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Ecko Artifaks Interview With The Monkey 68 Comments

I sat down with Mike “The Monkey” Senften of 4DThieves to talk about his latest 3D masterpiece, Ecko Artifaks. In the interview, Mike talks about the overall scope and design of the project and about how he pulled off some of these silky smooth animations. We also get some behind the scenes about the techniques used to make the spot. Mike used just about every tool at his disposal to to get such a varied look for these spots including Cinema 4D, Mograph, Pyrocluster, Trapcode Particular, Meta Balls, Sketch And Toon, MoDynamics, Time Tracks, Trapcode Sound Keys, and multiple destruction tools for the final scene.

Thanks again to The Monkey for doing this interview. Mike has been a big part of teaching me Cinema4D though his generous posts and scene files over at I’m hoping to get him back on Greyscalegorilla for more interviews and maybe even some tutorials. With his incredible technical skill, design ability, and a name like “The Monkey” he is bound to show back up.

Links from the Interview
Mike’s NAB Presentation
GEO Tools 2010 Thread

The Ecko Artifaks Spot

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  1. Nick, this is awesome dude. The Monkey is a legend and so insightful. I’ve benefited so much from his generous posts on


  2. Martin

    Yeah, this looks awsm!!! After watchin this, even if you dont like 3d you simply must fall in love…Go Monkey, Go Gorilla!!!!!

  3. kopid

    Phenomenal interview. Loved it. Inspirational and educational. πŸ™‚

  4. loved the interview, i think this is something that you should absolutely do more of!

    and mike, your work is incredible, i’ll be in brooklyn starting later this month, i’d love to meet!

  5. The secret to the feel of the whole clip is definitely in the smooth moves of the progressive tracks.

    outstanding work.

    • Dude you Nick Campbell brother??lol Hey Nick Look at ur brother…lol

  6. pedro soto

    well…”amazing”…”cool”…is not enougth…i need a word in my language…..—ARRECHISIIIMOOOOOO!!!!—….( that it canΒ΄t be translated)..thanks for posting this piece of art

  7. ronn Trevino

    Nick I totally missed seeing your presentation at NAB this year. I was bummed, I did however stumble on Mikes Presentation and was blown away. It might have been on Tuesday, any how, Mike was very informative and we spoke afterwards. and Im still racking my brain on Time Tracks with C4D. I would love to see a total work flow Tutorial with C4D and Time Tracks even with something like his opening RAW UNCUT “sketch and Toon” open. I get the inheritance effector I but things like Sound Effector or even SoundKeys in AE are kinda stumping me. took me forever to figure out how to add a time track.. hehe.. great interview! nice work.

  8. watched half of this and until now it is a priceless contribution to us all.
    coming back later to wrap this up.
    thanks Nick and Mike.

  9. Wow. The Monkey is one bad MamaJamma. His skills are what im striving for. His work is the Hotness for sure.

  10. totally awesome, loved every second of it.
    Is there a ink anywhere btw to the nab presentation on the net?

    PS would love a tut on the opening liquid ink splats always wanted to do this without using other s/w.

  11. chetan

    would me/anyone pull this off again or anything close to this sweet in our lifetime again?? i dont think so.. im jacked looking at it..

  12. Yatze

    Hey Nick,

    Thanks for bringing the Monkey. You guys are amazing. Can’t wait for the Mike’s tutorial.

    I just got a perfect weekend breakfast “with you guys”, just talking and chilling during this interview. Always a fun and great lesson to watch you Nick.

    Cheers and Thank you,

  13. That was great! You should definitely bring in more people and do interviews.

    And if you could do a tutorial on pyrocluster one day, i would greatly appreciate it πŸ˜›

  14. That was awesome. Great to see you two guys collaborating. I can’t wait to see what you do next. Thanks.

  15. cameradan

    One of the best videos you’ve done yet. Love breakdowns.

  16. This was really great! Super excited to see some tutorials from the Monkey.

    There was mention of the other animator/designer who worked on this thing, James something, I think you only said his last name once. Could you maybe link to him also?

  17. terrific interview guys! These sorts of interviews where the job are broken down creativity and technically are rare and wonder to find. Looking forward to Monkeys tutorial, sounds exciting!

  18. The more I watch this, the more I love it. Where can I buy those watches btw? i can’t seem to find a spot online for them?

    • chetan

      you wont believe im feeling like buying all 5 watches an looking at them all day.. im forgetting the point that im also in the same field an acting like crazy just like i want the first iPad..

  19. Marko

    Great Interview, great information, great video. Thanks

  20. Nice Show – thanks to the both monkeys πŸ™‚

    Could somebody explain that particular alpha squeeze to liquid technique? I didnt understand at all..

  21. Hey man! Great interview!
    I was wondering if you know how many people worked on the project and how it was accomplished… Like Mike being the creative/art director, and/or doing the most technical part and then delegating more detail-level parts… or viseversa?

    I’m really intrigued about the workflow.

    Keep the good posts coming!

    • I developed the concept and the technical approach for each section. Davis made most all of the 3D models. I developed each look, time sequence, and animated each of the 5 sections in C4D. James stitched the sections together and added final FX in AE.

      Both Davis and James are fantastic animators and I had planned on each of us taking equal parts, but both of them were pulled away (multiple times) to work on other projects. In the end it kind of became my baby, but both Davis and James were crucial to the piece turning out as well as it did.

  22. James H O'Hagan

    Awsome work Monkey cant wait for your tutorial!!

  23. Geoff

    Great interview and I loved the NAB video. I just wish I understood more of what Monkey was talking about;) Definitely looking forward to a Monkey tut!!!

  24. Just saw this, very nice!! Look forward to monkey tutorials for sure.

    I remember this piece from and was glad to hear a lot got cut instead of my memory failing me.

    Sorry to see the hourglass shot go though, great work as always, monkey et al.

  25. Andrew

    wow…that’s all I can say, Gorilla how did he manage to bring the graffiti in like that after the train went around it??

  26. Stigg

    i really like the beginning with the raw uncut!

  27. Wow, this is the kind of stuff I love to see in blogs and conferences. A masterpiece man! Thanks!

  28. I can`t figure out ,how to install plugins in to R11.5 .The only plugins that showed up for me is c4d star plug and realflow plugin.I have tryed a bunch of plugins folowing the instructions but non of them shows up when I open plugin meniu.Can anyone help me to find out ,whats wrong? Recenty I have got the xplode and xbreaker plugs.I have them unziped and copied in to plugins folder,but as I said- non of them work πŸ™

  29. chris

    My chin felt off when I first saw this ecko animation. Fantastic Composition!!!

  30. hey there
    first of all u guys are the best
    i just got a technical question about plane effector,
    in blue part where spray cans flip to cityscape everything scales up and then goes back to original size.
    Any clue on that one? I got it to flip my objects and i like it but scaling leaves objects scaled up, how do i get them to go back to original size after flip?

    keep up great work, i’m so happy to find your page
    it’s more than tutorials.

    • oh you know what, I got it.
      i used second plain effector with spline in falloff and it seam to work just fine.

  31. nehale

    Great interview, Monkey, a slower more detailed tutorial about time tracks and the sound effector would really be awesome, I watched your NAB presentation and couldn’t catch a thing you said but I knew I liked it, and can you also show how to use the scrips that were provided there.


  32. Great stuff. Just starting out so I could not figure out how you got all the audio data tracks. I have the scripts from Cineversity but do not know how to use them to get the data….

    Any help or links would be great!

  33. Jason

    Hello my friends.How do I make the animation of the intro text ? Or Do you have examples of similar project files (:

  34. Hernan

    hi, with what program did you record the interview ? is it Skype ?

  35. Gerry

    Where is the monkey? Havent seen or heard from him, nothing on the interwebs since about 2010. Anybody know anything. Such a powerful talent shouldnt be lost.
    And Nick, thanks for reminding us about him again.

  36. Michael

    This is super helpful, more from the Monkey for sure! Great piece of work and very helpful in going through the specifics and techniques. I hungry to learn and these videos are great resources for pushing people like me further.

  37. Siminnaz

    Thank you for sharing this wonderful interview and the awesome video.
    I’m speechless of the Beauty, the Creativity and the Techniques of this excellent piece of work.
    My thanks to all of you.


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Comment Rules

This is a friendly community. Please treat everyone with respect. We don't all have to agree, but we do have to be nice. Criticism is fine, but rude comments and name calling will be deleted. Use your real name and don't be spammy. Thanks for adding to the conversation.