. Hey, don’t judge me people, this is before youtube. Okay. This is, that’s a while back. Yeah.

Andy Needham: 15:34 We were putting in the enhanced CD into the, uh, into that drive, which doesn’t exist anymore.

Nick Campbell: 15:40 That’s right.

Andy Needham: 15:41 Yeah. Um, I mean, I guess it’s just, it, you know, I had enough of an interest to, uh, to kind of keep at it and keep practicing and just sort of learning this, learning through either just, just playing around with the software and obviously looking at the help files, which have always been great in Cinema 4D actually, always had really good documentation and um, I think, uh, on the, on the, um, on the actual path to becoming a professional, um, I think it was just a case of, uh, integrating it into work and actually just saying like, yeah, um, I can do this and, you know, being given a chance and stuff, I’ll be just throwing myself in at the deep end on projects as well, just to kind of, um, you know, learn on the job as well.

Nick Campbell: 16:31 That’s the best time to learn when it’s all on line.

Andy Needham: 16:36 They’re like, can you do it? Of course. I’m just going to go and learn it.

Nick Campbell: 16:40 Not a problem. I’ll be over staring at the screen for the next 48 hours straight. But, but you, you, you come away with figuring out that final bit. There’s nothing like an actual project to really show you, what you, uh, don’t quite know yet. I remember always rendering and testing things out and well, I, I felt like I even knew a lot more about Cinema 4D than I, that obviously did. And then I went to go do my, uh, my, uh, an actual real project and they wanted a different frame rate and I was like, that is something I never had to deal with. Like I literally never had to go find the frame rate button because I was so worried about all the cloners and all the dynamics and all the buttons. And then there’s nothing like an actual project with a real client that, that makes you go, oh, okay, I got to learn how to change some really basic stuff. But things you just don’t bump into until you, till that, that clients yelling at your, your, your boss is yelling at Ya.

Andy Needham: 17:40 Yeah, that’s it, isn’t it? You get, I think going back to that, uh, about having a project or a goal or something, and that’s usually the best way of learning as well. You know, you can see some, an ending insight and, and then you can take the steps to actually get there, and um, yeah, obviously having the fundamentals down is, is just a very important as well, like, like understanding your project settings where you can change the frame rate and, um, and also the, making sure that it matches your render settings as well and, and things, you know, that not every, not every tutorial is going to teach you because it’s not glossy. It’s not pretty stuff. It’s just like, this is the stuff that you have to kind of do. And, and as a professional, you need to know this. Yeah.

Nick Campbell: 18:28 So, so how, how did you take that, um, into teaching? What got you first, uh, into teaching all this stuff?

Andy Needham: 18:37 Well. Um, I guess, I mean I was probably inspired by, you know, people like you, you know, I, I you were, you were putting out a lot of content and um, you know, I was absorbing a lot of it. I remember back in the days and, and, and uh, I mean I guess, um, when Vimeo came along and you’ve got all these things like that, you, you just, it kind of made it easy for people to record, you know, and upload something and just put it out there. Even if it’s just, you know, oh I want to remember this another time. Um, and uh, I think, you know, that’s what got me kind of into, I mean I got into just kind of making a few tutorials and into actually doing proper training. I was, um, I was just like jumping ahead a few, a few years now, uh to.

Andy Needham: 19:33 I mean, cause I was doing that around sort of 20, the Vimeo stuff, maybe 2009, 10, I’m not sure. Something around that time. And it was around that time as well that I was getting interested in, you know, going to NAB and, um, things like that. And, uh, from there, you know, that was the key really to, to kind of meeting people that I, well, you know, that, you know, on the Internet, um, and uh, and kind of opening up your network and getting, um, getting to know the people that are Maxon US, um, for example. Um, but I also met Rob Garrett at, uh, NAB, um, and also EJ and, um, my buddy Josh Johnson as well. And it’s through kind of, well Josh and Rob for sure. Who, um, I was, uh, I got an email from, from Rob Garrett saying, uh, hey, um, you know, Josh, I was talking to Josh about maybe doing some training, but he’s, um, he, uh, is actually his schedule’s too busy.

Andy Needham: 20:40 And would you be interested in doing some, you know, some training for Linda? And I was like, of course. Um, and I guess I had to just send a, um, I had to send a test and, you know, kind of make sure I fit their style and that I sounded, sounded okay. Um, and, um, yeah, I mean that’s, that kind of opened it up and, and got me into it. But, uh, I mean without going to Vegas to actually do those, uh, initial meetings and actually kind of face to face things, I, I, I guess it could’ve been a different story, so.

Nick Campbell: 21:13 Yeah, that’s, it’s amazing how many stories I hear that, that always have that, um, that personal connection and the, you know, the Internet is amazing. And, uh, you know, all these slack channels are amazing and, and, and the people that you can meet and learn from is, is just crazy. You know, we’re, we’re talking about learning from VHS tapes and now we can do all this, but there’s still no, um, replacement yet. They haven’t figured it out in VR, but then there’s no replacement yet for like actually going and trying to meet these people and shaking their hands. And I agree. Like, it’s like getting in that room. You never know who you’re gonna meet that is going to change your career. So like meeting Rob, Rob, such a great guy. Hi Rob. If, I dunno if you’re listening, but I’m just going to say hi anyway.

Andy Needham: 22:07 I love Rob. He’s awesome.

Nick Campbell: 22:08 And um, you know, meeting someone like that or like you said, the Maxon US crew.

Andy Needham: 22:13 Yeah.

Andy Needham: 22:13 It’s such an amazing group of people.

Andy Needham: 22:15 Yeah.

Nick Campbell: 22:15 And, and that’s, that is

Andy Needham: 22:20 We met in Vegas, didn’t we for the first time?

Nick Campbell: 22:20 Yeah, we met in Vegas too.

Andy Needham: 22:22 Cause we, uh, we did a, a project together over the Internet, but then it was like, yeah, good to meet you. You’re going to come to NAB, say, hey, hang out.

Nick Campbell: 22:32 Yeah, it really is amazing. And that’s, you know, people ask all the time, like, is it, is it worth it to go to these shows? Um, and what I was come away with is like, well, I don’t know. The show itself is, is like, that’s just like cement and carpet and lights and whatever. Um, and, and, and you know, like in Vegas is, uh, there’s just too much to drink and too much to gamble all this other dumb stuff. You really want to go just for the people that all decide to go. And the people that all decide to like meet each other. So, yeah, that’s, that’s right. That is, that’s where I met most people. That’s where I met you buddy.

Andy Needham: 23:09 Yeah.

Nick Campbell: 23:10 Awe.

Andy Needham: 23:11 I think, I mean it’s a, you know, that’s where the real value is in going to those things if you, if you, um, and I don’t think, you know, you need to be shy or anything like that because you, you, most of, most of the time, you know, it’s a welcoming community as well. So I’d say, you know, anyone who’s thinking about going out there, then you should, you should definitely. Um, you should definitely give it one go at least. And if Vegas isn’t your thing, then there’s other shows as well. And if there’s other things like Siggraph just happened as well. I mean, I’m gonna be, I’m gonna be presenting at uh IBC for Maxon this year. And, um, that’s another one, but it’s in Amsterdam. I’ve never been to that show before. I’m really looking, looking forward to actually doing it because I’m, yeah, you get a, you get a different, a different vibe I think over there, you know, European vibe and, um, there’s a, you know, I’m really excited.

Andy Needham: 24:06 There’s some presenters. Some of the presenters is like, wow, I’m actually gonna get to meet some of these people. This is great. So, uh, yeah, it, it always gives me an, you know, even presenting for Maxon in Vegas as well. It’s always like a special honor. You know, if I always kind of, I don’t know, it’s great to just, you know, be in that lineup because it’s, um, it’s, it’s, most of the time it’s just people that you’re just like, have such respect for, you know, so, uh, and you get to hang out with them for a week.

Nick Campbell: 24:38 That’s right. That’s the end. You need, you need to come out and say hi in Vegas. That’s, that’s, that’s what basically what we’re trying to tell you right now.

Andy Needham: 24:47 That’s it. Yeah.

Nick Campbell: 24:48 So you, you actually mentioned it, we talked a little bit about, you know, if you’re, if you’re learning, you’re trying to get into all this stuff, like actually go into these events, um, matter a lot, meeting the people that do this stuff for a living. I would even also recommend just local stuff at whatever your local thing is, even if it’s not quote 3d or Cinema 4D, like if, if it’s even remotely close to what you do, if it’s an advertising thing or editing or after effects or, you know, photography, I don’t know, just like go out and meet these people that do this stuff that are interested in this stuff is so big. But what, what is, what’s another thing from, from your kind of history or from your viewing this as a teacher that some students are, or freelancers or people out there that are trying to like get the next leg up on their career. What’s another thing that they can focus on? I know you mentioned the fundamentals a little bit earlier, but what else? Um, uh, it can, can a freelancer or a student or an artist focus on to kind of get that next part of their career up and running.

Andy Needham: 25:54 Yeah, I mean, I guess uh, it doesn’t even have to be anything to do with, you know, creative software or anything like that. I think maybe just it could be improving your, your, your, your skills with, with clients, you know, they, some of the soft skills maybe, I don’t know. But you know, being able to craft an email, uh, correctly is, is really important. I think to, to actually, you know, getting a client’s attention or um, you know, maintaining a relationship as well. And you know, what we’re doing through motion graphics is communicating, uh, you’re communicating an idea or something, you know, you’re, you’re taking the, the, the client’s vision and putting it onto a screen of sorts and, and you should have good communication skills yourself to be able to kind of level up as well. I think that’s an, yeah, I’d say so. Communicate.

Nick Campbell: 26:49 God, that’s a huge one. I literally wrote that down as like another potential whole episode or, or video or something like that is such a, um, a part of the industry we don’t talk enough about. I know even when I started Greyscalegorilla. I, I started working with doing more email and just connecting with people, which I was shielded from as just an artist in a production studio that producers would do all that stuff, right? They would do the bids and they would sign the, like make a, make the tough email and all of a sudden I was in a place where I needed to learn those skills. And man, I definitely, there was no Youtube video about it, that’s for sure. I’ve literally had to just reach out to some producer friends and say, how do I even negotiate this? Or how do I give a price for something like this? I don’t even know where to start with this. And that’s a huge one. That, that’s amazing. How did you, how did you go through that process? Like, where did you learn how to, uh, bid or talk to clients or write these, communicate with, with, with your clients or people you work with better? Where did you learn those skills?

Andy Needham: 27:58 Um, I guess, I don’t know. I’ve always been interested in maybe, you know, writing and things like that. So, and I’m kind of a bit of a stickler for grammar and things like that. So, you know, I think things like that are important. They, they show your attention to detail and if you’re, if you’re misspelling words or you know, not using your or their correctly, you know, in a simple things, right. Maybe this is just me and I’m a bit kind of, uh, I don’t know a bit like that. But anyway, I mean the point being is if your, if your kind of not showing attention to detail at that stage, you know, how is the client going to trust you with thousands of dollars or pounds worth of, um, you know, of a project, you know, to, to, you know, because you, you, they want, they want to ensure that you’re um, you’re gonna, you’re gonna pay attention to it and um, and, and kind of deliver, you know, a product that’s of, of quality.

Andy Needham: 28:56 And so I don’t know, that’s, that that may not be the case for everybody and some people won’t be, you know, strict or even care. But it’s for me, if, you know, something comes across into my inbox and it’s just like a poorly worded or whatever, you know, they haven’t even taken up the chance to read it twice, you know, just to check things through then. Yeah. I mean that, that tells me that you’re, I’m going to get something back and it’s going to have an error somewhere, you know, cause you haven’t watched it back again or something like that. You know? And, and eye for detail is really important when you get into bigger budget things.

Nick Campbell: 29:32 That is amazing. You’re, you’re making me think about three emails I just wrote earlier today. Like, uh oh, better make, gotta check, uh, I got my ors and yours. But man, sometimes, uh, sometimes I, I speed through those things. No, that that’s important, that, that especially working with clients like that, the, the, the idea that they’re trusting you with their brand, they’re trusting you with their work. Um, they’re trusting you with their logo in some cases and right. They, they want that. Um, at the end, and I always forget this too. Um, uh, at the end of a lot of these jobs, it’s mostly customer service is what you are doing for a living. You are working with other people that call on you to provide a service. And it’s, and it’s, um, those skills, those softer skills like communication. Um, you know, uh, just showing that you’re trustworthy, showing that you’ve worked, done this in the past.

Nick Campbell: 30:38 All of these things that are not, you’re really sexy, real, really come into play as an artist. And, and, um, I’ve always, I’ve always loved that about your work and the way that you kind of work with people. And, um, I think that’s an amazing lesson for someone listening out there. Um, all right. So look, I, I, all this r21 stuff happened. I wanna I wanna jump a little bit back into that because, uh, I mean selfishly, I’m gonna start, um, recording even some more, r21 stuff next week and I want to learn from the guy that’s been playing with it for, for how long now? So you’re, you’re playing around in 21 and you actually showed me something that is, I think also new that I didn’t, um, I didn’t know until, uh, our creative director, Chad brought it up. He goes, there are user.

Nick Campbell: 31:37 The user data tag. Yep. Is, is he’s, he, he had a question specifically about it, which is, um, he, well, he didn’t know that it even existed until he watched you play with it. And so now, so now we both have questions, which is, what is the power of this thing? Because you sent me over a rig that you built with it that I was playing with and making some amazing stuff with. What is the user data tag in r21, and how can someone out there listening use this in their work day to day?

Andy Needham: 32:11 Yeah, I mean it’s, um, it’s a tag in it can be found in the, in the new, the tags have all been organized. And so you’re not gonna find the ones that you thought were in one place and not going to be there anymore. So that’s something to note when you’re opening up r21. There’s no more Cinema 4D tags and then that massive list, you’ve got to find uh, you’ll find it in the programming tags section now and what you can with it. It’s such a basic tag on the surface. It just has, it doesn’t have anything there until you add some user data. But what you can do with it now and with user data is you can essentially create building blocks for your rigs.

Andy Needham: 32:55 So you could, you could, uh, create a little setup for, um, you know, a few, a group and a few data points and things like that and save that as a preset and then, uh, have a few more like that. And you know, you can quickly, if you’re, if you’re building rigs regularly, you could set these things up ahead of time and then when you come to build something a bit more customized, you go, oh yeah, I need to just grab this, this, and this. And you’ve loaded in a whole new, um, a new, uh, user, user data rig. Now, wherever you can add user data, you can still do that.

Andy Needham: 33:32 So that’s, you know, that’s not unique to the tag, but what you can do with the tag is, it’s, it’s a separate from say, a null object that, um, you know, that you’re working on. So I could actually take the tag and move it onto another object, um, and then hide everything that I don’t want the end user to see and, um, and keep it nice and clean. So, you know, I think, I’m not sure if I did it in the file I sent you, but in the case of that, you know, it was like, here it is, it’s one object in the scene and you just have to drop in, um, you know, just look at the user data and just do this and this and it won’t break. And I think that’s kind of, you know, that’s somewhere, somewhere somewhat is, you know, where the power will be. But, um, I think, uh, you can dig into it a bit more and uh, yeah.

Nick Campbell: 34:25 I, I literally, so, okay. So I literally open up that scene you sent me. Yeah. And I’m seeing now that you just hit it all. So is this with now we’ll obviously, uh, have some visual representation on this, but did you, uh, just use layers to hide that or is that a part of the user data that you hit it that way?

Andy Needham: 34:46 I just use, um, I just use layers to hide it from

Andy Needham: 34:51 That’s amazing.

Andy Needham: 34:51 Actual object manager. But yeah, on the surface, you know, if this was going to somebody who did not understand, you know, Cinema 4D and just wanted or had just enough knowledge to kind of make a few objects and just drop them into the, that scene, then you know, it still works for them. And of course you can, you can dig in and, and see how it all works if you expose the layers. But

Nick Campbell: 35:12 Oh, but you could hide it for dummies like me and they’re like, don’t touch any of this and what I’m, what I’m describing for those of you on the podcast. So, so Andy made this great rig. It’s a simple rig but really powerful and it allows you to drop any object into, uh, this rig and then emit particles from it, similar to how you would have with X particles. But now you can do it with thinking particles and now you can do it with thinking particles instead of using, um, Xpresso and thinking particles on all this stuff. He built a user data rig that allows you to drop objects in. It allows you to drop field force in it. Other I think other forces into it and get instant particles on this thing. And so what he did smartly, because he knows me well, he hide all the, all the stuff in there. And so all it is is one null with a user data that allows me to drop my objects in it and we could even set up things like particle speed and all this other stuff if we wanted to in here. Is that, is that right?

Andy Needham: 36:11 Uh, on that one I think, yeah, we probably have to sort of revisit it. I gave you, I can’t remember. I gave you a real simple one, didn’t I?

Nick Campbell: 36:17 Yeah. This one’s real simple, but

Andy Needham: 36:18 Yeah.

Nick Campbell: 36:18 like a user could do that, right?

Andy Needham: 36:21 Oh yeah. Absolutely, absolutely.

Nick Campbell: 36:21 Like that’s a, that’s that’s really powerful. I think that’s, uh, definitely something I need to look more into. Like building these rigs that are really powerful, that hide all the complexity. I think that’s, that’s super powerful man.

Andy Needham: 36:38 You can, yeah, you can have multiple years of data tags or you know, on the same object as well. So there’s some scope for additional things, things there as well. I think, um, sure you know, if, uh, if you are, yeah, I think there’s, I’m trying to think of other ways of using it, but you would, you know, you could have this one is specific to this type of um, set of instructions and then this one is for this, you know? Yeah.

Nick Campbell: 37:04 That’s pretty amazing. All right. I’m, I’m definitely diving in more today.

Nick Campbell: 37:09 Well, so, uh, you know, while we’re talking about uh 21 and, and, and this is why we’re so excited to have you as a part of Greyscalegorilla Plus and bring all this r21 training, um, which if you’re listening now and r21 is out. This training should be out. So if you’re, if you’re a Greyscalegorilla Plus member, just log into your account and the r21 training should be available day one. Um, and then we also have some tutorials in there that, um, Andy’s been working on. I have some tutorials in the works and we’re not only dropping all this training but also, um, these tutorials as we learn new things, we can now add new, r21 specific tutorials directly to this training. So anyway, if you’re a, if you’re a member, just log in and start watching. If you’re not a member, go check out Greyscalegorilla Plus. But what, let’s let’s talk about some of the other things cause you’ve had more time with r21, uh, than I have for sure. And so what are the other parts of, of, uh, the new version of r21 that you’re, um, that you’re excited about and that you, um, uh, we’re, we’re excited, you know, like to show off. Like what, what are the real, what are the sexy ones that are really visual, but also what are the real interface based ones that you’re excited about for r21.

Andy Needham: 38:27 Yeah, I mean I think, I think things are going in this, you know, with this version in the kind of right direction. I like the look and feel of, you know, this new interface, and actually going back to r, r20 and earlier, you’re just like, wow, that’s actually, that’s, that looks, that dark interface that they had in r20 isn’t so dark anymore and it just doesn’t feel, I don’t know, it feels a bit more kind of, see that he is growing up a little bit in this version. And, um, you know, some of the icons have been given a polish and, and been uh re-drawn and things like that. I like the fact that you can organize the object manager now with, um, with icons, you know, customize the icons. So, um, and we go over that as well as, uh, so you can, if you’re a real nerd for a stick lever, organizing your projects not only with layers and just maintaining good naming as well.

Andy Needham: 39:15 Now you can use custom icons to, um, to kind of really visualize the object manager in a, in a clearer way. So at first glance, anyone can just kind of look at it and have that visual, um, trigger of an icon just to kind of go, yeah, that’s that and color coding as well. And so, I mean, you know, they might, that might not seem like a, uh, uh, a sexy feature or anything like that. But I think it’s a, it’s a useful one, especially coming back, you know, to a project, uh, weeks or months later. You can, it all, you can, all those visual triggers are actually going to help you understand and get back into a project faster. But there’s also some new modeling improvements as well. And you know, Cinema 4D has always, always been used for creating 3d logos and extruding objects and things like that.

Andy Needham: 40:07 And that’s probably one of the first things anyone getting into Cinema 4D will do. And it may even be someone’s day to day work, you know, um, and having new caps and bevel controls on, uh, on these extruded objects and on motext and, and things like that is uh, actually really a nice feature. Um, it also maintains good uvs as well. So it doesn’t mess around with any of the textures. Uh, and um, they’ve made it a lot easier to, um, to apply materials to selections as well. You know, you didn’t, you don’t have to remember, um, uh, S for shell and uh, you know, the, the radius, the, the, the bevel and all that kind of stuff. You know, what was it C1, R1, Rt. You know.

Nick Campbell: 40:50 Yeah, I had a, I remember I had like a post it note with those on there back in the day cause I can never remember. And I didn’t even know that S meant shell, I just knew that S was the outside of things. Never even had like a name for it, but like cap one and.

Andy Needham: 41:04 Yeah, Cap one.

Nick Campbell: 41:05 All these things. All these things. Yeah. Now it’s just a check box and you’re right it’s not

Andy Needham: 41:09 It’s a check box. You can still use the old way, but you can, you know, have a, have a checkbox turn on and a, a selection tag is created on the object and you can drag it in if that’s, if that’s how you want to work. Um, but yeah, the old way still works of course, just, uh, you don’t have to, you don’t have to guess or remember anymore. So yeah, there’s all these new spline controls for, um, for the caps and bevel. And so it means that you can really get in there and put something custom, uh, on, on a, a text or logo or something like that and have it have the light on the material is kind of, you know, play off of that, those edges in an interesting way. So yeah, you can add way more detail and it’s not just that you can, you can use it for more fun modeling things and, you know, even building kind of bill city structures and things like that. So yeah, I think, uh, I think that’s a nice, a nice feature and one that was probably, um, due yeah, yeah.

Nick Campbell: 42:11 Uh huh. Yeah. That some of the, um, some of the things you were making with the new bevel was, was crazy. I know like the, the tops of some of those buildings you were showing me. Like it is really, really detailed stuff that you can get into. And, and, and just wanted to take a little bit, um, more time with the interface because I think it’s such an easy thing to just say, okay the interface is different and say like that’s a feature. But they really, um, went in and decided, uh, where everything should go and at first glance you’re going to say like where is everything? And, and I, and to me the, my favorite new feature of, of R21 is, is shift c which is, which is not a new feature but allows you to find everything that you used to know exactly where it is.

Nick Campbell: 42:59 But I would say like, take the time to learn where the new stuff is because what they did was reorganize it. It’s like they re-organize the closet and when you first wake up that next day after you, where you re-organized everything and you’re like, oh man, I should’ve just left it all a mess. Cause at least I knew where everything was.

Andy Needham: 43:16 Yeah.

Nick Campbell: 43:16 But if you take a few moments to kind of learn the new layout, where they put everything and find out where the new, like, um, you know, the new drawer is for, for dynamics and the new palettes and all this like that, you’re going to have a much faster way of working. And that goes with, um, the tags you were, you were mentioning too.

Andy Needham: 43:37 Yeah, exactly. You know, that it’s this big change, but it’s a good change. It’s going to be, you know, it’s a change. That’s uh, well, we know that this version of C4D is more, more about workflow improvements and, and things like that and they’ve, you know, worked on even speed improvements as well. I think this is a cool new feature, but we can talk about in a minute, but, but yeah, going back to the interface you have, um, you just, yeah, just get used to it. And also, yeah, the shift c is the commander, um, that, that also remembers the last thing that you typed as well. So, yeah, that can be handy in certain situations, especially if you say, you know, working with, uh, rendering volumes in ProRender for example, you’d probably want to type in volume and bring in a volume loader to load something in.

Andy Needham: 44:24 And then to, actually, if you’ve got that volume loader still selected, you can just press shift c and just find the volume tag which is a new render tag and you know, you’ve saved yourself like running around the interface, trying to find those objects. And, um, really, really useful is the new, um, node, uh, for new note, uh, presets for ProRender. And actually you can use node materials with ProRender. Now, I mean, I’m not a big ProRender user, but having the ability to um, easily render volumes with it is actually quite, quite useful as well. And I think, um, I mean may have gone off on a tangent there, but, um, I kinda just started thinking about other new things that work. We know quite fun and you know, it’s always nice to kind of throw in a volume and just kind of render, render these, uh, big explosions or something like that.

Andy Needham: 45:15 Even, even if ProRender isn’t your thing, it probably probably isn’t. But, but, but node spaces are really useful and we, you know, currently you can use, you can use node materials with, with uh, Standard Physical and ProRender now. And um, having having a node, an actual space in the node editor for, that’s tailored for the render engine is really, really useful and really powerful. And now it’s opened up the, you know, it’d be opened up to third parties. I’m going to see, I’m going to expect to see RedShift in that list pretty soon. So if you’ve got RedShift installed and they have taken advantage or taken use of, you know, the C4D node, um, node space, then uh, yeah, you know, it’s, I really do like working with the C4D node editor. I think it’s actually a really good thing. And there’s some improvements to that to just simply, like we were saying, just workflow stuff, just being able to just hold down control or command and just drag copy and node, you know, it’s just seems more intuitive and I think they’re just, you know, building on it and, and just making it more fun to use. Really. Yeah.

Nick Campbell: 46:27 Yeah. It, you’re mentioning the, the big word right. Workflow. That’s the, that’s what this new version is all about to me. And the more I, I watch, uh, even some of your training that’s, that’s coming in, um, about the nodes, about this, um, obviously the new interface, but also the user data stuff. It’s like, okay, I see what’s going on, we’re speeding up the workflow and we’re, we’re building a, a, a better core to then build on top of later. Like, let’s take a, let’s take a minute to rebuild, reorganize, get our interface together. And now uh, Cinema 4D is in a much better place to, to move forward and, and add other stuff. And so, you know, it’s, it’s reminding me, it’s reminding me to that anybody out there that is about to use r21 or, um, depending on when you listen to this, maybe you’re already using it.

Nick Campbell: 47:22 Um, and trying to learn online that we’ve had a long history, um, with Cinema 4D of everything, mostly being the same. In other words, you can go in and watch a rigid body dynamics tutorial from 10 years ago on Greyscalegorilla and follow along with r20 almost flawlessly. You know, maybe I had to go to the reflection menu, but you had to go to the reflectance menu, but it wasn’t much different. But I do want to let people know me. It’s kind of a warning, but just a heads up that so many things have moved and have changed. Um, for the most part, the naming hasn’t changed. So I think if you hear a word on a tutorial somewhere, um, it’s probably in the interface somewhere, but you might have to shift c to find it rather than go to the exact menu that the teacher went to.

Andy Needham: 48:18 Yeah.

Nick Campbell: 48:18 So it’s, it’s, it’s one of those things we, we’ve never had to even deal with with Cinema 4D because they’ve been so consistent with their interface. But it is, this is the, the, the line in the sand for organizing it. So I think it’s a good move, um, long term. But I do want to warn those of you watching tutorials online, uh, that may be even a couple of years old now that if something is missing or changed that, uh, it’s, it’s might be because of r21. And I’ll say this too. Um, not only have things moved, but the defaults have changed.

Andy Needham: 48:55 Yeah, I was just about to say.

Nick Campbell: 48:57 Yeah, and that, that’s tripped me up a couple of times and I think they did a good job in choosing new defaults. But here’s a really good example. I’m going to do this live so I don’t mess this up. I’m going to open up Cinema.

Nick Campbell: 49:08 I’m going to open a mograph cloner, which I’ve done a million times in tutorials in my career, and I’m going to go to grid array, which I’ve also done a million times. And here’s, here’s what I see different already. It is not a default 3 by 3 by 3 grid. It’s a 3 by 1 by 3 grid. And instead of it being end point mode, which means as you add more clones, they just all clump up. It’s in per step mode, which means as I add more clones and more counts in my, my grid array, it just kind of makes the area bigger.

Andy Needham: 49:49 Yeah.

Nick Campbell: 49:49 Now for me, I love, I think those are great defaults. Like I can go in and crank up the number really high and have all these clones on the floor instantly. But if I were following along on a tutorial, they would, they might just go ride through with the defaults and I’m still stuck here like, wait, mine, does it look like yours.

Andy Needham: 50:08 I think there’s going to be a lot of that. You know and you know, we, you were talking about dynamics as well, but you don’t, those, uh, the, the, the collision tap on that. There’s, there’s changes to the bounce and friction now. And you don’t have to, I mean, I don’t know about you. If you’re the same as me, we’d probably always go in, change them. So it was more friction and less bounce and yeah. And, and now you don’t have to do that because it’s set up correctly or incorrectly and kind of air quotes there. But you know, to my taste, it’s, it’s much better.

Nick Campbell: 50:42 It’s, it’s um, yeah, it’s definitely a lot more physically like visually pleasing too or visually realistic. But,

Andy Needham: 50:48 Yeah.

Nick Campbell: 50:48 But that’s another perfect example where you might set up your cloner and your, your thing to, to match exactly what the training is. And all of a sudden, none of your clones are sliding on the ground as much as the, as much as the video.

Andy Needham: 51:01 But they look good now what’s going on now?

Nick Campbell: 51:04 Yeah. What’s happening? They’re actually sticking to the ground.

Andy Needham: 51:07 Yeah.

Nick Campbell: 51:07 But those are the things all over the place. Like you’ll, you’ll just even just, um, some of the default geometry you open up have different presets. So.

Andy Needham: 51:14 Create a sphere.

Nick Campbell: 51:17 It’s, yeah, create a sphere.

Nick Campbell: 51:21 The only thing I’ve done more than make a cloner is create a sphere, Andy.

Andy Needham: 51:24 Yeah. Yup.

Nick Campbell: 51:25 But yeah, it’s just something, something to watch out for. And, and I know Andy, you have a whole, uh, uh, uh, series just on the new, um, interface changes and things to watch out for, for exactly that. So.

Andy Needham: 51:39 We go into defaults, sorry. Yeah, yeah, we do yeah.

Andy Needham: 51:42 Yeah. I’m, I’m so, um, I’m so happy. Uh, you’re here helping us out and bringing your, your training expertise and your Cinema 4D expertise to, to Greyscalegorilla Plus. We’re so excited to have you here. And, um, man, I’ll be watching, uh, I’ll be watching your node one I think today. I need, I need to learn these nodes fine. I know not for ProRender necessarily, but if they’re, if RedShift’s gonna incorporate these nodes, I think I finally have to, kind of, dive in and start to actually learn the nodes. I cheated with the nodes, by the way. I, I got our material pack, our every day material collection and just snuck away without needing to learn nodes. Uh, but I think that that’s only gonna take me as uh, so far as soon as I want to jump into something, I’m going to need a learn a little bit more, so.

Andy Needham: 52:32 Yeah, I think, I think that’s, it really isn’t it. And there’s, there are ways of easing yourself into it. I’m into nodes just by, you know, maybe working with the uber material for example. Um, if you’re still using, you know, standard or physical, um, you can. You still have that familiar interface with, you know, channels effectively on the left and you know, what, what it, what it, what you can change on the right. And when you want to dive into nodes, you can, you know, if you wanted to get deeper with, um, something in the bump channel, then yeah, you would, you’d probably want to open the node editor and start layering up some noises and things like that. So yeah, there’s, there’s ways of, of just gradually, you know, dipping your toe in and getting more comfortable with it. Um, but as you say, if you want to level up then get into nodes. I think it’s the way.

Nick Campbell: 53:22 It’s time.

Andy Needham: 53:23 Yeah, it’s time.

Nick Campbell: 53:25 Okay. I’ll, I’ll learn it. Fine. Andy, I’ll do it. Well, thank you for your time, man. I wanted to, uh, uh, let people know where they could find more about Andy. Um, got your website here at, uh,

Andy Needham: 53:40 Yeah.

Nick Campbell: 53:40 And of course your Instagram feed, uh, which is the same, uh, username. imcalledandy. i, m, c, a, l, l, e, d. And that’s Andy boom. Go say hi to Andy, let him know. Um, tell him thanks for being on the podcast as well. And, and, um, you know, any, anywhere else you want people to come say hi to Andy, uh, if they’re interested in learning more about you.

Andy Needham: 54:04 Yeah, I mean, yeah, I’ve got Twitter, linkedin, anything like that. I mean, you can find me with the same handle pretty much anywhere. And, um, yeah, just say hi and, uh, who knows why not? It’s up to you.

Nick Campbell: 54:17 That’s right. Well, thank you, Andy. Thanks for your time and thanks for joining us at Greyscalegorilla Plus, we’re so excited to get your training out there.

Andy Needham: 54:24 Thanks for having me.

Nick Campbell: 54:24 And, and I’m always, always excited to have you on the podcast. Uh, and um, for those of you checking out Greyscalegorilla Plus, don’t forget to go check it out. Uh, Andy did an amazing job on the training and, uh, we got even more tutorials coming any minute now. So go check it out at And Andy, thank you so much again for your time and we’ll be, we’ll be a seeing you around the Greyscalegorilla soon and until then, I really appreciate your time man.

Andy Needham: 54:55 Thank you very much, Nick. Appreciate, appreciate being on as well. And, and you know, I would just want to say I’m actually really excited to be a part of this plus, uh, GSG plus as well. And you know, looking at some of the courses that are coming up, I’m actually like really excited to check them out too. Um, um, uh, yeah, so I would encourage anyone to just get in there and have a look, you know, not just for my stuff. There’s some really cool stuff coming along.

Nick Campbell: 55:20 I appreciate that man. And thanks again and um, uh, we’ll, we’ll get you on the podcast again soon, man.

Andy Needham: 55:25 Thanks mate.

Nick Campbell: 55:27 Have a good one.

Andy Needham: 55:28 Cheers.

Nick Campbell: 55:28 Bye Andy.

Andy Needham: 55:29 Bye.

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