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Texturing Objects and Lights in Cinema 4D 114 Comments

In this tutorial, I will go though the steps in texturing objects in Cinema 4D. I also play with using textures to actually light the scene. I get this specific tutorial request a lot and I decided to just jump in and go though the process without too much set up or goal in mind. With that in mind, let me know what you think.

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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.


  1. Tim From Belgium

    these tutorials are just amazing!
    It’s strange to see that there is so little amount of good constructive cinema 4d tutorials like this one.
    Keep it up nick !

  2. Thanks for this tuto nick. I learned a lot about those shader stuff, Displacement is in my fave-five now! But there is still a big question to me: How to do goodlooking glass in C4D? I tried a lot and everything looked like crap…
    Any suggestions?

    LOL @ the end I thought you wanna sale some gum…

    • Hi Scott, I tried to email you, but it didn’t go through. Here is the answer to your “What screen capture do you use” question…

      I use Screenflow to record the tutorials. It does all the capture, editing and export.
      After export, i go directly to upload to vimeo.

      I will be doing a tut about this soon I swear.

      • You have inspired me to try out Screen flow. I am using my digital video camera hooked up with fire wire, works great!

        Just wondering if there is a microphone you would suggest I use?

        I have a lapel mic but screen flow doesn’t pick it up that well.


      • Thanks for the answer. I didn’t recognize it. I use captavate and some camtasia. Want to get the new camtasia for MAC but must save the pennnies.

  3. Joshua

    again. great tutorial.
    gonna mess me up some crap and make more cool crap.

    hard drive- check
    gum – check

    thanks again.

  4. Orbit is the shit, my fav passtime when I’m working is chewin some gum.

    Great tutorial too! Thanks GSG!


  5. jeremiah

    Clicking on HD is taking me to a video not found page on Vimeo. I have checked three other videos on your site and it is doing the same thing on them as well.

  6. bastian


    thank u for another great tutorial. I played around in cinema an used your light setting to play around. finally i came to the point where i was moving things through space.. now my question is: if i animate my stuff, how do i set the light up to get thouse good looking car model materials? Do i need to place seperate lights or is there a simple way to handle that problem?



  7. Good tips. It’s a good basic overview of the thing ! I personnally would really like to know more in-depth stuff relative to the textures/lighting set ups used in the pro world since it seems to be a BIG part of a good 3D creation.
    I love the “workflow way” of showing your stuff ! Nice !

  8. Nick, what kind of computer do you record your tuts on? iMac, MacBook Pro, Mac Pro?
    I can see you have a lot of HD’s. How much ram does your computer have?
    Who cuts your hair?
    What’s Chicago like?
    What do you want to do when you grow up?
    So many questions….

    • I use a Mac Pro 8 core for my tuts.
      I have 10GB or ram
      Snap Hair cuts my hair. Itโ€™s across the street.
      Chicago is great when itโ€™s not too hot or cold.
      I want to solve problems when I grow up.


  9. loved it. thanks a bunch. i’m new to c4d and learning a ton from your site.
    @illd- try looking into the presets in the content manager. thats a good place to start. they have a whole scene setup.

  10. so there was a recap followed by a critique of the recap followed by a recap of the critique of the recap… well done sir..

  11. A couple of quickies for transparency in C4D:
    1. Always use refractions. Use 1.33 for water, 2.4 for diamond, 1.4-1.6 for glass.
    2. Use fresnel – both in the check box and in the texture, where you should reverse the black-white gradient. Make sure the material is not getting 100% transparent at any point (hardly any material ever will in reality)
    3. Try playing with the fresnel mix values.
    4. Try tinting with a touch of colour.
    5. If you don’t mind much longer render times try playing with dispersion. It will scatter the transparency and add some blur.

    Good luck…

  12. Ex-ac-tly what I wanted to see!!! WOW!
    Really love the C4D tuts! I’m learning a lot.

    Thanks Nick!

  13. Hey,

    First a small hint. with the specialized shader, you could open the content manager and it has a bunch of examples for each shader.

    Rugged hard drive? did someone buy you?

    Orbit…. mmm…. i miss orbit, all we got here is this stupid Extra.

    Nice tut. Knew most of the stuff, but might be using the enviroment channel in some complex animations, see what happens.


  14. Zwoep

    Great tutorial, again.
    Little idea: give us a little project that has to do with the tutorial (maybe not this one) and then pick out a few and give a few pointers? Like “maybe use less fresnel” or “you should have positioned your camera more like this”.

    Could sound like homework – teacher. Dunno. ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. As always great tutorial,
    it’s pleasant to see good tut’s.

    What’s interesting in your tut’s is that they are targetting people wants to create thing not become an ingener.

    I’ve bought a french dvd to learn C4D and there’s just 3 or 4 things i’ve learned, the rest is not creativ, it’s just basics.
    Nothing about MoGraph, nothing about dynamics, nothing about keyframes, render, camera, etc… it’s not good at all.

    In few mounths here i’ve learned much more.
    So thanks a lot, keep continue your blog,

  16. I just wanted to thank you Nick or Gorilla whatever, your tips are very useful. You’re a great tutman. Long life to the Gorilla !

  17. Man if there were videos like this everywhere I wouldn’t have gone to school. Thanks a ton, you’ve made the transition to Cinema4D from Maya really, really easy.

  18. Thanks a lot for these tutorials, I remember you asked for suggestions, could you do like a tutorial on modeling a room with objects. Especially covering texturing?

  19. brandon

    this was exactly what i wanted to learn. thanks nick!

  20. To adjust the size of the brick pattern, you need to select the material icon from the Objects Manager, and then play with the Tiles X and Tiles Y settings at the attribute manager.

    • Ahhhh yes. Thanks Petar. I think i learn more in the comments than i do with books. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks again!

  21. Brian

    much thanks man, this is great! much appreciated as i’m a complete novice with c4d.

    one issue i’ve got- when rendering the floor light, my entire scene is lit instead of just the area of the floor light/”soft box”(photo: – is there a setting i’ve mistakenly checked? any help would be awesome.

  22. Great tut. Probably a stupid question: how would one make the light planes not appear in the final render but still light the objects?

  23. Brian

    Nice tut NIck. One question though….I mapped an image onto a plane. Followed your alpha directions. All is great. But, how do I get rid of the black color of the plane? I just want my logo that I applied to my plane to show. Not the plane too. Thanks!

  24. Brian

    Update…I have found that when the logo is standing up I can see through it. The odd part is that it needs to be part of the floor. So I do a -90 so it is laying on the floor. The floor has reflection on it. When I look at the scene rendered I can see the black plain because it is interfering with the reflections. I do not get it.

  25. Nice blog Nick. I like places like this where you can find really useful stuff. Please post something about uv mapping with Cinema 4D or how to animate textures.
    Good job man

  26. Baldur Helgason

    Hey Nick, thank you for your brilliant tutorials. I laugh my ass off most of the time! I love your natural approach! Those kind of tutorials are the best! You truly are a joy to watch. Iโ€™m so glad I found your site. Keep up the good work!
    Cheers from Iceland!

  27. Guillermo

    Amigo! no sabes cuanto estoy aprendiendo de esto.. recien estoy empezando con cinema (antes usaba maya) y gracias a ti las cosas son mucho mas faciles! un abrazo desde argentina! y de nuevo.. mil gracias!

  28. Julie

    Can you tell me how to make a “hole” or a “cave” in a solid object in C4d? As if part of a cube had been carved away.
    A job calls for something that absolutely has to be 3d and I’m totally scrambling trying to learn C4d overnight! ๐Ÿ™‚ Any tips would be much appreciated! Your tutorials are lifesaving.

  29. naveen

    Hi Nick.
    I am right owning a graphic designing studio for print media. Want to open a Motion graphic department.

    Could you guide me in choosing the right tool for MG. I hear lot of stuff about c4d , but I am a max and after effect user from past 4 years and I want to open a motion graphic studio, would want to know, what if I switch to c4d for good after spending 4years with 3ds max.

    After seeing lot of MG related stuff done in C4D I am getting tempted to switch but I fear I won’t be able to start my studio with confidence with the new package, it would take a lot of time in learning tool in one hand and using it in a professional manner is a different thing.

    I am confused, please advice.


  30. Awesome tutorial, big ups! One thing, though, as with some video tutorials, try not to make too much slopping sound when talking ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Very nice David. I just played with this to see how far away I could make them and still light the objects, it did not work, they need to be close to light things up. But this composite tags works like a charm. And the video reply is great.

  31. Raivan

    I was able to texture and light the sphere, box, and pill objects fine, but when I tried to use text the reflectivity wouldn’t work with the planes (only with actual C4D lights.
    Anyone have any ideas? Is there a difference between textured polygons and the shape objects C4D creates?

  32. this was the first tut i saw, thanks for not taking showers, too much coffee, a house full of smoke, cats that are starving and a baby that suddenly needs to sleep a lot… i’m hooked.

  33. Hi Nick~

    Just came across this awesome tutorial and I’m having a helluva time with Material and Render settings in r10. When I turn Reflection off and turn on Environment to load an HDRI or use a gradient as the reflection, I’m still getting the reflection of the planes on my sphere; any idea why this may be happening?


  34. lmao great recaping, I love it. nice gum and stuff.

    great tutorial. I learnt a lot, BAM!
    stay in there Nick!

  35. Great tutorial.
    Btw, you can drag the imported texture from one option (like Color…) to another (just wait so that it opens the other option)

  36. Brian

    Great tutorial! But I can’t find the global illumination settings on my render settings! It’s not in the effects either. What seems to be the problem? Thank you!

    • might be the version you’re using. I’m using R10 and the GI settings aren’t the same. in fact, in the tut when he begins the GI explanation and renders, the light is solely from above. when i use it, i still get light from the camera. haven’t figured out why yet. still working.

    • maybe i should pay more attention to detail. turning the “auto light” off in ‘options’ of GI works like a charm.

    • B_Dubs

      Is there a way to get the same effect without the Advanced Render Module? I’m brand new to C4D, but could you use spot lights and the white planes as virtual bounce cards?

      • It wont be the same identical look. But you can get close with Area Lights and C4D Lights. My new Lighting Kit will make this REALLY easy as well.

  37. Thanks Nick, this tutorial has really helped me to get started in cinema 4d and understand the program much better.

  38. I have to say thank you, your tutorial saved me from an emergency, i don’t use cinema 4d often and this tutorial was just what i needed, i have a question for you if it is possible: i did the material with reflection that u advice here and it works very good but only on surfaces like spheres or rounded objects, i tried it on an extruded text and it does not work on the plain surface, that is the one i needed to be shiny, do you know if there is some sort of trick to make it working on surfaces like that too?.

    Again thank you.

    • ok i made it, the material has to be on the right object, it was only on the extrusion, that’s why. thx for the tip, i learned something more today!!!

    • yes right, “make the object editable” or add a null to parent the extrusion with and texture that null.

    • Yeeeep! it works, thank you very much, the plain surface takes very less riflections of a mere sphere but it is nice to have the solution.

  39. fifafofam

    loved the tutorial but the problem comes when I want to animate the scene, how can I make the panels transparet but giving the same ilumination???


  40. ajith

    thankts a lot for ur teaching! In india its very deficult to study c4d. bt im totaly interested for c4d . u r more very helpful to me. u r good teacher.

  41. Thomas

    I’m going to repeat myself over and over, but really: Thanks a lot Nick!

  42. tim c

    Just started learning yesterday . This video was a great help. Appreciate the help..

  43. Hey Nick… thanks for this really entertaining tutorial, I can’t open a book ever again to learn c4D. You rock. Your hair is more 3d on your last tutorial compare to in your first. Maybe you could do a tutorial about it. -))

    Amazing stuff for all levels, g-thanks

  44. Great tutorial for beginner C4D users like me. Keep ’em coming Nick! ๐Ÿ˜€

  45. Great weblog here! Also your website rather a lot up very fast! What host are you using? Can I am getting your affiliate link for your host? I want my web site loaded up as quickly as yours lol.

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  47. Normally I don’t read post on blogs, but I would like to say that this write-up very forced me to check out and do so! Your writing style has been amazed me. Thank you, quite great article.

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  50. diego

    very clear and helpful, I find it very useful when tutorials explain step by step item by item

  51. Aw, this was a very nice post. In concept I wish to put in writing like this moreover โ€“ taking time and actual effort to make a very good articleโ€ฆ however what can I sayโ€ฆ I procrastinate alot and certainly not seem to get something done.

  52. Cheesesticks37

    hey, i just had a quick question.. at 23:33 does the color of the texture have anything to do with hight? looks like the red type is lower then the black?
    great video by the way!

  53. Cauthon

    Hey gorilla! Dude, i’ve been learning cinema 4D for a time, and your tutorials are really helpfull, specially this one about light and textures. There was no way i could get a nice look on my projects but this helped a lot,

    im gonna watch every tutorial xD thx dude!

  54. Another great on.
    I was wondering, may be you’ve answered that one before, but how did you came up with the name of the site? ๐Ÿ˜€

  55. Aylon

    Hey i got a little question about the “softboxes”.
    Im kinda new to Cinema 4D, my origin are in Blender, so iยดll ask:
    Is there a way to make these Softbox-Planes some sort of Invisible for the Camera without removing the effect of its lighting and reflections?
    Im sure there is. In Blender for example you can just uncheck the visibilty for the camera right in the objekt-properties.

    Thanks for any help!

  56. maria

    nice tutorial! Thanks
    loved your comments at the end ๐Ÿ™‚

  57. Aniket, India

    Nick… u just saved me from going though all those boring and tedious tutorials… Trust me when I say, I WAS LOST… DEMOTIVATED and ready to give up… GREYSCALEGORILLA u rock.

  58. you are the most! thanks for your great tutorials!! very much!! greetings from Argentina!


    Hey there!
    Loving your tutorials!! Very good source of tips and tricks for a beginner like myself.

    I was wondering however if you could elaborate more on the displacement you used around 21 min of “greyscalegorilla” on a plane. I followed you step by step with my own image in jpeg format and I can’t get a clean imprint of the word on my plane. The noise is more random and doesn’t seem to want to take shape of the words.

    Would really appreciate any advice on what I’m doing wrong.




    Also I don’t see Subpolygon Displacement in my editor for some reason

  61. Nilay

    Hi Nick!

    Actually i am learning C4d for a week but your tutorials are really inspiring and teached me a lot. This tutorial was “the thing” i was wondering for. Thx for the tutorial and thx for the comments below that gives cool tips too.


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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.