That ‘Low-Poly’ Effect in Cinema 4D

I have seen a number of questions around the C4D universe about how to render the ‘low-poly’ effect that you’ve seen in a number of commercials, cartoons and magazine ads. It’s incredible the lengths designers will go to in order to achieve this effect but it is so incredibly easy that you will be thumping yourself in the head for not thinking of it sooner. Sorry, no video this week, but you’ll be able to pick up on what’s going on without one.

To get started, I use a Cinema 4D plugin called Noise Deformer by Michael Welter. He has a number of free plugins for you to download, including the Noise Deformer, on his plugins page. Download his plugin set for whatever version of C4D you are using and install them in the plugins directory of your C4D application folder.

Applications/MAXON/CINEMA 4D R(YourVersion)/plugins/

PC’s have a slightly different file path but once you get to the Maxon folder it’s all the same.

Once you have the plugins installed open Cinema 4D and create a basic setup like this:

The Noise Deformer should be in the Plugins pull down menu. Once you have created a few objects and added the Noise Deformer, play with the Noise Deformer settings to get the desired deformation. If you’re not getting any results try adjusting the number of Segments the object has in the Attributes Manager. My Null object here has my lights and scene but you don’t need to set that up to get the effect.

If your objects do not have a Phong Tag you can add one by right clicking on the object, going to Cinema 4D Tags, then selecting Phong. By default the Pyramid and Platonic objects do not have a Phong Tag attached to it, but all other objects do. The Phong Tag is what will control how the object is shaded from one polygon to the next. For purposes of this tutorial I went ahead and added a Phong Tag to the Pyramid objects so you can see how it works.

Once you have everything setup, you can start adjusting the Phong Angle to get the desired look and how much, or little, you want the polygons to blend. 60 degrees is the default setting.

Here are example renders of various Phong Angles so you can see how little or how drastic it changes how your model is shaded. Deleting the Phong Tag is the same as 0 degrees.

While there are subtle differences between some of the angles, you can see that you can take a lot of control over how your model is shaded. As an added bonus I have included the source file for R12 and up. Before you open the .c4d file make sure you download and install the free plugin, Noise Deformer.

Download the Noise Deformer
Download the .c4d source file

NOTE: You don’t HAVE to use the Noise Deformer plugin to get the effect. The Phong Tag is creating the effect, along with polygons that are on different planes. You can move some points around manually and still get the effect. It’s all in how you adjust your Phong Tag.

Having trouble with sphere objects? Check out troubleshooting the low-poly effect with spheres tutorial.

10 thoughts on “That ‘Low-Poly’ Effect in Cinema 4D

  1. pauly

    Thanks for the Noise Deformer Plugin, Im working on a low poly animation at the moment and Ive been manually moving edges, points and polygons around to get the look…this will save HOURS of work!!!!

    1. pauly

      Just had a problem with the defomer plugin, when used on a cyclinder it broke it into the top and bottom caps and the side. Easy way around this I found was to select both in Object Manager then right click and select Current State to Object.

      Then zooming in on the aread that has broken apart, right click again to select the Bridge too and closing all the gaps around.

      Thanks again for the Plugin!!!!

      1. Biscuits and Davey Post author

        Another work around would be to add a Fillet on the cap and adjust to your liking. Even on the lowest setting though you are still left with a slight bevel but do whatever works best!

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