How to Quickly Create a Topographic Map in Cinema 4D

June 7, 2016

In this tutorial I’m going to break down how you can easily create a topographical map inside of Cinema 4D!  First, I’ll cover how to setup a Landscape Object and then how to then easily slice it into layers. Then I’ll demonstrate how to use the sliced layers to generate splines that will then be used to extrude to make each of the topographic levels.  Finally, I’ll light our scene and go over how to apply a colorful texture to the topographic map based on height (and even show some useful XPresso along the way!)

QUICK TIP:  For R17 users out there, be sure to use the new Spline Smooth tool to be able to smooth out those dense points to create rounder edges on your topographic layers.

If you have any questions, be sure to post it in the comments section and if you create anything cool using this topographic technique, be sure to share it with me! Thanks for watching!

This was recorded live on the C4DLive Twitch stream.  To get alerted for future live design casts & get sneak peeks at new tutorials before anyone else, sign up for the Eyedesyn Newsletter.


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  • Roberto Navarro June 7, 2016 at 3:17 pm

    Hi I wanted to know if I can ask some body to make me a 3D model in Cinema 4D or were I can ask about.


  • Very nice and Thanks for the Toturial.

  • I seem to have done everything right… why is my knife tool disappearing everytime i go to use it? its not grey but it doesnt stay on the menu…? any ideaS?

  • Very cool. great work man, thank you very much.

  • Hi EJ,
    thanks for another great tutorial, this is my version:

  • When I click to cut, right like he does on the beggining of the tutorial, nothing happens, someone help me, please.

  • Hi EJ,

    First off, great tutorial. I see myself using this method on a variety of different shapes down the road.

    Have a question. If I wanted to animate these layers in individually, how would I go about breaking them apart (or act as separate pieces) and animating them? I’ve tried the random effector but I can’t seem to get it to work. It just moves all of the geometry. I could animate them separately but there must be easier way.

    Thanks so much!

  • Beautiful tutorial! So easy and intuitive way to create topo!

  • That was a fun tutorial ! I made this as a result 🙂

    Thanks so much !!!

  • Shana L. Darabie July 22, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    Tried out by making my own topographical map in Illustrator rather than using a landscape object.

  • At the same time ths tutorial was released, I was making this

  • Hey, I followed along quite well but at the point where you use the rectangle selection tool to connect objects + delete, my selection tool doesn’t work on the splines in the side view. Even the live selection was tripping and wouldn’t select the splines. Does it have anything to do with the fact that all the splines have their axis point at the same place? I saw that doesn’t affect you so what gives?

  • I love your tutorials. My only thing is hearing you guys swallow over the mic is so gross and annoying drink some water before you start a tutorial.

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