Create a DNA Strand in Cinema 4D

April 7, 2009

In this tutorial we use some basic shapes, deformers and the Mograph module to make a DNA strand.

Tutorial Focus:  , ,
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  • Thank you so much for the tutorials, they’ve been really helpful to me!

    I’d love to see a city fly through. So I guess it’d be more materials on buildings and backdrops, but that’s what I’d like to see.

  • Great tutorial once again, here is my version:

  • Nice. I think the most important thing here is to learn how the logic in C4D works on mograph so its easier to build up these elements.
    Good gorila, goood! Thanks a lot by the way!

  • Any tricks on working back and forth from C4D to AE, keeping the Nulls,lights & Camera info without having to start over every time there is a change to make in C4D?

  • Hey Nick,

    I Would be interrested in a tut explaining how to use something like a guitat plug flyning thru the space (following a path), or an arrow following a path, with the orientation following the curve but without any deformation on the front part of the arrow… Do you know what I mean ?



  • Excellent tutorial. Thanks for doing that and giving the users some new tutorial material.

    Paul Babb

  • Nick,
    Thanks for the amazing, simple and straight-forward tutorials that have gotten me further than a lot of expensive training DVDs. If at all possible, could you deconstruct a real-world project you have done using C4D and AE just to let us see the process?
    Thanks again,

  • Hi Nick. Thanks very much for the tutorials. Like everyone says, it’s great to have things explained in clear/simple terms.
    Would you consider doing a tut on the Hair module? One thing I’m really struggling with is applying hair to text and all explanations I’ve found so far go straight over my head (n-gons etc).
    all the best

  • Hey Nick!
    Thanks again for another great tutorial!
    Now that you have shown us how to build with the mograph module how about animating it?
    Like in your “use this sound” 5 second theme.
    Or this persons square vs circle?

    Keep up the good work buddy!

    • I want to assure you Nick, that you are doing a great work man; you wonderful tutorials has really improved me over the period of time. Please I would like you to make a tutorial on water flowing from a tap as well as river, I will appreciate that a lot. Thanks ones again for the good job you are doing.

  • thats what i call a tutorial..

    3d text please…

  • Great tutorials, I find your site very inspiring, so thanks!! Just a random thing I noticed just now on your friends and foes section – you have ‘Mute’ twice..maybe cos they are twice as good, but just thought I’d let you know 🙂

  • Thanks Yael – Just fixed it.

    Thanks for all the comments and suggestions. More To Come for sure.

  • Another great one, thank you sir Nick!

    I suggest a tutorial on shattering a brickwall. But with uneven and natural looking bricks 🙂

  • Very nice tutorial.
    I would like to see some tutorials how to animate in C4D and how to put it into AE.


  • Thanks for all you do Nick. I find your tutorials more valuable than ones I can find at cineversity and such. I think your popularity is becoming on par with that of Videocopilots’. 🙂

  • Love the tutes.

    Would love to see some on
    1: set extensions,
    2: Dynamics and Particle effects
    3: using camera info from syntheyes to integrate 3D objects into film footage

  • It’s pretty nice.I can learn lots from this.Thanks.

  • Hey Nick, great work! Funny that I just recently had to create a DNA strand for something I’m working on too, and until I discovered mograph I thought it would be a nightmare. Not seeing your tut until now I ended up going at it slightly differently by using 2 swept(??) helix splines for the outer posts and the matrix object for the rungs. Using the helix splines allowed for more control and tweaking than I expected from the outset.

    I love it when your software actually follows through on the promise of making your life easier! What an idea.

  • Where do I buy this program? I want a good DNA program where I can create strands by mixing and matching them.I want the program to be on the computer on some sort of 3D software. Can you help me please?

  • Hey Nick. Great tut. I have a question i tried to do something different instead of using bars on the sides i put spheres but then spheres are not perfect spheres they are distorted.
    anybody know how to fix it??

    Thanx for your help.

  • Great tutorial, you mention lighting, I would love to see a tutorial on how to set a good lighting rig up to make these look even better, what do you think!?

  • Are you not the gorilla in this tutorial ?

  • thx for this…these colored stripes are the organic bases of the nucleotides, just to fresh our memory. (iam biologist)

    may be you know that video?

    cause im more in making music, but starting to learn after effects an cinema4d…i would love to see some hints how to get video and 3d composed togehter… thx

  • Nick, u r the man, Tks so much, so simple, so fast and so incredible, tks once more.

  • Hey Nick, great tutorials. I know you did these like 8 months ago, but I just decided to learn Cinema 4D, and all these tutorials have been a great help. Thank you!

  • Nick, could you have applied the Twist directly to the Null Object, instead of placing it at the bottom of your group, and gotten the same effect? Or, are these one-and-the-same?

    Thanks for your time and effort on these.

  • Great tutorials! very late on the bandwagon here, but here is my effort

  • Thanks a lot for this tut’
    It may helps me a lot !!

  • Just noticed you said “Okay?” a lot back then, in this tut.

    Thanks, cool tut!

  • This was a quick and fun tutorial. I’m a little late to the party here, but this is what I got

    Thanks Nick, you are a great teacher.

  • How can you make a ring of dna?


    Here is my DNA animation which I made using 3Ds Max and After Effects.

  • thank u man … we still need to remember some of the basics cuz we start to forget some . thx again

  • As always, you Nick are freaking awesome. Thanks, learned a lot from this tutorial. Will be building and posting something soon I hope 🙂

  • Ok, but I think you should show what we will be buildng first!
    Thanks for the tutorial!

  • Hey Nick, I know this is old but still very helpful to me. thanks.
    This reminds me, the intro to the movie “Prometheus” is sick! If you haven’t see that yet please do. Do you think you can (in some form) replicate the beginning where the “Engineer” falls in the water “and from that point”, the DNA strands build themselves underwater and then title Prometheus appears? It’s amazing where the DNA strands build themselves, very organic.

  • This excellent website truly has all the info I needed concerning this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

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