How To Fill A Volume with Clones Without Intersections In Cinema 4D

July 24, 2014


In this tutorial, I will show you how to fill an object with clones without them intersecting. Then, we will go over how to color your clones by using a plain effector. This tutorial is based on these wonderful renders by Zeitguised.

The end of the tutorial is all about trying to get their amazing Subsurface texturing and coloring without too much crazy render time. I’m pretty sure they use V-ray, but I will show you how to get pretty close by using a pretty cool ChanLum effect in Cinema 4D.



Tutorial Focus:  , , , ,
Software:  ,

  • Great…… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Sigh…I immediately am having a problem with this. When I drop my boole into the cloner, nothing happens. The spheres disappear, and changing “distribution” does nothing. My settings in my cloner are exactly the same as yours, and I’m able to get the cloner to work when I drop in an object that isn’t in a boole. Thoughts?


    • Try putting the boole into a connect object first. I do that later in the tutorial, and it fixes a lot of issues.

      • Thanks Nick! Will give that a try.

      • I was having the same issue, putting it in a connect object worked. Thanks!

      • Putting the boole into a connect object first doesn’t work for me. Hmmm. Really liked the look of this tutorial too. Anyone have another suggestion?

        • Same thing happened to me, I took away the Connect object and in the Boole and checked “Create single object” and that seemed to work.

          Great tutorial btw I have been obsessed with Zeitguised for the past few months.

          Thanks Mr. Gorilla

          • I think there might be a glitch in R15, because the same thing happened to me (put the Boole into the Cloner and it disappeared). I noticed that turning on ‘Create single object’ did nothing, but turning it back off made the Boole appear.

            No settings have changed in other words, but toggling it on and then off fixed the glitch. Hope that helps!

          • I did the tutorial in R15 if that helps.

          • So I realized I didn’t have the latest R15 update. Installed it and the glitch went away.

          • that worked for me too thanks

          • Thanks bil Chamberlin, i did the same: —- > Boole > Object > Create Single Object
            It works! — ๐Ÿ™‚ (y)

      • Hey there, go to the boole object, and in the object tab turn on “create single object”.
        This should work.

  • Great tutorial Nick ๐Ÿ™‚
    You and Chris are AWESOME in the C4D tutorials ๐Ÿ™‚
    Thank you Ken

  • Nice one!
    Only, I think that your ball sphere needed more color, and the shadows are too grey, they should be the same color as the spheres around it only darker.. This way it looks like there is light bouncing around in there a little, and also from each sphere color.

    But great techniques here none the less!

    • There is an ambient occlusion trick we were working on that does just that. I hope to use it in another tutorial soon.

      • Awesome!

        Also, I wonder how this would go if you stuck an attractor in the middle, and tuned in a negative value, so that the balls are forced to the outer edge of the sphere, filling in gaps with smaller balls around the edge….. I might just go try that myself!

  • I am running into a problem ๐Ÿ™ When I try to set up the color to fade from black (on the outside) to white (on inside), using the plane effector, setting the cloner’s transform color to black, etc. nothing happens. Everything stays black, there is no white in the middle. I’ve spent 20 minutes redoing it again and again trying to figure out why, any ideas?

  • Hi Nick, I’m from Argentina, I really appreciate the work you do. His tutorials are very clear and I used a lot. Thanks Great job!

  • Hello Nick, dude I love your tutorials and learned a lot from your videos, but I’ve noticed lately that have devalued the rendering power of C4D, and this tutorial is proof of that. Photoshop for?

  • Beautiful!

    A slow Friday afternoon, so I thought I’d give it a go in VrayforC4D 1.9.

    A bit if wrangling in the sub-surface shader, but if you stick the colourised mograph colour shader in the overall colour channel and the sub surface colour then it comes out a treat.

    Image here if anyone’s interested…

  • Had lots of fun with this one and can’t wait to try it using different objects.

    Test Image:

  • Also, I have the lighting Kit V1 and didn’t have the HDRI option. So if anyone else has that same issue but still wants to replicate the results, I found you could do it by making a sphere that encompasses the whole scene and then adding an HDRI texture to the sphere. Then from there you can right click on the sphere and add a compositing tag and uncheck the seen by camera. This makes it so you don’t see the sphere but you still retain all the nice ambient lighting/reflections from the HDRI image you chose.

  • The coloring of “the spherical spheres” was probably made using more like gradient. You can do this simply by using gradient shader with “3D – Spherical” and adjusting the “Start”-values and “Radius” in the shader options.
    Or you could give it a little bit more boost using both simple effector and gradient methods together.. kinda like glow ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Another brilliant tutorial. Thanks Nick and Chris.
    I started playing with Cinema about two months ago and been watching most of Greyscalegorilla tutorials. Very clear, explanatory and with a touch of humour.

  • Great, first time for a long time I watched a Gorilla Tutorial again. Keep up the good work Nik !!!

  • Very cool!!! Thanks

  • Hey, you forgot “i AM the gorilla”. Thanks for this tutorial

  • awesome tut pal keep it up

  • Hi Nick,

    great tut! ( As always )

    I tried smth. different filling a MoGraph Letter with cubes.
    So far no Problem, but if I go animate it, the cubes fall in the static mesh and have a constant jitter, vibration … do you know how to get rid of it?

    • Try Setting the MG Letter to moving mesh and key frame the force parameters after the dynamics are set to your liking.

  • Hello Nick, you can also kill clones using the “visibility” checkbox in the parameters tab from plain effector and setting “maximun” slider to 50% or less in the effector tab.

    great tutorial!

  • Is it ok to reduce the sphere subdivisions but keep render perfect enabled to help with performance?

  • Great! Thanks for the tips!

  • great tutorial!
    i wonder if you could achieve similar result with x particles?

  • Why not use the random effector to effect the size of the clones? Is there a benefit to using multiple objects?

    • You can randomize to make them slightly different, but I like having control over the ratio of large and small ones are in the scene. I only get that with controlling the clones directly.

  • Here’s my attempt. I went without the ChanLum on mine

  • Thank you Nick! I’ve been obsessed with these images for years and always wondered how they pulled it off. Do you happen to know what software these guys use?

  • love the chanlum effect, renders fast and looks very cool, but I feel there’s something consistently different in the way zeitguised pulled off those renders. The chanlum potential is evident but I think it would have a greater value if applied to achieve other kinds of results. That’s definitely something to dig into. Nonetheless, great tut.

  • my renders didn’t liked the DOF on this one.

    This one is kinda cool

  • So I’ve gone through the first 20 minutes of the tutorial twice now and I can’t figure out why as soon as I add the texture back to the Cloner it cancels my Plain Effector (color falloff one: “Plain.1”).

    Each step is followed to the letter but as soon as I retexture the Cloner all the spheres go black and from that point forward none of the other steps yield any color.

    Both Plain effectors are on in the Cloner’s Effectors tab. Maybe a global setting I’m not aware of? A preference?

  • nice i love tuts like this one amazing motion Graphics

  • Really nice tutorial, thanks for showing the ChanLum effect and how it’s applied, I could never find a use for it until now. Here’s what I managed to come up with:

  • I did this one:

    And put this one on the homepage of my website:

  • Fantastic tutorial! Changing the colors in the Ambient Occlusion settings helped a lot with the grayish shadows.

    And than I tried switching to Octane Renderer :-(. Plain effector is nowhere to be reconized

  • You can also try putting a random effectro on the cloner, i think it’s easier that way! ๐Ÿ™‚


    Please Make a tutorial on this with using Mograph and also rendering technique

  • Farhad Sepahbodi July 27, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    Had days of fun with this technique. You can get some really delicate results. This tutorial is one of of personal favorites. Cheers Nick.

  • Wow, gotta say I’m a bit disappointed at the end of the video, it looks not even close as good as the sample render from zeitguised. I knew i was wrong for hoping for a miracle, but thanks for the tutorial nonetheless.

  • Cody Sorgenfrey July 28, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    I took a shot with Vrayforc4d and here’s what I came up with

  • quick blast using octane c4d

    had to use other method as chan lum / plain effector does not work in occy

  • Hi Nick,

    great Tutorial as always.

    Whats with the SSS issue you mention in the beginning? Works fine for me, meaning I still get decent render times with SSS turned on.

  • Hi Nick, it looks like you forgot to switch off the color channel in the spheres material. It looks much cooler with the color off

  • I didn’t attempt this in C4D, but instead took Nick’s image into Photoshop and tried to enhance it some more there. Again, not my C4D stuff, but Nick’s image re-jigged:

  • I have not figured out what to do with the material to 17 min to make the inside white…

  • Hey Gorilla! Cool tutorial as usual.

    I have a questionโ€ฆ

    Is there any way to use the Plain Effector for Fall-Off as you are using in this tutorial but to limit the generation of Hair?

    I am trying to produce a simple stack of 45 business cards using the hair for the paper fluff you’d see if you shot an extreme macro shot of a cottony paper.
    My problem is that since the stack of cards is in a cloner object I had to throw the cloner object into a connect object and apply the hair object to that connect object. The problem is that the hair object is taking into consideration all the polygons in the cloner, including the ones in between the cards where I wouldn’t need any hair to be generated. I only need hair on the outside of the cloner. I am looking for a solution for two reasonsโ€ฆ 1. It takes ages to render with so many thousands of extra hidden hairs and 2. If I got rid of those extra hairs I would get a better idea of how many hairs to generate because the preview cannot give me a proper indication as it stands!

    Please help! ๐Ÿ™‚ I can send you my working file if it helps.

  • You guys probably already know this, but if your machine gets stuck calculating frames as mentioned. You can just press the escape key, and usually this will cancel the simulation (usually!)…
    Cheers Ol

  • Hi, Nick. Great tutorial. But after I set up the first light and hit render, the result is far away from yours. There are no shadows or volume. Everything is painted in plain with over black background. I just can’t figure ou what is wrong and I suppose you are using different render settings from me. Can you helpe to figure out whats wrong so I can move to the next step?


  • Hi Nick, you always do a great Job ๐Ÿ™‚

    I would be grateful if you can help me with the tutorial on how to create “Romedy Now” title animation. I have been looking for this tutorial for over almost year now and yet I have not found it. Please help.

  • Thank you Nick!
    This is a very useful technique and so easy to use finally ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I like that!

    Here is my contribution :

  • Hi Nick,

    nice tutorial! you mention another one about depth of focus in C4D, but I cannot find it, where is it?

  • YES!! Finally! Love you guys!

  • Farhad Sepahbodi August 4, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    Arctic Nervous ChanLum Test
    need to slow it down…..

  • salute!…Nick Schmidt!…b@ can any1 of u xperts give an idea abt how 2 mk d@ beautiful blue n white C4D Logo???!!!…i know u sure luv d@ 4 a tut;)

  • Hey Nick, thanks for the great tutorial. One thing I discovered was that my material looked a lot better when I made the reflection color black.

    I also tried playing around with filling a sweep volume but that isn’t happening. Maybe there’s a secret way to do that..

  • really interesting stuff as usual Nick thanks for sharing, you’re constant source of positive inspiration

  • hello thanks for the tutorial tal.muchas I served much for my question is I did all the steps and when I came out but when rendering the image is noisy not get anything better viewed with much noise to pedodeis any clue that this might be in

  • Gabriel Valente Ferrรฃo August 19, 2014 at 3:24 pm


    1) Apply a Plain effector, that only affects VISIBILITY (under Parameters > Other)
    2) Under the Effector Attribute, set the Maximum value to anything under 50% (I just set it to 0%)
    3) Use a Mograph selection tag as you would with your technique.

    This method is faster, as it it doesn’t require any scaling calculations. It literally kills the clone and it’s geometry, and any calculations associated with it, making for a much faster process, if you have a heavy/complex setup.

    Hope this helps!

  • I know this is entirely new topic but, is there any way to achieve this kind of effect in Cinema 4D/ Some kind of scatter plugin or?

  • I know this is new topic but, is there any way to achieve this effect in Cinema 4D? Some kind of scatter tool or plugin? Thank you.

    • ^ This looks pretty cool I’d also be interested in a tut, looks like a double header with Chris showing modelling/xpresso and Nick with the making it look sexy with lighting and advanced materials! Thanks for all your hard work!

  • please somebody help meee!!! i do everitghing you did but still happen to me which when put the boole in the object doesnt work whit any form with boole , and i do everithing you tell buit still not work , what the f”/&/k happen please!!!!

  • When I come to picture rendering, the object doesn’t look like it does in the normal editing window. In the picture renderer the spheres are all over the place and I can’t seem to fix it?

    • Have the same problem! Did you figure out a way to fix this yet?

      my picture renderer makes it look like it blew up….

    • Figured it out!!! in your Plain go to the Parameter tab and make sure your positions are set to 0 (X:0/Y:0/Z:0) as well as your colour mode being on.

  • I’ve seen a lot of comments about the boole/sphere/cube not working after adding it to the matrix object. I’ve also seen a lot of offered solutions, but these didn’t work well for me either. One thing I could offer is to select the boole, the cube and the sphere, right click and choose ‘current state to object’. Then take the newly created copy of the boole/cube/sphere, right click and choose ‘connect and delete’. You should be left with a one piece item now and when that’s dragged into the matrix object it should display as expected. Hope this helps!

  • hi,

    thanks for this very useful tutorial.
    clones intersections problems: solved!
    here is my contribution:


  • hello nick sir , thanks for great tutorial, as i am very new in cinema4d, i need a favor or help from you in creating topography , like
    i tried using mo-graph cloner and dynamics as explained in above tutorial but fail to reconstruct inner letters part…if possible help me.

  • Hi all GSG people,
    I’ve been using your resource since starting with C4D in January and have always found it to be superb in production and communication.
    I’ve just completed a student project about Augmented Reality. Part of the submission is an animation using some AE Motion Tracking, along with some elements of the Volume tutorial, take a look if you get 2.5 minutes too spare:
    All the best guys!
    P.S. Made sure I credited you (and Zeitguised of course) as well ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Hey, I also have a problem! When I put the Collider Body on de Boule, and do every same thing you do, the spheres are still going everywhere… I can’t get them to stay in the sphere..

  • I having trouble deleting the unwanted clones, or “killing the clones” that fly out of the main/large sphere.

    Someone suggested to apply only the visibility attribute to the plain effector. Can you elaborate?


  • Hi guys, great tut as always. I have an issue with the render. When I click on the render viewer I have only a black image ยฟยฟ?? I don’t know what it happens. Anyone can help me?



  • Problem fixed, just turn off the first plain effector in cloner

  • You can also use proximal shader to graduate the colors from pink to green.

  • This blog is amazing, i’m blown away with the cool stuffz i see here
    keep it coming guys

  • hello. thank you for the amazing tutorial once more.

    i tried to make with torus, and didnt work.
    tried to make the rings intersect.
    tried everything, and couldnt make it.
    if you have time please make a tutorial.
    Thank you once again

  • Hi Nick,

    Thank you for posting the tutorial, really enjoy your style of teaching.
    I tried this tutorial with a sphere first and it worked fine there was no intersections.
    I then tried this with a logo which is just geometry and the balls intersect even with the same settings as the sphere. Is there different rules for different shapes or does it only really work with simple shapes?

    Hopefully you will see this message.

    Many Thanks

    Dwayne Cobham

  • Hey there, Great tutorial!

    As a graphic designer who is new to Cinema (I need to do the 20 tips for beginners next!!) I found it very professional and easy to follow, what I really liked about it was the explanation and thinking behind what you were doing, rather than just the tab A into slot B approach of some other folks tutorials..

    What would make a great follow up would be how to animated the volume of spheres forming from nothing, vibrating about then exploding!!!

    I’m going to to backtrack though as many of your previous tutorials as possible..


  • Hey Nick, I’m having a problem when I add the rigid body tag to the cloner. The inherit tag doesn’t show up. When I put the rigid body tag on the spheres the inherit tag appears but it doesn’t work if I put it there. I’m using C4D R15 bradcast. Please help me

  • Yo Nick ๐Ÿ™‚

    Firstly big ups for the great tutorials. You’re work is inspiring and I am grateful for teachers like you.

    Here’s my problem – It’s in the beginning where you apply the collision body tag to the boole, right. I did everything just as you did but when I move forward a couple of frames the spheres aren’t constrained to the shape of the boole only. There are still a lot of random spheres flying out and I really don’t know what the problem could be? Any help is greatly appreciated. I’m using R16 just so you know.

  • thank you for the tutorial .. i followed your particles gathering technique .. but tried the texturing and lighting by myself.. and this is what i achieved.

    pretty close to the zeitguised project ???

  • Hello,
    Thanks a lot for all your tutorials.
    I’ve got a question. If I animate count property in Cloner Object, the plain effector don’t work ! Do you have a solution. I try a lot of things/solutions but nothing work.
    If you could give me some informations, you’re the coolest man on earth and I invite you to drink a beer !


  • Great stuff. I was on the hunt for something that might tell me how Zeitguised makes sculptures like this one

    Any ideas?

  • Thank you, sir.

  • Oliver Lindenskov January 10, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    Is there a way to achieve this with Arnold?

  • I’d be lost without you guys! Fricken Legends!

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