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Make a Baseball Intro with Cinema 4D and Physical Renderer 124 Comments

In this tutorial, I try to recreate a baseball animation I saw while watching the White Sox Vs. Tigers game on WGN this weekend. We start by texturing the baseball and setting the animation with CS Tools’ Move Null. Then, we model and animate the dirt using the landscape object and a particle emitter. The Depth Of Field was added using the Physical renderer and the lighting was setup with the Light Kit Pro and HDRI Studio Pack. Finally, I show you how I did the time remapping, light leaks and compositing in After Effects.

UPDATE: Tutorial requires R14 and above.


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  1. Havent had a chance to watch the tutorial yet, but love the idea of using tiny landscapes as rubble – seems so obvious now 🙂

  2. Why did I use up so much allowance!!! Have to wait a week before I can view this…cant freaking wait!

  3. Amazing Nick, superb quality thanks a lot for sharing all your knowledge, I’m moving from Web Designer to Motion Designer thanks to you.

    I’m going to try to film a real soccer player, then zoom in to the kick of the soccer ball and replace the real ball with a CG one that matches and try this stuff, let’s see how this comes out, I’m figuring out how I’m going to do with the zoom & replacement but thats the funny part of learning


  4. Jaime Mendez

    Nick You have become my college, thanks for sharing all the knowledge.

  5. Singh

    Nick, what I love about your tutorials is that you show the whole process from start to finish, which REALLY helps. Thank you.

  6. ehsan

    I was worried about you
    Every day I Seeing your site And no news from you
    And you’re welcome Again Stronger than before
    Thank you
    Good luck

  7. Thanks Nick! Loved your sound effects — that’s how we tend to communicate at work, too. I scrubbed through to the AE compositing part because I needed a refresher on time remapping. Had an “a-ha” moment when you explained the part about keeping the distance between the keyframes together. And another when you adjusted the curves. I would definitely love to see a tutorial or quick tip session on time remapping!

  8. Miguel

    You can do the same slow-time effect in Cinema 4d.
    In the Atributes Panel / Document / Dynamics / General / Time Scale

    • It won’t work with this one. At least that’s how it is in my app.

      I’ve had some decent stress over it lately and I couldn’t figure out, why the heck that time scale doesn’t do anything with my animated “something”.. It turned out, that time scale only works with MyGraph dynamics.

      • Miguel

        yes, it only works with Dynamics, if you want to make any other animation, is better to do the slowmotion as Nicks said, with After Effects.

  9. iamconsume

    Fantastic tutorial, Nick! Keep ’em coming! This site is the best Cinema 4D resource on the web. Great tutorials with jaw-dropping results.

  10. Love it! Especially the line about watching this in the past at the end…You’ll be the first I call when I build my time machine.

  11. Hi!!! Im spain we call the clips thats goes between the real time and the replay as Bumper… I don´t know if is the same name in other countries.
    Great tutorial!!!!

  12. Ricky Evans

    Is there anyway of getting the ball if you don’t have broadcast version???

  13. Ricky Evans

    Doh! Found it!!! I’m thinking of doing the same as casko with a youth group using green screen etc to show them the power of MG 🙂

  14. David

    Nick … when in doubt … Google is your friend for reference
    … like a scuffed up baseball 🙂

    Love your work and your sharing the process.

  15. Rubi Rambot

    Incredible walkthrough, but for me the really good of that kind of “Tutorial” was only 1 frase about “starting from 0” with the textures. Absolutely agree with you.

  16. NAME YOUR LAYERS! Lead by example Nick! I can’t tell you how many mograph artists I have worked with who are so unorganized, with their layers all over the place with no rhyme or reason, and I’ve never called them back to work with.

  17. lyonnel

    I’m not american, so I didn’t know this baseball intro. Is that for superball ? (I’m joking ^^)
    but the tutorial is very useful.

  18. Edvin

    Hello Nick. Maybe u’ve already answered this question but, why your c4d is NFR version??

  19. Ricky Evans

    anyone know why i don’t have the option to switch off the seamless floor? CD4R13?

    • palej

      seamless floor controls –> turn off floor (in your “seamless floor”)

      • Ivar Spetter

        I have the same problem i also don’t have the option to switch off the seamless floor
        and i’m also working in C4DR13
        Is this a problem in the R13 version or something else.
        it’s not in the seamless floor controls

  20. Hey Nick great tutorial as always and im from detroit also but i am 13 and would like to become a modeler and motion, graphic artist and i really love it so far and thats what i would like to become as i get older and can go to college and do those things. Any advice on your job and how you like it?

    • Dylan

      I’m obviously not Nick, but I’ll give you some advice…At least from someone who’s in school now and is fairly happy with his success so far. Reach out, and go far beyond your assignments in college. I’m in college and weaseled my way into an internship at the best motion graphics house in my city. There’s the regular application procedure, then there’s the uncommon way of finding out who the senior art director is and contacting him directly. A good reel is first and foremost, though. If you only do the assignments, you’ll end up like 90% of the rest of your class. It takes a lot more motivation to really push yourself every day. If you have a good sense of design and are motivated, you’ll go far.

  21. Have to ask. What’s the Camera Projection render alongside your baseball render?

    ~A fellow Gorilla

  22. hey there

    Great tutorial Nick, it was really fun so far. I’m rendering it out in cinema now. My question is, the bright glow you used in after effects, is that a standard effect or a third party plug in? And if it’s a third party plug in, is there a similar effect in after effects? I’m still a bit unfamiliar with AE.

  23. Thanks Nick!!! It was nice to meet you outside of Sigraph this year!! I was getting a little impatient for a tutorial that was a little more advanced but this is very cool and super useful with lots of neat tips thanks.

  24. Alexey Konovalov

    Hi Nick, a lesson as always perfect, but I saw you vray want to ask, will you have the presets on it in the near future?))

  25. Hey Nick,
    I have a problem. I got the HDRI Studio Pack. I put it in the right folder. when i tried to open HDRI StudioRig just like u did in the tutorial i get nothing but black all around. the Light and Reflect materials are all BLACK. Can u please help me? Thanx in advance

    • CollinBishop

      You must drop in the HDR in the objects controls…

      • Damn! i feel stupid. im new at this and i dont understand. so my gsg hdri pack is in the content browser. I drag the RIG and put it in the object thingie at the right top of cinema where all object are. but all i get is black. and the materials too are black

          • ok i did that. btw im on windows 7 32 bit 4D Studio R13

  26. Ricky Evans

    To Palej

    Thanks for the info but i do not have a turn off option in my seamless floor controls i also do not have the various options Nick seems to have in the gradient type either????

  27. Hey Nick,well done but we need a tut “how to modell a basball” 🙂

    • Hi there, maybe i can help you with the time remapping, send me the files to try yo help you, best regards.

  28. Henry Mbwille

    I fantastic tutorials , umm i really gotta ask why, why you don’t wanna go for modelling and and what about water simulation!?

  29. makos_X

    Really great tutorial, as always! Thank you very much, specially for the AE time remap guide.

  30. Harry

    Nick mentioned that he used 16 bit instead of 8 bit when rendering out in cinema.

    Can anyone explain the differences between the two? I think I have always used 8 bit without knowing the wiser.

  31. Brendan

    Hey what texture did you guys use for the diffusion?

  32. Jose Spain

    Thanks Nick.
    Great tutorial as allways.
    I agree with Singh. You allways start your tutorials from scratch. It’s very usefull.

    By the way…… You “should” make a tutorial about Time remaping in After effects..

    I have a question in advance….. Can you use with time remapping, if this time remaping slow down your motion, Frame blend for give more quality to your scene?

    Thanks so much again.

  33. Thanks for the tutorial.i am new to 3d modeling and trying to learn from the best like you and cafe 4d and few others.
    for past 2 days i am trying to find a video tutorial about making staircase and railing and the railing guard in c4d , and the more i looked i realized nobody ever made such a tutorial about these subjects.
    i decided to bring my demand to you and hope you can help me and a lot of others ,because when i was searching ,i realized in fact so many people are looking for that kind of tutorial but nobody ever listened to them and c4d society is desperately in need of a good video tutorial from a good source.
    i hope you can do this for us.
    thank you in advance.mike

  34. Hey Nick
    I was wondering what settings did you use for physical render in this scene?

  35. Michael

    Hi Nick. Thanks for tutorial !! It’s great.

    I have a problem with CSTools. I installed on my rs13 but I can’t move the object. Is this plugin work with rs 13 version?

    • Michael, you have a texture you nick to DIFFUSION material editor, if you have please post thanks you for understading

      • Michael

        I have all texture. The problem is that i can’t move CGMove_null anywhere, it,s blocked and i don’t know why. Also in r12 is that same

  36. Alistair

    Thank you so much for your awesome tutorials! Love the baseball, turned out great!
    I also want to thank you for the dialog! You really keep me entertained the whole way thru! Most tuts you come across are mono toned boring lectures but you and chris really make it an experience! I have actually laughed out loud on more than one occasion at work! Thanks for that 🙂

    Keep them coming and I will keep on watching!
    All the best

  37. straydogkid

    Thanks for the awesome tutorial – one of the best and most useful i’ve seen!!

  38. NKDizn

    Hi Nick, the link for baseball ball isd dead …… ARRRrrrgh

  39. Great tut! Waiting fot the time-remap tut!
    Gotta say: these tutorials are better then the lessons Premiere Pro I had in high school, lol!

  40. Hello Nick & everybody else here,

    i would like to share my rendering of the baseball with you. Had to change some things (as i’m on R13 and don’t have the HDRI Studio Kit nor the Lighting kit…) So it all came out not as nice as in your tutorial. Well, it’s all written down in the description of the Video, so head over everone who’s interested in it, and have a look 😉

    Nevertheless: Great tutorial Nick, i enjoyed creating the animation. And it’s always great to watch you evolving from an idea to the final product (hassling around, tweaking this and that…)…

    Well, it’s again a much too long post here from me… Without any words, heres the link to the movie:

    enjoy and cheers,

  41. giangianni

    you really find time to watch a baseball game???
    On the couch???????????????????????

    • I know, right? Every once in a long while, I don’t mind to zone out. Those announcers are so calming.

  42. Oscar


    It looks great. I’m trying to do it but I don’t have all those objects under my content browser. I don’t have the folders “visualize and broadcast”. Where can I download them?

    Thanks a lot for the help!!

  43. Carlito

    Great tutorial, like always! Thank you so much!…:)

  44. Dano Nunes

    Hey Nick! I really like this tutorial! I like all your stuff! but this one just blew my mind! Easy to follow and fantastic results! Just on my mbp it took 2 days to render the image sequence from cinema4d 🙂 hahaha

    Here’s my version of the slow motion baseball! Thanks and keep up the amazing work!

  45. Pablo

    HI! I´m from Argentina, so my english is not the best. I was making this great tutorial and i´ve got a problem with free cs tool call cs_movenull (something like that). When I put that tool over my baseball, some cube apears in the proyect and very far away from the baseball, and every parameters i change y linked to this cube and rotate arround the cube, not the ball.

    That´s my problem.
    I hope you can understand!


    Keep uploading greats tutorial like this one!

  46. Jay Zed

    Thanks for the tutorial. I took the liberty of using it as a basis for a station ID for a sports commentary service.

    Could be a lot better but deadlines, you know.

  47. Jayden

    Hey GSG, just wondering whenever i add a movenull it always goes way above the ball but says 0, im also not able to change its position as it wont let me for some reason, im using r14.042. thanks heaps

  48. runningforest

    Can anyone tell me, why i have`t got a seamless tool preset and where i can get It?

  49. Marc King

    Are you serious about being half color blind nick?!
    Ive got some kind of color blindness (i can’t see those little dot tests) and it’s my darkest secret in this industry!
    If you weren’t kidding, that is awesome. Im not alone! 😉

    • jay Zed

      Hey Mark K. I’ve been working in marketing for decades and I used to be surprised at the number of people working in the creative, visual side of the industry who had various restrictions on their colour perception – most of whom only admitted so in private. I’m also slightly red-brown limited and for this reason always worked in audio (latterly management). As I love the visual area I’ve dabbled in images and animation, mostly as a hobby, since the days of Autodesk Animator and Photstyler. Work wise, before I went into management I did the odd bit of Photoshop or Aftereffects when no-one else was available.

      I’m older now and what I’ve realised is that limitations are a gift. You can always get someone else to make sure you haven’t done something absolutely ghastly, but in the meantime you have a ‘vision’ that most people don’t. You (and Nick, and the others I mentioned) see things differently, which in any truly creative endeavour is exactly what most people strive for. Consider it an asset.

      Run anything you do past someone else before delivery and use the amazing tools we now have for colour correction to confirm the numbers (in particular, skintones – use tools like cosmo, or other stuff with skintone confirmation or search for CMYK percentages for skin, if you don’t know that trick).

      We can create almost anything we can imagine nowadays. Think of all the cliches – what you leave out is more important, it’s the silence between the notes that matters etc etc. Everyone has to decide which limitations they are going to work within and this is one of the hardest parts of creativity (once you have mastered the tools and techniques, that is). You have a head start, go for it.

  50. Michael Davis

    I *LOVE* what you said about starting over on the ball’s texture. Sometimes I’ve been picking at something specific for three hours, and it starts to feel like, “I can’t just ditch this! All that time I spent has to have been for something!” But if I can force myself to click Reset, 10 minutes later I’m where I wanted to be. Excellent advice.

  51. mujtaba

    Dont have words to define u r awsome guys & I love u Guys
    Tanx for the all of the tutorials

  52. MeowsingSJazz

    Amazing tutorials!!! ….the infos and tips u guys gives are invaluable ..from years of experiences thank you.

  53. Jérémy Paul

    Thank you Nick, this is not the first GSG tutorial I’m doing, and still very appreciated. You rock, guys !

    Here’s my attempt, lots of AE as well, but sticked pretty close.

  54. Danny

    Hiya Nick, quick question, sorry if it’s obvious: around 10:18, once you’ve dropped in a softbox to add light to an already quite bright scene, why does the ball go from being quite well lit to being so dark? I thought it might be that it’s reflecting a black studio with white lights, but why isn’t the white diffuse colour coming through?


    • There is a standard light that is in C4D that is always on until you add a light source to the scene. When I added the softbox, the scene light turned off and then we were only looking at the softbox light.

  55. Patrick

    CS Tools’ Move Null is block, i can move the ball center into de move null center so the ball rotates bad. HELPPPPP PLEASE

  56. Federico Yoshizato

    Hello! This is a version i did of your baseball tutorial!
    It is a great tutorial!

    I hope you like my version.
    I modeled the ball in maya, and then did the displacement map and diffuse map in Mudbox.

    After that it was all Cinema and After Effects!

  57. Brodee

    Hey Nick, this sounded like a great tutorial that I really would’ve enjoyed working on but I only have the studio version of Cinema, so the baseball part of it can’t be done. Which pretty much spoils the whole thing :/

  58. Luca

    Hey Nick, I know I’m two years late but I’ve just started playing with C4D and After Effects literally two weeks ago. Thanks to you and Chris (I’ve follow all the introductory tuts before give this one a go), your knowledge is invaluable.

    Here it is:

    I now want to try to do a different version, but it was good to being able to follow and recreate yours. Keep up the good work!

  59. Lauren

    When I batch render this animation, only about a third of the dirt particles show up. This is isn’t the first time I’ve used dynamics and noticed a substantial difference between the viewport and the renders. What might account for the disparity?

  60. Wayne

    Is it possible to save this video so that i can watch it when my internet lags


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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.