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Creating movement with the Time Effector

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

Video: Creating movement with the Time Effector

The MoGraph Time Effector allows you to create motion in objects, and it can be used to add life to a still scene without adding any keyframes at all. So I've got a very basic scene set up here, it's just a cloner object, and under the Object Properties you can see that it's set to Linear, and it's kind of making 10 clones, and I've got a white material on them so we can see them easily. And I'm going to start off by showing you what the Time Effector does. Let's click on the Cloner, and then go to MoGraph, and then go to Effector, and then select Time. And the Time Effector, when you first add it, it looks like nothing's happened, except the clones have rotated.

Creating movement with the Time Effector

The MoGraph Time Effector allows you to create motion in objects, and it can be used to add life to a still scene without adding any keyframes at all. So I've got a very basic scene set up here, it's just a cloner object, and under the Object Properties you can see that it's set to Linear, and it's kind of making 10 clones, and I've got a white material on them so we can see them easily. And I'm going to start off by showing you what the Time Effector does. Let's click on the Cloner, and then go to MoGraph, and then go to Effector, and then select Time. And the Time Effector, when you first add it, it looks like nothing's happened, except the clones have rotated.

That's because by default, the Time Effector has its parameters set to affect Rotation. When we hit Play, you'll see that the objects are all rotating around the Y-axis. And that's basically all the Time Effector does. It moves, scales, or rotates objects based on the parameters that you set here, and it does it over time. So if we go to the Position, and I add a position, let's add X to the position mix, and then I'll hit Play. You'll see that all the clones will move on X. Now that doesn't immediately seem very useful, but we can have a little more fun by combining another Effector and also changing some of the properties of our Cloner object.

So let's go to the Cloner, and let's instead of making a linear line, let's make a grid array. Let's go to Grid Array, and it's set for 3 x 3 x 3. Let's make this 10 x 10 x 10. That's going to make a lot of those cubes. And I want to spread out that arrangement, and now I should be able to drag that out. I'm going to drag that out on all three axes, and I'm just eyeballing this. I could put in numerical values, but really what I want to do is just to get a big grid of clones, and let's back out here a little bit so we can see what's going on with this.

And so, I've got this large arrangement of clones. Let's spread those out. There we go. And now what I want to do is to randomize their positions. They're very, very regular right now and I want to create a cloud of these things. So let's select the Cloner, and go to the MoGraph menu, and select Effector, and then Random Effector. And when I do that, it randomizes the position of each of the clones and it does that by default. We want to add in also rotation. So let's click on the rotation icon and add in Rotation. We scrub that up. You'll notice as I scrub these values, my clones are now rotating randomly.

Let's orbit around a little bit. I haven't randomized their positions very much, they still feel like they're in a grid, so let's scrub these values and really spread them out. There we go. So now we've got a very random distribution. It no longer feels like a grid of clones. So let's hit Play now and see what's going on with our objects. I'll hit Play. You can see that they're going crazy and they're rotating wildly. And if you look under the Cloner options, you'll see that the order of the Effectors as they appear in the Effector Field on the Cloner object is very important.

And it evaluates from the top down. So right now, it's applying the Time Effector first and then randomizing. We want to do the reverse of that. Let's randomize first, and then do the Time Effector. And we're going to get a very different arrangement. You can see that now, instead of having the cloud turning, we've got each of the individual objects turning. Now I'm getting a little bit of stuttery playback, let's go the Object Properties and change that to Render Instances, and that's going to give me a much smoother experience. And let's zoom in to this cloud and get in here, and you can see that when I'm inside the cloud, as I hit Play, you can see that I've got this great environment that we've created in a really short amount of time with no keyframes at all.

The power of the Time Effector is that it allows you to create motion without any keyframes at all, and that can be really handy and it gives you one less thing to think about when you get into a really big animation pipeline.

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