Capturing and Setting Up Camera Calibration in Cinema 4D Part 1

September 18, 2012

In part one of this tutorial, I show you how to capture, prep and calibrate an image using the new Camera Calibration Tool in C4D R14. After that, I show you how to model a simple scene that will use the camera calibration as a texture. This is my first time getting this detailed into modeling and it really wasn’t too bad. Bare with me and hopefully we can learn together.

In part 2, we will start to do some more detailed modeling and animating to open the garage doors. Then, we will add the dynamic spheres, a camera move, lighting and finish the composite.


Watch Part 2

360 iPhone Photo App

UPDATE: Many people in the comments suggested trying PhotoSynth instead of 360. I gave it a try and it works really really well. It does a full 360×180 so you don’t have to fill in the sky, and it’s free!

Tutorial Focus:  
Software:  ,

  • nice cameraskills Chris πŸ˜‰

  • Hi Nick !

    I don’t know why but your video reminds me of some Monty python flying circus tv show !
    I was expecting the Spanish inquisition or John Cleese seating at his desk to show up somewhere during your shooting !!

    >> anyway >> You should try this app

    for the HDR panorama thing

    You can get the top and bottom that is missing in 360.



  • Nick, have you tried Photosynth? It captures a complete sphere instead of a panorama.

  • My one and only wish is to move to a country where work like yours is appreciated. I realy love your tutorials. They show how motion graphics can be fun. Of course there are no limits of figuring out new stuff and combinations. So far i watched your tutorials everyday since you started working in C4D and AE, and check this site everyday so I can be sure I watch every single one of your tutorials. You give me the power to move on with stuff I’m doing everyday.
    Greetings, and I hope that I’m not totaly boring with this comment

  • hey nick, why don’t you take those photos in different shot and merge it with PS and use content aware fill to fill up the empty space instead of cloning stamp. it will much easier.
    thanks for the tutorial and take care πŸ™‚

  • Nick you are best intelligible C4D Teacher. Thanx for All you tuts πŸ™‚

  • Great tutorial.Thank you very much.

  • nice Tutorial Nick cant wait to see the second part.. im always wonderin’ that you do not save your projects when youΒ΄re making a new tutorial πŸ™‚ thanks for sharing nice stuff

  • Oh my god, you’ve got legs !


    • are u kidding me!? I was gonna ragg on him for wearing those… what’s the deal is that the hipster look in chicago?… meellcchh! those things are cheese on chics… where’s the flood!? knowwhatimsayin!!??? no but really great tut man

  • Great seeing this, Nick. Was doing something kinda similar this week.

    Really nice to see you starting modelling. That one extrude trick is going to help me out a lot.

    Keep being awesome!


  • If I may, I stumbled upon a stunning photo made by Armando Alvarez ( And decided to make an intro to a showreel (that never came out), and this is exactly the trick I have used (getting myself into modeling on the fly) :

    Then trying this one: based on this great photo :

    Until R14, all was done by hand, guessing the right focal length and trial and errors and stuff… took almost one entire day to find the right setup. Camera mapping is fantastic, I really hope Maxon is going to focus on that.

    Is the projection man module updated in R14 ?

    • Hi.
      very nice tutorial.

      I’m an old school photoshop user too (I prefer stamp too), but I think you really should use content aware filling to fill white spaces on the panorama image. It’s quick (you select the white zones, you increase a little the selection, the you fill with content aware) and the result is good.

      I discovered projection man on one of the Siggraph 2012 videos (thanks for the link) and since, I like to use it with camera calibration.

  • Hey Nick,
    I have a tip for extruding….
    Rather than selecting your edge, opening extrude tool, entering 0 offset… etc….
    try this:

    Select the line you want to extrude. Hold Command (or control if you’re on a PC), then click and drag the axis handle in the direction you’d like to extrude along.

    Hope that makes sense. It’s a bit of a time saver, and also works for extruding whole polygons.
    Also, if you select a polygon, using Command + the scale tool will do an inner extrude πŸ™‚

    Awesome tut man, thanks a lot

  • thank you! πŸ™‚

  • Hey Nick,
    Instead of zero extruding and then moving, you can extrude on an axis (or multiple axes) by holding control and using the move tool. Just a quick time saver.

    Love the tut!

  • “Bare with me”?? Look at Nick getting all raunchy!

  • Well, since people are leaving tips….
    If you place the sky image on a small/medium sphere in the scene at 0.0.0 then make the sky a child of that you have a mini on screen reference of what you are rotating (rotate the parent small/med sphere and the sky will follow), just remember to make it not render XD
    Nice tut Nick,
    I would love R14….. cant see the budget going there tho πŸ™

  • Man this gets me excited about R14’s new tools. Very cool Nick. Also love the t-shirt at the end. Everybody this is what Im talking about….
    Also watch the behind the scenes videos

    • Thanks for the link Adam. Some memorable quotes in that – “saying z-space increases your IQ by 10”, “green screen is just one of our many proprietary techniques.” Haha, love it. Let the b*shit roll!

  • Thank you so much for this!!

  • Hey Nick! Thanks for the Tut – would it be possible to post the picture to follow along? TIA πŸ™‚

  • Hi Nick,

    You still do the magic!
    Impressive & easy feature in the newest C4D version, this camera calibration. I do not know if there’s an alternative in C4D R13… I hope there’s a plugin like this…
    Anyway, I was wondering if it’s possible if you capture a video with a moving camera (travelling, or so) to do the same kind of camera calibration in C4D R14?
    I’m waiting for part 2. Any part 3 for compositing issue ?

  • Great stuff Nick, as always.

  • hey nick, what hardware are you running? looks like an iMac from tuts before, but what of u have under the hood? graphics card, memory, processor?

  • Great T-Shirt Nick
    (Designer slash model)

  • Hey Nick thanks for the nice tut again, but just a little word on the 360 panorama app, it’s cool but the colors go out very burnt, microsoft made a free app that keeps the colors way more natural and the cool thing is that it’s free ! πŸ™‚ personally i don’t use 360 panorama now. cheers

  • hey sorry double post haven’t seen the first comment. bye

  • Amazing tutorial, personally think it’s you’re best yet. Geez you got a grip of R14 quick man!! Nice!!

  • Aww damn greatest tutorial in a while nick if i just had cinema 4d R14, well kinda got it but’s a demo.

  • Oooh give this Part 2 already! Can’t wait to try r14 out, anyone know when they release their student-version?

  • u the freakin man buy why u have girl jeans on…. goog tut tho thx lol

  • Nick, there aren’t many site like this and not enough people who seem to enjoy C4D as much as you. Thanks for sharing the tutorials. Cinema 4D is just a hobby of mine. I have spent a lot of time and money, building my editing pc’s, buying After Effects, 3D programs, cameras, etc. You get the picture. I love the way you teach and for me it’s always easy to follow. I don’t have C4D R14 yet, so I can’t follow you on this one. But as soon as I upgrade from C4D R12 I will be trying this. This was just to say thanks for sharing all of your hard work young man.

  • Nick is not Futura is Helvetica. And i recommend you to see the movie Helvetica also. Here is the trailer: πŸ™‚

  • Cool c4d tool and info. Also 360 is awesome. I am however am currently developing an app that will allow me to extrapolate the information from these tuts without the fumbling over words or constant swallowing. My suggestion a beer.

  • Also, and a bit off-topic…

    but for panorama pics use : DMD, i tried / bought some and in my own experience DMD comes out best. (duno if there is an android port)

    anyhow. nice tut.

  • I love this tut Nick!! Well done! I wanted to tell You that there is an app called Photosynth that will capture full 360 (up and down) if You are interesting! πŸ™‚ Keep it up man!

  • Hey Nick!
    Great Tutorial as usual!

    I have a question concerning your interface. What’s the name of that plugin or tool you are using on your mac where you go left, a side panel comes and gives you shortcuts to favourite folders, last used folders and so on?

    thanks a lot
    and keep up the awesome work!

  • The CG-Scene is calling you the one-eyed who is lending the blind!
    I donΒ΄t care, they are just jealous that they are not us cool as we are!

    ps* I like your glasses, what brand?

  • BTW… we should absolutely meet and talk about the future of C4D and good Style in general.
    IΒ΄m a good listener and you are good looking!

    Please contact me – I promise you wouldΒ΄t regret it!
    see ya – Steff!

  • Nick… great tut! Miss Chicago (not the Winter and it getting dark at 430p)… It’s amazing to see how far C4D has come since v6. I bet the Camera Calibration tool is a first step towards an internal tracker. Wouldn’t that be something? I’m not a modeler either but you gave me enough info to be dangerous. Will be playing with this over the next several weeks. Have a great Fall. We don’t get that in Florida πŸ™

  • nice one nick i was wondering if camera calibration works for footages.ill be phenomenal.

    i can’t believe you call live selection tool grabby..hahaha. if you want to dig modeling its maybe good to sport sculpting more than nurbs and poly modeling nowadays, maxon was sensitive enough to realize that.

    keep it up man your tuts are great and so as your accidental jokes

  • hey nick give us the files so we can fallow along too please πŸ™‚

  • Lovely video! However it should be “Bear with me” instead of “Bare with me”… unless you want me to get naked with you?!

  • lol “Figuratively…literally…flying around.” Story of my life.

    Great tut!

  • Hi Nick!! i Missed this kind of tutorials!!!
    Really Great!!! had a lot of fun watching!!


  • Hey Nick check this out. Very cool stuff

  • For the record, I love your pants.

  • Hey nick! you should do some tutorials on low poly style. Im a newb at c4d and don’t know what to ask… or where to start… like here:

    how do they do water, how do they get so many color shades on their polygons… how do they get custom looking spheres?!?!?! so frustrated… please help… thanks

  • hi Nick and . My name is Enzo.
    I am a Production Designer in Sydney Australia..
    I am currently working on a TV ad for the air force and I am really want to be able to do a small (10m) camera move from right to left in front of a composite BG image (an open filed on the air base), then comp in geometry like aircraft and vehicles etc.. But I am using R13 and I would like to have the BG image move with the camera and geometry.. Is there a way i can do this without doing it in R14 Camera Calibration like your garage doors tute? I have R14 demo only so the output is too small for this job..
    At the moment when i move camera all the geometry moves but the composing tag BG is static.. hmm
    hope this makes sense and pls help if you can.. need to start this in a few days!
    thanks heaps!

    any one else know how i should do this?
    thx e

  • No possib. to get the photos for reconstruction ?

    regards martin

  • A quick tip is to use the offset filter in Photoshop to fix any nasty seems in your seen.

  • Nick…I gotta say,
    I’m never disappointed with your tutorials.
    As a matter of fact I would say yours are the most thorough..
    Greatly Appreciated πŸ™‚

  • Hey,
    I am new in Cinema 4D, still learning it. I have Cinema 4D R14 and I tried to make camera mapping with camera callibrator but I didn’t find it. I have NO camera calibrator! Why is that? What needs to work perfect and show it in the tags? Please help me!

  • Berat TΓΌrkb?kmaz. February 12, 2013 at 4:31 am

    Hi Nick. I’ve been following for a long time. I’m actually a compositing artist. Using after effects. I’m living in Istanbul /TURKEY. I am interested in CINEMA 4D. Very practical and easy program. But my interest was more in my VFX. Therefore, with 3d objects in real camera images, joins the more than dealing with the work. I watched a lot of tutorials. But you really are missing in this regard. Could you make a tutorial-like set extension I wonder? Well prepared to render a scene in Cinema 4d multipass compositing, and then showing some details and tips. sory about my english. Thanx so much.

  • I’m not getting any shadows being projected on to my floor..Any thoughts why?


  • Just needed to say, I love your tutorials! After one day of watching your videos, I learned more than in the whole semester I spend on C4D at university. Kinda makes me wonder if my profs really are that incapable of C4D or just can’t manage to get the matter across….

  • gooooooood

    I loved it

  • Hey Nick. Great Tutorial as always. I have a question – Each time you try to find a file to link to a certain feature in a project in cinema/photoshop/ae or any software you’re using, you have this program that shows up in when you’re browsing through your finder window that looks really slick and seems super easy to browse through all your stuff.. you mind sharing what it is? — Fan from Alberta, Canada πŸ™‚

  • John Dickinson May 1, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    Thanks Nick, that was very useful.

  • SO SO awesome. this is gonna help me shiiiiiiitloads:) thanks guys.

  • Simon Spencer-Harvey July 12, 2013 at 6:55 am

    Can this be used with video clips or just still images?

  • Simon Spencer-Harvey July 15, 2013 at 3:57 am

    Is there any way to use tag with a video clip instead of a still, other than by matching each stage of camera movement manually?
    I have looks at AE CS6, CineCat and CameraTracker, but the C4D tag seems to do the best job… just not with video.

  • Hello Nick! Can you throw photos of these garages and pan, so that I could download it? this photo I really liked it) I want to do the same as you. P.S team greys?alegorilla you Featured! Sorry for my english, I’m from Russia)

  • Eii Nick! Can we have the picture/background? So we can follow.? πŸ˜€ It’s kinda hard to find place that almost looks like that… πŸ˜€ Thnx -GSG Fan :))

  • Hey Nick!

    Love your work my friend. I’m a audiovisual producer in Mexico City and i want to create a camera calibration but in my C4D R14 does not appear the TAG… I thought was the version so i did the update but still missing the TAG, i tried to google it but I find nothing.

    hope you, the gorilla, can help me.


    • Hi guys, I have the same problem with the Tag, I have C4D15 Broadcast but the tag is missing, is there any other way how it works in R15?

      • First things first, Big up Nick, Chris and whoever works with you guys, best tutorials on the internet ! You follow the main essence of teaching, Explaining (mainly) why it works, what it does, instead of what buttons to push, etc.
        all the best, Keep up with the Great work!

        Milan, The problem might be your version.. I’ve tried to find the Camera calibration tag in R15.Broadcast and no luck… I don’t know if there’s anything you can download to implement that tag..

        What I know is that I now tryed R15.Studio And there it is!..
        Good luck!

        Best Regards,
        Rui Oliveira

  • Hi Nick.

    I don’t know if you have experience with vrayforc4d at all…I am JUST starting out…What I was wondering is if you have found a way to convert your materials created by the camera calibration tag to convert properly to vray materials.

    What I’ve found is that once I run the plugin to convert the materials to vray materials, it squishes the aspect ratio, therefore ruining…well…everything haha.

    Let me know if you’ve had any better results! Or anyone else, for that matter =)



  • Stuck on step 1, not seeing an image, r16. Camera is active…. please advise

  • Hi,

    is this Camera calibration TAG plugin. I don’t have it in TAGS.
    Please help me…

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