Cinema 4D / BodyPaint 3D Program Documentation Tutorials MoGraph Tutorial
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Introduction to MoGraph: The Domino Scene

Let’s first take a look at a finished MoGraph animation in which a row of dominos is made to topple. Open the following scene:

Click on the Play button in the Animation Toolbar to make the dominos topple. In the following we will describe how this animation was created.

Setting up the scene

The Object Manager shows us how which objects are included in the scene: a Cloner object, several Effectors and a Spline object. In order to find out how the MoGraph scene is set up, briefly disable the Cloner object in the Object Manager.

The scene basically consists of a single domino and a Spline curve, which serves as a path along which the dominos are arranged.

Cloner object

The domino is a Child object of the Cloner object. The Attribute Manager shows the parameter settings needed to generate a cloned arrangement of dominos along the Spline. Setting Mode to Object tells the Clones to orient themselves to a specific object - in our case the Spline object, whose name appears in the  field. The number of clones to be generated is defined by the Count value and to ensure that they are placed with a correct rotation along the Spline, the option has been enabled. This completes the arrangement of the clones along the Spline - the rest of the work is done by the Effectors.


All Effectors that affect a Cloner object’s clones are listed in the Cloner object’s Effectors tab. Each Effector can be disabled or enabled in this tab.

Coloring the dominos using the Random Effector

You have surely noticed that no material has been assigned to any of the dominos, which can be used to define their color. This is done by the Random. Let’s take a look at its Parameter tab settings, which are used to define which of the clones’ parameters should be modified. In our example only the color is modified. The Color Mode setting has been set to On and all other transformation types are disabled or inactive. The Effector tab’s Random Mode has been set to Random, which generates random colors for the dominos.

Each domino clone is now positioned along the Spline and has its own random color.

In order to get a better look at the dominos’ animation, disable the Delay and the Inheritance Effector. This can be done either in the Cloner object’s Effector tab or in the Object Manager.

Making the dominos fall using the Inheritance Effector

In order to make all the domino clones fall all we had to do is create an animation for the original domino. Let’s take a closer look at this animation in the Timeline (Dope Sheet)... window (Window menu). The original domino object has an animation track for Angle.P and reaches its maximum angle in frame 10.

To make sure that the domino tips correctly over the front lower edge, its Object Axis had to be moved accordingly in Axis mode. This data is then passed on to (inherited by) all other dominos via the Inheritance so that all dominos fall correctly, one after the other.

The Inheritance Effector’s settings tell us how the animation is carried over to the individual clones. The Inheritance Mode Animation passes the animation on to the clones. The animated domino, "Cube", was dragged into the Object field so the Inheritance Effector knows which animation to base its inheritance on. The Start and End values represent the length of the base animation. A bit of experimentation will be required to ascertain the correct Step Gap value, which defines the size of the interval between each inherited animation. A value that is too low will result in the dominos falling too early, which can lead to dominos falling without being touched by the proceeding domino. A value that is too large will result in dominos falling too late, which can lead to dominos intersecting.

Before we proceed to the final Effector, let’s take a look at the following animation:


After viewing the animation you might have noticed that the dominos fall much too evenly and homogenously. The last Effector we will apply will make the behavior of the dominos more realistic.

Offsetting the falling of the dominos using the Delay Effector

As you can see in the Delay settings in the Attribute Manager, the rotation of the animated dominos is offset slightly. The offset is restricted to their rotation and the Effector’s Strength value is set to 55%.

The final animation, including the Delay Effector can be viewed here: