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Logo Animation with PolyFX

In contrast to Cloner objects that duplicate and displace Child objects to create motion effects, PolyFX work the other way around. This object is made a Child object of an object from which it then generates clones. In this tutorial we will generate clones from a Plane object using PolyFX to create the Cinema 4D logo arches.

Click on the link below to open the corresponding Cinema 4D start file:

Applying a PolyFX Object

The file you just opened contains a parametric Plane object with a blue material assigned to it and a Spline object in the shape of the Cinema 4D arches.

The PolyFX object will use the Plane object’s basic parameters to generate clones. This means that the Plane object’s parameters will influence the size/resolution of the PolyFX clones. In our example we have defined a Width and Height of 250 each. If you decide to define your own resolution or even use a different Spline object you will have to adjust these values accordingly.

The Spline object and the Plane object both lie at a Y position of 0 so that the Spline object will immediately affect the PolyFX plane.

Now we will prepare the Plane surface for modification by the PolyFX object. First, create a PolyFX object from the MoGraph menu and make it a Child object of the Plane object. Leave the Mode parameter set to Full Polys/Segments in the Object tab and switch to the Falloff tab. Set the Shape parameter to Source and drag the Spline object into the Source Link field. Reduce the Sample Distance value to 10 and set Falloff Function to Inverse Cubic.

The PolyFX object now has all the information it needs to modify the Plane object using the Spline object. All that needs to be added now is an Effector to set the polygonal clones in motion.

Using Effectors to modify clones

We will use two Effectors to modify the clones. Which Effectors you use for your own animation is up to you.

Create a Plain from the MoGraph menu, double-click its name in the Object Manager and rename it accordingly. Position the Effector at a Z Position of 200 and rotate its Heading by 180° in the Coordinates Manager.

The transformation settings are located in the Effector’s Parameter tab. Set the Position value (P.Z) to 100. Switch to the Falloff tab, set the falloff Shape to Linear and reduce the Z Size value to 30. Set the Falloff value to 60% and the Falloff Function to Spline and add a slight curve in the Spline graph field.

The image below shows the repositioned Effector in the Viewport.

For this Effector to be able to affect the PolyFX object it has to be dragged into the PolyFX object’s Effectors field in its Effectors tab.

You can test the Effector by dragging it along its Z axis over the Spline object. The PolyFX object will generate clones when the effector passes over the Splines.

We will now create a second Effector for comparison purposes, which will use a different method of generating clones. First, duplicate the existing Plain Effector by Ctrl[Cmd+clicking+dragging on it in the Object Manager. Rename it "Plain Effector 2" and disable the other Effector in the Object Manager. Position the new Effector via its coordinates value to 0 and leave the Parameter tab’s settings as they are. Leave the position values in the Parameter tab as they are.

Our second Effector will generate clones in a spherical shape from the Plane object. Set the Effector’s Shape to Sphere with a Size of 200 for each axis. The Falloff Function parameter can remain set to Spline.

An Effector’s effect can be enabled or disabled either globally in the Object Manager or in the PolyFX object’s Effector list. In our example, the first Effector will remain disabled so we can complete the animation using the second Effector.

The second Effector will not simply be moved along its X axis but will be animated via the Falloff tab’s Size parameter.

Animating the Effector and the PolyFX source spline

Our animation will consist of two parts. First, the Effector will generate PolyFX clones from the Plane after which the PolyFX source Spline will be animated to rotate once around the logo’s axis.

Reduce the Effector’s Scale value so no clones are generated from the Plane object (approx. 30%). Move the Timeslider to Frame 0 and set a keyframe by Ctrl/Cmd+clicking on the Scale parameter’s animation circle.

Now move the Timeslider to Frame 50 return to the Plain Effector’s Attribute Manager settings.

Increase the Effector’s Scale value to 100% and set a keyframe at Frame 50.

Leave the Timeslider at Frame 50. This is where we want our animation to begin.

Select the Spline object in the Object Manager and set a keyframe for its Bank rotation.

Move the green Timeslider to Frame 100.

Enter a value of 360° for the Bank rotation and set another keyframe.

Now the animation is complete. Click on the following link to see the rendered result (QuickTime movie):


The complete Cinema 4D file can be opened here: