Getting Started with Cinema 4D, Part 09: Introduction to the MoGraph Module

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Instructor eyedesyn

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In this video, you’ll be introduced to one of the most powerful tools inside of Cinema 4D, called the MoGraph Module, that allows you to procedurally clone, animate, and manipulate objects.

In this video, we will be creating and animating multiple copies of our fish model by utilizing one of the most powerful tools inside of Cinema 4D, called the MoGraph Module. You’ll learn how you can use the MoGraph Modules many features including how you can procedurally clone and animate objects.



In the last video we modeled a simple fish for our submarine scene. Now, since we don't want our fish to be lonely we're going to make him some friends via one of the most powerful features in Cinema 4D, the MoGraph Module. Now, the MoGraph Module, as you'll discover, is very versatile and allows you to easily clone and animate objects and that just scratches the surface of what the MoGraph Module can do. Now, here's our fish model from the previous video. One really cool thing about Cinema 4D is you can actually copy and paste objects from one project file to another. So, here's my fish group with all the objects in it. I'm going to hit CMD or CTRL + C to copy, go into my other project file and just hit CMD or CTRL + V. And voila, there's my fish. It's very large right now. So I'm just going to hit T, and I'm just going to scale this guy down. Position him right underneath the submarine here. Now, let's go ahead and add some friends for our fish. What we're going to do is use the MoGraph Module. And you can see the MoGraph menu right up here. If I click and hold, you're going to see a whole lot of options here. Now, what we're going to be using today is the cloner object. And the cloner object is aptly named. It basically just clones objects. So, and you can see that it's color coded green, so you know that it is a generator. So for a generator to act upon and generate new geometry based on an object. Remember, you have to make that object a child of that generator. So you can see, if I just move my cloner object below you can see we cloned a few fishes here, and if I go into my cloner options, go into the Object tab, we can see that basically what's going on, if I just move the fish off to the side here we can discover what's actually going on behind the scene. So, the cloner object is cloning our fish to a count of three. So it's making three fish and it is cloning them 50 centimeters in the Y above each other. So pretty easy stuff there. We can adjust the amount, how they're spaced in the Y and X and Z, but I'll just go ahead and undo that. We can also choose a different mode. So right now it's just cloning linearly. I can choose something like a grid array and have a whole mess of fish here cloned in a grid, and I think this is the mode I'm going to use for now and I can adjust how far apart our fish are as well as the count in our grid. So, let's go ahead and just make this a count of two by three and just one in the Z here, and now I can still adjust the size here. So basically I have six fish to work with. All right. So, I can also adjust these handles in the viewport, and let me just reposition my fish in my little fishbowl here. So right now, nothing too exciting, just have six fish in the fishbowl lined up pretty uniformly. And this isn't very realistic. So what we're going to do is kind of randomize the position and even the scale of these fish. And how we can do that is by going back into our MoGraph menu and go into this effectors' list. Now an effector, you can see that it's color coded purple. So basically, it's like a deformer and kind of deforms and manipulates other objects. So, what we can do is grab a random effector, and what this random effector's going to do is allow us to randomly manipulate these clones. So, I have my cloner object selected. And If I have that object selected, go into my random effector here and let go. You can see that all of my fish kind of went all over the place. And this is all due to the random effector. And you can see if that random effector was applied by going to the effectors' tab here, and you can see that, "Yes, indeed the effector was added." But if I just go ahead and delete that, we can manually add effectors to your cloner object by just drag and dropping them into this effector's field right there. And you can see that it's now acting upon our fish. So, if I go into my random effectors' options and just bring up this tab a little bit bigger, you can see what's going on. Right now by default the position is active and it's just randomly moving our fish in the X, Y and Z of a maximum amount of 50 centimeters in each direction. So I can adjust this and increase the amount that these fish can randomly be moved. I can also adjust the Scale. If I click on the Scale, check that on, I can scale these fish in the X, Y and Z as well. If I want to uniformly scale the fish in X, Y and Z, I can just check on that option. And you can see now we're kind of constrained to uniform scaling, and there you go. We have different sized fish, and let's go ahead and adjust some these values because we have some fish just kind of intersecting the sand and the bowl, so what we want to do is not push these values too much. And we also don't want our fish to be intersecting. Now, there's one really handy effector that allows us to prevent any of these fish from overlapping or bumping into and overlapping each other, and that is called the MoGraph Push Apart Effector. So if I add a Push Apart to my scene, you're going to see that I'm going to need to manually apply this to my cloner. And I'll just drag and drop it in there, and just like deformers, it matters what order your effectors are stacked. So right now in this effector stack, the random effector is affecting our objects first, followed by the Push Apart Effector. Now, what the Push Apart Effector is doing is basically pushing apart and making sure that none of these fish come within 10 centimeters of each other. It's kind of like a restraining order on each individual clone in that this will help prevent any of these fish from intersecting each other. So this is really great. Now, if we go into our random effector, maybe randomize this even more here and adjust where the cloner is positioned, maybe something like that, things are looking pretty good so far. Now, what if we want to add some nice movement, some undulations, some random movement to our fish? Well, the random effector can do that as well. So, let's first do some housecleaning here. Let's rename this closer to Fish Cloner, and rename this random effector to what it's actually doing. And I always like to do this because sometimes your scene can have 10 random effectors and you have no idea what they're doing. So, be sure you're naming them based on what they're actually randomizing. So, right now, it's randomizing the position and the scale. So I'll just hit Period, P and period, S. So P and S, P for position, S for scale. Now, what we're going to do to add some random movement is use another random effector. So I'm going to make sure my cloner's selected, go to my MoGraph menu, and with that cloner selected, whatever I choose in here will be automatically added to the effectors' list so I won't have to manually drag and drop. Let me just grab another random effector. Now, this is going to add random movement. So I'm just going to hit the Period key and just name that Random Movement, make sure that the random effector has been applied, it has. And I want to make sure that the Push Apart is actually happening last. So it's going to ensure that even when we add this next random movement, is going to be followed by the Push Apart Effector that will prevent any of the fish from intersecting each other. So let's go to this random movement random effector. And let's just adjust some of these values. We don't need to give them very big values or anything like that, and maybe some random rotation here. So I'll check on the random rotation, so we can have them randomly, kind of bobbing up and down and rotating. Maybe something like this, reposition our cloner object here, make sure that we're positioning this so it's not intersecting any of our seaweed there. So one cool thing about effectors is that, just like I showed you how you can add fields to deformers to control how much a deformer effect is applied on which part of your object, you can also apply fields to effectors as well and control how much of the random effect is applied across your clones or in our case, how much of that effect is applied to our fish. Now, the cool thing about fields, and especially the random field, if I click on the Field button here and navigate to the Random Field, you'll see that really nothing is happening right now. It just kind of adjusted and randomized how much of that effect is being applied to our fish. But if I go ahead and navigate to the Random Mode and choose Noise, what this allows me to do it load up some noise just like I added noise to the displacer to add the little bumps to our sand, I can also add noise to my random field. Now, just like the noise through my displacer was used to push and pull the geometry of my sand, I can also use noise through this random field to control how much of this random effector is applied to each object. Now, right now, again, nothing's animated because we have no animation speed in our noise. If I crank this up to 100%, you can now see, if I just move this down, you can actually see if I move this forward the noise that is visualized on our field which is really cool. If I just scale this up, you can actually see that noise sitting right there. If I just turn off my fishbowl by clicking this little button here, bring this back, you can see exactly what, is happening is this noise is undulating and animating and therefore controlling the amount of that noise is applied to our fish, basically again, the same way as our displacer was working as well and acting as a mat. So to make this loop because you can see that, this is going to be a 90-frame animation, we have this loop period. So we can actually say, you know what? After 90 frames, loop. And you can see that once I put in that 90 frames in the loop period field, this now loops perfectly over the 90 frames of our animation. So you can actually scale up the noise, if you'd like, scale it down, adjust a lot of things. You can adjust the seed of the noise as well. You can even adjust these little handles to scale up this little box, and we can even go back into our effector parameter and adjust the strength or the amount that this noise is affecting each of our fish. So again, I can click on the top stoplight twice to hide the random noise from view. And you can see, now, we have this nice undulation happening. So let's turn back on our fishbowl here and see how this looks. Now, the MoGraph Module is so easy to use yet extremely deep and powerful. And with its newly added fields feature, it gains even more functionality and versatility that makes an even more robust tool for motion graphic artists.
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