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How to Create an Alarm Clock in Cinema 4D: Part 1

Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

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

Some of the skills you’ll learn in this tutorial include creating basic 3D modelling, 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:

  • How to Import Reference Images
  • How to Prepare for Modelling
  • How to Model the Alarm Clock

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 displays 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.

Viewport showing four view points

Step 2

In the Attributes tab select Mode > 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 tab

Step 4

Select the reference image from the Finder and open it. In this tutorial I’ll use the front view of an Alarm Clock from Envato Elements to help me.

Alarm clock reference image

Step 5

Adjust the image size and transparency to your liking in the Properties window.

Reference image properties

2. Adjust and Edit the Cylinder Shape

Step 1

In the top menu bar click and hold on the Cube Button (or click on the small black arrow in the bottom right corner of the button). 

In the menu that appears select the Cylinder Button to spawn a cylinder into the scene.

Select the Cylinder button

Step 2

You may need to rotate the cylinder in order to get the right orientation. 

To do this click on the Rotate Tool button and use the tool to rotate the cylinder 90 degrees so that the circular face is pointing forward.

Rotate the Cylinder shape

Step 3

Click on the Object tab in the Properties window. Adjust the size so that the shape of the cylinder fits the shape of the Alarm Clock background image. For this tutorial the following properties are used:

  • Radius: 140 cm
  • Height: 100 cm
  • Height Segments: 1
  • Rotation Segments: 80
  • Orientation: +Y
Adjust the Cylinder Object properties

Step 4

Click on the Caps tab of the properties window. Make sure that Caps has been ticked and the Segments are set to a value of 2.

Adjust the Cap properties

Step 5

By activating caps and setting the segments value to 2, you will see that an extra cap has been created on the face of the cylinder. The shape of the cylinder should roughly fit the shape of the Alarm Clock background image at this stage. 

Ensure that you check the shape using the other camera views as well (perspective, side and top etc).

Using the Alarm Clock reference image

Step 6

Ensure the cylinder is still selected and then click on the Make Editable button to make the shape editable. 

Next select the Polygon Selection button which will allow you to select the polygons of the object.

Click on the Make Editable and the Polygon Selection buttons

Step 7

Hover the mouse over the face of the cylinder and select all of it’s faces (click and hold on the mouse button to select a large area).

Select the front polygons

Step 8

Once all the polygons have been selected, right click on the selected area and select the Bevel Tool.

Select the Bevel Tool

Step 9

Click and drag over the selected area to create a beveled edge for the cylinder. Repeat the steps for the other side.

Use the Bevel Tool

Step 10

Use the Selection Tool again and select all the polygons in the centre of the circle. Then use the Scale Tool to enlarge it (click and drag in the area outside the object to uniform scale).

Expand the selection using the Scale Tool

Step 11

Right-click on the selection and click on the Extrude Tool.

Select the Extrude Tool

Step 12

Click and drag over the selected area to move the polygons inside the cylinder.

Extrude the selection inside the object

Step 13

With the polygons still selected, use the Scale Tool to scale the selection down, making it slightly smaller.

Reduce the size of the selection using the Scale Tool

Step 14

Delete the Phong Tag from the cylinder. This sharpens all the edges and faces of the model. This is further illustrated in step 15.

Remove the Phong Tag

Step 15

In the image below you will see how the edges of the cylinder are very smooth at first before deleting the Phong Tag

Once the Phong Tag has been deleted, the edges sharpen.

Phong Tag removed

3. How to Create a Hemisphere

Step 1

Clear the viewport to make modelling the hemisphere easier. 

To do this you must hide the cylinder model by clicking on the small little grey circle until it turns red. To make it appear in the viewport again, click on the grey circle until it becomes green or grey.

Hide the Cylinder object

Step 2

Create a Sphere by clicking on Cube > Sphere.

Create a new Sphere object

Step 3

Use the Scale Tool to scale the reduce the size of the sphere so that it matches the size of the bells as closely as possible.

Resize the Sphere object using the Scale Tool

Step 4

In the properties window, select the Object Tab and set the properties to the following:

  • Radius: 55 cm
  • Segments: 50
  • Type: Hemisphere
Adjust the object using the properties window

Step 5

By selecting the type to Hemisphere, the shape will be split in half as shown in the image below.

Create a Hemisphere

4. Add Thickness to an Object

Step 1

To add thickness to the hemisphere you will first need to make it into an editable object. Make sure that the object is selected and click on the Make Editable button.

Click on the Make Editable button

Step 2

In the top menu bar, select Simulate > Cloth > Cloth Surface.

Select the Cloth Surface modifier

Step 3

In the List View, move the sphere object below the newly created Cloth Surface.  

Apply the Cloth Surface to the Sphere object

Step 4

Ensure the Cloth Surface has been selected and select the Object tab in the properties window. Set the properties to the following:

  • Subdivisions: 1
  • Factor: 100%
  • Thickness: 10 cm
Adjust the Cloth Surface properties

Step 5

Adjusting the Thickness value in the properties window changes the thickness of the hemisphere.

Adjust the thickness of the Hemisphere object

5. Create the Alarm Clock Bell

Step 1

Rotate the hemisphere by 180 Degrees so that it starts to take on the appearance of the bell.

Rotate the Hemisphere by 180 degrees

Step 2

In the Front View, use the reference image to ensure the size of the hemisphere is roughly the same size as the bells.

Use the Alarm Clock reference image

Step 3

Create a capsule by selecting the Capsule Button from the shapes menu.

Create a Capsule object

Step 4

Ensure the capsule object is selected and change the properties to the following:

  • Radius: 10 cm
  • Height: 200 cm
  • Height Segments: 1
  • Cap Segments: 8
  • Rotation Segments: 36
  • Orientation: +Y
Adjust the Capsule properties

Step 5

Use the Move Tool to move the capsule down so that only a little bit of the tip is sticking out from the top of the hemisphere.

Lower the capsule

Step 6

Select both the Capsule and the Cloth Surface by clicking and holding the Shift Key on the keyboard. Then group them by pressing Alt-G on the keyboard. You can then rename the Null by double clicking on it.

Group the Capsule and Cloth Surface together

Step 7

Make sure that the new group is still selected, use a combination of the Move Tool and the Rotation Tool to position the bell correctly. You can use the reference image to guide you.

Move the group into place

Step 8

Reveal the cylinder shape by clicking on the small red circle until it is grey (or green) again.

Reveal the Cylinder object

Step 9

You can then make any final adjustments to the bell’s position by comparing it to the reference image and the cylinder.

Adjust the bell using the Move and Rotate tools

6. How to use Symmetry in Cinema 4D

Step 1

In the top menu bar select Array > Symmetry.

Select the Symmetry button

Step 2

In the list window move the group containing the bell objects inside the Symmetry Modifier.

Apply the Symmetry Modifier to the group

Step 3

Anything inside the Symmetry Modifier will create a symmetrical object.

Symmetry modifier applied to the bell

7. Add Legs and Details to the Alarm Clock

Step 1

Use the Capsule Object to create legs for the alarm clock. Do this by creating a new capsule object and using the Move Tool and the Rotate Tool to position it into place.

Another way you can do this is by duplicating the capsule (hold the CTRL button on the keyboard whilst using the Move Tool) which was used to create the bell. 

Move the duplicated capsule into position using the Move Tool and the Rotate Tool.

Add a capsule leg

Step 2

Duplicate the leg by using the Symmetry Modifier

Add another capsule leg

Step 3

Adjust the size and radius of the legs by going to the Object tab in the Properties window.

Adjust the capsule leg properties

Step 4

Create a new Capsule and place it in on top of the alarm clock.

Add a capsule object

Step 5

Create a new Sphere and scale it down using the Scale Tool. Place the small sphere on top of the capsule.

Add a sphere object

8. Create the Clock Hands

Step 1

Create a new Cylinder by clicking on Cube > Cylinder from the top menu bar.

Create a new Cylinder Object

Step 2

Adjust the size of the cylinder in the Properties window so that it matches the width of the clock hand. Use the reference image in the front view to help you with this. The settings for the hand used in this tutorial are as follows:

  • Radius: 10 cm
  • Height: 10 cm
  • Height Segments: 1
  • Rotation Segments: 60
  • Orientation: +Y
Adjust the properties of the Cylinder object

Step 3

Ensure the cylinder is selected and then click on the Make Editable button.

Click on the Make Editable button

Step 4

To edit the shape further select the Points Tool and then select the Rectangle Selection Tool.

Select the Points Tool and the Rectangle Selection Tool

Step 5

Then go to the Properties window and un-tick Only Select Visible Elements. This allows you to select all the points within the rectangle selection.

Un-tick Only Select Visible Elements

Step 6

Use the Rectangle Selection Tool to select all the points in the bottom half of the cylinder. 

Select and use the Move Tool and move all the selected points down to create the clock hand.

Move selection downwards

Step 7

When moving a whole object, select and use the Model button. If this is not selected, you may find that you will be moving the points, edges or faces instead.

Select the Model mode button

Step 8

Position the clock hand object by using the Move Tool.

Place clock hand object

Step 8

YUse the Scale Tool to adjust the scale of the object once it is in place.

Use the scale tool for any last minute adjustments

Step 9

Duplicate the clock hand object by using the Move Tool and holding the CTRL button on the keyboard.

Duplicate the hand tool

Step 10

Once you have the hands, position both on the clock face by using the Move Tool and the Rotation Tool

Use the Scale Tool to make one hand smaller if you wish.

Position the hand objects using the Rotate and Move Tools

Coming Next…

Final Alarm Clock 3D Model

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

  • How to Create Coloured Materials
  • How to Add Lighting to the Scene
  • How to Render the Alarm Clock
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