How to Animate and Control Lights and Dynamics with Xpresso In Cinema 4D Part 2

February 11, 2011

In this video, we finish up this tutorial by tweaking the lighting, adding animation, and finishing the piece in After Effects with a bit of Compositing and Depth Of Field. Enjoy!

Watch Part 1 Of This Tutorial

Tutorial Focus:  , , ,

  • Thanks for part 2 Nick! πŸ™‚

    Personally, I much prefer longer more in-depth tutorials like this, you learn so much more.

    Keep ’em coming!

  • Thanks Nick, can’t wait to continue with this πŸ™‚

  • thanks Nick. good work. learned a lot

  • Thanks Nick! Two thumbs UP!! You are the Gorilla!!

  • Dude…I learned a crap ton of stuff from these two! Can’t wait to toy around with all this stuff…and I’ve never touched Xpresso before but damn! it looks amazing!

    Cheers bro!

  • Thank you……

  • how do i use/install your layout once downloaded ?? πŸ™

  • WOW woW!!!!!!

  • GREY….TKS!!!

  • you’re just awasome

  • Thanks a lot Nick! Finally got myself enough excited to die into Xpresso!!

  • Hi Nick! Looking good!
    I know the feeling of tweaking stuff until it looks on the screen like it looks in your head. It’s hard to not go totally mental while doing so πŸ˜€

    Great stuff! Thanks for sticking with it and sharing your solution! Have a good weekend! πŸ˜‰

    PS: Love the little note about using something from a tutorial and using it in your reel. A friend of mine did exactly that a few weeks ago πŸ˜‰

  • Hey, Nick. Really good tutorial, both part 1 and 2. But, could you please provide us with the sound file you used? I can’t find any good WAV files on the internet, and I don’t really trust the “.mp3 to WAV”-websites, so.. That would be really appreciated! πŸ˜‰

    • Morton, Check this site out. There is a ton of stuff on their for free. They have hip hop / house / techno / ambience / I think there was even a squirrel farting sound effect.

    • Itunes will convert your mp3 to wav, just go into the prefs and change import encoder audio type. Further settings will let you choose the sample and bit depths that C4D require. Then right click any of your tunes in playlist and select convert to wav file. This makes a new file and keeps original. Change back before importing other tunes if you dont want them to be wav.

      Also not finding any good .wav on the internet sounds like lazy looking if you ask me. There are tons.

    • Han Solo, music files in are not totally free. You can freely download and listen and use for personal things I guess. For commercial use, you have to pay, these are copyrighted materials.

      Just a reminder..

  • Nick,
    Bro you are like the Lance Armstrong of tutorials! That was awesome. I needed 2 naps and a change of clothes between them!!

    I appreciate the time you put into that one. Incredibly informative and watching you stumble through the workflow teaches just as much.

    LOVE IT!

  • Hey. This is a great tutorial and I’m sure that a lot of people like this, but have you ever thought of what the dude that made the original spot thinks? doing an exact copy like this is not cool.. The learning is great, but don’t copy other peoples work. That’s my point of view.

    • Think of it like learning a cover of a Beatles song on guitar. By learning from the greats like Korb, you can start to figure out what makes them so good. Learn enough cover songs and soon you will be able to write your own music. I don’t do these tutorials so we can all copy, they are here to try and learn from the greats and apply what we learn into our next project.

    • Perhaps Sean means, do the break down and replica personally but when hitting record convert the learnings into a different take on it as you suggest people to do from the tutorials.

      Have you ever been approached by anyone from a shop that you’ve mimicked and had them say they disapproved? Just curious.

    • Being an Actionscript developer, I’ve done quite a lot of ‘reproducing’ something others have done. I actually talked to somebody, asking him if my approach was actually the way he did it. We talked about it for some time and he didn’t disapprove at all. He was amused in fact πŸ˜‰

      Personally I don’t think people disapprove this kind of stuff when it’s used for educational purpose. These guys/girls know why Nick and others are using their work as example; they’ve done the same before they were rocking the Cinema πŸ˜‰ They’ve gone down the same road.

      However I can’t speak for all of them, but I would be surprised if they were to be upset if you tried to replicate something, just to see how it’s done. (as long as you don’t copy/steal their ideas πŸ˜‰ )

    • Nice. It would be interesting to have that feedback from the creators. Sometimes probably similar and other times maybe way off in the approach eh?

    • Personally I would be very annoyed if some random person on the internet copied my work for thousands of kids to copy..

      But this is just me, maybe it’s different for the other guys Nick mimicked.

    • I think you’d have to be a real dick to be offended that someone reverse engineered your idea and used it in a tutorial. My $0.04.

      Mediocrity borrows…genius steals…I came up with that saying…

    • I think it’s easy. They made it first (Kobe) and got the money for their idea and work. Now it’s out there and people get new inspiration from it. if you chance the bulbs to any other shape, than it’s something diffrent! Art doesn’t work when nobody learns bye copying…

      I enjoed it and wouldn’t take money for my copy if anyone would want it. It’s just for my personal use and joy…

    • I Think No One Should Judge Nick for His teaching!To show the techniques and how it’s made you need an Example!That what the example Nick choose!Then you free to try your own technique and project base of what you learn!Thanks Nick and Keep up the good Work!God Bless U !!!

  • Great tutorial Nick!
    Amazing, as always πŸ˜€

  • I got close with this one. I made a few main mistakes… I tried to include a Matrix for some reason (for some reason I was thinking that generating Thinking Particles was important…may have worked, but I zoned out trying to learn TP all at once)…and the other mistake was that I tried to move the axis to one end and use a Y-axis position constraint instead of a weight. Your way makes more sense. Even if my second way had worked, it would have been too rigid, like a hinge on a track

    • Actually I also offset the axis in the dynamics tag. It gives similar results to the weight idea that Nick used, but it can pull objects through the “ground” slightly as it is calculating a “longer” object than there is geometry for. On the mass tab its Custom Center. I used that to great effect to make a lever spring back when struck by dynamic objects because the custom center acts as a weight or counter balance.

  • I agree.. Those longer session ones are great! πŸ™‚

    One tip about flickering on the lights is to use the spline in range-mapper. 0 to 100% alt 0-1 and spline it a little bit up and down.

    Request about a tutorial I like to see and tried on my own but having troubles with for myself but also to find tutorials on are these mograph growing graphics/machines like you can see in Iron-man or transformers. One “primitive” growing more and more and rotating, positioning and shifting itself into place.

  • Does anyone know where I can find good tutorials/books/dvds on rigging. I can’t seem to find anything on rigging inside C4D. Thanks.

  • Wow, this one was very awesome and helpfull. Thing about longer tutorials are during the time watching your brain is getting more activated, you know more senses are being stimulated. I am liking to pick a part things and get to the bottom line with how and why they did what they did. Just to get that little insight what the heck did they do! and To me it’s not about to replicate an art, it’s more about the method and change the path of thinking. After all, it’s up to me and you, to use the idea and create something new and fresh πŸ™‚ Okay long one here but this really has been one of the most coolest thing I have learnt. Thanks Nick for let us follow you into your head πŸ˜€
    Keep up the smooth work!

  • Hey Nick,

    This one was really great! Have you tried to use the “sound effector” to make the bulbs move on the beat?

    I’ve been trying it out with the sound effector. It’s rendering right now so I’ll post it when it’s done.

  • Hey Nick, well Im too curious to see if you can find that buddy and ask him about your approach of this project. πŸ™‚

    And another thing… well it was kinda weird and complicated the time you pressed play and the sound was out of sync.

  • Thanks Nick, awesome turorial!I tried as well with some other light bulbs and a bit diffrent approach. Instead of adding weights, I just shifted to a custom mass center, in the dynamics tag. It didn’t turn out quite the way i wanted, but I couldn’t stand tweaking anymore.
    Check it out if you want.

  • Great tuts !!!

    at part 2 when adding the file to the sound (I tried mp3 & wav, and many different files). Some don’t load, others do not play sound in the timeline, they do play when I click “Play sound” button at the prop menu…


  • Nick ! your tutorial is exelent, as always. but I need some help: how do you render all those frames together, with that timelime under the render screen ? when i hit the render, i just got one frame rended ): thanks a lot

  • thanks a lot !

  • Thank You πŸ™‚

  • hey awesome tutorial nick! as always. i was wondering if you could make a tutorial about the cubes thing in the black eyed peas new video “time”, it looks awesome and maybe it can be pulled off with c4d and ae.


  • when people consider this as copying from other artist there out of there minds…
    its not for commercial use but simple 2 learn..
    although i have to do it 3 times to learn πŸ™‚
    great tut nick
    maybe you can dive into a simplefied expresso tutorial as a follow up on this 1


  • Would love to see some more tutorials on xpresso Nick, I’ve tried to learn it but can’t wrap my head around it. You’re extremely good at explaining things so I’m sure I could pick something up from you.

  • Thanks so much for this tutorial, Nick! Just finished watching it and learned so much! I always love watching your tutorials.

  • More XPRESSO! Awesome! I did my first steps when I was making the Control Panel for my Free Instant Camera Kit for C4D ( Just used it in an animation project to animated a lot of variables with just one slider πŸ™‚

    2011 will be the year of workflow optimization!

  • i wanna say that u helped me alot i wanna thank you

    lol in middle east they dont know about C4D alot but i know it and searched for tutorial but i cant find it anywhere but u helped me alot so thanks πŸ˜€
    and nice work

  • great!! Thank you for doing this! I am still working on it, but my laptop can’t handle more than 200 klones at one time.. πŸ˜‰

    Keep this up, please, you’re really good in explaining and of course the work!

  • Hey Nick. First off, thanks for this tut, dude.

    Secondly, is there a solution for C4D 11.5 that does the same thing as the “set initial state” tool in the rigid body tag?? I’m having trouble figuring that out! Thank you!

  • Nick, once again a great tutorial!
    Can’t wait to see what you have in store next.
    Grtx from the Netherlands!

  • Hey Nick, I’m not good at animating so I did a still-image, but I have some lighting issues.

    Here’s what I came up with:

  • Here is my test so far. It’s just a quick render.

    • Thanks for the great tutorial Nick. Really interested in getting into expresso more. This is my animation finished off, except I’ve left out the music for now. Would be interested to see if I can get the sound effector to drive the animation as others here have done.

      Thanks again.

  • Just so helpful and inspiring… Can’t wait for the next one !!!
    From Paris.

  • Awesome Tut!

    Made this with some inspiration of your Cherry pop tut as well

    Hope you like it!

  • is THE place to find textures (wood for floor for example, tileable texture as well).. check that out dudes !

  • Alright… I gave it a try, but am not to happy with the result. It took my 2 computers 2 days to render this.. well… you learn from mistakes.

    But still great tutorial, and xpresso is just crazy!! πŸ™‚

    Tanks again and looking forward to see more!

  • Hey Nick,
    I’ve looked and I don’t see this question asked yet, but forgive me if you have answered already.
    What song are you using for this, it’s really addicting:)
    Or if anyone else knows…


  • Thank you Nick, for this great tutorial, learned a lot about how things work in cinema.. her is the result

    Got tired of tweaking and tweaking, it can go forever. Overall Im happy with the result, just need some moore trainig to get better result.

  • Thanks for your tutorial, here is as far as I got!

  • I was just thinking, wouldnt it be easier to control light blinking, if added 2 more sliders only for each bulb luminance?

  • Here is my result.

    One thing that is fun is to tie the Luminance brightness to the dynamic velocity. That way if it is moving it lights up regardless of what group it is in. One texture for the bulbs that way. You will still need to range map it though. And limit the upper value or you will blow out the luminance.

  • Im having trouble with the audio.wav part. I got my audio, it is .wav but when i follow his steps importing, i get a greyed out “Play Sound” button and all the information about the sound such as size and bit rate is “–“. Plus, there is no audio wave form when i click on the sound’s triangle. Help!

  • I used this tutorial to start something else … now my problem is that my.WAV file plays but get a hickup from time to time (in the editor) and it quite annoying since i made the music aswell and I’m trying to sync the movements fluent to the music ….

    I am new to all this and just wanted to add my appreciation for people lick the gorilla for teaching us stuff …

  • Hi Nick this my attempt.
    I just used a tungsten light.
    Tks Again.

  • Hey, Nick i have to Thank You big time here for Part 1 and 2 of this great Tutorial!
    Keep on, You are the Gorilla!

  • Hamit Burak Emre March 4, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Nick thanks a lot for this tutorial i realy learn very exciting things

  • Great tut…
    Can someone explain how to get the depth of field result in AE. My AE skills are poor at present. I know how to make a gradient in AE and I have Lens Care plug in, just don’t know how to use it yet. Know any good tut’s for Lens Care ?

  • @flippyfloop
    Just do a blacl and white gradient on a layer, precompose this layer then in the depth of field plugin select the precompose.
    That’s it.

  • Dude..amazing.. thank you very much for the tutorial …learned lots of new things …God bless you man!

  • Hola Nick:

    Tengo un problema

    El archivo de audio no carga, lo tengo en formato wav, pero no carga

    ΒΏCual puede ser el problema?

  • Hi Nick:

    I have a problem

    The audio file does not load, I have it in wav format, but does not load

    What could be the problem?

    You speak Spanish?

  • hi nick:

    I found that I spent with the audio when you load it in cinema.

    The file must be wav type, but also must have the following attributes, if not, cinema is not recognized.

    44100 Hz

    16 bit


  • i love your stuff nick… i learned more in two of your tutorials than in the last whole year… really. keep doing your great work!!!

  • hello nick, this tutorial is amazing!!
    thanks dude.
    i was just wondering, mine has seemed to have stop animating (the bulbs dont move?)
    they were moving, perfectly, when i moved my flot sliders etc.
    i have tried messing around with the settings, within xpresso, my dynamics tags etc, but nothing! i am using R12, and the problem occured after changing my layout to ‘animation’ (so i could see the wave form), and then everything just stopped? ive tried animting the float sliders, nothing works? i tried moving it back to the stndard workspace, and deleting the music, but i still have nothing atall! πŸ™ can ANYONE help? πŸ™

  • What a fantastic example from the Gorilla. Youve done it again!

    Well done Nick, you always amaze me inwhat you can do in Cinema.

    Look forward to some more tutorials in R13.

    The Chimp

  • Ive learned so much from your Cinema 4d tutorials. You’re always so precise and clear. 99% of the time if I’m stuck on something, you have a tutorial for it. Thank you!

  • I haven’t used a 3D package since Infini-D 15 years ago, and I am one week in to relearning. I started with a glass, made a gumball machine, then straight on to this. This tutorial has been infuriating, mind-boggling, insanely hard to follow and totally awesome in one go. Mr Gorilla, your generosity in time and kindness in sharing has helped me an indescribable amount.
    All great artists learnt by copying the masters, now and I am copying you. I salute you sir. Now to get my head around animating using XPresso controlled attractors… Urgh my head hurts…

  • Thanks for part 2, Nick!

  • Nathan McAllister Jr July 9, 2012 at 8:14 am

    Hey Nick,
    You are a Tremendous Designer and Teacher. This site is incredible, and much appreciated.
    My question is (eg. The Ribbon Animation): When you have Garoud Shading with Lines selected (Display) in the viewer and do a quick Render, you see the lines on your display and I do not on my machine. Also when you apply the 2 materials it did something odd with the reflection. How can I set this up to see lines and everything when I do a quick render. I have both R11.5 and R12.
    Thank You in Advance for Your Help.

  • Hey Nick,

    I know this tut is old, but I had an idea while watching it. Instead of using a Sound Effector…

    Oh and I’m a total noob, but sometimes objective ideas (Coughnoobideas) have some random benefit that comes from it or could lead to something else?

    Anyway, so instead of a sound effector —- coooooould you … take a screenshot of the waveform and import it to say.. photoshop, or illustrator, etc and basically import a traced object or vector as if the waveform were a logo (creating an object that is the shape of the waveform).. make a spline or.. some sort of super low polly object? Basically, what I’m proposing is that you create a vertical tube that contains the entire dynamic scene within it… think of it like a windtunnel with caps. So, this wouldn’t really do anything until you move the “waveform object” through the top of it. This waveform object would then be the attractor – so as the song is louder, it goes deeper down into the tube.. effectively attracting the respective elements a little more as it is closer to them?

    The vertical tube would be there to simply restrict the attraction to the part of the waveform that is exposed to the respective elements within the tube.

    I hope that makes sense. Please email me thoughts… I probably wouldn’t check this comment unless there’s an auto-notifier.

    While this obviously is a roundabout way of doing things, I thought that it may be worth posting in case there’s some form of process that could come from it that typically wouldn’t be available or thought of from simply using sound effector and xpresso – just thought I’d share my brain snaps.

    Have a great day. Looking forward to the next tut tuesday.

  • Thanks for the excellent tutorials, Nick & Chris! They are addictive. And please keep all those little errors, bloopers and dogs playing with squeaky balls!

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