Cinema 4D / BodyPaint 3D Program Documentation Reference Cinema 4D Cinema 4D Visualize, Broadcast, Studio MoGraph
Function available in CINEMA 4D Broadcast, Studio


Effectors are objects that can affect the following:

Effectors must be arranged in the following manner in order to work:

Left, the Random Effector affects a Cloner Object; right, the Random Effector effects Cinema 4D objects.

An Effector created for a clone-generating object will be placed in the Effector list (left).

What do Effectors do?

Effectors take existing clones, objects, object points (only their respective positions) or object polygons and vary their position, size, angle and many other properties, according to Effector-specific idiosyncrasies (see Parameter Tab):

How do Effectors work?

For those who really want to know the nitty-gritty:

Effectors can be separated into two groups:

  1. Effectors that ascertain an initial value per clone and transform them based on individual clone parameters (those that can be found in the Parameter tab). These Effectors are:

    • Shader Effector: Ascertains an initial value from a texture’s gray scale.
    • Formula Effector: Ascertains an initial value based on a formula.
    • Random Effector: Ascertains an initial random value.
    • Sound Effector: Ascertains an initial value based on the sound level of various frequencies.
    • Step Effector: Ascertains consecutive initial values between 0 and 1, which are then assigned to each clone.
    • Time Effector: Ascertains a steadily increasing initial value in the course of an animation.
    • Plain Effector: Constantly outputs the maximum of 100%, i.e., all values defined in the Parameter tab will be assigned directly to each Clone.
    These Effectors ascertain the respective initial value, multiply it by strength, min/max values, falloff, and with the values set in the Parameter tab. Thus, a final position for each clone is calculated. Sounds a little complicated, but don’t worry, MoGraph can also be understood by those of you don’t read math books in your spare time …

  2. Special Effectors that, for example, use a spline or other animated object, etc. to carry out some sort of action. These Effectors are:

    • Inheritance Effector: Assumes the position or animation of a reference object.
    • Delay Effector: A special effect that affects every clone modification with regard to position, size and rotation simultaneously, e.g., to let them all bounce.
    • Spline Effector: Arranges clones on a spline.
    • Target Effector: Arranges clones.
    • Group Effector: Groups Effectors into one Effector.
    • Volume Effector: Limits an Effector’s effect to a given object’s volume.

In the following, for the purposes of convenience and easier reading flow, the term clone is used in place of listing clone, matrix, text, MoExtrude object, objects, object points, object polygons, etc. each time.

Parameter Tab

Most Effectors have a Parameter tab in which all clone properties that should be affected by the Effector can be. Of course there are exceptions to the rule, as is the case with the Target Effector - it does not have a Parameter tab.

Some Effectors, like the Spline Effector or the Delay Effector, only have an effect on part of the clone properties described below. Irrelevant properties will be grayed out.

Deformer Tab

The main function of Effectors is to work together with Cloners, whereby the clones will be deformed differently, depending on the Effector used.

All Effectors can also be used as deformation objects for normal polygon objects. Simply make the Effector a child of the object or make it, together with other objects within a hierarchical level, a child of a parent object. The Deformer tab also offers several additional useful settings. As you can see in the screen shot above, there are only a few transformations from which you can choose.

Using an Effector as a deformation object is useful if, for example, you want objects already placed under a Null Object to affect and Effector without the use of a clone-generating object. However, all objects will react somewhat unpredictably (the Step effector may not work, the Random effector treats all objects equally, etc.). In most castes it’s better the make these objects a Child object of the Fracture object. They will then react as expected and as decribed.

About UVW-Mapping in MoGraph

MoGraph has a lot of mysterious settings beginning with U or V. The reason for this is that all clones possess internal U,V, and W coordinates. This coordinate system always has a range from 0 to 1. How this coordinate system spans the clones is illustrated in the image below:

U,V,W coordinate span; MoText object from top to bottom; line text index; word text index; all text index.

These UVW-coordinates have nothing to do with the texturing of clones. They serve exclusively to help Effectors assign each clone a value so that it may be transformed


In the image above, a simple cube was cloned linearly using a Cloner Object (insert top left). Next, assign a Shader Effector (with Scale active and UVW-mapping) containing the gradient shown at center to the Cloner. The first clone’s u value = 0, the last clone has a u value of 1. The scaling of the clones is a result of the applied gradient (type 2D-U).

If the first Cloner Object is now placed into the second Cloner Object (this time with clone mode set to Radial), the result will be as pictured at the top left (insert).

If the second Cloner Object is also applied to the same Shader Effector, the result will be as pictured at the right. Don’t forget that u runs along the radius where start and end points of the pictured gradient meet (1st clone: u=0; last clone: u=1).