How To Model and Extrude Dog Tags In Cinema 4D

June 27, 2011 - By 

In this tutorial, I show you how to build realistic Dog Tags in Cinema 4D. First we will model them by using Extrude and Sweep Nurbs. Then, we use Sub-Polygon Displacement to form the lettering on the tags. I will show you how to setup the dynamics using soft and ridged body tags and how to bake the solution for faster playback. Finally, we light and texture the tags to prepare them for render.

Still Example

Animated Example

Posted In:  
  • a somewhat* haha now i feel stupid

    Thank for your tutorials! Love them. Always.

    Here is mine:

  • Here is mine,
    I tried to make ww2 style dogtags.

  • Awesome Tutorial.

  • Very sick, cant wait to try this one. keep up the good work!

  • hey guys in the dog tag tutorial do you know what color code he is using on the extrude using white currently coz i dont know the color code he is using and im not getting the best results [but satisfying ones]

  • Thanks for the great tutorial !
    I have only one problem.When i render in picture viewer the chain not appear.
    Can you help me to solve the problem.
    Thank you !

  • This is killing me, the ‘moving mesh’ selection on my softbody control for the taurus isn’t preventing it from tweaking out and splitting from the dog tag. I tried some other stuff and it seems like every time a soft and rigid body interact they won’t stay connected. Does anyone know why this is happening?

  • this has been bothering me,im at the part where you do all the cloner and stuff and put the chain,when its playing at first its fine,the chain is in the hole of the tag but when it falls on the plane,the chain just goes out of the dog tag..i dont know whats going on?somebody help me please!!!

  • Gave it a try myself and wandered from there to find me stuck with the following issue: When I use a shader deformer to deform the surface this gets triangulated with visible faceting, as soon as I uncheck the displacement channel in the material everything is smooth, but without the text displacement off course. I pulled in hypernurbs tec. but to no avail. What is the trick here? Any suggestions?

  • Other than the fact that 50% grey is 128 (255 is max). I like to keep as much as I can editable/non-destructive, so in Photoshop I just simply create an outerglow of white (with Normal blending at 100%). You can change the curve to get different style embosses.

    Now the question is here, is doing displacement maps any better than making the actual geometry yourself? Either way you have a dense mesh, just one is actual geometry and one is created during in the renderer.

    Nice tutorial Nick!

  • Thanks, Nick!

    I used the displacement map technique to build this bumper for an upcoming web series.

  • Gave it a try in a still. getting hypernurbs to work with displacement was a “#@#!!^´%@|#!”

  • quick tip, so you don’t have to redo the dodge and burn effects.
    Make a new layer, fill it with 50% grey (shift F5 by the way) and set it to multiply. you can now do all your dodging and burning on this layer and keep them independent from the original image.

  • DUDE. Thank you. This was my personal request.

  • Hello gray scale i am really enjoying your tutorial in cinema 4d, kindly please help me with my problem, i always encountering not enough memory error every time i render, i have 4 gig memory and quadcore processor..

  • I have been working on this and have it all done but I have one problem, I worked all under the grid so when I render it only shows part, and when I try to move all of the objects at once they move weird and dont stay together. Any ideas on what to do?

  • Dude ur just amezing i love your tutorials now im gonna try this to bad its video text is easier to follow

  • 128 isn’t actually 50% grey is it, as that would be 127.5 but you cant add that value in photo shop. Better to convert the image to greyscale and just fill your base layer with 50% Black. That way you don’t have to worry about any bump edges showing.

    Cheers for the tutorials Nick, even seemingly simple things like this I pick up so much stuff I didn’t already know (like the Regular Grid thing on extruded caps, I’d have made it editable and subdivided it. Not as good)

    • It’s more intuitive to work in black and white. Then to get it all to work once it becomes your displacer map, go in the texture tag and put the exposure to -1.00 this will shift the white to the 50% grey.

  • I’m wondering why you use a torus for the chain, couldn’t you just start off with a circle spline shape, sweep nurb a small circle on it and clone small spheres along it?

    • Give it a shot, Phill. Let me know if it works. I’m sure there is an easier way to do that chain.

      • It did work Nick and it looked the business, looked like a proper bathplug chain as I sweep nurbed a little circle along the spline. Animation previewed fine, dynamics worked well. Final movie render all the cloned spheres and the sweep nurb part company. Everytime I save and reopen the dynamics are messed up. But can re-do them exactly the same and they work again. No idea why.

  • You don’t have to use Photoshop for this.

    If you use Texture>Effects>Spline, you can do the typography right in C4D. There’s even an option to dynamically smooth out the edges of your type. Obviously you lose the ability to fix kerning and a lot of type layout abilities, but it keeps it in the house.

    • Also, using “Intensity” instead of “Intensity (Centered)” avoids having to use middle gray as the mid point in your displacement map. “Intensity (Centered)” pulls black in a negative direction and white in a positive, whereas “Intensity” leaves black alone and only pushes out white (or pulls it in if you use a negative height value.)

  • Great tutorial Nick…trying to really get into C4D right now. Taking a C4D bootcamp next month being taught by Chris Schmidt so I want to learn as much as possible before that. here’s my result from this one:

    Learned a ton about how motion dynamics works doing this.

  • Dude, i sometimes watch your tuts cause i like watching them. Dont really use c4d cause havent had the time to learn it yet. Do like how you setup lighting etc etc… this time i learned something again… that app default folder x, WAUW f@#kn great app bro thanks

    This is what I came up with. Thanks Nick, you are inspiration to all of us out there.

  • Thanks for the tut(s)! I’m trying to displace text on another object ( a gold bar) but I’m having trouble with it repeating on other sides. Anyone know a work-around?

  • have a problem. why the chain not rendering? in picture viewer same result. only way i can see it when i make “Render Active window”. any ideas what is wrong with chain or renderer?

  • my torus kept going through the ground and dont know how to fix that even after what nick said

  • and also i couldnt get the torus the right settings so that i falls like a chain and get that dramatic effect please help

  • Not only of tutorial you will learn, (unless they are those of GSG). You will never forget the ways to select edges!

  • hi GSG mine is not working if i add displacment mapping :S

    • Ive got the same issue now, did you ever work out what the deal was ?
      Mine seems to want to map the displacement to the edges Ive checked, rechecked and checked again, the setup is Exactly as per the tut

  • Great tutorial! One thing that should be noted is that a realistic vignette is always oval. Just light realistic lighting it’s important to understand why things happen and how to set them up.

    Vignetting happens from your camera’s sensor (whether still or video) catching the edge of the lens optics or hood. It’s out of focus so it looks blurry but it’s nothing more than a picture of the lens itself. Therefore, a vignette is always oval shaped unless your lens is crooked.

  • Hi Nick. Love this tutorial and your problem finding the loop tool, very funny.

    I’ve followed this trough but am still getting the issue of the spheres falling through the floor. I’ve tried changing the settings to the rigid tag on the plane and have also messed around with the tag settings on the soft one also. Have you got any suggestions?

  • Great tut bro , but i got some issues with the chain …. when i do a preview it appears , but when i go to render the chain PUFFF !!! its gone , what did i miss?? anyway all the other stuff worked great 😀 greetings from México city.

  • “Great tut bro , but i got some issues with the chain …. when i do a preview it appears , but when i go to render the chain PUFFF !!! its gone , what did i miss?? anyway all the other stuff worked great 😀 greetings from México city.”
    I have the exact same problem!
    What am i doing wrong!?

    Greetings from Germany!

    • I had the same issue, but as I was only doing a still I took the Cloner and made it editable. I can’t tell you why it worked but it did.

  • SRY for the 2x Post
    But when i turn off the Camera i can see the chain when rendering, if i use the camera the chain will disappear… But why?

  • Omg sry for 3xPost
    I found the Problem.
    You have to have the exact SAME order as Nick has. That means

    Hope i could help!

  • I know it is not the best but this was my first got at cinema 4d,

  • Thanks for this tut. Heres a still of my go at it. Its the time of the year that I start thinking about my dad. RIP pops.

  • Great one Nick, thanks a lot! 🙂

    Usually I want to download your tuts so I can keep them for reference and watch them where and when I need. I’m unable to locate a download button however or an easy way to watch the video on Vimeo so I can choose the download button there (I now copy the tittle, goto vimeo, paste and download) – am I missing something?


  • José Alexandre Santana Simoes February 11, 2012 at 12:57 pm

    Hello i am deaf. good greyscalegorilla 100%

  • Hi nick i have a problem with this….. when i use the sweep nurbs its make a circle stuff.. plzz respond

    • make sure to place the items into the sweep nurb in the correct order. Your probably telling Cinema 4D to wrap the square around the circles instead of wrapping the circle around the square. Just switch up your order in which you dropped your objects into the sweep nurb and it should be fixed.

  • I’m a day late and a dollar short on this post. I thought about your issue with scratches and I think I may have found a solution. In the Material package offered by greygorilla there’s several scratch materials that can be applied. I found that if I placed those materials after the displacement material for the all nerbs it actually included the scratches into the dogtag. I made sure to click all the check boxes in the material options, turn it to flat, and turn up anti-alliasing when rendering.

    Take a look:

    Let me know what you think! I know my lighting kind of sucks, lol.

    • For the sweep nurbs I made sure to set the scratch material to “Spherical” instead of flat. Forgot to put that in my original post.

  • hi. i have some problem with the last rendering. everything in render view is ok, but in last render c4d wont render the cloner. please help me gorilla !!!!!

  • Hello Nick.Thanks for your nice tutorials.You are my best master in c4d.Thank you again.
    I have a question.Why in this tutorial you use Tracer and Matrix.I think you could use only Cloners, couldn’t you?May I want you explain the reason?

  • Hey, awesome tutorial!
    My first time using C4D and I feel like I’m learning a lot.

    I’ve run in to an issue whilst following your tutorial. For some reason my chain does not connect. I’ve tried increasing the steps per frame and iterations per step, but it didn’t help. I also noticed that my chain doesn’t really go through the plane… It just doesn’t connect. Help Please?

    Thank you in advance.

  • This was sick tutorial. Iam tired now, but i learn bunch of new stuff and i found that i need a better CPU. 🙂 thanks man

  • Link to simon’s rope tutorial please.

  • Hi, very nice tutorial
    I am iranian
    Thankyou for all free tutorials .
    gorilla 4d Man.

  • Hi, i just cant get this to work :
    Steps per frame and Maximum Solver Iterations per Step.. No matter what i do.. the chain still keeps freaking out and like draging up so the “sphers” loosing the grip to each other.. Please help, dont know whats wrong and ive tried so much..


    Tell me what you think. I also had a major problem with the chains staying inside the holes, so I had to SOLO BAKE the chains and then OFFSET the BAKE by -2 seconds. So, if anyone knows a better way to do that..let me know!

  • Great tutorial, although I had major issues with the chain spazzing out every time I tried to play the frames – I ended up doing it as a still image so moved the torus manually. Also, for those who cannot make the chain render in pic viewer, I fixed that by making the cloner editable.

  • Hello Nick,
    thanks for the great tutorial!
    i’ve tried to make something with Pantone colors 🙂
    hope you like it!

  • Thanks for this cool tutorial! Nice and easy, but I have a terrible problem with it:
    When we put on “soft body” tag for Torus and “rigid body” for the Dog Tag. During the animation the Torus starts to cross the DogTag and starts to collapse with the wierd polygons. At the 20th frame it looks like a rocky forest! Brrrr…So, who can help me?

    • Understood. The Torus must be really low-poly. 3 sides is much more better, than 8.
      //The previous comment is good to be deleted, but thanks anyway.

  • Hi Nick

    How we can model a typography at a leather texture surface.Can we reverse the extrude inside surface?

  • I have a question – the reflection of the chain on the dogtags is incomplete in your tutorial and I have the same problem, is there any way to fix this? Thanks

  • Hi Nick
    thanks for this great tut. I learned a lot from it and could make a nice little vid for a friend of mine and his internet radiostation.
    Here is the outcome:
    Hope you like it and thanks GSG

  • Hey Nick,

    I hope you do read this comment and respond in the near future.
    First of all check out my render for the Dog Tag,

    I had a quick question too:
    Whenever i render, everything turns out perfectly the way i want it to be (the Camera Angle and Dynamics) but when i render the same frame with the same camera in the Picture Viewer, the Camera Angle and dynamics is messed up (the chain is displaced from the hole or going through the plane and the tags are not positioned the way they were before). I’ve tried a lot of things but nothing works. Can you point out towards the problem?

  • Very nice tutorial! I really like the still example.
    I had some problems with the lighting of my scenes, but the tricks in your tutorial(s) helped a lot 🙂

  • Do you offer exercise files on your tutorials?

  • Hey Nick, thanks for the tut. For a while now I’ve held my tongue, but whenever you say “This will slow down your render…” I would love your slow renders over my fast renders! Lol. I use to think I had an alright computer until I got into cinema.
    I do have a question and I hope that someone will answer. Whenever I use softbody dynamics, it causes nothing but havoc in C4d. I’m using R14, is there a specific order to add the tags or is it just hit and miss with R14?

    Thanks again.

  • Sorry about the Aussie slang in Advance.

    But i fucking love this tut….saw the dog tags , and had to make them.
    Half way through already and feeling proud so far of my first attempt at something special.

    Hooked like a 12 year old on CoD

  • I actually made something different with this tutorial. Although they are Dog Tags I went in a different direction. I have links to what I’ve made.

    Thanks In Advance.

  • I just watched this tutorial. Love it. I learned an awful lot from it. Thanks a lot!!!
    I built my own dog tags based on it. I also did some testing on the dynamics & think I found a resolution to a few of the issues you pointed out. Worked out the beads falling into the floor & the stiffness of the chain. Most importantly, I resolved how to do this without the matrix, tracer & loop selection. I I would like to send you the file & have you critique my work. How cold I send you that file?

  • Hello,

    really cool tutorial.
    is not possible to have the source fils for this ?


  • I have a very old graphotype dog tag embossed that I have been using for 20 plus years. My issue recently is I cannot type numbers. Everything seems to be shifting accordingly at the keyboard end. Does anyone know how I can correct this problem?? Need help ?

  • Leave a Reply

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


    Follow us on Instagram