How to make a Cascading Text Animation With Cinema 4D and After Effects – Part 1

February 16, 2010

In this tutorial, I show you how to make a fun cascading text effect shown below using Cinema 4D. Mograph, shader effectors, step effectors, and extrude nurbs. I also show you how to light the scene by using some reflective white cards and my upcoming Studio Light Kit.

Based on this animation

Final Render

Watch Part 2 Here.

Tutorial Focus:  , ,
Software:  ,

  • Hey Nick this is great! your work is nice and very useful. I was happy with my version, although I bumped into glitches; those seemed to occur on the “s” and “o”, as well as the “r”, right on their ‘folding’.
    If anyone bump into the same, just try selecting other than bold; mine was looking great at normal/medium! Thanks and keep it up!

  • Love the intuitive interface on C4D and with the help of your tutorials, I am catching on quick! Thanks Nick.

  • Hy Gorilla !
    Congratulation for your tutorial, it’s great !
    Can you use the Spline mask with a Revolution Nurbs tool ?
    (I try to make an in out animation with half sphere…C’est Galere in french !)
    Thank U

  • hey…gr8 tut. but there is one big problem ๐Ÿ™
    when i choose the step effector,shut off scale and set the time offset it doesn’t change anything..i checked if the step effector is in the cloner just plays the animation as if the step effector dosen’t exist :S i’m confused…would be nice if you could help me.

    and sorry for my english…i’m a german dude

  • hey there, thnx a million 4 teaching all da stuff. I watched the reference video but im having problem in pulling off the text effect in the very last of that video, where “POMPEIA FASHION WEEKEND” comes (tail of K , basically ๐Ÿ™ )
    sO plz plz plz do tell me how to deal this thing in Cinema.
    waitin 2 hear from ya……

  • Hey awesome tut check out what i did with it… it is a little dark but the effetc came out great!!!

  • awesome tutorial…

    FILLET = FILAY like the cut of meat… or atleast thats how i was told it was pronounced.

  • Hi! i have one question please. i have my logo it is spline and i can’t extruded with effect Spline Mask.. Thanks

  • Here, my test scene based upon your tut.
    Thx Nick.

  • Hi! I just discovered your website. I love it! Can’t wait to try some of the other tutorials. Thank you so much! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Hey Nick this is great! Thank U

  • “Fillet” came over to Britain with the Normans in 1066 and over the years acquired the english pronunciation “FILL-et” . It means cut or carve.
    The same French word “Filet” as in “Filet Mignon” came to english speaking lands at a later date, and is pronounced “fee-Lay”
    File, as in File Gumbo is pronounced “Fee-lay”
    Outside of the UK “fillet” is rarely used.
    I loved the tutorial but one odd thing happened. For one frame the mask becomes visible. Why does that happen?

  • First time I used C4D! Thanks for a fun start!

  • Great tutorial and great effect! I just started with C4D. I will try to follow you tutorial and see how it goes.

  • Do you have to do something differently with the Step effector for it to work in Cinema R12? I’ve got it set up the same way and the time offset doesn’t seem to do anything, the other parameters work fine though.

  • Hello nick

    This is going to sound so bad but when your rendering in c4d I render only a portion at a time, with your c4d when you rendered in this tutorial you had more portions being render at the one time in the one frame. So what im asking is does your computer need to have more ram or anything to increase the render speed? fyi, No GI or AO on at the moment

  • Hi Nick- You mentioned that you would do a tute on the ribbons. Will you be doing so anything soon? if not, I would really like to hear how you would go about creating the animation.


  • thats awsome..

    reminds me on my favourtie video from justice “dvno”

  • This is brilliant! thank you so so much, I added your website to my bookmarks instantly! thanks again

  • I have not spline mask in my mograph tab :(. Where is it?

  • Where has the tutorial gone??? Can you send a link, this one seems to be broken.

  • hi greyscale, im using c4d r12 and im 5 minutes into the tutorial, and i cant find the Spline Mask tool, anyone help please?

  • hey gorilla me again. i figured the last post out but then i got to 11mintues and when i open my timeline i dont see my objects all i see is spline and then another spline anyhelp?

    • hey there, i had the same problem, until i remembered from one of nick videos that he mentions using the help guide that could be found in cinema 4d, from one of his videos. Anyway if you haven’t resolved your problem yet, go to your timeline: – view, show animated. You will then see you objects rather than the splines. hope this helps

  • So, I’m doing a project using this technique but wondered how to make the extruded ribbon. I have flat ribbons in my project but would love to give them a little depth. I used a Plane with Spline Wrap to make the ribbon. Can they be extruded now?

  • Great tut! A lot of interesting things to know!
    Thank 4 sharing!

  • Having one problem thou! I have a 3-color gradient from green, yellow to red in the front, but when I turn on the Step Effector the red gets less saturatet, maybe -50.

  • to apply the material shader and color with Fresnel reflection, the colors in the render out desaturated

  • I’m using Cinema 4d R12

    • Cesar, I’m having the same problem. Whenever I render preview, my colors look washed out no matter what I do to the intensity of the lights or reflections. I added a color correction effect in the render settings and boosted up the saturation to make it much better but I would to know what was causing the initial problem.

    • Try to turn off the linear workflow in project settings

  • tut is amazing, simple and effective!

    my question would be how can you re-do these bendy stripes you can see in the video you got this idea from? i mean these wavy and bendy long stretched lines going from top to the front behind the text!


  • hey Nick! any way to make the mask work with a vector logo?
    It works for me with a text from C4D but not with a vector text I imported from Illustrator… any idea?ยฟ

    thanks so much, I can’t wait to finish this tutorial! : )

    • Not sure if this is still helpful to you, but I was having the same problem. You can turn all the splines in your imported Illustrator Path into one spline by right clicking all the individual splines and clicking “Connect and delete” you should be able to use this spline to do the tutorial ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I tried to put the 5 steps of color using shader effector but 1st and last one get same color all the time. Do you know how to fix this?

  • Hi Nick,
    Just wanted to thank you for this great tutorial.
    It really popped some nice ideas into my head! ๐Ÿ™‚
    This technique can be used for so many other things…
    So thanks for this puppy! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Thanks a lot for this cool tut !

    I use it a bit in this party video teaser :

    I’m 50% happy of all the renders, that’s why it’s kind of dirty, i need to know more about hair.. please show us how we can make cool shits !

    Cheers from Marseille

  • HI guys!
    I’m going crazy:) I followed this great tutorial step by step at least 10 times but the problem persists to apply the material shader and color orange / pink with Fresnel reflection, the text colors (cloner object) in the render preview looks black.
    pls HELP! ty ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sorry I forgot …
    my system: Windows XP SP3, C4D rel. 11.5

  • Plz I need help, In the animation bar, i don’t see the objects? what i DO to make the objects show up. Thx

  • I just got into animation after effects and thank to u cinema 4d. I love this. And I’m totally hooked. I just have one question is there a written step by step. For how to do this. Cuz I’m trying to do this somewhere with no Internet connection. So I can’t load the video. If someones got a written version that would be awesome. If not no sweat. I just have to wait. Which sux because I can’t wait to finish this. Thx nick

  • file crash, can you reupload video plz.

  • you are good friend, very good.

    Greetings from Canary Islands

  • Saw it … Loved it … Conquered it …

    Thank you for the great tutorial!

  • Hi! I was wondering; what if i want to use this technique, but i want to use self made typo (merge objects from an AI.8 file)? I tried, but it dosent look like the spline mask detects my merge object….

  • I cant fine spline mash in my cinema 4d MoGraph tool can u tell me why is that????

  • Hey Nick, I’m new to cinema 4D. I recently purchased Cinema 4D PRIME. Mo graph is not part of prime. do you have a work around for the spline mask. Is there another way to add a mask without MoGraph. BTW… this is an amazing tut. Thanks

  • Thx for the awesome tut! The word “Fillet” is pronounced as \?fi-l?t\ in this situation, sounds like fill-it, which means a concave junction formed where two surfaces meet. The word came from Old French, and it can also mean a piece of meat, and should be pronounced as \fi-?l?\ as you would in chick-fil-a. Hope this help!

  • Hi Gorilla .
    Thank you for your great tutorials
    I think file is crash, can you fix it plz.

  • Hola!, Quรฉ tal everybody, hi.. Gorilla.. thanks for your good tutorial stuff, brother, you are a creative talent man.
    I’m writitng because i am confused about something, i have trouble showing all items that i have in scene on my timeline board.. If You or somebodyelse could see and help me with an advice to solve that i will apreciate it. I would like see the objects that i made in a layer on timeline, but i cant. Therefore, i cant move the offset time of the last text capsule in the scene, while doiung this tutorial.. for example.
    Sorry my poor english, i speak spanish.
    Regards, love, and thanks!

  • Great job! Many regards from Greece we are big funs of yours here! tc

  • how can I get step effectors in c4d r12 ?

  • I would like to do this with a vector logo, is there a way to do this without mograph text?
    I have C4D 13 Studio.


  • Hi not sure if anyone still reads this thread because it’s so old, but I am running into a problem with my object doing crazy things such as filling in holes in on some letters. Instead of a text object I used a path made in Illustrator as my Spline. (I tried increasing the resolution of the spline but that did not seem to help, Uniform, 50) Any help at all would be much appreciated.


    Thanks Dan

    • Hi, Dan, itยดs seems like the path of some letters are no closed, so C4D can not extrude properly, (sorry for my english iยดm from Chile), so search in illustrator for some like that.

  • Hello,

    I have a problem, when i use the shader effector on the cloner i get 1 color.
    i made a new material with a gradient (Blauw to yellow) on 2d-u and tile oncheckt. but stil i get one color.
    i also uncheckt the alpha in the settings en linked to the material but nothing changed.

    Does anybody know what the problem is or have a solution for me?

  • BTW i’m working on a macbook pro with r12

  • hi, great tut. i did with a text and works great but when i try to do it with a file i import from illustrator and use the extrude nurbs it wont work. why does that happend? what could i do? i mean, the spline mask wont work with the extrude nurbs

  • Nick, Nick, NICCCK, help …. Has anyone made a R13? time offset does not work properly? There is only one plane should be 4, send mail …

  • I found, take a Render instaces off. Thanks to the case, good tutorial.

  • This website is basically interesting i’m craving for is there the other examples? however anyway thank you very much as a result of I found that i was craving for.

  • Hey! Great effect I do have a general problem though and would really need some help with it. When you drop the Text and Spline into the Spline Mask you have a shift of your keyframes and timeline, meaning it is now an element of Spline Mask. My r.13 version doesn’t do that, it even doesn’t add elements to the timeline when you create then unless you do a drag and drop.

    Now this is driving me nuts as I can’t do the end effect around the 10mins of the tutorial (the silver casing). Can anyone help me plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!



  • Can you achieve motion blur using this spline mask reveal method? I’m guessing not because your not moving the main object, just revealing it…


  • hey nick, i’m trying to do something similar to this. instead of using text, im using a spline rectangle. when I put the spline mask into the extrude nurbs, it extrudes the spline instead of the rectangle. the rectangle is above the spline so it is in correct order. does this only work for spline text? if not, then why does it do this? any solutions? thanks in advance

  • GREAT! Nice to meet someone like you. Thanks for sharing your creativity. Keep it up. God Bless You. I love you.

  • Hi Gorilla. My native language is not English .So English is not very good.I use the software is R12 ,Render out why don’t coincide with yours,The default rendering is different,Why is this.thanks

  • Hi Nick, when I apply the SkyLight my 5 step gradient shader becomes very washed out. I’ve played with the reflection settings but I’m not getting the vibrant colours you got…and yes i turned off the Use Alpha/Strength on the shader. any ideas?

  • Hi!
    It’s possible to do this kind of work but add another background in After effect.
    I meen add this thing to a cinema scene??

  • Hi Nick..One of the Famous News TV in India has used GSG Techniques to Create their Program Identity, Bevel & Fashion Party Mixed…

  • Had to revisit this due to a client WANTING this effect, for some reason I did this last night and the step worked just fine, today in the actual project it’s not. It’s KF’d to animate in 25 frames (pretty fast) would this cause the effector to not react?

  • in the Pompeia inspiration spot (0:12 sec) the spline mask/melt effect comes down and turns towards the camera. in many failed attempts at trying to achieve this i am stumped for possible solutions and sending out a SOS for help! how do you have this effect work besides up & down?

  • The Step effector isn’t working like it’s supposed to in the tutorial @ 9:00

    It’s not working at all in-fact.

    I’m using Cinema 4D r14. Anyone have any solutions??

  • Hey Nick.. great tutorial ! this is my result…

  • Hi everybody
    I have a problem. I am working with R13 version of cinema on Mac OS.
    I followed the tutorial step by step, but when I apply the gradient texture in the shader effector, it doesnยดt appear in text object…
    Has anybody got the same problem that me? Cheers.

  • All i can say is AWESOME. Thanks Gorilla!!

  • Hi ! I had the sme problem the I found a solution. You go on the Effector panel of the Cloner, you can see the Step Effector only, it means the Shader Effector don’t work. I just drag & drop it on this panel and now it works. Hope it’ll help u

  • Hey Nick, thanks for this tutorial. Love it! I had one question. I wanted to uses an Illustrator path (saved as v8) instead of a text spline but when I try to apply a spline mask the .ai drops out. Gone! Any theories about how to solve this problem. Would love to make this with a logo I designed. Thanks much!

  • Can you make me one like this that says tango down?

  • Thanks Nick. Pls am using r14, how do i get the spline mask?

  • Great Tut!
    Did both parts and it looks great!

    Trying this again and have a quick Noob Question- is there a way to do this same effect with a logo that has been merged from AI? Be playing around with this and both my spline and logo completely disappear when placed into the spline mask.

  • can you explain that why my colors are pale? i use r13 and it doesn’t make sense

  • Hey guys Im new for c4d. I’ve faced an issue right at the beginning of the tut when extruding the spline mask,

    any help? it looks like the font is no so great for c4d, but I must use for my upcoming project. how can I fix this?

  • Hmm… I can’t get the colors to channel through in the material that’s suposed to add the reflection to the inside letters..

    I created the material and in the color channel selected the color shader, but the letters just turn white..

    Anyone any ideas??

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