How to make a globe radio-wave animation in After Effects AND Cinema 4D

November 19, 2009

In this tutorial, I show you how to make a Radio Wave animation that animates around a sphere. First, I will show you how we can do this in After Effects. Then, I show you how to animate this scene in Cinema 4D where we have a bit more control over our scene. Of course there are many ways to do this type of animation. Do you have a formula you use?

Final Render


Tutorial Focus:  
Software:  , ,

  • Oh Man I’ve been wanting to know how to do this.

    Thanks Nick!

    • Hey Nick I got a question for you, I’m a designer out of Toronto Ontario, and I’m really interested in getting into 3d modeling. Ive notice you used cinema 4d alot rather than software like 3d max and other application. My question to you…… Is there a reason you prefer to use cinema 4d rather then the other leading apps. And second what apps would you recommend a designer with strong design background looking to get into the world of 3d model and motion graphics.

      PS love this site, on it daily keep it up

    • Nick, this was a great tutorial, and I loved every second of it. I am a novice, and I was doing fine with everything up until 5:00. At that point you had the stripes render onto the cc sphere and animated them. Unfortunately I animated the stripes onto the cc sphere, but the sphere moved and stripes moved together. How do I get the stripes to animate on top of the sphere? I have replayed this a dozen times, but I still can’t get it to work like you did.


  • Nice tutorial Nick! you just need to enable Animate Preview in the Editor tab of the Material to see the movie animate in the viewport.

  • thanks man! great tut. I m just start with C4d some weeks ago

  • Awesome tutorial, it’s nice to see the integration with After Effects and C4D

  • Nice tutorial! Was interesting to see the same concept done in two different applications. Would like to see more of this!

  • Nice tutorial Nick!
    I think this kind of speedy tut’s works best, because you can show more info and more trial and error.

  • great tutorial..can’t wait to experiment with this.

  • Ha! I’m from the UK. I see that intro everyday for the BBC News, and i’m glad to see that you’re doing a tutorial for the effect.

  • Whoa! Speedy is right, but good stuff none the less. Loved the dual build in AE & C4D. Got a good chortle when you used the word ‘garish’!

  • One of my favorites so far. Love seeing how to pull off the same kind of stuff in both AE and C4D, and seeing which components integrate when necessary. Thanks NIck!

  • I just saw a tutorial like this a week or so ago, just can’t put my finger on who it was…

    Of course, he wasn’t doped up on caffeine like you, man was that speedy but at the same time very ‘followable’ …is that a word?

    Again great stuff, Nick! Much appreciated. Drop by Toronto, Canada if you ever feel like freezing your buttocks off!

  • I was messing around a few weeks ago with an idea like this and instead of using an alpha channel, I made a couple squares, animated them, and put those along with the sphere in a boole object. Same effect. Good stuff.

  • Gotta love that oldy CC Sphere.
    BTW – if you really want to, there’s a way to make it (kinda) work with AE camera system using the LookAt expression. More details can be found here:

  • Nice one Nick.

    Got one workflow tip for your ’cause i’ve seen you flip the slider in the gradient bar in c4d. You can actually do a right click into the little bar to get the flip option and two more options. All those little things build into c4d – making a workday easier.


  • Another fantastic tutorial! Learned some cool new tricks from this one, thanks nick! 😀

  • Greeeeat tutorial, as always! Thank you a LOT!
    Hey! how did you get that small Dope Sheet window underneath your timeline??

  • Great Screencast Nick, like everyone on here I appreciate a good breakdown of professional methods. Also it didn’t strike me as particularly speedy to be honest, I think if you needed to, to get something covered you could easily crank it up a notch with the spice-weasle and it’d be perfectly ‘followable’, like a cordial that people can dilute (or download) to taste – especially if you’ve alot to get through. Anywho’s this has answered alot of questions for me but also revived an old one that I’ve been thinking of for a while… Is it possible to animate, or use a movie for your HDRI, so you’re reflections move to match live footage? I’d be very interested to hear what yourself or anyone has to say on this.



  • thanks for the C4D part! I need to study more how the materials work in it

  • Massive tutorial there!
    No problem with speed at all, right to the point!
    It’s cool to see the process of it, I had a few tweaks in mind throughout the watching and you actually made them along.
    Pretty cool to have to think of pushing it a bit further.

    Just two questions:
    -In After Effects, when you try to get the second “sphere” feel inside the first one, why not pickwhip (not sure how you spell that) the scale parameter to link them both. You’ll get the perfect match 😉 (hehe, sorry for Alexia)

    -On this question, I’ll be a lot shy.
    How could you delay the beginning of the movie’s alpha channel in C4D. Sorry if this is a dumb question, I very new to C4D, and you amongst others got me into it.

    BTW, keep going dude, it’s awesome.

    • In C4D maybe try animating the Movie Start Frame under the Animation Tab inside the movie texture?

    • Great Tutorial and great feedback all up!!

      A quickie from me, instead of linking the scale in ea. layer, re-size the inner sphere without keyframes and then pick-whip the inner (yellow) CC Sphere’s radius to either of the outer CC sphere’s radius and apply simple math to keep the downscaling uniform:

      thisComp.layer(“Stripes Comp 1 F”).effect(“CC Sphere”)(“Radius”)/1.5


  • I think my favorite part of your tutorials is when you wave goodbye.

    maybe not favorite but pretty damn near close.

  • Hi Nick excellent tut..again.
    i was just wondering after watching this if the effects (around about the 1 min mark) in this awesome FMK/Mathematic video were working on a similar, all be it more complex principle?

  • Nice tutorial once again. Just discovered this site a while ago as I try to improve my Motion Graphic techniques and learn C4D.

    As for the little dots you see before the animation plays on your sphere in C4D. I was able to find a solution, though I’m sure there are other ways.

    Shrinking the overall size of the UVs that are automatically generated when you create the Sphere to be not so close to the edge will make the dots disappear.

    For those learning as I am (though I came from a Maya background):

    Make the sphere editable
    Change to the BP UV Edit layout
    Select the ‘Use UV Point Edit Tool’
    Command or Control + A to select all.
    Scale them down in the companion window of the flat UV.

    That fixed it for me.


  • Hi Nick, great one, i found another way of doing this, using an emitter, i’ll try to explain.
    I made a disc, made it into a polygon object, used the ring selection to cut out all but the ring at the edge of the disc. so a flat ring was left.
    Then I took the emitter and and made the ring a child of the emitter. the size of the emitter set to 1×1, birthrate to 2, end scale up to 3 or so.
    So now the emitter is spitting out discs, then I put the emitter into a null object.
    Then I made spherify deformer a child of the null object.
    Now the emitter spits discs that hit the spherify deformer.
    The effect is made a little more interesting by adding a sound effector on the X-scale of the sphere, so that it rocks around a bit….
    I hope you understand the steps, if not, i’ll mail you my project file or some screenshots.
    Give it a try.
    Kind Regards,
    Remco, Holland

  • Hi Nick thanks for the fantastic tutorial!

  • Bitch’n tutorial…..I bet you’ll see this on some peoples show reels.

  • i just loveit.!
    but how can i loop the material in cinema 4d if the timeline of the project is more longer than texture?

    thanks 😀

  • Thanks Nick! I love your c4d tutorials. They are clear, great stuff.

  • Nick, do you only use c4d for 3d or any others?
    I’d like to see some 3ds max tutorials but I guess most of the stuff could be translate into max without too much trouble

  • Thanks for the tutorial, one issue im having is with netrender and the animated texture. It seems to do anything but natch up, ie 2 comps rendering 0-75 76-150 respectively, 25fps, ae file 6 secs long, but the comp starting at 76 sometimes seems to render the animated texture as if frame 1, sometimes not at all.
    Anything i should be doing other than not using net render 🙂 ?

  • Nice tutorial, Nick!
    Love it.

  • BBC News intro is my all-time favourite and this tutorial is just a brilliant idea. Cheers mate

  • As I watched the cinema portion, I pulled up 3ds Max, and you can do the same thing! I just don’t know how to do color correction. Thanks Nick!

  • Great tut, thanks Nick!
    It definately worth to watch.

  • Great tut, but i have a problem when i render…
    it makes a lighter sphere where it should be transparent …

    an example:

    i just started to use cinema 4d by a couple of week so i’m a complete noob :p

  • Enormous thanks !! Nick is the idea generator always turned on . If you come in Belgium i offer you a couple of good beers.

  • Man you were flying… I could keep up in AE, but in Cinema I had to go back several times, but its all good!!!

  • Great tutorial nick!!

  • Hey Nick and viewers,

    If you like to preview a movie on the object in the viewport just go to the “material editor”, go to “editor” and select “animated preview”.

    See ya,


  • Thanks Nick!

    This was a good one! I went off on little bit of a tangent:

    Keep em’ coming! 🙂

  • You know ur let’s know lot more idea! i haven’t seen this tutors and many tut thing getting me going and going to learn more in c4d, wow ur rock guy, also I’m was playing around in c4d that i love.

  • Wow, great tut Nick…I got to spend more time in C4D….


  • Hmmm.. I guess I got lost on the way. After I bring over my rendered lines to C4d, make a material, then I try to add my alpha in and my stripes come up damn near transparent…where did I go wrong? in ae?

  • you can have the textures animate in the viewer if you go to the material settings- under eidtor- then hit the button that says Animate Preview. Thats in 11.5. It’s actually just under Illumination in previous versions. Thanks for the Tuts. Love the Blog.

  • hei..i realy like your work and i like to know how to create 3d text explode like syfy logo animation.thx

  • Mr Gorilla, just for the records. You are a rock star.


  • Nick, real nice tuto.
    Screen real estate is free.
    Why is the gorilla cage so small?

  • Ok….so I didn’t realize I could watch the tuto in Vimeo at full screen..dah!
    The Gorilla is free to roam.
    thanks, Nick

  • Hi Nick,
    First of all Happy new year and best of luck with greyscalegorilla and any other projects you are and will be involved this year!
    Now something, regarding your tutorial: it’s excellent; got inspired and started applying it to my own short project, but after I have rendered out my .mov and uploaded to cinema I cannot render it out from cinema as I keep getting Texture Error. Meaning if I want to render preview I need to go to material and calculate animation and only then I am available to view current frame.
    Anyone has got any idea what I am doing wrong?

    Thank you!

    • hey andrius!
      same error here!
      i tried different renders but it still doesn’t work :'(

    • heey i found it!
      dubbelclick on your material and open in its ‘editor’ the texture preview size…i set it to 64×64
      also check the ‘animate preview’ option.

    • Hi Smile –
      My render from AE won’t work. It’s got the alpha, I tried several times. Went to Material Editor and checked ‘Animate Preview’ set it to 64×64, and Default. Tried different Mappings. Any ideas?

  • Great tutorial!

    I wonder how the BBC London graphics ident is done (see: ?

    Perhaps a tutorial on this would be appreciated!

  • The Gorilla
    I found something this plugin
    Try using (
    (Conoa 3d Plugin)can used with AE camera it its almost like 3d (Conoa sphere wrap)
    camera can in and out

  • Thanks for the tut Nick! I took this tut, and made this, Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Hey i am new to C4d .. not so new to After Effects and i am trying to learn trow your tutorials… i have already made the fisrt 15 and know i tried to make the Mograph 2 scene with some camera angles , an epic song and Optical Flares from Video Copilot.. i am still learning.. but loving it..

    u can see the vid here

  • trying to force myself to watch and try every one of your tutorial on C4d. I started learning by going to FXPHD.. Tim C. is a master. So Im getting to that point where things are almost making sense, what with GI and AO and Materials and making the Parametric images editable. Man theres a lot to learn not to mention MOGraph OMG where has that been all my life? Anyways Heres my attempt. Liked the technique.

    I made 2 sets of animated masks 1 set going up and the other down. made for some nice changes, I also had my animation either looping or ping-ponging or even inverted the alpha on one just to see the changes.. thanks Nick. Im really bummed I missed your presentation at NAB.. I did catch Mike the monkey’s and he did some awesome stuff as well..

  • Nice Tutorial , Nick! But those dots… 🙂

  • SentientShadows July 17, 2010 at 3:46 am

    Hey, Just wanted to say thanks, i picked the BBC intro for my final in my cinema 4d class and had no idea how to make it. This should help alot. Thanks lee

  • Anyone having issues with Alphas trailing? This seemed to start happening once I installed Leopard. It’s really making this tutorial not work anymore. As you scroll through the animation, the alpha from the previous frames stays.

    I’ve been googling this for a while now, and nobody’s referenced it.

  • Great stuff Nick.

    Someone please help…

    My render from AE won’t work. It’s got the alpha, I tried several times. Went to Material Editor and checked ‘Animate Preview’ set it to 64×64, and Default. Tried different Mappings. Any ideas?

  • I LOVE your tut. Really great, am kinda new to AE, unlike Flash. tanxs

  • In AE you can parent the rotation values for cc sphere to the rotation values for your camera, or the null object you attach your camera to, and then just auto-orient the cc sphere object to the camera and it will fake the 3d almost seamlessly.

  • Haha, nice tut Nicky Gonzales. Thanks a bunch! I’m so pumped up to try it out 😀

  • Is there any way to make this globe animation in 3d Max ?

  • am about to try it and i like what you are doing for new designs like us,keep it up

  • I suspect this topic is more crucial than I thought. There seems to be really little information on this subject, yet everybody is talking about it. I will need to check out this further till I know sufficient pertaining to the subject.

  • Hiya very nice blog!! Man .. Beautiful .. Superb .. I’ll bookmark your site and take the feeds also…I am happy to seek out a lot of useful info right here within the post, we want work out extra strategies on this regard, thank you for sharing.

  • Thanks very much Nick. Even tho I had to watch with no sound, (whilst doing my day job) I could still get a good idea of whats going on there. I’ve been wondering how they made the BBC animation for a while now, and your method looks pretty much spot on. thanks!

  • Hello GSG ,I am very very new in 3D, and i do it in my free time just for fun ! That is my firs comment and I have to say , you are awesome ! Thanks for all you do for the people! OK, I just want to share something that I saw and use to make the same effect . Everything i do is to make a new color , put some reflections , turn off specular and turn on alpha . In alpha for Texture choose Noise , noise will be Sema , and put the global scale up to 22000, set some animation speed and turn on the animation of the color. After this go back to main alpha settings check Invert and uncheck Soft and Image alpha. That is all ! Its working with every object .
    Best Regards …

  • Very Very Good Work (Y)

  • Hey Nick, this is my result for this tutorial… It’s a little bit different..

  • hey nick am a great admirer of yours! well i`ll keep it short…so my problem is am using win8 so i cant render out a quicktime mov file from after effects so i`ve to render out an .avi file…and now an avi file reaches around 2GB for 10 seconds of animation! though it works well c4D but the size is way too big..can you give me a solution for this..will be really really glad if you reply.thnx..keep up the good work!

  • Hello Nick, im a beginner at cinema 4d, i try to follow your tutorial,
    until i create the texture and apply it to the sphere. and boom! my sphere just black. i cant see the texture on it. i need to render it to preview the texture.
    i give you a screenshoot here :
    im really stuck in here, can you give some advice please?

    sorry for my bad english, thanks 🙂

    • I am using R17 At the 20.15 mark of the video, how we’re you able to go from frame maintain frame 79 while moving back to 0 without the animation retracting backwards?

  • Following the tutorial for BBC IDENTS no problems following up to the point where you move position of the lines from top to bottom.
    Whatever I do it will not move as it should, this is really frustrating not being able to complete the tut because of this…repeated all stages up to this point 2-3 times in both cs6 and cc neither is responding.

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