How To Model and Extrude Dog Tags In Cinema 4D

June 27, 2011

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

Tutorial Focus:  , , ,
Software:  ,

  • Great Tutorial Nick,
    later my outcome haha

  • woow, nice idea nick

  • thanks !

  • Exellent Nick!
    Thanl’s for sharing!

  • Hey Nick, what add-on did you use on your menu bar to quickly open your last rendered image?
    Great tutorial. Smooth and the result looked badass

  • Great tut nick! keep up the great work

  • Can’t wait for the beeple texture pack. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Thank u bro

  • Really love this one! Got so much more out of this than just making a dog tag.

  • thank you very much.. i will try this tutor.

  • 128 not 123 ๐Ÿ˜›

  • Good stuff. I am going to try and replicate in 3DS Max. The physics in Max are good, but don’t have a decent way to preview at least not as decent as C4D. None the less I’ll make it work ;).

    One suggestion might be to render the tracer spline very small as those types of chains actually have a connection between the spheres…may also help visually when the sphere space out a bit too much…

  • I think Marcus was asking about this as well, but, I’m wondering what that addon/plugin/extension is on the save dialog in Photoshop.

  • thank you nick.. great work.. the photoshop part is also advanced stuff.. I love it..

  • your the best Nick i hope i will be like you when i grow up (im 26)

  • It is possibly to use higher values then -100,100 in your bump channel.

  • LOOP SELECTION!!!… that was funny!

  • Hey Nic,

    Great tutorial! Just an idea, in Photoshop if you use an inner glow layer style on your text that is set to 100% opacity and the same grey as the background you will get the same effect as blurring the rasterized text but wont have to rasterize it, which means you will be able to go back and change the text if need be.

    Keep up the good work.


  • I used the spline mask instead of the boole object.
    It probably won’t matter much. Just proofs that there are more roads that lead to Rome. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • like JT said it. you can do the thing, with cutting out the hole in a other way (same simple, nicer result).
    i’ve tried to illustrate it:

    • wow, this is great… so simple!


    • That’s a good way, if you want to do this without making things editable, you can just drop 2 splines in a “connect” object. (in object property’s its a good idea to turn weld Off) then you can drop this connect object into the extrude.

  • you see my point? why does the output from the tutorial is always a little worse than the example? the whole reason that I watched it, besides the dynamics and modeling stuff, was on learning how to get the amazing lighting and feel that is on the example

    dont get me wrong, I really enjoyed the tutorial, watched the whole 1 hour…….its just a silly thought

    • Few thoughts come to mind:
      He could not manage to replicate the feeling even while having files.
      He did it on purpose as this is his work and he did not want 100 of copies.
      He simply did not have time to try achieving exact same feel or was just beeing lazy (which is not bad btw :] )

      Thou I totally agree that alot of times, previews are better then the actual tutorial outcome ^^
      Mysteriously weird @.@a

      • Play man…the tutorial is to get you started…you want to find out good lighting…then open up the program and play.

        I’m sure the teaser was tweaked and re-tweaked and time was put into it. The tutorial is short, all the concepts were hit. Now go figure the rest out…go make something new…if not, then why bother.

    • Nick just show us the way, if you wanna good results… maybe you just gotta use a little more of URSELF, Unow what i mean (sorry for the ENGLISH)

      • as he says in the tut ” you good go in and manually grab a dog tagg” thing he did that and tested it for the ultimate shot… if we need to watch that happen in the tut in could have goten all a bit long ๐Ÿ™‚ or not

  • Hey Nick, great tutorial.
    I also have an issue with the picture viewer. Not sure if it’s the same with you, but here the window resizes wherever I click, and the solution I find is to change the bottom left view percentage to 100%.
    I hope it helps.

  • Steel Beaded Dog Tag Chain

  • Hey Nick! Great Tutorial! I buy all your products and am a huge fan! But i couldnt help but notice you were using the long way with the bead/chain dynamics. I believe there is a simpler way. You dont need the matrix object nor the tracer object… All you need is the Cloner object and a Sphere. 1) Take a sphere (shrink it down to your liking of course) and place it in the cloner object. 2) Set the cloner mode to radial and crank up the count. 3) Add the dynamics tag and set the inherit tag to “apply tag to children” and set individual elements to “top level”. 4) In the soft body menu of the dynamics tag, turn the soft body to “made of clones” then simulate and BOOYA!!! you might need to adjust the damping and whatnot…but this will take 20 seconds to do. Also, if you encounter inner collisions at the end of simulations… like the the objects are buzzing back and forth… just go into your dynamic settings in the project settings… choose “expert” and increase the number of steps per frame…( I use 25 to get rid of the collision buzzing after the simulation is done.) Hope this works for you man… and check out my stuff

    • thanks, that helps alot!

    • Kwaku Nyantekyi June 28, 2011 at 2:18 pm

      Thanks will, I pretty much what you said and that way quicker and didn’t have nearly as many problems with the dynamics as the matrix and tracer method did. The only thing I did different was to throw the clone into a null object so I could change the axis.

  • itยดs sooooooooo great ….
    1000000 thanks

  • Hi Nick,this the great tut for me my friend.
    Your tuts are very important for me because these are very important education files for me.
    Every day-every tutorial I am learning news about C4D ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks again for great tutorial,
    Take care of yourself Nick,
    Best Regards.

  • Hey Nick nice tutorial.

    I was also wondering what part in a computer would speed up render times and smoother apps running.

  • Hey Nick, nice Tut, but the animation looks a bit weired to me, cause the one tag is rotating so much and the other is not. But they are so close connected through the chain and the chain isn’t even rotating as well.

  • If objects go thru the floor, I exchange the floor with a cube to have some thickness – and it is solved.

  • Thanks for this, once again, nice tutorial Nick.
    But let me correct something, you just made a little mistake about neutral grey. It’s 128 not 123. In photoshop, you can also use HSB mode and set B to 50. B is really convenient for this grey value cause it’s expressed in percent (0 for black and of course 100 for white).
    Sorry for my poor frenchy english ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I used “Fill” from the edit menu and Set it to 50 % grey.
      Entertaining and educational Tutorial – thanx Nick!

  • Cool tutorial. Its a simple one, but in the PS post production the thing really pops out. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Nice tut, Nick. Thanks.

    BTW, the issue you were getting with the chain going through floor can be resolved by using a cube instead of a plane for a floor. It’s something I picked up from black & white or C4D Cafe. Apparently, a plane has no real geometry but a cube does.

    Thanks again.

  • I just tried building a real “sphere-chain” with one sphere and two connect rings , real small, on each side and I arranged them in an array so they are connected properly… turns out that cinema seems to have a lot problems with such small objects and the dynamic stuff attached on those…. ๐Ÿ˜‰ but i’m no pro in dynamics so I guess the sollution nick uses works best, but I was curious to do it the “real” physical way… cheers, great tutorial, also interesting what you do in PS !

  • Hey Nick,
    big thanks! Great Tut again.
    One thing I still can’t fix, but maybe, somebody else knows a solution:

    When using Simons workaroud with the matrix- and the tracer objekt, it always seems, that the tracer Objekt is calculating everything one frame later, than the dynamics. So the cloned objects are always leaking behind the actual Dynamics.

    Anyone having the same issues?

    Sun’s shining in Hamburg!



    • Bake the dynamics simulation and tracer will be perfect. It’s a good idea to bake simulations once you’re happy with the results. Tweaking other bits will be quicker because it’s not calculating the dynamics everytime you press play.

    • you don’t need to necessarily bake the scene in order for things to happen in sync. You just need to remember that the order in which you have objects in the Object manager is the order in which they are calculated.
      for example. if you had your objects in the order, tracer matrix object. the tracer would calculate first using the matrix from the previous frame, and the tracer would calculate using the object from the previous frame. Whilst if you had it in the order object, matrix then tracer. everything would calculate in order, (ie the object dynamics would calculate then the matrix would place the points then the tracer would calculate) and you would have no lag.

      if you have trouble getting things in order, the “mo instance” object comes in very handy.

    • Chris is right about the order, sorry i made the assumption you knew that.Order is the single most important thing you need to remember about C4D simulations and effects.
      However baking sims is critical when doing animations, you need to have a reliable outcome.It is almost impossible to have a complicated simulation framed correctly when the simulation is diffent everytime you hit play or render. Also tracer errors happen in large scenes with hundreds/thousands of dynamic objects even when the order is correct.This sometimes results in viewport renders looking nothing like picture viewer renders, baking erradicates all errors.
      If you intend to have an animated scene with tight framing and/or camera moves, baking is the only option (you need consistency).
      Hope you find this helpful and save yourself lot’s of wasted time recalculating sims.

  • Very nice and really work.
    could You make tuts about after effects.
    Tanx a lot man, ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Very unsatisfied with your new Kit my brother. Don’t worry, I don’t want my money back, but I expected a lot more coming from you Nick.

    Thanks for the tut.

    • SO So bummed to hear that, Mack. You have no idea. I really hope to change your mind after the next update, though. It will be getting better all the time. Thanks for giving it a shot. I won’t let you down.

      • Sorry about that my brother, wasn’t my intention. Thanks for the effort though, looking forward!

      • Thanks for your effor.. hope the update will include more stuff that will make our work unique. and i love the video tut resolution ๐Ÿ˜€

    • $69 for textures? really? The light kit pro is nice and priced right.

  • My girlfriend did wonder why she heard me yelling “Loop! Loop!” from the other room….

  • Great looking tutorial. I’d prefer to make the text stuff inside cinema. I sent you an example what I mean via email. Thumbs up and keep the cool stuff flowing ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Great tut. Keep ’em coming!

  • The physics is kinda wonky, but other than that it looks really good. The leather texture is friggin awesome!

  • Do We Need The New Texture Pack To Do This Animation?

    • you can also search for a free leather texture online. Some GSG followers are ‘crazy’. But its Nick foult. “Do i need a texture pack to do this animation?” cmon. People. more brain please!

      • Hey Mate, this is learning site. There are no wrong questions.

        • @Rory: You don’t need the texture pack to do the tutorial. You can make the floor any texture you want. In fact, I encourage exploring ways to make your version different from mine since that’s where the real learning happens.

          @Mate: People are at different levels of learning here. There is no reason to be mean to people just asking a simple question. That’s what this site is all about. I had to delete some of your other comments because you were being mean for no reason to people. Please be helpful or stop commenting.

          @Stephen: I agree.

          • not only as this is a learning site this is a product site,you get to buy and learn things on this site.not forgetting tips

          • This site is a blog, it says so in the top right hand corner, and in the address bar.

  • Hi Nick.

    50% Black is RGB 128 or you just use the HSB.
    B is for Brighntess…50% and u got it ๐Ÿ˜‰ Nice tut btw

  • Does anyone know how he fixed the dynamic problem with the beads? Where he said, “Yeah I’ll have to come back and fix some of those dynamic problems.”

    • When you come to doing the bit with the torus, just give it more radial segments than shown.


      • Mhm, is there any other way to do that?

        • I’m sorry, how do you mean – do you mean, is there a better way of rigging the chain?

          • When I play the animation, my chain looks like it’s spreading apart and going to break.


            You need to tweek your project settings. Under Dynamics, Expert Tab enter the following settings:

            Steps per frame: 25
            Maximum Solver Iterations per Step: 15

            I’ve enclosed a couple of quick scene files: The one called Final is the main one you need. Study the set up and make sure your project settings are set the way outlined.

            There’s a small bug when the rigs dropping (the chain intersects the tag geometry) – don’t have time to chase it out. That bit isn’t important – it’s the landing you want sorted. Main thing is the chain holds together and comes to a nice rest with everything in tact and where it should be at the end.*

            The other scene file I’ve included just to show you how many ring segments I allowed for on the torus geometry – makes a world of difference simply having enough geometry especially when you’re doing a soft body sim.

            Hope that helps,


            *PS:If the chain doesn’t show up on first running the animation – stop it, go back to frame 0 – nudge it forward a couple of frames to reset it – run again.

            Good luck! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Believe it or not, that still didn’t fix it ๐Ÿ™ I deleted the second dog tag, and it worked perfect. I guess it’s not meant to be ;(

    • Tim Claphams new training at Luxx covers how to solve most of the issues people are having.

  • Hi there nick,
    Thanks for another tut. It’s appreciated!
    I do think that the tag itself could use some wear and tear (as shown in examples ) the tag part is in my oppinion a little to clean, to perfect and shiney.

  • Cool stuff!

    It will be a matter of time before this becomes a CALL of Duty or BATTLEFIELD Community Gaming intro.

    • Nothing wrong with that. Art is subjective, even if you don’t understand something, someone, somewhere does

  • By the way Nick, you’re right. I yelled as hell for the loop selection…so funny ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Nick, I was wondering if you ever worked with Vray for Cinema 4d? I heard the lighting and rendering was a increase of quality. I’d really like your opinion on that.

  • Hey Nick i havent watched the full tutorial yet but theres an option under caps in the extrude nurbs with fillet type called half circle that gives the bevel effect needed for the outside of the dog tags.

    • Man,
      I’m using C4D for so long now, and I never figured out that option. Thanks a lot.

      The only thing is, you have to use the Boole-Oject with this fillet type, not the Spline Mask, to cut out the hole…

      • When you’re starting, if you just simply introduce an appropriately scaled circle spline along with the spline for creating the Dog Tag shape and connect+delete – the spline you’re left with (once extruded) gives you a nicely rounded hole in your Dog Tag just by giving the extrude objects cap a small bevel.

        Looks far better and far less mucking around.


  • Hey Nick,

    Is it the graphics card that speeds up rendering or something else?

  • Sir plz check My learning Work


    • hi,nice work..but it would be better if you put on a better camera angle and increase the count in cloner since it looks like the spheres are not really touching.but its cool work!

  • ” loop selection LOOP SELECTION !! ”
    OMG That was so funny LOL !!
    Thanks for the great tutorial Nick. ^^

  • great stuff as always.

  • my little dogtags

  • Great tut once again Nick. Have a small problem though..the chain is not appearing on my final render. It renders on the view port though but it doesn’t appear on the final render..Can anyone shed some light on this? Thnks

    • have u deactivated the cloner object? red in object manager?

      • no i haven’t …first thing i checked…its driving me nuts!

        • maybe the sphere for this cloner? seems to be something like that because u see it in viewport but not in render.check all those little circles in your object manager. if there is the little annoying red dot ๐Ÿ˜‰

          • same for me.. my chain does appear in the view port but not in the final render! can anybody help? (i checked everything in the cloner)

          • maybe u both should upload your file so I could look into it or the other people here.

      • Hi Nick, hello Gentlemen!
        since I had the same issue while rendering the scene( chain does not appear in the final render when using picture viewer..), so I start to tweak and make changes as much as possible in the render settings, so this is what I did and I think I found why:
        -activate or check Multi-pass, then separate light (all), Mode: default ( 3 channels; diffuse,etc…)
        -OBJECT MANAGER : I turn into red the traffic lights of : torus, matrix obj and tracer…..
        for me it worked! perhaps u guys already sorted it out!
        cheers friends and so wonderful watch your universe NIck!

      • The solution seems very easy. The only thing I had to do in your file is to go on frame 0 and just play again. That fixed it. I saw everything in my render. without multipass etc. just replay it.

  • Hi Nick, anyone,

    Two questions:
    1. Why not use the DOF effect i.s.o. Photoshop
    2. Why not use real 3D text i.s.o. Material

    Thanks for all the nice tutorials!


    • Because of the debossed look.. the pressed appearance one sees from the die pressing into the metal and smoothly moving from the flat back surface to the raised type. Otherwise you risk getting a look has the type joining the plate at a perfect 90 degree angle… doesn’t look like the real deal.

  • Some cool dogtags in here!

    Thanks a bunch for the tutorial Nick! I made a signature out of it. (will credit you ofcourse ^_^)

    Not happy with it yet, but a render took me 2.5 to 4 hours so I’m going to stick with this for now. Couldnt get the lighting as good as I wanted so I went for a more “painted” look instead of realistic. Reflection wise.

    Heres my result:

    Since you wanted to see our work ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Lol i did scream at my screen ๐Ÿ™‚

  • never thought of using SPD, i would use boole tool with text spline, is a lot more flexible to change the text and fillet without jumping between softwares, and faster rendering too

    i think this method (SPD) will be more useful on organic extrusion?

  • It’s debatable weather its worth buying that texture pack just for that leather texture. that thing is gorgeous! and i so wan’t to see how they were made.

    Liking the bit of side Photoshop/typography. would love to see more of that ๐Ÿ˜›

  • Thank You for everything you do!

    Not sure if knew or not, but in the Photoshop color dialogue box, there’s a box near the middle where you can actually type in the percentage of grey you would like (i.e [50%]) rather than calculating the RGB values. Hope this helps, and thanks again for everything!

  • As always Nick, another great tutorial. Thanks again for your tireless efforts on behalf of the C4D community, your products and your tutorials. I am quite sure I wouldn’t be half as far along with Cinema 4D as I am today (I’ve only had the program 8 months) if it weren’t for you and this site. And thanks for this tutorial, without which I certainly couldn’t have made this:

  • Hello, i did rendering for an interior scene like a one room office, no if i want to send these images to a friend with a software where my friend can use that software to walk-through or get round the scene, anyone suggest a software for this?

  • Very helpful tut! Thanks

  • nick. you are such an enjoyably huge help to so many people. thanks for doing what you do! problem: no matter how many times i run through setting up (and starting form scratch and resetting up…) the simulation with the torus as a soft body and changing the collision shape to moving mesh 1 of 2 things happens. 1) the torus still flies off into the distance with an odd forceโ€“like wind-repelling it away from the dog tag and (cloth-like) twisting up the geometry on the torus as it flies; or 2) it ignores the boolean cut out in the dogtag and falls correctly (tried with both a boolean and connect->splines to make the hole in the dogtag). any thoughts? two tries are posted here:

  • Hopefully Nick reads this, but anyone is welcome too! Here is my problem:

    • Have u just tried to use the scale-function to scale your texture down?should fix it.

      • I tried, but i can’t scale it down. the problem is that the grid is “stuck” to my screen… it’s not actually applied to the dogtag. When i Zoom in or out, the grid stays on the screen.

    • Never really used c4d yet, but after some fiddling… you see that square above that black and white grid on the left… thats the ‘tweak mode’ or something. change that till you see that square in perspective with circles on the corners that test it

      is saw he had different icons on his screen ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I’m new to c4d, but from this tutorial I was wondering if one could create a similar 3d model of a person frozen in stone (like Han solo frozen in carbonite) by using a grayscale photoshop image of a person and sub polygon dispacement on a plane as you’ve done with the dog tags. Not sure if the extruded image would look flat or have correct volume. Am i way off here? Thanks.

    • you can use any image for the displacement,even colour ones( c4d will take the colour as relative greyscale values).
      You will not be able to get any overlap of depth ie no voids, so Han Solos hands would stick out but would be solid all the way back to the origin.

  • Great Tut, more modelling tuts please

  • Quick note for the new guys with regards to dynamics/simulations not refreshing.
    You don’t have to reload a scene if your sim. appears to be stuck in the ram, just double click the rewind to start icon on the transport bar.This will clear any data held in the ram.
    Clicking once will take you back to frame zero , but won’t always refresh the simulation calculations.

  • Thanks, again for this awesome tut!

  • Awesome tutorial, Love this site

  • hey nick what about a texture wraping and mapping tuts?

  • Yey! You got a pop filter for your mic!

  • About the text displacement, I thought of making a text object and placing it in the place you wanted although it will be problematic with the hole from the other side…. Anyways, after that you could just add the text object as a child of the Extrude NURBS (W.T.H is NURBS?) and set it up in the dynamics tag…
    And I LOVE BOOLE @.@ ’cause that way you are able to EDIT the booling objects while seeing the results immediately (else if you have Intel Dual Core 1.8GHz like me..)

    Thanks for that video!

  • Great tut Nick as always. I did find these dynamics were big render hogs. Really need a 12+ for this one.

  • I’ve watched a bunch of tutorials here and decided to finally make something this time:

    Small text is a little hard to read but I’m happy it with it otherwise.

  • Steven Griffiths July 2, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    Great Tutorial Nick.

    Have a great wedding and best wishes.

  • I’m having some problems with dynamic bodies.

    For example, if i try to add Rigid Body into grouped Dogtag null or any other simple object like sphere, it will always add only Collider instead of Rigid Body tag. I’ve managed to get around this by adding objects into cloner and then added rigid body (for some reason it works), but it’s quite annoying and unpractical way. :/

    Anyone have idea what’s wrong here?

    PS. Awesome tutorial (as always)

  • can you make a tutorial on this

  • many great tips for me! thanks a lot !

  • Hi nick, Thnks for the great tut.. Iam missing somthing here in the texure-displacment-sub polygon displacment is not existed why ???

  • Hi ๐Ÿ™‚

    this is my version of the dogtags:

    but what i did extra, is added a black circle around the hole, like the most dog tags have ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Hi Nick, great tutorial man!
    This is my attempt on this tutorial!
    I used the HDRI Light Kit Pro and Texture Kit.

    I learned a lot here at GSG.
    Thanks for the Tuts Nick!

  • Very helpful tutorial just one thing everytime i render in the picture view i can seem to render the chain while the tag renders fine. but when i do a full render everything renders.

  • Very Helpful. Thank you Nick. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Hey nick thanks a lot fir this tutorial it’s awsome!

    I also saw that you used that crazy interface in your OS when you’re saving projects. What’s the name of that software i’m really interested by it! Thanks a lot



  • haha i kept learning for this tutorial for 5 days and i still did not complete it !! LOL

  • Man, you’re great. This is very cool, but I think you should do a tutorial about modeling something in C4D, I think it’d be great! Congratulations, you rock.

  • Hey Nic
    Have a problem with the “bake”-option.
    cinema stops at 34% (?)
    any idea? thanks

  • Hi Nick,

    Thanks for a wonderful tutorial! always clear and easy to understand. Posted it on my blog ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Had a go…let me know what you think. It was the first time I followed a tutorial all the way to the end. Nick rocks..and he cracks me up!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • everything works fine except the render.
    I still could not render the chain. i’ve tryed multiple setting but the chain still not appear in the final render!.
    any solution plz?

    • Hi bigk,

      Noy sure if it’s the case, but did you check if by mistake, you toggle off the Sweep Nurbs? In the tutorial, Nick toggle off the view of the Torus only.

      Hope to help.

  • Hey Mr. Gorilla can you do an someone moderate to advance tutorial of MODELING in GENERAL? That would be great, thanks man you da best at what you do.

  • 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 “#@#!!^ยด%@|#!”

  • 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 ๐Ÿ˜€ greetings from Mรฉxico city.

  • “Great tut bro , but i got some issues with the chain โ€ฆ. 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 ๐Ÿ˜€ greetings from Mรฉxico 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! ๐Ÿ™‚

    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?


  • Josรฉ 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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚
    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 ๐Ÿ™‚

  • 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 ?

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