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Animating a logo with the Fracture object

From: CINEMA 4D Essentials 7: MoGraph Modeling and Animation

Video: Animating a logo with the Fracture object

The MoGraph Fracture Object allows you to treat objects that are not clones as if they were clones. What I mean by that is that the Cloner object creates copies of objects, but what do you do when you have all the copies you want and you want to simply modify them with Effectors? Well, that's where the Fracture object comes in. So I've got a very simple logo here, and I've hidden the lights and environment and camera underneath this Null object here. And you can see if I make them visible, there's the lights and the camera. I'm going to make the top dot red and then twirl that closed.

Animating a logo with the Fracture object

The MoGraph Fracture Object allows you to treat objects that are not clones as if they were clones. What I mean by that is that the Cloner object creates copies of objects, but what do you do when you have all the copies you want and you want to simply modify them with Effectors? Well, that's where the Fracture object comes in. So I've got a very simple logo here, and I've hidden the lights and environment and camera underneath this Null object here. And you can see if I make them visible, there's the lights and the camera. I'm going to make the top dot red and then twirl that closed.

And underneath my logo parent, I've got an Extrude NURBS object and I've got my separate paths for the type in the Shapes. The way the Fracture object works is that it treats whatever you put under there as if it were either made up of clones, or if it's a group of objects, then it will keep those objects as individual clones, and that's what we want to do for our logo parts. Let's start off by going to the MoGraph menu and adding in a Fracture object. And then on this Fracture object, let's call it Type Fracture, and let's make a copy of that Fracture object and call it Shape Fracture.

We want to have one Fracture object for the outer shapes here and one Fracture object for the type elements themselves. You could do everything under one, but we want to have a little bit more control so that we can adjust how these things come in. Now what we need to do is build the hierarchy. There's a very specific hierarchy you need to use when you're extruding objects underneath the fracture. So the way the hierarchy needs to work is I'm going to take my Type elements, and those are the splines that make up the word LOGO, and let's actually switch to the Perspective View and get to a full screen.

Let's hide the Interactive Render Region. I'll hit Option or Alt+R in the keyboard to get rid of that. And now, I'm looking through the Camera object and I want to have a little more control than that, so let's uncheck the Active Camera icon right here and then we're now looking through the Editor Camera. And now we can see our scene much more comfortably. So what we want to do is to animate the position of these LOGO type elements with an Effector and animate the shapes with their own Effector, so there's a specific hierarchy we need to build. The way the hierarchy works is that you have to extrude the result of the Fracture object.

So I'm going to take my Type elements and drag those Splines underneath the type Fracture object. You can see there are the splines because I broke in the Extrude NURB. We don't need this LOGO type Null object anymore. We're going to take the type Fracture and drag that underneath. Now with the type Fracture underneath, you can see I still get my logos and that's a very important hierarchy. Always extrude the result of the Fracture object and everything will behave correctly. Now I want to do the same thing for Shape Fracture. Let's drag the Shape Fracture down here and make it a child of that.

And then I'm going to take the spline and make it a child of the Shape Fracture. Now it looks like nothing has changed and that's a good thing because that means that the Fracture object is being seen correctly by the Extrude NURB. Now we're ready to actually modify these guys with their own Effectors. So let's start with type Fracture. I'll click on the Fracture object and go to the MoGraph menu > Effector. Now I'm going to use the Plain Effector. That's plain as in ordinary, meaning, just position, scale, and rotation. So let's add that to the scene, and you can see that my objects immediately jumped up on the Y-axis, and that's by default.

The Plain Effector modifies objects to move on the Y-axis by 100 units. So let's undo that and bring that Y value down from 100 to 0. We want that type to stay there. So the move that we want to create is we want to have this type come from infinity and hit its mark here in this position, and then have the shapes come from over the camera and hit their mark. And so, it's going to go L-O-G-O and then have the oval shape tumble into position. So let's -- the way we do that is to have the Plain Effector now modify these guys on the Z-axis.

So I want them to come from infinity. It's way off in the distance there. So let's take the Plain Effector, and under its parameter properties, adjust the Z value, so I want to go on the positive Z-axis. Let's put in something like, say, 10,000. There we go. And let's look through the camera to see how small that is in frame. And you can see that's pretty small. And then I'm going to adjust the scale, and I'll do uniform scale, and the scale I want to have is a -1. That's going to make my objects disappear.

You can see they're gone now. So let's uncheck the look through camera button, and now we can look at our scene again. Now what I want to be able to do is to have the objects come into position one at a time. To do that, I'm going to need something called Falloff on the Plain Effector that I have. Let's start off by naming this Plain Effector and let's call it Type plain effector, and let's take that Type plain effector and make it a child of the Logo Parent. Now what we need to do is on the Type plain effector, we're going to go to the Falloff option.

The Falloff by default is set to Infinite. We want to change that to be a Box. And the Box is going to be represented by this yellow box. You'll notice that as soon as I did that, the things that are outside the box immediately jumped to the original position. And the things that are not quite inside the box are now moving a little bit. What I want to do is to make this box the same size as the original LOGO type and that involves adjusting the values in the size. Now I could scrub these, or I could click on the orange button for the yellow box, and the yellow box controls the size of it.

You'll notice as I increase the size, it connects with those others and sends them off into the distance, and that's okay. Let's disable the Plain effector for just a moment and see where our type is, and I think I'll turn that back on again. And you can see the most important thing that I want to have is the axes have to fall into the red zone here. And the red zone is the difference between the size of the effector and the place where it's 100% Falloff. So this is a 100% effect, this is 0% effect out here, and that's determined by the Falloff option.

I can adjust that to make the size of the box larger or smaller. I'm going to make it just a little bit smaller, and I think that's going to do just fine. Now you'll notice if I adjust the X position on this object, as the objects pass out of the Falloff zone, they hit their mark again. So if I started at this end and animate on the positive X-axis, this is going to L-O-G-O, just like that. Let's undo that for a second and get back to zero. So let's animate the position of that. This is our starting point for that effector.

So let's go to the Plain Effector, and I'm going to go to the Coordinate Properties, and at time zero, let's Ctrl+click on the gray circle for the position parameter. And I'll do that for each on X. And I should have clicked on the P column first and then I could Ctrl+click to add them all at once, but I clicked individually there. Now we can move forward in time and have the last keyframe at frame 30. And for the last keyframe, I'll slide the Plain Effector on the positive X-axis until all the letters are clear of the yellow box, and you see them slide into position as they clear the yellow box.

Now if I scrub through the animation, you'll see that my objects hit their mark. It's probably going to be a little too fast. We'll do a preview movie in just a moment to check it. But first, I want to do the actual hoop. So I'll down the Control key and drag a copy of this effector downward and I'll name it Hoop plain effector. Now we want this to affect the Shape Fracture. So let's select the Shape Fracture object and under the Effectors parameter, let's drag in our Hoop plain effector. When we do that, our hoop disappeared.

Now it went on the Z-axis as well. As we go to the Hoop plain effector object, let's look at that. We want to, instead of having that be 1,000 on Z, we want to have that be a lot lower. So let's start off by making it zero. Now as I scrub this Z value, something's going on here. I can't exactly tell -- oh, I see what the problem is. The issue is that on this effector, I was also scaling the type to -1. That means my hoop is currently scaled to -1. It's effectively invisible.

So let's disable the Scale option. We don't want that hoop to scale anyway. And now you can see that I'll be able to scrub that value. So let's have that be on the negative Z-axis. But to determine how far we need to move it, we need to be able to see the camera. So let's make the camera visible by clicking on its top dot once. And now you can see that my hoop is just outside the field of view of the camera. Let's get it to right on the edge. And if we look through the camera, you can see that as we scrub that value down towards zero, eventually my hoop's going to show up, and there it is.

We want to get it just outside the field of view of the camera. And then I'm going to go to the Coordinate Properties and verify that my keyframes are there. And you see that now, as we do that, as that leaves, the hoop hits its position, and so does the type. Let's do a quick preview movie of this. I'll hit Opt+B or Alt+B on the PC. That brings up the Make Preview window. Let's change that from Full Render to Software Preview, and we'll do, instead of All Frames, we'll just do from zero to, say, 50 or so. So we'll go to Manual and change that to 50, and then the Size, I'll change it to 640, and that's the horizontal size, and you can see it picks up the aspect ratio, and I'll hit OK.

And it's going to quickly burn through that and I'll get to the Picture Viewer. Let's hit Play. The first time through it's going to cache the frames. And my type -- everything's happening really fast and also it's happening at the same time. We want the type to come in and then have the hoop come in afterwards. So let's make some adjustments and have everything happen a little bit slower. So the first thing I want to do is bring up the timelines. So rather than just going to the animation layout, I'm just going to bring up the timeline. So I'll go to Window > Timeline.

And it's currently in the F-Curve Manager, so let's hit the Spacebar and go the keys. First, I want to have everything happen slower. So let's highlight both tracks, and then with this orange bar, let's stretch everything out a bit. So let's stretch that out to 60 frames, let's double the time on it. Then I want to have the Hoop plain effector happen later. So let's take that and have that happen quite a bit after. So you see that my type now, let's make the timeline just a little bit smaller and move it down here. And now we can scrub through and see what's happening here. Boom.

And I think that timing is going to be pretty good. Let's do another preview movie. Before we do a preview, let's hide our effectors. I'll hold on the Option key, or Alt key on the PC, and click twice on those status dots. Now it's Opt+B or Alt+B, make another preview movie, and it pops up pretty quick, and now we'll do a preview. And because our frame range was set to only 50, we're not seeing the actual arrival of the hoop. So let's go to Opt+B or Alt+B again, and instead of doing just 0 to 50, let's do 0 to 89, which will be the end of the animation.

It's going to pop up again, and then hit Play. I think that timing is going to be pretty good. Yup, feeling great. So the last thing we want to do is to smooth out the animation. Let's close the timeline up and there's a very special effector for that. That effector is called the Delay Effector. Let's twirl open our Type Extrude and twirl close the two fracture objects. I'm going to select each of the Fracture objects and go to the MoGraph menu and add in, under the Effectors, a Delay Effector.

And the Delay Effector creates this really interesting effect. What it does is it smooths out the motion. You can also add a springing effect by adjusting the Effector properties for the Blend pull-down. If we set it to Spring, it will do a 'boing!' kind of action. By default it's set to Blend and that's just the movement we want. That's going to create a nice ease-in. Let's do another preview, Opt+B or Alt+B, and hit OK. And when that pops up, we'll hit play here in the Picture Viewer, and you'll see that our animation now is very smooth.

And the beautiful thing about this is that this was all done with just a few keyframes, and that's really the power of the Effectors. The Effectors allow you to create movement and modify clones and generate animation without using very many keyframes. Sometimes no keyframes at all, sometimes just a few keyframes, but the key is, I have a very manageable workflow for this type.

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