4 Different Ways to Make A Dynamic Chain in Cinema 4D

November 1, 2011

“In this tutorial, I create 4 different ways of creating a dynamic chain to demonstrate that there not a RIGHT way of doing something, there are multiple solutions for everything. First method is with Joints, second directly applying the IK tag to the links, third with spline dynamics, then as a last second bonus I put it together with full dynamics!” – Chris Schmidt


Tutorial Focus:  ,
Software:  ,

  • I’m nice for this weekend…

  • This is great, I have a junkyard magnet crane project that’s been lying fallow for lack of a good chain rig.

  • incredible tut Dear Chris,thanks for share πŸ˜‰
    Please don’t wait us..please share more tut every Tuesday and every Friday πŸ™‚
    I like your tuts seems like other friends πŸ˜‰
    bye πŸ˜‰

  • Awesome! love these tuts Chris. thanks!

  • This is great!I will definitely do a test project this weekend.

  • great work as usual.. but dont you think it needs to be a little bit aggressive motion ?

  • Thanks you so much Chris!
    Pretty Cool Techniques, Thanks for Sharing πŸ˜‰

  • Great tutorial thanks. One thing. On R13 when I select my spline and give it a ‘Spline Dynamics’ tag the spline becomes small and drops about 10,000 units below the Axis point, and I can’t from that point reposition the axis. Is that just me or does anyone else get this?

  • yeahhhh!!!!! I have get it Thank you!!!!!!!! i must to share my chain with a hook.

  • Thanks a lot for this tutorial. I Learn a lot today.

  • You totally made my day sir. Thanks!

  • Same problem Godmil describes for me in R13.

  • Thanks! Great tutorial. No need to apologise for the hick-ups. It’s really informing to see how you troubleshoot the problems you run into. Everybody runs into them, so it’s great to see how you would go about and solve it.

    I do feel bad about clicking the reply button just when you said ‘Oh and one little thing about this method’. I feel like i now missed the ‘one more thing’ during an apple keynote, but don’t want to buffer the whole 40 min. again πŸ˜‰

  • Great stuff !!! Thanks a lot !

  • Thanks Chris – – –

  • Thanks Chris,
    Great tips, only thing is that you had your chain’s up vector facing in the Z direction. That kinda screwed up my chain :c

    But still; Nice tutorial πŸ˜‰


  • Perfect.
    Verb missing in the heading “to demonstrate that there not a RIGHT…”

  • My chains aren’t good but not too bad either


  • made this a long time ago using the cloner and just a dynamic tag

    also tried to make a bike chain but it did not work out so well
    I changed the steps per frame and I missed

    Also sketch and toon looks good with a chain


    But do you have an idea of how to make a circle chain for like a bike or fan belt?

  • this would be good if you could make it analygraph as cinema 4d r13 can do this. the swing of the chain in the camera that would be cool. thank for the tutorial. more pls.

  • Hey – does anyone know what happened to the AT&T tut? has it been taken down?

  • Hey does anyone have problems with rendering this? I did my chains with the dynamic splines method and sometimes the cloner stops following the spline? It just freezes. Same thing when I try to render it out, the chains just freeze. If I try the spline for example loft, it works perfectly. Does anyone know solution for this? Thanks!

    • I ran into the same problem when I tried to render a light bulb at the end of a dangling wire. I found adding the MoGraph Cache tag to the cloner object and baking it seemed to correct the rendering problem.

  • Great tutorial!
    I have just one question that I’m sure one of you can answer very quickly. Using the IK chain, can you also have 2 points as static? That way you can use it very easily to tie things together.

    Keep up the good work!

  • thanks for this great tutorial and the 4 methods, i also liked (and used) nicks older chain tutorial.

  • Nice one cris! πŸ™‚ i like the fact that you showed a few different ways as you may or may not know i did this project with chains and for it i used spline dynamics for the more “calm” chains and for the foreground ones i simulated them with modynamics if anyone is intrested : http://simonholmedal.com/#1643065/CHILLER-CHAINS

  • How could i use the chain to hang something like a florecent light fixuture? everything i try it doesnt work or my chain shatters.

  • Anyone having problems with dynamic spline version, anyone? Help is most appreciated πŸ˜€ it’s driving me crazy

  • Hi. Im trying your forth technique in c4D 13. It doesnt seem to have the same dinamics setting options than version 12. No luck. Anybody the same issue?

    • I’m able to get it to work in R13 ok. I set the Torus to be a collider and the cloned links to be a rigid body. Make sure both the collider and rigid body tags’ shape parameter is set to Moving Mesh, and your Rigid Body tag should have the Individual Elements parameter set to Top Level. Then you should be off to the races. Hope this helps!

      You also have to tweak those document settings quite a bit to keep it from jittering too much or breaking apart. Still haven’t gotten the jitter to go completely away. Anybody know which parameter would fix this?

  • Does anyone know how to make your chain static at the top and moving the chain from the bottom? like someone is chained up from the top and he is moving so the lower part of the chain can follow him?

    please help! thanks

  • at the part where you rotate the chain while looking at it from the top view (27:40) it doesn’t work for me. i cant get it to make a t or cross shape from the top view like you did no matter what number the B rotation is set to. any i deas?


  • thank for the tutorial. I Learn a lot today

  • Hi. I’m trying to use the spline dynamics technique to create a rope and an object at the end of the rope. I also want that object to be a rigid body and collide with other objects. Does anyone know how to do that? I have searched around for a few days now and come up with nothing πŸ™


  • Was doing good and then you lost me at the target mishap.

  • I have struggled with this tutorial. When there are problems you tend to move too quickly for me, and I fail often to see how they are resolved. Vimeo has great quality videos, but they lack the control to rewind easily. The truth is I am learning lots but disheartened because I am not able to get a good result out.

    For example I was dismayed to find my chain splitting, but only after an age of tinkering did you say that that it was an expected result. I will persevere as you are a great teacher, but a crib sheet of your settings, or an explanation of the expected result up front would help me.

  • at 1:50 you have these axis bands on every joint.. how did you get this to show up?

  • Thanks a lot!
    I hope you like it:

    πŸ˜‰ Marcos

  • I ve been trying to get rid of that jittering but cant figure out how to do it? Any advice anybody?

  • thanks for a great tuts…i was just waiting for this one….i waited alot and finally i found your site. And i got everything in it what i wanted. thanks again sir, you’re great i hope one day a teacher like you will born in this hatfull country pakistan…im dreaming to learn motion ghraphics in my country…i hope oneday im going to be successful …

  • thanks for a great tut…i was just waiting for this one….i waited alot and finally i found your site. And i got everything in it what i wanted. thanks again sir, you’re great i hope one day a teacher like you will born in this hatfull country pakistan…im dreaming to learn motion ghraphics in my country…i hope oneday im going to be successful …

  • I don’t know why I can’t finde the ‘hair tag’ on my c4d (R13)

  • Really great tutorial. Many thanks. I wanted to use the third option using spline dynamics and with two ends of the spline fixed but animated as in a skipping rope. Could you advise how to achieve this from the end of your tutorial please.

  • Great tutorial. But i’m stuck at the very beginning, somehow I don’t have the dynamics group in the attributes manager of the IK tag. Someone got a hint for me? Thank you already!

  • Ive been following the tutorial but hit a snag on the first chain. When you said add the target effector nothing seems to work. My chain links seem delayed. They pop and snap about. When I turn off the target tag, it flows nicely but you do get the problem of the links not staying connected. The problem seems to happen around the time when you put each link into a Null. I dont know why, but they just dont rotate. When I rotate the rectangle spline, then I can make them re-align but Im having the popping/snapping issue.

    Any tips?

  • thank you , it’s great lesson

  • Many thanks for the tutorial is great, but i have a question if i would like to break in some way the chain, as I do that?

  • Thank you so much for doing this tutorial. That was really great! Chris you explain things very well.

    One thing I can’t seem to figure out is how to make a dynamic rope with a ball on the bottom. all dynamic. You can make a rope and parent a ball to the last point on the spline ball isn’t considered in the dynamic solution. Does anyone know how to do that?

  • Hey hey!

    A great tut indeed. Here’s a question for you though. How would you model this when you want to make something like a basketball chain net (you can see what i mean here: http://www.robbinssports.com/images/410.jpg)?

    The dynamics β€” the weight β€” comes into effect once you hit play. Also, can you actually connect splines in a any other way, different to a grid? I apologise if this is too basic a question, but I have been googling non stop and found zilch online!

    Looking forward to your thoughts and suggestions.

    Big thanks,


  • Hi brother, you did my day thanks a lot, so many days looking for how to make dynamic chains now i will have a happy new year. MASTERR

  • is there anyway to make the sweep nurb collide itself and then bake the animation on a geometry sothat I can export an fbx of an animated falling cable on the ground?

  • Hello Chris,

    nice tut, but I am having serious problems with the tracer object. I am trying to make my chain follow the movement of an object. While everything seems fine in the viewport as far as the ring is concerned, when I try to preview the chain or render, the spline and therefore the chain seems to be one frame back. If I click on the screen on the paused frame it pops back to its right position.

    I am attaching a sample scene, if anyone could help me.


  • Perfect! Many thanks!

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