How to make a Dynamic Chain with Cinema 4D

January 28, 2010

In response to a question from: ITV Teacher

With help from This tutorial and CG Society.

Final Result

Tutorial Focus:  ,
Software:  ,

  • nice tutorial dude! had no problems to follow your instructions and just tried it out:

    Thank you for this one!

  • Hello Nick

    I have tried your tutorial on Cinema 4D STUDIO V 12.016 & 12.043. I am experiencing the same problem in both versions. Even after following the tutorial step by step my chain does not swing down but goes stright down due to gravity. Also I have made the cylinder object the COLLOIDER and Cloner Object the Rigid Body from SIMULATION > DYNAMICS > options.
    I donot know where the problem lies.
    However, My chain explodes into individual segments if I apply the Create Rigid Body tag to Sweep nurbs not the to the cloner object.
    Thanks in advance…

    • Thanks Thomas (Reply under ANDRIAN LUNA – 2 comments above). I got the point from you. I removed Fracture and Explosion. Made Cyclinder the Colloider and Clone Object the Rigid body from SIMULATION > DYNAMICS > Options… The Chain is working fine.
      I am using the version 12.043 of Cinema 4D Studio.
      Thanks to all, it was the simulation I was searching for sometime.

  • Hey Gorrillaaaa, what a great tutorial! It all seem to work fine but in my case (I checked 1000 times) when I add a Dynamic Body Tag to the Colner – objects disapear…no idea why but it made me to look for some other solution. What I found was: If you add a Dynamic Body Tag to a Cloner of chain links and set in: Collsion tab, shape to moving mesh it all works the same way. It’s way much easer, less seting up and so on… High efficency on calculations even if objects are made of many polygons. check for some details. In summary. If you want to deal with hole objects and dynamic body tags – play with MOVING MESH. Best regards

  • I gave it a shot this week and learned some nice things about hierarchy in C4D and dynamics.

    Thanks for the tutorial.


  • I didn’t notice if anyone else was having this problem, but it stumped me for a while. To make my copy of the Dynamic Chain (that would become the pretty chain) I did a ctrl+drag. For some reason, render instances wasn’t working with this. Eventually, I did the copy/paste method and it started working. Weird.

    Does anyone know why this would be?

  • Hi Nick.

    I am following your tutorial, trying to replicate it in Cinema 4D. However, when I apply rigid body to the cloner object, and the colider to the cylinder, the chain doesnt fall apart. (It just explodes as one big chunk)
    That’s where the problem starts.
    From that point following another steps doesnt really give me any results…

    Maybe you could help.


  • I meant 12… Cinema 4d 12…

  • Alright, got it from here:

    Thanks very much mate!

  • When I put the explosion down to 0.001% the breakage is still visible

  • hey do you know why my chain just dissapears?

  • As always, you kick butt man. This was very helpfull, especislly for R11.5 users

  • Perfect! I have a project in which I need a pendant hanging on a small silver chain, and this was the solution! You rock! Sorry about all the !!!!!’s

  • Great tut!
    wow im blown away by the commitment to educate people, true role model.

    learned bunch of stuff from your other tutorials as well, keep it up!

    Thank you!

    Big up from Sweden !

  • Thank you so much for this and all your other tutorials – you have saved my ass SO many times. Clear, concise and extraordinarily helpful.

  • Hello, Nick

    I’m Fajar from Indonesia. I’ve seen your tutorial about the dynamic chain, and I’ve tried that tutorial using Cinema 4D R13. And I’ve found a few problem about my project :

    1) after I put the rigid body, my chain didn’t blow up like your tutorial, I thought that not a problem, so I forward to the next step, put the explosion.

    2) after I put the explosion, the next step is put the fracture object. In R13 what I just foud in mograph is just fracture (the name is not the fracture object), I put it on, and my chain dissapear, only one chain remain, so I can’t forward to the next step.

    why it happen? is that because I using r13 ? maybe there’s a couple different between R13 with your version. Here I sent my project to you.

    Thanks for your attention, i hope you don’t mind to answer my question.

    Thanks a lot Nick.

  • Anyone have a video similar to this but with 2 rings? becuase it would seem the same but i tried it and it didnt work

  • Also, make sure your ‘Nice chain’ is above your ‘Dynamic chain’ in your object manager, because of the top-down calculation order.

  • you can make it without using the explosion object, just by changing the shape to “moving mesh” at the first place.

  • I really like your tutos, I love Cinema 4D, I know the tutorial is about cloner, mograph etc.. but if you need a reallistic chain is better to actually grab a real chain with a green screen (or green paper :P)
    and with an alpha channel import to Cinema. The 3D is great, but do not forget guys the REAL world, is much better, with better results.
    I work for movies and games, (where the time is money đŸ˜€ duh) and sometimes is faster to do stuffs for real than in 3D.

  • You can simply Nick’s setup a lot. Just create a chain with a cloner using Nick’s method or other. Add the Cylinder with the Collider Body tag and position it within the first chain link. Give the Cloner a Rigid Body tag. Under Collision set Inherit Tag to Apply Tag to Children, Individual Elements to All, Shape to Moving Mesh, and that’s it – Done! Three objects and two tags.

  • By the way, using the method I outlined above if your chain is too long it may “snap” due to the complexity of the Dynamics calculations. If that happens go to Edit menu -> Project Settings. In the Attributes Manger click on the Dynamics tab and then the Expert tab. Set the Steps per Frame and Maximum Solver Itertions per Step to the number of links in your chain.

  • Hi, thanks for the tutorial.
    I just use the last comment to do the chain, because there were some problems with the original set-up. Fine, now works. But, what if I want that my chain has some specific form, like be hanging from 2 screws on a wall. How may I setup this original shape, and then de Dinamics start to apply..? I cant figure that… Thanks in advance, and sorry for my raw english. Best!

  • AndrĂ© Bremer June 5, 2013 at 9:05 am

    Hi, thanks for this tutorial, very helpful, but I try make the sphere with shells and breaking when touch the ground like the image:

    thanks a lot!

  • Hi Nick! I have a question.. how can i add more weight to my chain?

  • Hi guys, I need a help!
    Look at my trouble
    why is it falling together? wut have i missed in this tutorial?

    • Put the dynamic tag on the chain link instead of the entire thing. Or, turn “Individual Elements” on in your tag’s Collision settings.


  • lol) i fixed it! thx

  • It’s more processor-intensive of course but I’ve got very realistic results by using rigid body dynamics: stick two links in a Cloner and rotate one 90º (after putting it in a null so it’ll let you rotate it relative to the other link), give both a rigid body tag, set shape to moving mesh, put the calculations per frame up to about 15 or so if required. Works nicely.

  • for everyone having problems with the inheritance effector (R15):

    check the following: prettychain -> effectorstab.
    you should see inheritance effector here. if not just drag’n’drop it from above.

    so the object browser looks like this:
    – sweep
    — rectangle

  • Hi Nick, great tutorial.
    I’ve done using both of your tutorials, depth of field and this one of the chain.

  • You don’t need to do all that stuff to get physics working properly with a chain -just click on the cloner object -> Dynamics Body tab -> See “Form” and chose “animated mesh” there. That’s all.

    Also make sure that “Hierarchy” there is set to “inherit to all sub objects” and “Individual Elements” to “all” (I am using the german version, so I am not sure what it says in the english version).

    • Hey Mike, thanks a lot for your comment, is there a possibility to connect an object to the chain following your method? thank you!

  • Hi,

    Am doing this tutorial on cinema4d R16 but it is not working , there is no lots of Option in R16 Mograph menu, Please tell me what i will do


  • is there anyway to make the sweep nurb collide itself and then bake the animation on a geometry sothat I can export an fbx of an animated falling cable on the ground?

  • Hey Nick, thanks for your tutorial. I am trying to make this happen in R16 but it does not work. All chain pieces are stuck together. Second thing is the cylinder, i guess you have to use the colider tag instead of the rigid body, as it simply falls down together with the chain. Can you please give us some additional comments on how to proceed in R16?
    Thank you!

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