Math: It’s not as bad as you might think.
Andy Needham is an artist who sees beauty in math. As a senior motion designer specializing in design, animation, and compositing, he often uses tools and workflows that many other artists might avoid because they involve maths and coding. To see Needham demonstrate how to use Field Forces, Dynamics, Volumes, and Python scripting, watch the presentation he gave at Maxon’s virtual NAB 2020 show on YouTube now.
“My aim is to inspire people to have a go at coding,” he says, explaining that every user has a need for a certain workflow improvement that could be easily accomplished through a Python script. “I’ve always been fascinated by what can be achieved through coding, and I’m teaching myself Python scripting in Cinema 4D because I like to be able to automate repetitive tasks and build tools.”
Needham says he’s interested in math and art because “there is something so beautiful about how number patterns found in nature produce such aesthetically pleasing results.” He points to the Fibonacci sequence as an obvious example. Often called the golden ratio, the sequence is a series of numbers in which each number is the sum of the previous two. Sometimes included in computer algorithms, the sequence is also found on the heads of sunflowers as their seeds are arranged in the same number pattern.
Needham says the key to learning Python scripting in Cinema 4D is to first learn a bit of Python and then pick apart the Python SDK. It helps to use a few useful resources that he’s found online, and he plans to cover those during his NAB presentation. He’s also set up a Slack group for anyone who would like to learn from others (C4D Python Slack). “This has really been beneficial to me,” he says, “as some very good coders have joined the group. It’s been quiet in there recently, but I’m hoping it will pick up again soon.”
Needham advises artists not to “get hung up on having to write the best code.” Like anything, you’re not likely to get the final result you want the first time. “Once you have a working prototype, you can improve it further later. “Or, if it is good enough for your needs, and not a commercial product, park it and move on to the next thing so you can keep learning and improving.”
Watch the recording of Needham‘s NAB 2020 presentation on YouTube.