Animate Crystal Growth with Voronoi Fracture and MoGraph Effectors

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Instructor Rick Barrett

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  • Duration: 12:17
  • Views: 1493
  • Made with Release: 18
  • Works with Release: 18 and greater

Use Voronoi Fracture, Plain Effector, Push Apart Effector and Cloner Blend Mode to create a crystal animation.

In this tutorial you'll learn how to create and animate crystals in a just a few steps within Cinema 4D. The Voronoi Fracture object in C4D R18 and greater makes it easy to split objects into crystalline forms, and animate with MoGraph Effectors. You'll use a Plain Effector with falloff to create the basic animation, and then generate a variety of crystals using the Cloner in Blend mode and the Modify Clone parameter in a Random Effector. Finally, the new Push Apart effector will offset the crystals vertically to minimize overlaps.



- [Rick Barrett] In this tutorial, we'll recreate the crystal growth effect from the Warm Winter scene by Handel Eugene. In the scene, crystals grow progressively out of the icy landscape, just before the plant erupts from the ground and for this we're going to use the Voronoi Fracture tool, as well as several MoGraph effectors, including the Push Apart effector, which is new in Cinema 4D release 18. So, I'm going to go ahead and do this in a new scene, and we'll go ahead and take this one material with us and create a new scene and paste that material in while we've got it. And I'm going to go ahead and create a Cylinder object, and this is going to be the basis for our crystal. Now, we don't actually want it to be round. We want it to have sharp edges, so I'm going to drop the Rotation Segments here from 36 down to 6, and that's just how smooth it's going to be. We don't want this to be smooth at all, we just want it to be sort of hexagonal, and we're also going to drop the Radius here down to something like 12, so that our crystal is long and skinny. And I also want to make the crystal pointed on the end,and for that, I'm going to go into the Caps tab here and adjust the Fillet. Now I don't want multiple segments because again, I want this to be nice and sharp. So, I'm going to set the Segments to 1 and then we can just sort of dial in the Radius here for how sharp we want it to be, whether we want it to come to a full point or whether we want a little bit of a top cap there. So, now we've got the cylinder here in our scene, and we want to go ahead and break it up and create fractures. Well, one of the great new features in Cinema 4D release 18 is this fully-procedural Voronoi Fracture object, and it does just that. In fact, let's go ahead and really quickly, add the material onto this, and if we do a quick render, what you'll see is that we get a nice-looking crystal, but we're not getting those fractures in between the material but you'll often see with crystals. And also, we need that Voronoi Fracture in order to create that procedural growth animation that we're going to use. So, let's go ahead and create a Voronoi Fracture object. I'm going to make sure that my object is selected, I'm going to go down here to MoGraph, and choose Voronoi Fracture. If I hold down the Alt key when I create this, it's going to make it a parent automatically, and we need it to be a parent because it is a green object, its icon is green. Green icons denote generators in Cinema 4D. Generators are objects that generate new geometry based on parameters and source objects that are placed underneath them. So, here we have the fractures, the colorize fragments here, gives us a nice preview of all of the different pieces that have been broken out of this source object. We're going to adjust the Offset Fragments option here to add some spacing between each fragment. That's not really what we're going for here, but it's a really handy option. And here in the Sources tab, we can change how the fracture is actually defined. So here, we're just using random points.The Point Amount here, if we increase that, it's going to make more fractures, and if we decrease it, it's going to make fewer, so let's just go ahead and set this to something like 12. And of course, we can use the Seed here to change where the fractures are actually occurring. Now, there's lots more that you can do here in the Sources tab. You can add virtually any Cinema 4D object as a source, and create some really cool fracturing patterns that way. For now, we're going to go ahead and jump straight into the animation of this crystal, and to do that, what we're going to do is control it with MoGraph effectors. Voronoi Fracture is fully built into the MoGraph system, so I can use effectors to control the fractures. I'm going to go ahead and add a Plain effector and what we want to do here is go ahead and adjust the patameters You can see that was applied automatically, shows up here in the effectors list, on the Voronoi Fracture, and we're going to go ahead and adjust this a little bit. The first thing that I'm going to do is in the Rotation, I'm going to set it to 90 degrees on all 3 axis, and now you can see that all those fractures are sideways. Well, as we animate this, they're going to rotate from sideways to right side up. Also, you noticed that it's moving up and out instead of down, so we're going to go ahead and adjust the position Y to minus 50, so that those fractures grow up instead of growing down. So basically, this is going to be our growth like that. Now, we also need the Scale to start off at minus 1, so that those crystal pieces aren't in the scene at all before they're grown, and now, again, if we adjust the Strength, you'll see that they are shriveling down to nothing, so basically, we're moving from this into this, but we want to do that progressively. We don't want to do it on the entire crystal all at once, we want to grow up, and to do that, what we do is set a Falloff. So, right now, we've got an Infinite falloff that's affecting the entire crystal 100%. What we want to do is switch this into a Linear falloff, and we want to switch the Orientation here to a Vertical Orientation, or based on the Y-axis. And now, as I animate this, you can see that it's growing that crystal on, just like we saw in the final shot. So, we'll just animate the Y position of this effector, going here to that frame, set the position Y, come over here, raise it up, set another position Y, and now you can see the animation of that. I can drop this out a little bit further to slow it down, and the beauty of this set up is that it's all completely procedural all the time. If I want to change the width of that crystal, I can come in here and set this to something like 25. If I want to change the number of fractures, I can go into the Sources, and I can set the Point Amount to something like 35. I can increase the Seed. I can do virtually anything here. I can even switch the Distribution here to something like Exponential, and add more crystals on one side than the other, or towards the top, or something like that. And you can stack multiple Point Generators here so that some of them are Uniform and some of them are Exponential. You can see that we're growing more crystals here on this side now of the crystal, more fractures on this side of the crystal, and there's all this power that we can achieve through a completely procedural set up for the crystal. And so, what we do is just group that together, call it Crystal. And what Handel did is basically copy this about 50 times to create all the crystals in our final animation. Now, I'm sure he did it this way because he wanted to very artistically control where each crystal was, what exactly it looked like, but the thing is is that I'm kind of lazy, so I'm going to show you another trick that you can use in Cinema 4D to get some variety in these crystals without having to manually place and adjust each crystal. So, for that, what we're going to do is take this one crystal we have, and I'm going to make a copy, and I want to make this other copy quite a bit different than the first one. So we're going to drop this Radius down to something like 3, and I'm going to exaggerate this just so that it's obvious. We're going to go ahead and drop the Point Amount pretty significantly, let's just drop that down to 5, and we'll drop the Point Amount here down to 15. Let's go ahead and change the affinity so that they'll sort of...the crystal will break up in a different spot. We're going here to the Plain effector and sort of adjust the speed of the animation there and maybe go into the Parameters here and tweak those, as well. Maybe these come just up a little bit. So, we've got a few different options here and let's actually just move this so you can see, this is our second crystal. Well, what I want to do now is go ahead and put both of these crystals into a Cloner object. And again, a Cloner Object is a generator. It generates multiple copies of objects based on the source objects that you give it, and we've given it two complete hierarchies. We can go ahead and switch this Cloner into a different distribution mode. Right now it's just distributing Linear and they're right on top of each other. I'm going to switch this into Radial, and we'll switch it into the XZ plane, and now, you can see that what it's doing is it's iterating right now between those two styles of cloners. And I'm just going to hide these point effectors so that they're not that just so obvious that you can't see anything else. So now you can see that it's iterating. It's going big, little, big, little, big, little big, little, big little,big and then big, just because there's an odd number of clones here. And so, what we can do is now is actually, instead of iterating, what I'm going to do is tell it to Blend, and now, you can see that it's going from little cloner, or little fracture crystal, all the way around to big fracture crystal. Well, I don't want that to be such a linear progression, so what I'm going to do is add a Random effector and in the Random effector, I'm not going to randomize the position. I might go back and do that later, but what I really want to randomize here is the Modify Clone parameter, and you can see that when we do that, we're randomizing how the Blend occurs. And so, we can adjust that. We can adjust the Minimum, Maximum. We can adjust the Seed here, and get different types of blends between those two crystals, and we could put additional crystals in here, as well, and it would blend between those shapes, as well. So, we can add as much variety in with this set up as we want. Now, I want these to all be growing out from a central point, sort of growing out like they were in Handel's scene, and so for that, what I'm going to do is simply add some rotation into the Cloner. So, I'm going to go in here to the Transform, and we'll rotate the pitch it is. And now, you can see that they'll all grow out from a central spot. Now, we can randomize that a little bit. We can go in here to the Parameter and adjust the Rotation,and we'll give it like, 50%. That's too much. We'll give it a just a little bit of variation, and this would be helped, too, actually, if we select the No Objects, and I'm going to move them down to the bottom of the crystals. And so now, it's a little bit easier to control that rotation, and we can just drop the Radius here to pull them back closer together. And so we'll add some more, but they're all overlapping, and that's another thing that I'd like to avoid, and so for that, what I'll do is go ahead and add a Push Apart effector, and this is another new R18 feature that's going to actually push clones apart, so that they don't overlap. Now, in this case, I don't want to push them completely out. What I want to do is push them along the Y-axis so that they'll be displaced vertically by the other crystals, and you can see that we get an effect, something like this. So, there, we can adjust the Strength and see what that looks like. So, that's an idea of how you can put together a few of the new features in Cinema 4D release 18, with the power of the MoGraph module, in order to achieve some really nice effects, and grow these crystals.
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