Using Boole Objects and Mograph To Animate Custom Letters In Cinema 4D

July 19, 2012

Tag Team Tutorial
In this tutorial, Chris and I work on the same project together. This is the first time we have trade off the project to each other. First, Chris shows you how to set up the booled lettering and set up a simple Xpresso rig to make it easier to change later. Then, he sets up the Mograph to be able to rotate the letter around. Then, I take over in Part 2 to light, texture and composite the scene. I think these “Tag Team” tutorials will allow Greyscalegorilla to give you more training and more advanced and varied topics moving forward. Hope you like it.

Part 1: Building the Booled text and Setting up the Mograph Rig

Part 2: Building the Room, Lighting, Texturing, Rendering and Compositing

Based on this animation by ResolutionResolution at 40 seconds.

Tutorial Focus:  , , ,
Software:  ,
Educator:  ,

  • Nice, first I learn something like this from “3ds Max Learning Channel”, great tut, btw this is popular now, thanks!!!

  • Very nice…

  • Sweet Jesus! That’s sick!

  • Great Tutorial! Nice use of the Boole.

    • Awesome!, indeed good use of the Boole module! @Sock Gardener I was thinking the same thing, but could think of the production house that used that effect, so thank you too! lol

  • Nicely done!

    I am new to Cinema 4D, but this is amazingly awesome!

  • Great stuff Chris, sorry I couldn’t make the last meeting

  • Great tutorial!!! Really helpful…

    I have a question for Nick. During the process when you are explaining the After Effects part for compositing, you have mentioned about the lens flare and the colour glow. But in the AE panel, the layers are black solid layers. When i try to do something similar, nothing happens.

    I am sure i am going wrong at some step, or i might be missing something. Really a beginner into these kind of works, so any help would be appreciated.

    I hope you can throw some light on this.


    • apply the lens flare to a black solid and set the flare to add/or screen/overlay, one of those. should fix that.

    • Yep. The layers are screened or added to the footage to blend them together.

      • Yeah figured it out a little late…! still cant get a similar glow effect working though.
        No clue what i am missing here… The lens flare was atleast added to the black layer, but the glow effect is not seen… was it done in a different way? i mean.. without using the GLOW preset ?

  • Reminded me I did a test sample for a client with a similar technique (but no mograph or xpresso…) in C4D R12 except that I used one letter in one direction and a word in the other. (I should re-open in R13 and see if the booles are cleaner or faster…) The dimple in the middle of the B made it sort of a pain so I did a flip of the object so that I had a smooth plane for one of the letters’ perspective and then had to do a flip on the transition from the letter to the world. Vimeo link is here –

  • Great tut,

    I really like the 2 part format. The more people involved on a single project the more chances there are for me to learn something unique from each individual. What’s that saying “there’s more than one way to skin a cat?”. Everybody has their own little tricks and tools ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • The split tuts are a great idea. I’ve been waiting for more complex tutorials, although Xpresso is not really my cup of tea (pun quite intended).

    If I can make a request? I’d love to see you guys making a tut about “raindrops on a window”. See link below for an simple example (not sure if I can link to other websites, sorry if I can’t).

    • BTW.. Andrew Kramer has a tut on rain drops and the result is exactly like the one on the pic.. if you dont mind creating it in AFX.

  • Nick is the Best Nick All the time :))

  • I really think you guys should make more of those split tuts. Love it…

  • Carlos Espinoza July 19, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    Loving this Tag! Tutorials.
    Keep them coming. Chris is super fun always solves stuff with expresso which I find really hard to learn.


  • Likewise – Split the tuts! (Besides that, you’ll come off less flustered, Nick. You deal with your speech better in the creative/artistic side.)

  • First…love the tutorial…..I had no clue you could merge text in that way…

    Now that being said…idk if its just me…but it seems to me that Chris likes to show off a bit…lol
    When he got to the point of getting the first letter done (B+W)…where he started doing the expresso(sp)…was anyone else thinking…why not just copy and paste and change the text? Why setup this whole expresso setup at al. Especially when you are still manually going in and changing each letter anyway. When he first started I thought he was going to set up some automatic thing…where he type in black…or white…and it did the rest on its own or something. But to do all that…then still have to copy/paste and change everything anyway…whats the point?
    Dont get me wrong…love the guy and am extremely greatful for all he does and all the great tutorials…but ive noticed on more than one occasion he tends to make things more complex than they need to be…just cause he can.

    Again…great vids.
    Sorry if that sounded negative…just trying to understand the logic here you know.

    • I see what you are saying. For only 5 letters, maybe it’s overkill. But, if you had to do a lot of these and keep track of them, the renamed nulls and Xpresso would be a life saver. Plus, for people unfamiliar with Xpresso, it might be a quick way to learn how simple it can be.

      It’s not the way I would work either, but it’s clearly how Chris’ brain works. Besides… If I knew what Chris knew, I would show off too. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Thanx …I can see what you mean. Just had me yelling at my screen for a min there…lol

        Again…love all that you guys do..all i know pretty much ive learned from you…well..and youtube…lol

        Between you guys and Andrew Kramer we got the best teachers a guy could ask for.

        Adam D

      • Maybe overkill for this , but a great intro and example of how to use Xpresso. Don’t stop showing off Chris!

      • I actually think the way Chris rigged it is perfect. Not overkill or overly complex. The automatic naming setup really makes managing assets much easier, and lets the artist focus more on the creative details. Once this technique is applied to a 30sec commercial with several different word/characters changing out, it starts to make sense. Also a good rig should always be scalable; that way once it’s built, it can be re-used again on larger projects.

        And yes, this tag-teaming is great, because it gives maximum headroom for Chris and Nick to teach what they love, on a tutorial that combines artistic and technical skills.

    • That tutorial was “whack”! And by whack I mean great. Also dig the split tutorials.

  • Nice job guys cool technique and tutorial!

  • Hey Nick, Nice tute!
    I worked on the AMP spot at resolution with a bunch of other talented guys. Nice to see it getting some love. Let me know if you want any insight into the process.

  • First of all great tutorial. I’ve reached a roadblock though. I’m using C4D v11.5 and for some reason when I turn the Falloff shape on the Plain effector to Linear the Orientation option isn’t there. Is this an option that isn’t available on the version I’m using or did I just miss something along the way? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  • i like how in between WHITE and BLACK there is WHACK!

  • My version of it, thanks for the tutorial. nice for typenerds like me.

  • hi Nick and Chris, great tutorial i love it,…. in the AMP animation, there was a part were the letter air went up in the air like a rocket….. can that be done in cinema 4d?

  • Great stuff and thanks for the tuto!
    I would realy like to see an tuto on mat animation from you guys, keep it up.

  • Hi Nick,

    As usual nice job. I do like the split tutorials. Keep em coming.


  • Great to split the Tutorial! Please more of them!

    Thank you!

  • HEy Nick Great Tut,

    I was looking for a place to post this, I think you’ll see it here first =). I’m working on a Tetris Like 1m30 Animation and would need help with the line breaking, any tips you could give me? I was thinking of using transform to chunk every element up but my construction is made of cloners and sweep nurb borders so not really easy to use on. I tried some other stuff but I can’t get them to work right.

    All ideas are more then welcome =)

  • Hey, thanks for the tut!
    I never really take a look around at the options within c4d,
    but it’s totally great what u guys keep revealing.

    Please take a look at what I made while trying this stuff by clicking on
    my name ๐Ÿ™‚

  • hi Nick and Chris, great tutorial i love it,โ€ฆ. in the AMP animation, there was a part were the letter air went up in the air like a rocketโ€ฆ.. can that be done in cinema 4d?

  • Hello, first, you should definitely continue with the tag team projects. Lots of cool stuff. Now, I have a question, off topic, and I hope you can help me with this: In my iMac Core i5, I had 4GB of ram and now I have 14GB installed, but the rendering time of my projects is still the same. Is there any way to make correct use of the machine memory in C4D? it seems weird that there has not been a marked change from when I had only 4GB. Thank you guys!

  • That was WHACK! Split tutorials are great (just like working in the real world). Can’t wait to see more.

  • Great idea …. Tag Teams are twice the power and twice the output! The “Pinball Wizards” of Cinema

  • These two felows are genius, but when both are together, they are really awesome.

    What a nice tutorial.


  • Hey Nick, Nice tute!
    I worked on the AMP spot at resolution with a bunch of other talented guys. Nice to see it getting some love. Let me know if you want any insight into the process.

    • I’d be interested. Perhaps you could mail a background story to Nick, that he can link to from the tut!?

  • Here’s a link [click on my name] to an intro I made using the same technique.

    Instead of intersecting the letters in a boole, I subtracted the second letter from the first. [True Lies intro?]

    I used a camera with a 100mm lens to counter the parallax error with the letters, and used a luminous material to reduce the shading issues.



  • July 22, 2012 at 11:02 am

    Really great walkthrough Nick! Yes, definitely do more tag-team tutorials โ€” it’s great that each of you can demonstrate to your strengths.

    One quick question … during Chris’s portion of the tutorial, he uses Gotham [Official Typeface of Greyscale Gorillaโ„ข], but during your part, you’ve reverted to Arial. Then it changes back to Gotham when you bring everything back into After Effects. What’s up with that? ๐Ÿ™‚



  • I think the split tutorials are awesome, Having 2 teachers is always better than one. I also like how Chris went in depth with the xpresso because I had no idea what that what but i see that it can be a VERY useful tool.

  • Hi Gorilla thanks a lot for awesome C4D tut’s
    good luck

  • love the split tut.
    like a bit more AE stuff tho.
    Or a link to a place to learn some basic AE stuff to make my renders look better

  • Nice one. Keep on the dual created tutorials with Chris. Best of both worlds.


  • Great split tutorial
    Hey Nick please show more AE work, is importat to see how C4D render can
    look much better.

  • black whack white ? lol

  • Hi guys! Awesome tutorial!!!
    I did a tool to easily change the words. Take a look here:

  • For some reason when effected by the plain effector the E rotates and ends up facing backwards. Not sure what I’ve done incorrectly here – followed all of Chris’ steps in the tut.

  • Liked the idea so much, I decided to give it a shot.
    This is what I came up with:

    Keep making stuff!!

  • i love the fact that it says “whack” for a moment during the transition. Great tutorial anyway !

  • Thanks Nick and Chris,

    I’ll be using a version of this for my demo reel introduction. Since it was my first time visiting your site, I can’t comment on the 2 sided tutorial other than it was great. Always good to have a new specialist. The older I get the more I realize it’s not possible to know everything. It’s good to know enough to have a dialogue with your people or collaborators thought.


    John Zapf

  • Very cool; definitely like the split tutorials … great minds think alike, but in different realms.

    Chris, thanks for the Xpresso, its is very helpful … good to start slow.
    My question is: in another tutorial Nick, you use Adam Swaab’s plug-in called Destruction. I was wondering what is the purpose of Fracture? … Seems its necessary, but Chris if you could explain why its function is necessary that would be helpful to think in C4D, not just to repeat tutorials. (I read the manual part, [it] “views all child objects as clones that can be affected by any Effector”, but isn’t that what MoText does … allows for effectors?
    Thanks for the creative merge – really like the idea.

    • Never mind …. After completing this tutorial, it became clear why things work / or don’t work. The fracture obj is necessary to add the other effectors … got it. My only problem with the initial set up of the Boole, was that the precise coordinate numbers needed to be shifted slightly, to appear, … since I used a different font … thanks very cool.

  • great, thanks! Can you, or anybody make or show me tutorial how to create effect of pumping letter? some like this:

  • Hi,
    Once again a great tutorial, greatly appreciated.
    I do think the split tutorial is a good idea, as different people have their strong skill sets and disciplines. After all, I do think both do explain things to a great depth, one can build upon the skill if they know the technique a bit better and learn to be more flexible/creative.
    However, I think Chris explain things a bit too fast sometimes for a novice such as myself to fully understand. I would greatly appreciate if a little more details could be provided.

    • Exactly. I gave up after something didn’t work. That was a 15 minute tutorial that should’ve been 30 minutes.

      And I’m sorry to say but almost every time I try the techniques shared here, I fail. I am not as advanced as the instructors, but aren’t these ‘tutorials?’

      I do appreciate the inspiration here, but that’s why I pay to actually learn Cinema 4D. I rarely learn from a wizard whose wizardry is in their craft, but not teaching it.

  • Can he (part 1) talk any faster?! Geesh. Even with the ability to pause, that was as quick as an auction.

    I guess it’s cool to watch someone talented do their thing. It’s a nightmare for trying to learn anything that I can actually apply to my own work.

  • Nice one, just need a bit of time to digest the part one video. And for the second part, about that lighting on the wall, why aren’t we just use IES light? That way we can have lot more chooses on the shape of the light where it cast on the wall

  • Silly question, but I have to ask. What is your document scale set to? No matter what I do, I can’t set mine so that my dimensions match yours. At 200cm high for the letters, with 300 depth, the letters project back crazy far, no matter what scale I set the doc to. Sorry again…

  • Awesome tutorial. Definitely feelin the split. Its a nice break so you’re not committing to a 45 minute tutorial right off the bat. (even if you do watch them back to back like I did)

    Keep em coming and we’ll keep watching!

  • this tutorial was amazing, chris was really good with the step by step technical part, you nick was really good with telling you how to make it look nice with still letting you be creative and do your own thing, as always

  • Love the split tutorial, great idea!

  • download link maby? =]

  • Alex made it 3 years ago in your own contest! sick type is sick!

  • Hi, too bad you didn’t explain how your initial set up is set up when you begin in part 2, because recreating it will lead to a much worse lighting and beginning.
    Awesome results by the way!

  • Hi Chris and Nick, first of al, I have to say I love the split tutorials, but I just had a quick question for Chris. At 13:26 you move the axis of the B/W and the letter moves along with it. However, when I try to do this, only the axis moves and the letters stays in place. I’m sure it’s simply something simple I’m missing out on, but I can’t put my finger on it. Thanks in advance!


  • Really Nice Job! I first saw this kind of idea on vimeo a couple days ago. Its a short demo video. And this idea is really interesting, so, I created some of my version. Hope U Like it !!

  • Hi,
    very nice one!
    What I found useful in adjusting the kerning is going to top view, click on the axis tool and move it to the center of your letter. Then move the letter with the object tool around until it looks nice.
    Using top view and the editor camera makes it a lot easier to find the right position for the axis and the position of the letter.

  • Just visually sharing what I learned. Thanks to GSG and all those out there helping us learn a strive to be a better than we were yesterday.

  • Mine looks a lot of different ๐Ÿ™
    I followed every step. Made with R13 ๐Ÿ™
    The Spotlights didnยดt have the great look on the walls, the whole scene looks lightening by just a sky.
    But itยดs still a really great tutorial, I really like the kind you explain thinks, Nick ๐Ÿ˜€ Really funny and educative ๐Ÿ™‚

    Keep doing cool things ๐Ÿ™‚
    Helloยดs from germany ๐Ÿ™‚

  • really cool job.. though i m just a beginner to C4D (migrated from 3ds max) but i can get it all very easily just because of the way you explained.. young generation thumbs up

  • Hello dude I’m quite new in 3D so I want to ask why my motext not solid like the tutorial? I’m using C4D r13 so here my screenshot please do help me thanks ^^

    • I actually just had that same problem about a week ago…Somehow, in my settings/preferences “OpenGL” got ticked on…when I turned it off, the problem went away…hope that helps..

  • It’s weird, I try to combine U with the N and it disappear the whole group, and the N is the problem. Can’t figure why. Can anyone tell me what to do? thx!

  • Absolute great work, watching your videos became one of my hobbys and also build that stuff! Loveit!

    Had to tell you that there is at our local TV Channel called RTL at Junglecamp a moderator that looks like you ๐Ÿ˜€ not kidding. Search for “Dschungelcamp RTL” you’ll find him.

    Here my work:

    have fun ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I didn’t understand one thing: why did you use the fracture object instaed of any other mograph obj?


  • Hey, I have a pronlem with the Effectors – they just won’t work for me.
    I think i did all well but when i put an effector it won’t change anything and stay in same situation, how do I make it work?

  • Hey Nick,
    In the first part of the tutorial I had a problem – when I used the Plain effector the whole word rotates and not one by one. Thanks!

  • Nice. Yes, the split tutorials are excellent. I find that you both complement each other quite nicely.
    I have a question about importing into After Effects. What are the composition settings supposed to be? Do I mimick the settings that were done in C4d? Thanks.

  • Another great tutorial thanks. As a relative beginner it would be awesome if you could go into a bit more depth with the after effects part. I’m struggling with the glow and lens flare.

  • hey Nick i wanna ask u how can i make this type of text in C4D i’m asking about the letters in this ident like Numeric letter10,sphere opening
    very important is “how i can add 2d text into my 3d object i know the external comp tag but it wont work on if the model is in little curve in shape it wont fit on it ”

  • Nick, can you make an advanced breakdown or remake some of the features in AMP possibilites video? like the balloon text, the diamond text and maybe that scene were the A in adventure takes off. It would be very helpful and highly appreciated! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Gori … you’re the best !

  • first of all, I can’t thank you enough for running this site. it really gets me excited about getting better and better at C4D every day… I was wondering if there are any font packs you can recommend? you guys always use the nicest fonts and it’s quite hard to find decent ones amongst all the crap that’s online:)

  • hey nick i just tried this out and im facing a problem. one of my letters which is rotating from H to R is giving me a problem. only on certain frames my H is kinda deforming slightly and going back after a couple of frames. i dont understand why

  • A great technique – thanks GSG!
    I’ve implemented this in part of a series of spots I’ve made for Leeds Trinity University’s in-house production company called Trinity Vision.

  • I love the tutorial. I just discovered you guys yesterday and I basically watch almost all of your videos. However, for the first part of the video, I have a question. Even though the Animation looks sick and what not, when you place the boole, text, and null together, why don’t you use a simple rotation animation instead of a Poly FX? I understand that it makes it easy to animate for us designers but if you get the animation down of rotating it 90 degrees, then you can copy and paste the groups and change the letters from there. I have only used Cinema 4D for about 5 months and I still have yet to come up with anything awesome.

  • nice one i love it

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