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How to Create a Switch in Cinema 4D: Part 1

Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

Follow this tutorial step-by-step to create a 3D Nintendo Switch model that you can use in video games, graphic design and illustration projects whilst learning Cinema 4D quickly. 

Some of the skills you’ll learn in this tutorial include creating basic 3D modelling, importing reference images, adding lighting to the scene and basic rendering techniques.

In this, the first part of the two-part tutorial, I’ll show you:

  • How to Import Reference Images
  • How to Prepare for Modelling
  • How to Model the Switch

1. How to Import Reference Images

Step 1

To use the reference image in this tutorial, you will need to switch your viewport to the Front View

Use the middle mouse button to click anywhere on the viewport. This will display all four views—by default this will be perspective, top, right and front. From there, use the middle mouse button to select the Front View.

Cinema 4D 4 views
Cinema 4D 4 views

Step 2

In the Attributes tab select Mode > View Settings.

Select View Settings
Select View Settings

Step 3

In Viewport [Right] select the Back button and click on the button next to Image. 

Select the Back button
Select the Back button

Step 4

Select the reference image from the finder and open it. In this tutorial I’ll use the front view of a Nintendo Switch to help me.

Imported Nintendo Switch image in Cinema 4D
Imported Nintendo Switch image in Cinema 4D

Step 5

Once the image is displayed in the background of the viewport, you can change the transparency of the image to your liking. This sometimes makes it easier to model from the reference image.

You can also change the position and size of your reference image from here using Offset X, Offset Y, Size X and Size Y.

Note that the reference image will only appear when selecting front view from the viewport.

Adjust the transparency settings
Adjust the transparency settings

2. How to Create the Base Model

Step 1

To start modelling the main body of the Nintendo Switch, select the Cube object from the top menu bar. This will spawn a cube in the viewport.

Select the Cube object
Select the Cube object

Step 2

Use the reference image of the Nintendo Switch in the Front View to help adjust the cube.

Use the Scale Tool to make the shape of the cube match up with the shape of the Nintendo Switch in the image.

Ensure that you use the other views—front, left, right, perspective etc—to check that the shape looks correct from every angle.

Adjust the cube object to fit the reference image
Adjust the cube object to fit the reference image

Step 3

The shape of the cube should roughly fit the shape of the Nintendo Switch background image at this stage. 

Select the Move Tool. To duplicate this shape you’ll need to hold CTRL button on the keyboard and then click and drag one of the arrows using the mouse. In this case I’ve used the red arrow to drag the new object along the x-axis.

Duplicate object
Duplicate object

Step 4

Use the Scale Tool to adjust the shape of the cube to match up with the shape of the blue Joy-Con in the reference image.

Scale the cube object
Scale the cube object

Step 5

Use the Perspective View to move around the objects and make sure that the overall thickness of the base objects are correct. In the example below the objects are too thick, so the Scale Tool is used to reduce the thickness (click and drag along the z-axis).

Scale the width of the cube objects
Scale the width of the cube objects

3. How to Curve the Joy-Con Corners

Step 1

Ensure you have the object selected and then click on the Make Editable button to make the object editable. Select the Edge Selection button.

Select the Make Editable and Edge Selection buttons
Select the Make Editable and Edge Selection buttons

Step 2

Select the two left corners of the Joy-Con using the selection tool. The selected edges will be highlighted in orange.

Select edges
Select edges

Step 3

Once the edges have been selected, use the mouse to right click on the selected edges. In the menu that appears, find Bevel and select it.

Select Bevel
Select Bevel

Step 4

In the adjustment window (usually located in the bottom right of the screen), play around with the following:

  • Bevel Mode: Chamfer
  • Offset Mode: Fixed Distance
  • Offset: 50 cm
  • Subdivision: 20
  • Depth: 100%

Feel free to adjust the sliders and values until you are satisfied with the object’s appearance. You can also use the Front View and adjust corners to fit the reference image.

Curve the corners
Curve the corners

Step 5

To make visualising the Joy-Con in the view port easier, switch off the screen object by clicking on the small round grey button (until it turns red). This is located to the right of the screen object in the object manager list view.

Click on the button until it turns green (or grey) to make the object reappear again.

Select the red button
Select the red button

Step 6

With the screen object hidden from view it makes navigating around the Joy-Con a lot easier. Use the reference image in the front view to check the shape of the object.

Curve the corners
Curve the corners

Step 7

Select the final two corners of the Joy-Con using the Edge Selection tool.

Select the edges
Select the edges

Step 8

Once the edges have been selected, use the mouse to right click on the selected edges. In the menu that appears, find Bevel and select it. Use the Bevel too to curve the two remaining corners of the Joy-Con.

  • Bevel Mode: Chamfer
  • Offset Mode: Fixed Distance
  • Offset: 10cm
  • Subdivision: 10
  • Depth: 100%
Curve the corners
Curve the corners

4. How to Curve the Screen

Step 1

Select the screen object and click on the Make Editable button followed by the Edge Selection button. 

Ensure that the screen object is no longer hidden by clicking on the small round button in the object manager list view. 

Select the Make Editable and Edge Selection buttons
Select the Make Editable and Edge Selection buttons

Step 2

To make visualising the screen object in the viewport easier, switch off the Joy-Con object by clicking on the small round grey button (until it turns red). 

This is located to the right of the Joy-Con object in the object manager list view.

Click on the red button

Step 3

Once you click on the small round grey button the Joy-Con object should disappear from the viewport. 

Click on the button until it turns green (or grey) to make the object reappear again.

Front view adjustments
Front view adjustments

Step 4

Use the Edge Selection tool to select all four corners of the screen object.

Select the edges
Select the edges

Step 5

Once the edges have been selected, use the mouse to right click on the selected edges. In the menu that appears, find Bevel and select it.

Select Bevel
Select Bevel

Step 6

In the adjustment window (usually located in the bottom right of the screen), play around with the following:

  • Bevel Mode: Chamfer
  • Offset Mode: Fixed Distance
  • Offset: 15 cm
  • Subdivision: 10
  • Depth: 100%

Feel free to adjust the sliders and values until you are satisfied with the object’s appearance. 

You can also use the Front View and adjust corners to fit the reference image.

Curve the corners
Curve the corners

5. How to use Boole

Step 1

To create the top corners of the screen, use the Boole tool. To get started with this select the Cylinder object from the top menu bar. This will spawn a cylinder in the viewport.

Select the Cylinder object button
Select the Cylinder object button

Step 2

Use the Rotate Tool to rotate the cylinder 90 degrees in the z-axis.

Rotate the cylinder object
Rotate the cylinder object

Step 3

Use the Scale Tool to make the cylinder thinner.

Scale the Cylinder object
Scale the Cylinder object

Step 4

In the front view, duplicate the cylinder and use the reference image to position the cylinders to the top corners of the screen object.

Place the cylinder objects
Place the cylinder objects

Step 5

Both cylinder objects should completely cover the corners of the screen. Use the perspective view to move the cylinders into position.

Move the cylinder objects
Move the cylinder objects

Step 6

Once the cylinder objects are in position, select the Boole Tool from the top menu bar. 

Select the Boole Tool
Select the Boole Tool

Step 7

In the object manager list view, select both cylinder objects and group them (Alt-G). This will create a ‘Null’ group containing the selected objects.

Group objects together
Group objects together

Step 8

Move both the screen object and the Null object inside the Boole Tool. Make sure that the screen is positioned above the Null group.

Place objects inside the Boole
Place objects inside the Boole

Step 9

Once the objects have been placed within the Boole Tool, the cylinder object will be subtracted from the screen object. 

Create a cutout shape using Boole
Create a cutout shape using Boole

6. How to Create the Screen

Step 1

To duplicate the screen object, select the it from the object list (found within the Boole tool). Press the CTRL button on the keyboard and click and drag the object you want to duplicate. 

Make sure that the new screen object is outside the Boole tool.

Duplicate the screen
Duplicate the screen

Step 2

Use the Scale Tool to make the new screen object smaller.

Scale the screen
Scale the screen

Step 3

In the front view you can use the reference image to help adjust the size of the screen.

Check the front view
Check the front view

Step 4

Once you are satisfied with the size of the screen, use the Move Tool to move the object inside and just above the surface of the original screen object.

You can also use the Scale Tool to reduce the thickness of the shape so that it becomes thinner.

Scale the screen
Scale the screen

7. How to Create Joy-Con Details

Step 1

Isolate the Joy-Con object to make working in the viewport easier. One way you can do this, is by clicking on the small grey button next to the objects you wish to hide (as shown previously).

Joy-Con shape
Joy-Con shape

Step 2

Click on the small back arrow on the Cube button and select Cylinder from the list of options. This will spawn a cylinder in the scene.

Select the Cylinder object button
Select the Cylinder object button

Step 3

Rotate the new cylinder object in the x-axis using the Rotation Tool.

Rotate the Cylinder object
Rotate the Cylinder object

Step 4

Use the right view in the viewport to check the size of the cylinder. Then use the Scale Tool to reduce the size of the object so that it can easily fit within the width of the Joy-Con.

Scale the Cylinder object
Scale the Cylinder object

Step 5

You can also use the object properties to adjust the size of the cylinder and also the amount of segments it has.

  • Radius: 14 cm
  • Height: 200 cm
  • Height Segments: 1
  • Rotation Segments: 36
  • Orientation: +x
Adjust the object properties
Adjust the object properties

Step 6

With the new cylinder object selected, click on the Make Editable button.

Select the Make Editable button
Select the Make Editable button

Step 7

Use the Move Tool and combine it with the Points Selection Tool.

Select the Move Tool and the Points Selection Tool
Select the Move Tool and the Points Selection Tool

Step 8

In the options window, make sure that the box for ‘Only Select Visible Elements’ is not selected. This will ensure that you will select all the necessary points.

Untick Only Select Visible Elements button
Untick Only Select Visible Elements button

Step 9

Select the bottom half of the cylinder object.

Select half the Cylinder
Select half the Cylinder

Step 10

Use the Move Tool to move the selected points down and making the object longer.

Adjust object shape
Adjust object shape

Step 11

Use the Selection Tool to select the curved corners on the right of the cylinder shape.

Select corners
Select corners

Step 12

Use the Move Tool to move the selected points a little bit to the right to make the object slightly wider.

Adjust object shape
Adjust object shape

Step 13

Click on the Model Mode button on the left of the screen and move the shape to the center of the Joy-Con.

Move object into position
Move object into position

Step 14

In the perspective view, use the Move Tool and the Scale Tool to adjust the shape so that it appears slightly above the side surface of the Joy-Con.

Move object into position
Move object into position

Step 15

Create three more cylinder objects and move them into position using the Scale Tool and the Move Tool.

Create three additional cylinders
Create three additional cylinders

Step 16

Adjust the bottom cylinder using the Points Tool and the Selection Tool. Select the top half of cylinder and move the points up slightly.

Select the points
Select the points

Step 17

Return to Model Mode and adjust the shapes so that they resemble the image below.

Adjust the shape
Adjust the shape

Step 18

Use the perspective view to move the cylinder objects into position using the Move Tool. The cylinders should be placed within and just above the surface of the Joy-Con.

Move objects into position
Move objects into position

8. How to Duplicate Joy-Con

Step 1

Select all the objects related to the Joy-Con and group them (Alt-G). This will create a new ‘Null Group’.

Group objects together
Group objects together

Step 2

Select the Null group containing the Joy-Con and duplicate it (hold the CTRL button on the keyboard and use the Move Tool).

Duplicate grouped objects
Duplicate grouped objects

Step 3

Rotate the new Joy-Con object 180 degrees using the Rotation Tool.

Rotate Joy-Con
Rotate Joy-Con

Step 4

In the front view, use the reference image to move the new Joy-Con into position (above the red Joy-Con).

Place Joy-Con in the right position
Place Joy-Con in the right position

9. How to Create Buttons

Step 1

Select the Cylinder from the top menu.

Create a Cylinder object
Create a Cylinder object

Step 2

This will spawn a new cylinder object in the viewport. Use the Scale Tool to reduce the size of the cylinder so that it is the same size of the buttons shown in the reference image.

Scale the cylinder object down
Scale the cylinder object down

Step 3

Use the reference image to move the cylinder object into position. Then duplicate the cylinder object to create the other three buttons.

Create buttons
Create buttons

Step 4

Use the perspective view to move the buttons into position. The cylinders should be placed within and just above the surface of the Joy-Con.

Place the buttons
Place the buttons

Step 5

Group the buttons together (Alt-G) and duplicate the new Null object. Use the front view and use the reference image to move the new buttons into a new position above the red Joy-Con.

Duplicate the buttons
Duplicate the buttons

Step 6

Duplicate one of the cylinder buttons and place it into the Home Button position for the red Joy-Con. Once all the buttons have been placed correctly, unhide the red Joy-Con.

Unhide objects
Unhide objects

10. How to Create Joystick

Step 1

Click on the small back arrow on the Cube button and select Cylinder from the list of options. This spawns a cylinder in the scene.

Select the cylinder object
Select the cylinder object

Step 2

Use the Scale Tool to reduce the size of the cylinder so that it matches the size of the joystick.

Scale the cylinder object
Scale the cylinder object

Step 3

Use the Move Tool to move the cylinder into position (use the background reference image in the front view to help with this).

Move object into position
Move object into position

Step 4

In the perspective view use the Scale Tool to reduce the thickness of the cylinder object (click and drag along the z-axis).

Scale the cylinder object
Scale the cylinder object

Step 5

Duplicate the cylinder object and use the Scale Tool to reduce the size. 

Scale the cylinder object
Scale the cylinder object

Step 6

Once you are happy with the reduced size of the cylinder, use the Scale Tool to increase the length of the cylinder in the z-axis.

Increase height of the cylinder
Increase height of the cylinder

Step 7

Move both cylinder objects into position above the surface of the Joy-Con. Once the joystick is in position, select the top cylinder and duplicate it.

Duplicate cylinder
Duplicate cylinder

Step 8

Move the new cylinder object into position just above the surface of the Joy-Con. This will act as the base of the joystick.

Move object into position
Move object into position

Step 9

Duplicate one of the cylinders again and use the Scale Tool to reduce its size. Place the smaller cylinder just above the top of the joystick.

Move object into position
Move object into position

Step 10

Use the Boolean Tool to create a cutaway using the two top cylinder objects. Ensure the smaller cylinder is placed below the larger cylinder when viewed in the object manager list view.

Use Boole Tool
Use Boole Tool

11. How to Create Extra Joy-Con Buttons

Step 1

In the top menu bar select the Cube to spawn a cube into the scene.

Create a cube object
Create a cube object

Step 2

Use the Scale Tool to adjust the cube to the same size as the Capture Button (use the reference image in the front view to help with this). 

Then use the Move Tool to move the cube into position.

Move object into position
Move object into position

Step 3

Curve the corners of the cube using the Bevel Tool. 

Curve the corners
Curve the corners

Step 4

Use the Move Tool to place the cube object just above the surface of the Joy-Con.

Move object into position
Move object into position

Step 5

Create a new cube object and curve the corners using the Bevel Tool. Click and drag using the mouse to adjust the size of the curve so that it almost resembles a circle.

Select the corners and curve them
Select the corners and curve them

Step 6

Use the Selection Tool to select half of the object and move it to the left to create the ‘-button’.

Select half of the object and adjust
Select half of the object and adjust

Step 7

In the perspective view, use the Move Tool to move the ‘- button’ into position just above the surface of the Joy-Con.

Move object into position
Move object into position

Step 8

With all the buttons and the joystick in place, the Joy-Con should resemble the image shown below.

The Nintendo Joy-Con in 3D
The Nintendo Joy-Con in 3D

12. How to Duplicate Joystick

Step 1

Group the objects that make up the joystick by selecting them and pressing Alt-G on the keyboard. This will create a new ‘Null Object’.

Then duplicate the new ‘Null Object’ but holding the Ctrl button on the keyboard and click drag with the mouse using the Move Tool.

Duplicate joystick group
Duplicate joystick group

Step 2

Move the new joystick into position using the reference image in the front view.

Move object into position
Move object into position

13. How to Create + Button

Step 1

Duplicate the ‘- button’ and move it into position.

Move object into position
Move object into position

Step 2

Duplicate the button and use the Rotate Tool and the Move Tool to create a cross shape for the ‘+ button’.

Create the cross button
Create the cross button

Step 3

Unhide the screen object. With all the buttons and both joysticks in place, the Nintendo Switch should finally be taking shape. 

Create a pose
Create a pose

14. How to Create Bottom Screen Details

Step 1

Duplicate the objects on the side of the Joy-Con and rotate it in the z-axis by 90 degrees.

Adjust the details
Adjust the details

Step 2

Move the group of objects to the bottom of the screen just above the surface. Once the ‘Null Object’ is in position, duplicate the group.

Add Nintendo Switch details
Add Nintendo Switch details

Step 3

Select the new group and rotate it 180 degrees. 

Rotate the objects
Rotate the objects

Step 4

Group both objects together and position them in the centre of the screen.

Final Nintendo Switch model in 3D
Final Nintendo Switch model in 3D

15. How to Pose Nintendo Switch

Step 1

Select all the objects associated with each Joy-Con and create separate groups for them. One group for the left Joy-Con and one group for the right Joy-Con.

Use the Move Tool to move each Joy-Con away from the screen slightly as shown in the image below.

Spread the Joy-Cons
Spread the Joy-Cons

Step 2

Move the right Joy-Con up in the y-axis slightly to create an interesting composition. Try out different positions by using the move tool and moving the camera around. 

Post the Nintendo Switch
Post the Nintendo Switch

Coming Next…

In the second part of the the tutorial series, I’ll show you how to:

  • Create Coloured Materials
  • Colour in the Nintendo Switch Model
  • Render the Nintendo Switch Model
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