Create Realistic Condensation using Mograph, Physical, and Arnold (3 Part Series)

April 11, 2017

Creating realistic condensation for beverage renders comes up in just about every motion designers career. This seemingly simple effect is one that people often ask me about. How do you make the condensation look real and beautiful, but not over think it?

Lucky for us in Cinema 4D R18 they released a new effector called the Push Apart Effector. With this new effector and some smart lighting and shading, we are going to make some killer Tallboys!

What will I Learn?

  • In the first of following three videos, you will learn how to set up your condensation using standard Mograph tools in R18.
  • In the second tutorial, you will learn how to light and shade our Tallboy using Cinema 4D’s Physical Renderer.
  • In the last tutorial, you will learn how to achieve the same look using Solid Angle’s Arnold renderer for Cinema 4D.

What do I need?

  • Cinema 4D R18 Broadcast or Studio
  • Your own HDRI Maps for lighting or HDRI Studio Rig for Physical
  • Your own HDRI Maps for lighting or HDRI Link
  • Solid Angle’s Arnold Renderer (for part three only)
  • A Can model (either from the content browser or you can find a free one here)

Part One: Realistic Condensation Setup with Mograph

Part Two: Lighting and Shading Condensation in Physical

Part Three: Lighting and Shading Condensation in Arnold for Cinema 4D.


Tallboy Label Designs by OTHER STUDIO

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

  • Chad you rock!
    Really digging the awesome Arnold tuts. Keep’em coming.

  • Amazing tutorial. Many Thanks!

  • This is a nice technique. There is a really cool plugin that does this with more control and drips too. The droplets also interact with one another. It is at

    PS Thanks for all your tutorials. You are really knowledgeable and I have picked up some great tips and tricks that I have used in ways that are outside of how you originally used them.

  • Really nice tutorial. But I don’t understand this part with displacer. Can you explain in few words how you set it up?

  • Great series of tutorials, I have one question : what would you recommend if I have to animate it ? Random Y movement with metaballs ?

    Thanks and awesome works by the way.

  • Fan-tas-tic tutorial! Thank you for sharing you knowledge!

    Off-topic: Any thoughts on Thea renderer? i love Arnold but since they ‘selled-their-soul’ i am affraid, in time, this will have the same faith as, let’s say, Softimage.

  • Hi Chad,

    Thanks for the tutorial, I’ve used this method previously and it works a treat, I certainly picked up some handy little tricks though. The displace deformer in particular is really handy!

    Quick question for you; how would you approach doing this kind of thing on a glass bottle? I’ve tried a few methods but never come up with anything that doesn’t produce strange and unnatural results.


    • I usually tell the droplets not to be visible to refraction rays. That way, you don’t get any odd issues with droplets penetrating the glass/plastic. The tradeoff is that other droplets won’t appear in refraction either. If that trick doesn’t work, I’ve got a method I used for LIFE WTR that I can share sometime.

      • Hi Chad,

        Thanks for the tip! I’ll give that a try when I get a minute. Would love to see your result using the other method you mentioned.


  • Hi Chad,

    Great tutorial. It would be nice with a tutorial where you show how to do it in Octane?

    • I may update with an Octane version, but I’m trying to save myself from doing four tutorials everytime I do one. 🙂 The last tut I did with takes, I used Octane. Trying to spread the love around. Thanks for the comment!

  • Hi Chad,

    I love the pace of your tuts, really good stuff. This one had a ton of great tips.

    Just in case you don’t update it for Octane, how would you go setting up the Fresnel in the aluminum and water materials? I’d love to know. It kills me that there is no direct way of doing it as far as I can tell.


  • Hi Chad, as ever, great tutorials, learning loads watching you guys. I was just wondering, how do you create the tab ‘Models’ you mentioned you created yourself…I have a bunch of models i’d like to keep in the C4D filing system. Thank Chad, Mark P

  • Love your work with the Arnold tuts Chad! Please don’t hold back on doing more. I’d also be keen to see how you’d approach a similar technique using multiple refractive ray depths, like droplets on a glass bottle.. Thanks!

  • Hi Chad,

    You have been a great addition to the Greyscalegorilla team.

    Your tutorials are always a pleasure to watch.

  • Thank you Chad – excellent tutorial. Sorry to stray from the topic of droplets, but is this the best way to do seamless floors outside of Physical Render (Arnold, Octane, Redshift, …whatever)? What if you don’t want the “ground” to be reflective? One thing I miss in other engines is the easy setup you guys provided with the seamless floor in HDRI Studio.

  • Wonderful tutorial once again and plenty of techniques that i cannot wait to use.

    I work fairly bit on product shots, especially on alcohol products. My issue with doing condensation in 3D is that the product never looks cold, just wet.

    A cold can would have a layer of tiny tiny tiny droplets when its cold and i find it hard to achieve in 3D. Have you got any thoughts on how this could be achieved?

  • Hey Chad – great tutorial! I just did an animation and thought I’d share:

    • Hey!
      Great render btw! It looks amazing! Would you mind sharing a bit how you accomplish such a perfect lighting? I’m struggling with it. Thanks a lot!

  • I’m assuming Push Apart is only in R18? Can’t find it in R17.

  • Chad could you talk about how you would prepare the image for packaging materials like this?

  • Is there a way to create the water drop in R17?

  • Awesome tutorial, thanks so much!

    I was wondering…how would you approach the texture placement if we wanna try to reproduce the reference can adding the logo or product name? I’m having troubles lighting up textures applied to materials in the scene with your light setup.
    Would you go for a new 3D piece of the can and apply a “cut out” graphic to that? If so what material setup do you suggest? Or would you go for multiple materials on the same can model, where you already apply the aluminum?

    Thanks again!

  • Thank you sooooooo much !!!!

  • This is an amazing tutorial. So much so I went out and purchased C4D on the basis of it.

    I’m struggling though. I don’t have Arnold, and as soon as I apply a texture on the can (with my can’s artwork) – all the bubbles turn black !

    Can anyone help?

  • Not to worry – all sorted in the end and bubbles look great on a sold surface. Thanks for a great tutorial Chad.

    How would this work with a glass material though? The displaced object also needs to be clear and thus does not ‘trim’ the underside of the droplets – or is it not possible using this method?

    Thanks again.

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