Animate An Object To A Path Or Spline in Cinema 4D

July 9, 2012

In this tutorial, I show you how to use the Spline Effector and Mograph to animate an object along a spline. Then, we add dynamics to allow our object to behave naturally during the animation. Sorry for the fuzzy audio in this one. I had the wrong mic on. Better audio in the next one for sure.


Tutorial Focus:  , ,
Software:  ,

  • TuristaStudios Graca July 9, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    LOL… funny animation!!!!

  • I’m the first to comment. Cool! Very creative use of this tool in Mograph. I like the glow texture on the orange sphere and the choice of a spiral path and the way dynamics was applied.

    As always, thanks to you and others who create these tutorials!

  • Quick and helpful tut. Thank you so much, I was having real difficulty before with getting an object to follow a path and still react with dynamics. I’ve learned more from you than my 3D lecturer!

  • Love it! Going to have a ‘bash’ at this one!

  • Helpful tutorial. Thanks Nick!

  • As usual a great tutorial. Tnkx Nick

  • Awesome tutorial! I’ve been trying to understand paths better.

  • Great tutorial!!!!….you mentioned a plug-in to make marbles… it is….
    One of Robert Ledger’s I believe…

    • Hey Nick,
      I sent you a free download of my marbles tool about a month ago to your “thegorilla@grey…” account. If you didn’t get it let me know, hope you enjoy it!

  • Who is that behind you?

  • One could also try to use the “Follow rotation” setting to reduce the “spin” where we increased the friction. Thanks again for another tutorial, Nick!

    Love your site!

  • Good to see another tutorial! Always watch them to check if I’m not using some silly difficult way. However, I find the mograph options of c4d always speaking for themselves.


  • great tutorial

  • Love the website. Also just picked up the HRDI pack. Awesome stuff. Just had one question. Only been using Cinema 4D for about 8 days now so it’s safe to say I am a “newb.” Anyhow. For some reason when I copy the Rigid Body tag to the small sphere, then turn Follow to ‘0’ – the scene begins with the small cloned spheres flying up into the air, then three seconds later hitting the ground, and then being struck by the large sphere. Any ideas why the first 3 seconds I am seeing the small cloned spheres flying up into the air? Thanks for any help!

  • Okay. False Alarm. The plane was intersecting with the cloned spheres and when I hit play, it was sending them flying upwards. I just moved the cloned spheres up a tad and now they sit atop the floor nicely.

    Now I can finish the tutorial. Ha

  • This happens to be extremely useful for a project I am working on! Thanks Nick!

  • very cool but, creepy background music

  • hey nick.i loved it but having some problem with the main the 1st 3 sec the sphere shoots up then goes back to normal.any solution for that.anyone can help.thanks in advance.

  • Nice job! Please Keep em com in!

    Id like to see a tutorial on system optimization. RAM/Video Card/Processors/
    How to maximize my system to run c4d.

    How to set up Multi Rendering across a network?

    • Raoul van Maaren July 10, 2012 at 2:21 pm

      Hey boojoo007,
      I also wanted to maxize my system to run c4d. I checked some options and I think the following gets the max out of my pc.

      I’m not an expert, but this is how I get the max out of my pc:
      To speed up renderings just:

      1. go to Edit, Preferences, Picture Viewer, and increase Memory Usage (not too much otherwise ur pc will blow up :P) and make sure its MAXIMUM 80% of ur RAM
      !! First try to increase memory usage a little, to make sure ur pc stays cool with it !!

      2. go to Edit, Preferences, Renderer, and increase number of render Threads x2
      (I believe this asks more from ur processor/ is similar to overclocking)

      It probably won’t be very healthy for ur pc. However, your render speed will increase.
      Also make sure u update ur system (how? < Google).

      I'm not an expert, so wait first before following my advice till some who actually knows this for sure confirms my message (any expert, please help us out here)!


      • My first 6 months working professionally I used a dual core laptop with 4 gb of ram. It was hard but I used render farms after the pre-viz stage. I now use a custom build with dual i7’s overclocked so its 16 cores and 16 gb of ram.

        Do A LOT of research and luckily 95% of companies have Cinebench scores for their products so you can see how the item in question performed in Cinema. Figure out if you need more work done in Cinema or After Effects and spend accordingly. I suggest a custom build if you have the time

      • Raoul, Increasing the amount of threads (what you call over clocking) actually slowed the renders down on my computer.
        You should leave Custom Number of Render Threads unchecked, or if checked, then use one thread per processor, if you have hyper threading enabled on your computer then use 2 threads per cpu.

    • NET Render – Maxon’s solution for rendering Cinema4D jobs across a network is NET Render. It will distribute the rendering of animations on a frame-by-frame basis or still images using the tiled camera. It can also be used to batch render multiple jobs from multiple machines. NET Render is available as a chargeable add-on to Cinema4D or is included with the XL (three client licenses) and Studio (unlimited client licenses) bundles.

  • Hey Nick, loving this latest post. Can’t get enough of dynamics and physics based animation at the moment.

    Anyway, not being C4D user I did the best I could to re-create your scene using 3DS Max ( I do this a lot). A bit tricky and not quite as funky looking but I got somewhere close I think.

  • Looks like someone is rendering in VRay.

  • Hey Nick sie sind einfach der beste .
    es macht echt spass bei ihnen zu lernen
    ich freue mich echt jedes mal über ein neues tutorial
    es macht echt einen grossen spass und ihr kumpel Chris ist auch einfach nur Best
    ich wünsche ihnen viel erfolg weiter hin und freue mich auf das weitere neue tutorial von ihnen
    bis dahin mit freundlichen grüssen Dave Derner :=)

  • Great tutorial! thank you very much.

  • Fun and informative as always!

  • Really Nick? … Sure, your tutorials were helpful at a point, but now it’s getting ridiculous.. Animating to a spline? how more basic do you get. You should really try out at some more advanced stuff.

    • Really D5? It seems like someone is not apreciating free tutorials?
      You can ask nicely to get ‘advanced’ tuts.

      Its rediculous to critisize the ‘level’ of the tut. Many are still loving it.
      You should really try to critisize things like the speed of the tut or how clear it is explained. Don’t get mad if u didnt learn any from it.

      Critism is fine, but please let it be usefull.

      • I had the same opinion as you D5, but then I realised that as this is something I find quite basic, it’s clearly not aimed at me. There was a time however, that I wouldn’t have thought of this as basic and would have appreciated learning it. Don’t forget that just as people progress, there are also people just starting out. If you find it basic, then good for you. Don’t stop to criticise, just move on.

    • Looks like you may be learning faster than I can keep up. Take a look at FXPHD or Lynda for further learning. Hopefully these tutorials will still be useful for people learning Cinema 4D.

  • You’re too cool. Thanks for being so willing to teach 🙂

  • hey nick,
    I tried to Recreate the stunning cinema 4d logo with animation with must watch this if u r a cinema 4d fan.
    Watch the video. how is it??

  • Dude! Video Copilot Element plugin is released!!!

    Looking forward to your review.

  • Off-Topic:

    Congratulations Nick.
    Your Iphone-App for “Cross-Processing” is mentioned in the biggest german Newspaper, respectivley their Homepage.,view=popupAutoOverflow.bild.html

  • this is great . Do you have any tutorial for real flow to cinema4d?

  • Nice one again

  • Here is an interesting Marble Plugin

  • That “Follow Position” parameter was the big “AHA!” moment for me. Throw some delay/spring effector on that, and tricks like this become possible:
    Thanks again, Gorilla!

  • Edgardo Castillo July 14, 2012 at 10:47 am


  • hey nick,
    i want to know how to mix an animation into a video footage using cinema it can be done? for example a human fighting with a robot.human is real,but robot is it done using after effects?? i serached thru google but failed to find a right answer.please reply….
    please anyone can reply to my ques if u know the ans

  • hey nick,
    can u make tutorial for this animation?
    it is done in 3ds max
    movement of tank track on irregular surface

    please try to make it or suggest some idea.

    if anyone else knows please reply. coz nick is not answering for my messages for long time. he is a buzy guy!!!!

  • aka ‘Nick’s balls’

  • Nick.
    You. Are. The. Man!
    I can’t thank you enough for all your teachings on cinema 4D.
    The best thing about your tutorials is my photography skills have grown exponentially as well.
    Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  • Excellent tut Nick.
    Quick Question, can you use the spline effector on the sphere without putting it in the cloner by going to the spline effectors deformer attributes and setting deformation to object, then make the spline effector a child of the sphere?

  • I haven’t watched it yet, but I think this is exactly the tutorial I need. I’ve been experimenting with straight animation and mixing dynamics. Can’t wait to watch the wisdom you drop.

  • nice tutorial.

  • hey Nick

    Im working on a final year project at uni and im trying to get a blob similar to this one that MTV created a few years back.

    Only im not sure how to go about it. Ive tried softbody and attractor to animate the blob moving but it stops rotating and begins to drag. Pretty much what im asking is how to create a soft body which i can make roll around and deform (or just roll up stairs or sit on a chair)

    Thanks in advance

  • Thanks, Nick!

    I always learn a LOT from your tuts, simple, complex or otherwise.

  • i use the colision body for the shpere

  • Like the use of music from Apples in Stereo! From “Her wallpaper reverie”
    From Chicago and a big fan of the GreyscaleGorilla!

  • Maybe I’m missing something that’s right in front of my face as usual… I’m a newbie. I’ve been following your tuts on mograph and I have some questions about the rigid body and collider. If I put something on rigid body (say a cloner with a bunch of spheres) with a collider, it does its own thing. It falls and stops at the plane collider and then the objects fall off softly… any way to control that? When it happens? I’ve tried playing with the transition time, the Immediately vs. on collision etc… nothing seems to make a difference.

  • OMG….that was awesome!

  • Amazing job!, I just have one question, how can I trace that path while the object is moving with the tracer object?, I tried but I failed. Thanks for the tutorial :).

  • Thanks for the tutorial Nick!
    I’m making something similar with spheres. I have a scene where there are spheres on a floor at the bottom of the frame and a group of spheres fall on top of them and everything bounces. I’m having the problem of the spheres on the floor are slightly moving/rolling at the start of the animation when they should be still. I’ve added a lot of friction to the floor but it doesn’t seem to help. Any suggestions?

  • Daniel - (Cytherina) January 8, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    i gave my own go at it, turned out nice. thank you for the information and experience i can take away from this to apply to other projects:

    my version:

  • Nick, I’m very new to Cinema 4D but have been using After Effects for several years now (and a little 3DS Max).
    I got lost at the 2:45 point in this TUT when you said “… we’re gonna turn it on …”
    I have no idea what you turned on, and from there I have been stuck.
    Please help!
    I’m loving the Tutorials and products you offer, and will be buying many as I gain experience in using them.

  • Nick,

    I have watched a number of tutorials on C4D, through INTERNET and college lessons. I have to say yours are the best! Easy to understand and you do a great job of explaining why some of the choices are necessary, which helps me to utilize it with my own designing.

    Thanks for posting and keep them coming!


  • Hi Everyone and Nick,
    Love the tutorials, I had a go at creating this but wanted to have a rolling furball as the main sphere. I’ve had a problem with bald spots with a few animations I’ve made and am unable to find a reason for my problems.
    My render can be found here
    I have a hair collider on my main sphere as well as the floor and the surrounding spheres.
    When looking underneath the floor the hairs are visible through the floor as well, which I believe shouldn’t happen because of the hair collider.
    Basically I don’t want bald spots. I don’t think the amount of hairs I have is the problem either.
    Any help would be appreciated.

  • Really fun tutorial. Thank you, NIck! Figured out all the glitches but one. At the first few frames, the striped ball is below the floor then it jumps up a bit on top of the spiral.
    The offset begins at 100% at frame 0.
    Any tips?

  • I have Ae CC now with the C4DLite of course but, I was wondering if I can buy the full version of MoGraph and make it work with Lite or do I have to have the full version of C4D to make this work? By the way love your site and tuts. Awesome!

  • Why are my Cloner1 Spheres jumping & bouncing as soon as I hit play? The Sphere still pushes the ones that are still in it’s way but they totally blow up at the start. Seems to happen every time I use Rigid body tag.


  • Hi I’m new to cinema 4d and tried following this tutorial with some modifications. I’m trying to make a soccer ball follow an arc path but it won’t get off the ground it moves a few inches up and falls back down. Also I have a feeling that if I do get it off the ground it wont keep going and hit the net like I would like it. What do you suggest?

  • Hey nick nice tutorial and i am really thankful for your efforts.

    I am bit stuck with something in a personal project i was working on…. i am trying to revolve a primitive around my model through align to spline expression… but then i can only make it revolve for like one time, any way to make it in a loop so it keeps on revolving around my model.

  • Lovely tutorial!
    Is there a way to take the basics (an object along the spline) of this and bake it to put it in real flow? I’ve got the plugin to transfer the SD and have tried baking and making a PLA file but can’t seem to have te baked animation show up in the realflow exporter plugin :/ help!

  • Very Helpful!
    I am trying to take this a small step further, in that I want to create a ‘vehicle’ using a chassis and four wheels. I want to control the direction of the vehicle by applying this mograph ‘follow spline’ to the chassis plus using dynamics on 4 ‘connected’ wheels that have ‘suspension’. [possibly the front wheels could also follow rotation of spline to ‘look like’ they are turning the vehicle?]
    Do you know of any tutorial that may cover this? Or can you give a quick example?
    Any help is MUCH appreciated!! 🙂

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