Cinema 4D Tutorial – Trigger Animation Using Mograph Effectors

Cinema 4D Tutorial – Trigger Animation Using Mograph Effectors


hey everybody its EJ from iodine calm and today we’re going to learn how you can use mograph effectors to trigger animation let’s learn how all right so this is what we’re going to be creating today this kind of like unfolding accordion type of composition and what this is going to be demonstrating is how you can use a single effector to trigger complex animations and make what is a very complex kind of animation we have here and break it down to just really animating one object cloning it and then triggering the animation very simply and easily with a single mograph effector so let’s break it all down of how I created this go into a brand-spankin’-new composition and let’s just recreate those triangles and that little accordion type of effect so what I’m going to do to create the triangle is just make a cylinder go to the cylinder settings and bring down the rotation segments to three in essence creating a triangle and then what I’m going to do is create a silat not a filet filet is for fish this is a fillip is for 3d and then just make this nice and round it so when we add like nice reflective materials we’re going to have some nice reflections happening so we can just adjust this as we want and maybe make this a little skinnier something like that so it’s just a thin triangle and can we rename this and then what we can do is go ahead and clone this go into our cloner and right now by default it’s just cloned it three times and each clone is going to be fifty centimeters above the previous clone but what I want to do is actually not use that at all what I want to do is go into the cloner and what I want to do is create another effector that’s going to help us with our accordion effect and what that effector is is this effecter and you can see that by default we have the scale on I’m just going to deactivate that and what I want to do is play around with the rotation specifically the rotation in the bearing and you see that if I change this to like negative 180 degrees the way the step effector works is that it creates this basically the stepped amount or step strength of that value that you set in between the first cone and the last clone kind of blends between those the two values so zero and 180 and I can demonstrate this even better if I up the count here and you can see that we now have like all these other clones that are being rotated and the one thing you’re going to notice is that this isn’t looking good this is not going to create a nice folding accordion effect because we have all this intersecting and the intersecting is due to the fact that our triangle is being rotated by its anchor point which is right there and what we need to do to actually have this rotating fan out is move the anchor point down to the base of the triangle so we can do one of two things actually we can only do one thing because what it’s going to what the cloner objects going to do is look at the object just underneath it and see where the the anchor point is and it’s always going to use that so what we need to do is kind of trick the cloner object and change the anchor point by using another object in this case we’re just going to use a null we’re going to throw the triangle under the null and so our null has the anchor point of 0 0 or 0 and then what we can do is just freely move the triangle that’s underneath it and say 20 move it 25 in the X and then what we can do is turn back on this cloner and you can see that now we’re rotating around not the triangle of access but the nulls axis so that’s kind of how you can trick it to use a different objects access and you can change this afterwards if you want or not but now you can fully see what how kind of how the step effectors working so again we have the value of negative hundred eighty degrees in here and you can see that we have a clone at zero degrees and then a clone at 180 degrees negative 180 degrees and we have all these other clones kind of just oriented and spaced all between those two values in a step fashion in the steps fashion is controlled by this spline if you adjust the spline angles you can see that we actually have we’re kind of adjusting where the orientation of these clones are so if this was linear if I go right click and say spline Presets linear you can see this is actually going to be spaced nice and even between those values and if we create more clones you can see that these are spaced evenly throughout that zero degrees in negative 180 degrees so the way that the step effector works is we can actually adjust the minimum and maximum so right now the minimum is zero degrees and the maximum is 180 degrees so if I bring the maximum down you can see that that folds all of our clones back to that zero degrees and if I bring it up 20 100% we now have we have that default zero to negative 180 and if I go to the maximum and go to say 200% you can see that we make a full 360 and instead of 0 through negative 180 it’s actually 0 through negative 360 so hopefully you kind of get a deal for how the maximum and how the minimum works as well so right now we can bring the minimum up to 100% and then the pause the maximum and minimum is just that nega hundred eighty and we just have all of our clones just kind of overlap each other but you can see how if we use the maximum and minimum we can get a nice kind of like accordion animation out of it so what I’m going to do is just set keyframes at the maximum 0% go 15 frames and then bring the maximum off to 100 and then on that same keyframe frame 15 I’ll go and set a keyframe for the minimum go another 15 frames and bring up the minimum to 100% and if I scrub through this you can see we have this really nice kind of accordion effect here that’s my accordion impression and now what we can do is fine-tune this and go into the timeline here so what I can do is let me just position our triangles here twirl down or tracks here and kind of give this some more space and we can fine-tune this so maybe we want this to kind of pop up a little bit sooner so I can decrease the curve here so it maybe speeds up a little more maybe I don’t want that kind of that slowed down gap there maybe I want more of an overlap of these two values happening so there’s always some kind of constant movement something like that and maybe I want the end of this to kind of slam shut and look like it has some kind of weight to it so let me actually go and increase my frame to 45 so I can actually see the end of that and see how that kind of closes I think that’s looking pretty nice you can always adjust the timing of this you can make this whole animation maybe 45 frames or whatever you want to do but I think I’m liking how this is playing out right here so I’ll just leave that alone for now and there we go we got our animation driven by that step effector so that’s the only thing we keyframed so let’s just do some tidying up this is our triangle cloner and this is just like our anchor point no so what I want to do is clone this triangle corner and create a whole bunch of these accordion triangle guys right so let’s go ahead grab a cloner and throw the triangle corner underneath here actually I skipped one step because it’s very important when you’re triggering animation keyframed animation you need to make sure that we actually clone the step effector as well so right now we just have this one step effector what I want to do is just group our original cloner in our step effector so let’s just let’s just do this again this is very important let’s just group all this stuff together we’re going to group these objects and this will be a triangle Corian group hopefully I spelled everything right there we go accordion group so that’s very important because we have our step effector underneath here that’s the only thing that’s driving the animation is that keyframe step effector so now we can clone all of this group with our clone again we don’t want those default settings and what I want to do is clone this in a grid array so we got a whole mess of these very quickly I’m just going to bring the count in the white one so we don’t have any stacking going on and now you can see we have a whole bunch of these we have a little bit of intersection like space these out a little bit if you had a few more clones here we have a few to deal with here and basically what I want to cover is that we have all these clones right and they’re all animating all at once there’s no staggering nothing whatsoever and what I want to do and this whole point of this tutorial is how do we get a single like plane effector to to trigger the animation so it just doesn’t play from the get-go and the main thing that is driving this animation by default is in this corner here we have under this transform tab this animation mode and by default it’s set to play so what that means is when you have a keyframed animation as a clone what that clone effector is going to do is just clone it and then just play the animation as it is in a timeline so again our animation is started at 0 ends at 30 and that’s just going to play like normal but if we change our animation mode from play to fixed you’re going to see that our timelines moving but no animation is actually occurring because using this fixed animation boat it’s now waiting for something else to trigger or offset the time in the animation therefore drive our animation so let me just rename this main cloner big letters and create a point old point effector and I’m just going to turn off the position value here and the only thing I want to do the first thing I want to do is make sure that I applied it to that main corner so I didn’t so just make sure our plaintiff actors here I’m just going to rename this point effector to time offset because that’s the only thing this point effector is going to do it’s not going to do anything else it’s just going to offset the animation or any keyframed animation in time so what you’re going to see is this time offset and there’s a lot of different effectors that have this including the step effector you can see we have a time offset right here but basically what the time offset does is offset any cloned in or any cloned objects animation in time so our whole entire animation is 30 frames long so you can see as we go past 30 frames nothing happening but if I scrub between 0 and 30 we’re basically animating our animation by offsetting the key frame of animation inside there so what I want to do is have this plane effector offset each of those clones animation 30 frames because again we bring up our timeline here that’s the entire that’s the integrity our entire length of our step effectors animation here and then what I can do is just adjust the strength and again that’s not doing anything different that’s controlling all of our clones all at once but we have more fine-tuned control but what we the main thing we want to do is change this fall off from infinite to linear and this is where it really starts to get pretty awesome if I adjust this control here the free of the fall-off you can see as I drag my fall-off through the scene it’s actually triggering in playing out the animation of those clones and I can rotate this as well and kind of do this and you see how they dragged my fall-off through here it’s basically offsetting the keyframes on the clone and therefore triggering down animation using this fall off so you can see that because our follow us fairly narrow I can up the fall-off strength here and adjust the space between the start of the fall off which is this yellow square and the end of our fall which is our the red square back here and if I go just above you can really see this happen so you can see this is much smoother much nicer because basically what’s happening is that the animation is playing out as this fall-off is passing through the entirety of that clone so if I go ahead and keyframe this time offset let’s make our composition a little bit longer here then I’ll just set keyframes and the x y&z and I’ll just make I’ll just drag this plane effector all the way through get some more keyframes here and then if I hit play you can see as the fall-off passes through and animates through it’s actually just offsetting those animations in time and therefore triggering the animation basically so that’s looking really nice there’s one thing we can do to take it a little bit further and add a little bit more organic randomness to this because again this is fairly linear because of course we’re using a linear fall-off let’s just add some more clones in here something like this so we have a little bit more room to see what’s going on here so again animation being triggered let’s go ahead and what I’m going to do is introduce a random effector and what I’m going to do is go into the effectors parameters here turn off the position don’t want to affect the position the only thing I want to affect is the weight transform and what I want to do first is make sure I apply the randomness or the random weighting before the the plane effector or the time offset because I want to apply that random value first and using the weight transform it basically changes what is like a linear gradient from black to white that’s basically triggering this animation and what it’s going to do is kind of add a little bit of turbulence to it or kind of add some randomness to it and it affects how that plane effector is affecting each of these clones individually because you can see now it’s a little bit more random it’s not as linear because we introduced that random weight throughout those clones so you can see that as we did that this is a way more organic adds a little bit of randomness to the animation and just generally makes this look a little bit nicer and not so mechanical all right so the next thing we want to do is just finish this off because the animation is looking good we got the random effector adding the random weight and kind of offsetting the strength there what I want to do is fill in all these gaps we have here and we can do this fairly easily what I’m going to do is turn off that main cloner go to frame zero and if you have a newer version of cinema 4d and suma 4d are 18 in the cloners they actually have a mode that’s called the honeycomb array and basically what that does is automatically do what I’m going to be doing manually so I feel like this probably a lot of people that don’t have the new version so I’m going to do this the old-fashioned way to get our honeycomb kind of orientation and to get that I’m just going to move and stagger this triangle just like so something like that and then what I can do is group these two together so that’s just one object underneath this one cloner so this is the staggered triangles and why I’m grouping them together is if I had them separate they would just clone one after the other and that’s not what you want we actually want this as one cohesive piece and then we can clone it so we’ll turn back on a cloner and then all we have to do is just adjust the size here just so we kind of fill in these gaps and then what will happen is if I scrub through the timeline here you can see that now we have our nice unfolding and this is looking really really nice the only problem is we still have these gaps on either side as our triangle accordion flips from one side of the other so we need to go back in and just fill in those gaps from the get-go so what we’re going to do is let’s just go to the end animation and still in these original gaps because all we need to do for that is just duplicate the triangle in our cloner and that’ll fill in those two gaps and let’s go into the front of our animation and then we’ll just duplicate the triangle again rotate it 180 degrees and then just move it 50 centimeters forward do the same thing on this other guy rotate 180 degrees and let’s drag this 50 centimeters and you can see that now if I start this animation we figure we have no more gaps anymore because we filled in with those main triangles the one thing I want to do though turn this off and I just want to ensure that we’re not going to have any intersecting going on you can see a little bit of that happening right here so what I’m going to do is just grab those new triangles we created it all four of them and just move them down ever so slightly so they no longer intersect anymore so just very slightly moved it down and now we should be okay again and we have the animation playing looking good and now we can just start texturing this to make this into a transition from like white triangles to red triangles I’m going to turn off the corner again and go to frame zero because this is where all the triangles will be white so I’ll just create a new material and then apply the white material to these two triangles so those two right there and then move this forward and create a red material and apply it to these back triangles so now the only problem is is once this accordion thing flips over all of them will be kind of textured the same so if we throw a white material on these guys you’re going to see that we’re going to have a problem because what we need to do is actually have this very first clone be white and then all these subsequent clones be red so that the very last one is then red and then we have all of our triangles that red color so what we can do and how the corner object works is right now we just have one clone underneath it and it’s set to iterate so what’s going to do if we set more clones underneath it and color it different ways it’s actually going to clone one then the next then the next and the next and the next so what we can do is let’s actually make we get on our cloner here we have a clone so what we need to do is actually clone this eight times so we actually have a triangle for each object so we’ve left eight so what we’re going to do is the first clone can be that white color so let’s actually color change the material of all the other ones to that red and what you’re going to see is that now when I go backwards we have a bunch of red clones and then one white clone but you’re going to notice that since this is iterating we’re actually going backwards so what that means is remember our step effector is moving it back negative 180 degrees so that means that whatever we put in here is actually going to be reversed so we actually need to make this work correctly we actually need to go in the opposite order here so now when it’s innovating it’ll iterate backwards from red red red red red and the last clone will be white which is this clone that we see right here and then all the clones are red after that so hopefully you kind of get that we’re going from this clone and then all the rest will be read at the top there one thing you’re going to notice is that when I render here you can see the red but not in the viewport you can also see red there as well and the reason for that is because we have some overlapping happening so to try to prevent that what we’re going to need to do is change our maximum to like a 0.1% and then what that’s going to do is try to is going to move that very first clone up ever so slightly and we won’t have that overlap so it looks weird in the viewport but it’ll render fine so you can see that we now have white on the top and then all these red clones until we get to the end here and even though this looks like it’s white in the viewport it’s actually fine what we can do for that is we go maybe do 99.999 and again we’ll see that little bit of overlap but it’ll render find in the viewport there so it’s not entirely necessary for this bit but just in case so what we can do is simply for this just we’ll just delete this anchor point and we’ll just bring all these triangles we remain drag them in the other triangle corner and we should be set others in the fact that we need to also adjust the step effector too so again we’ll just do 0.1 so the new keyframe that render is good and then check this render looks good there as well and there we go we have our one white triangle clone and then the rest are red turn back on our main corner there and again even though this looks weird this renders out fine so there we go we now have or animation driven by a single point effector using some offsets and even though this looks weird in the viewport render out just fine there you go so what I want to do now is just demonstrate the power of this technique of being able to drive animation with just a single plane effector and this is more for like a 2d kind of workflow so be able to create some kind of like transitional elements or HUD elements and stuff like that so what I want to do is just demonstrate that all this is I just made a couple of hexagons and really these are just disks again with low rotation segments and I just keyframe the inner outer radius so they just kind of like stack up here and kind of fill in and then just like I did with the triangles you know I created to that stagger to create that honeycomb effect duplicate it with the cloner make sure my corner animation is changed from play which you can see how this is just kind of playing out playing that animation that looks cool by itself just trying to fill in there and we can just turn on the fixed we got our plane effector in here I already animated it it’s coming from the bottom left to the top right you can see that that creates this nice little transitional element and what we can do is create some like completely luminance materials in here so 100% white we can apply that to our corner and you can see that this is all 100% white we can add a black background in here so 100% luminance and sets a black throw that on our background and we can render the cell as a matte transition for After Effects or something like that and again we can turn on that random effector to add that nice organic randomness here so again the power of be to create one animation quote it many times and then trigger the animation with a plant effector you can create a you can make a lot of there’s a lot of creative uses for this and I just want to remind you that you’re not just limited to a linear fall-off so what I can do is just change or just turn off the animations delete the animation track on my plane effector and what I can do is change this shape from linear to like a sphere and I can just reset this size to default and then what I can do is just crank up the size and then just just the scale of this size and you can see that I’m now doing this kind of spherical growth something like that and I can try to tamp down the weight transform so you can see more of that spherical shape again just by controlling this scale parameter on my fall-off we have this nice spherical grow growing on or animating on of my object now if I just bring down the fall-off here a little bit you can see that we have this nice complete transition that looks really really nice perfect for Uhud elements stuff like that this is a really cool technique and way easier than trying to manipulate shape layers and all that stuff inside of After Effects so just just another thought just a little alternative to like a 2d works well and using this technique of triggering animation using effectors in cinema 4d for 2d stuff alright so that is how you can trigger animations using effectors inside of cinema 4d if you have any questions about anything I covered in this tutorial be sure to leave them in the comments section you make anything using this technique I’d love to see it be sure to share it with me on Twitter on the Facebook’s on myspace all that good stuff if you like this tutorial be sure to hit the like button I’d really appreciate that and I really appreciate all of you out there watching me and watching this tutorial I’ll see all of you in the next one alright everybody bye

98 thoughts on “Cinema 4D Tutorial – Trigger Animation Using Mograph Effectors

  1. Please tell what is hdri material and how to apply it on a sky layer. And a request plz do tutorial on creating funny little lego kind of cartoon model. I loved that tutorial on sub division surface. Was really helpful 😊stay blessed sir

  2. Oh man. You're right, EJ. At the end, those transitions are way easier that doing it in AE. Mind is racing now. Thanks!

  3. Thanks for mentioning using these techniques for making mattes. I often see students struggle making the transition that they want in AE when it can be completed in 5 minutes in c4d.

  4. Hei, amazing as always. Greetings from Croatia. But have a thought/question. This is not actually real triggering animation cause if you move effector fast, animation will be shorter. Is there any way which lets you have animation of a clone always be 30 frames (in your case) no matter how fast you run with effector through cloner. Also is it possible to use this with xrefs?

    Sorry for grammar mistakes and thanks for everything man, seriously.

  5. Hi from Dubai !!!
    As always the best tutorials on Youtube for C4D !!!! Can you please adjust the frame rate of the next tutorial…. ^_^

  6. Your tutorials are lifesavers when I'm stuck at some point while working in office. Thanks for creating these tutorials. I admire your efforts. Do you also create tuts on request?

  7. As soon as I turn on Physical render it turns the "end" triangles back to grey in a checkered pattern (the triangles at the end of the timeline). Have you experienced any issues with that? But they are fine back on Standard render.

  8. Hello! Im kinda new on Motion. I learned Cinema4D and AE with Tutorials. I maked a video, my frist work: /watch?v=Vgj9kODxhQQ
    You dont need to say it is a crap (My friend already said it, and I felft very sad – He works in this industry) – I just wanna understand, what i did wrong to be a crap 🙁 Well, I know is my frist one, maybe with more pratice could be better, i dont know… I just wanna know if I m losing time learning this stuff, for nothing… I work like a Video Editor. But, Editing is kinda boring, so, sometimes my I push me to learn Motion Graphics… But i need to know if I m just losing my time for nothing… Well, my friend already said that.. But… I just wanna another opinion! Thanks!

  9. It´s so wonderful to see all the comments and love from all over the world here. Keeps the hopes up that this world and all the people on it can overcome borders and work together in harmony. <3

  10. Hey man. Been following your work for some time. Always seem to find you when I'm stuck. Question, is there a way to trigger an animation on non-mograph objects? I want to control some flying in type, letter by letter, but not motext. Each letter is a modeled object. Thanks so much! -Dave

  11. Amazing – such a simple thing and idea .. looking so complex .. and explained in such a simple to follow way, great as always .. thanks, a.

  12. Hi! thanks for your tutorials!!

    I am trying to get the animation happen later in the timeline, I have keyframed everything later in the timeline and without "main cloner" it works but not without it 🙁

    In time offset i have set it to later and still no luck…

    What am I doing wrong?

  13. You may notice that your honeycomb technique made them animate in pairs of two, but there is a simple fix

    Put both pieces in separate cloners, and move the original cloner's effectors into each new one

  14. Hi EJ! Have a question.
    Is the same possible with an animation based on a morph pose?
    Till now I havent found any solution yet.

  15. Thanks for the tutorial EJ, it's nice to learn new techniques. I went ahead and tried it with the honeycomb shapes and I did run into problems that I sort of solved. First I had Render Instances enabled to speed things up but everything animates in at once no matter what falloff shape I use so I had to disable it. My guess is that this might because the honeycomb animations aren't being done by effectors, the size parameters are keyframed. Also, when using the spherical falloff on the plain effector, I found that they animated in really abruptly and increasing the falloff causes it to end with the animation unfinished. So I had to keyframe the falloff strength from 0 to 250%. I hope this helps anyone who have run into the same problems.

  16. Hey EJ! Great tutorial (as always)!
    Your method works really well but I think that it would be more convenient to use a shader effector with a gradient shader to control the colour of your clones instead of copying it and giving each one a shader. This way you can also create a nice colour transition.

  17. so nice , thank you
    but what do you think if we use fracture with 8 copies and step effector
    i it will give the same result but we will have more control with material and easy
    you are my best c4d teacher
    thank you
    dont stop

  18. Thanks for this tutorial. 🙂 Can we texture the top and bottom layer of triangles? For example we want this transition animation use for a "coming up next" transition? I couldn't find it out.

  19. I cant get the animation that i put on my ik spline goal null for two arms tht i have on a character.
    Is it because its under a lot of nulls ?

  20. Nice, but… what if i want to do this on some floor of a background image to recreate changing textures from the original to something else? How can i apply the back ground image as a texture to de cloners in frontal mode to integrate everything? I can not seem to find out the answer because the texture does not stick to de objects as they reflect whats on de back of the object at that point in the animation, and the "generate uvw coordinates" only work on the object not the cloners! Thankyou.

  21. hey so when i move the time offset the cloner doesnt do anything unlike the video advice?

    i am using c4d 2012 version

  22. Absolutely awesome, thanks EJ! Your tuts are really amazing, I watched a couple of them when I had my Lynda.com subscription. You rock man!

  23. EJ what an eye-oppener with grouping the effector and cloning again. totally forgot that it is possible. Too bad that is does not work with render instances .

  24. when you do have the new version. And tried figuring it out on your own! So you do that but then when it comes to the coloring part… it fucks up..
    T_T still have to do it manualy… because I am a noob in C4D

  25. your ideas now transcends into blender : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uv8FzbaxAw0
    Thank you much for this fantastic tutorial and great inspiration.

  26. Hi, this technique is not working with animated user data in a null (controlling an XPresso setup). When I set the cloner to "fixed" it completely ignores it and the animation still plays from where the keyframes originally are. Any ideas?

  27. Hi EJ, Thanks for all your incredible insights and help. Love all your tutorials. I have a question about the falloff that controls the cloners animations. Since I'm using R20 the system is not responding according to your demonstration. (exactly as shown at 13:50 of your video). The plain effector is triggering all clones. Would you please aluminate my brain…LOL. Thx and I'll aprecciate any help you can throw here.

  28. Hi. This is marvelous and inspirating (no surprise, all EJs videos are), BUT I'm missing one thing here: I want to use similar technique to uncover bitmap (texture) instead plain red. And haven't found the way how to stick the texture to all of those "red" clones. If I use UVW, it stick tecture on each clone (and I don't want to tile), if I use flat, it projects incorrectly on parts that are turning. I guessed that MoGraph "fix texture" might work. But it does not (at least not the way I expected). Anyways, would be nice to add a part with texturing. Thanks

  29. You guys are the best, im sick of those stupid tutorials, but i'm happy cuz i found this channel, really appreciate that!

  30. Is there a way you can actually trigger the animation in a "ON or OF" way rather than offsetting them? For example if using this technique, if you move effector very fast animation will play fast as well.

  31. Anybody else having trouble with the random effector not functioning when moved above the time offset? Im on R20 if that helps

  32. Well I have an idea on how to make that process little bit easier. Do You know if that Plain time offset is passed through to XPresso tag as time? I'd skip the process of creating animation using keyframes.

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