March 15, 2014

This year, BMC was invited to judge the Peel Animation Festival. It was great to see so many high school students actively working at the interface between science and art.

Photo credit: Jodie Jenkinson
The Peel Animation Festival award winners visit BMC.

It was a treat to be the first person to introduce these students to 3D software. I created a workshop to build a simple solar system model in Cinema 4D. We used primitive spheres, texture maps, parenting, and keyframes to animate a rotating planet orbiting the Sun. These are all fundamental basics in 3D animation. I hit them with a lot of information, and at times they were concentrating so hard I wasn't sure if they were enjoying themselves - but once they rendered their animations and played them back, there was a lot of satisfaction in that room.

Photo credit: Jodie Jenkinson
Introducing young science animators to 3D software.

You are welcome to follow along at home using my PDF handout. The 3D texture maps I used can be found on the NASA website (the Sun is listed separately, here) or at Planet Emporium.

Here is an example of what you can make by following the tutorial. You can make it as complex as you want using the same principles - add more planets, or moons orbiting those planets.

An example of the simple solar system model you can build by following my tutorial in Cinema 4D.

We were also treated to talks by Andrea Gauthier, Stuart Jantzen, Jodie Jenkinson, and Brendan Polley. It was so lovely to hear these big picture talks; they made me want to join BMC all over again!