How to build a Sci-Fi Sphere Scene in Cinema 4D

August 30, 2010

In this tutorial, I show you how to make the video below using Animated Lathe Nurbs, Blurry Reflections, and specular highlights. You also may also want to watch my Radio Wave Tutorial to learn another way to pull this effect off with After Effects.


Tutorial Focus:  , ,
Software:  ,

  • Its like a lava lamp! πŸ˜€ But thats kinda cool.

  • Looking good πŸ™‚ Nice job

  • wow amazing….just what i wanted ….

  • Nick you’re such a freakin’ genius. It’s simple. And it’s genius.

  • Really cool tutorial Nick, thanks alot!

  • Steven Griffiths August 30, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Excellent! Another few hours in a different room from the Girlfriend playing with this one πŸ™‚

  • … well.. as long as its cool !!

    i saw this long back by a guy called jorge lega.. he does audio less tutorials.. doesn’t say much but gets the point across.. i call them the muteorials.. i like his taste in music too πŸ™‚ he deserves credit..

    nice refresher nick .. thanks!

  • Good Stuff… I thought you were going going to make it using boole.

  • That thumbnail picture of the guy looks a little bit like the elephant man πŸ™‚

  • why did you delete my comment??

  • Very nice, I believe it’s time for me to experiment with other spines. πŸ™‚

  • Good job, only the originals get “sucked” inside, which makes the animation different.

  • Hey Nick,

    Just wanted to start and say thanks for the site – I have learned so much thanks to you and your tutorials! I bought the lightkit and its a GREAT:)

    I was just digging around on beeple and saw this: I have looked at his source file and wanted to ask your advice on how would you even manage a project like this!? On my 8 Core mac the damn file struggles to move.

    I wont ask how you would create something like this as its ridiculously complex, but I would value your opinion on how you would manage a large scale project.


  • my quick fiddle to see how it works, thanks nick yet again for your excellent site!

  • Yo Nick,

    how about making one of these quick tuts on “looping animation” – how to loop (copy frames in timeline editor etc.) a sequence of animation, not sure if that doable in C4D but in flash to loop some animations you can copy the property settings. that would be great.

    those rings could be good example – set up it a way that the single sequence ends at the start position.

    much appreciated,

  • Thanks so much for this awesome tut. I feel like I’m really benefiting a lot from our long distance relationship. πŸ™‚

  • Hey just watched the reference, but I whipped up a sort of similar effect a week ago or so, though I used python scripting in Maya:

  • another great tut Nick, many thanks!

  • Hey man, i really enjoy watching your tutorials and was wondering if you could do a tut on making cool graffiti like this:
    Pls get back to me on this i really want to learn it.

    • Hmmm, the vid you posted is kind of a tutorial on its own. What he does is draw characters on paper, trace that in Illustrator, embed the characters in c4d and plays around with positions, textures and lighting. You could easily achieve this πŸ™‚

  • Animal!!! thank you.. !!
    best regards from Curitiba πŸ˜›

  • Sorry for kind of spamming but here is a better video of the graffiti made in c4d

  • I really, really like these tutorials where you show a concept idea, over a 100% thought out vision (don’t get me wrong, I do like those too) but these give a lot more room to me for expanding what you can do with pieces of a tutorial. As an example I really want to go back now in some pieces I have made and just rework the soft box.


  • End effect looks great, ill check this out later on.

    Nick, i was thinking, have you ever thought of releasing a lite kit of your HDR Light Kit Pro? Just consisting of a soft-box, 1 HDRI sphere, and 1 studio setup?

  • Thank u for all your work, your tutorials and your advice !

  • Robert Leger has a similar tutorial on his website

  • I think the original was done using a tracer object, my version of that is rendering now..

  • Wow, amazing. I totally need this sort of tech for some video intros for a couple of websites I run – would make them stand out a mile. I’m after a designer wanting to expand their portfolio (I am after some cheap or pro bono work). Basically a cool looking five-ten second intro for reviews on my site.

  • Great work again Nick! I am learning so much from you and I can’t thank you enough!

  • Great site, Nick! The site has clear/engaging instructions, easy access, feedback, and other misc/fun related content– a very conducive and addictive learning site. Very happy to be following up on your page, daily.

    Any chance of something more fluid — liquids or cloths? Keep up the great work!

    • Thanks for the glowing review, Jeff. So glad you like the site. As for liquids, I am actually playing with them as we speak. As soon as I have a good liquid sim going, I will be posting tuts for sure.


  • ranjeet has just posted a source file to his scene in comments to the Vimeo video at

  • Great tutorial Nick. A few months ago I saw a similar tutorial but it was done differently and the edges of the spheres had more depth. It think it was done with clothing. Example:–Test01/531615

    I was wondering if you could help me out, I’ve been looking for that tutorial for months now…

  • Really liked your approach πŸ™‚

  • Hey, I remember that i asked you how to do this! Ive been working on a animation like this for a couple weeks now, I’ll post it up here when i finish it!

  • Thanks Nick! Very good tutorial!

  • Just had to try this out. Will make a better one this weekend when i have some more time. Thanks for the tut! :

  • Great stuff man,

  • Nice tutorial, I will try it! Looks very promising πŸ™‚

  • another go, this time I used the flower spline..


  • Hey Nick I haven’t seen your tutorial yet but from the preview it looks a lot like this one I did a few months back. Check it out

  • nice tut brother

  • well here’s my animation that ive been working on. idk if anyones still looking on here but here it is anyways.

  • Hey Nick, why is it that when I try to watch a tutorial on some C4D techniques from a random site I finally end up cursing the guy who recorded and uploaded it?

    With yours, at the end of the day I say to myself: “I think I learned something new today”. Cheers πŸ™‚

  • Is there any way how I can change the colors during the ‘movie’ / animation? That would make it even better. Nice tutorial. And is there any direct link to only cimena 4D 11.5 tutorials, because I can’t follow the ones from C4D 12..

  • fantastic, thanks! I wish you’d added how to export it as a movie, though, but I managed to find that elsewhere.

    Great concepts, explanations, and content as always.

  • Hello,
    How could I animate the spheres with audio?

  • hey so i was trying this tutorial and i got stuck with the key frames and it just messsed me up but other then me not being abe to finish it was sick up till there:)

  • Wow..
    grayscale gorilla, i love ΓΌ! ^_

  • hi, i love this kind of “sphere” thing, but i am wondering if it is possible (in a rather easy way) to link the randomisation of the lathe modifier (sorry i’m a native Max user) for the rings to a MoGraph Sound effector?, would be beyond awesome to do so. i’m not into XPresso at all (i’m sure you can do it that way). so if anyone knows how to do it, please let me know.

  • How do we add thickness to the waves?

  • are needed.Thank very much

  • Hey I was wondering if it is possible to set this into a loop? I’d like to show this at my youth group as a background on the TV’s we have setup. Please reply here or email me πŸ™‚

  • Tanks Nick, is my first tutorial on cinema and was so easy, very good teacher!
    IΒ΄ll keep practicing!

  • when do you use floor for the floor and plain for the floor?

  • Shana L. Darabie July 24, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    I used volumetric lighting for mine.

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.