How to use the Tracer Object in Cinema 4D

June 3, 2010

In this tutorial, I show you how to use the Tracer Object in Cinema 4D. The Tracer Object allows you to trace your animation or to connect clones together. I show you how to set up the Tracer Object with a Sweep Nurbs object to make dynamic lines in your composition.

Final Renders

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  • cool simple tutorial

  • First time I’ve ever used C4D, and I was able to complete this without any issues. You are awesome! Thanks so much for this site!

  • hi nick
    i can see the tracer object in viewport, but when i render, i only see my spheres, without the tracers… please help


  • sorry, but how to create the same in maya?

  • how can i do the same thing in maya 2012?

  • Everybody who has Cinema 4d bug with Mograph tracer that shows black screen in picture viewer: try to render the image on local disk and it should appear correctly.

  • Hi Nick, first thanks for the tut, very nice as always.
    Is it possible to change the clonned objects anchor point? Actually I want to change the way the trace meets the object.

  • Hey Nick.
    I’m using tracer object in my project + GI and AO.
    The major problem is…render time. Why the hell it takes so much time?
    Few objects on a scene – even with low GI settings (very low) it can take forever.
    One frame in a “hot” moment took me over 4 hours to render.
    And yes it is an animation.
    Any suggestions?


  • Hey Nick!, what’s up, I made this using this tutorial as reference, check it out if you wish, thanks =).

  • Hello,
    can you help me….? the Formula doesnt works….

  • Hello Nick!
    Hope your reading this and answering!!! God I hope!
    I can see the tracer object in viewport, but when I render, I only see my spheres, without the tracers???

  • Hey Nick,
    I’m working on a final for one of my classes, and I’m trying to create an Icosahedron using this method. I’ve played quite a bit with the settings but I am not getting the desired result.
    I want to make the “shell” of the icosahedron with spheres on its points and use the tracers to connect them but only to create a “shell”, so that it looks like an atom ray.
    Now, as you may suspect, the tracer connects the spheres seemingly randomly, and I can’t find a way for it to just look like the atom ray version of the icosahedron.

    Do you know of another way I can do this, maybe manually select where the tracer connects?

    I want to animate it, and I know I can using the atom ray but I’m trying to use new methods as I’ve just started c4d (4 weeks ago, but I am rather strong in Maya). Plus, this way seems inefficient.

    Please please please help.

  • Thanks Nick ! I did this with help from your tutorial –

  • Quality! was searching for ages to find out how to add geometry to traced particles. This works.

    Great stuff and Thanks

  • Hey Nick how would I vibrate null in c4d R13

  • I have a complex animation, and/if/when c4d crashes i have to render from the beggining or else the tracers reset, is there a way to pick up the render from where it left off with the tracers in place?

  • Hi Nick

    Having some trouble getting this to work in r13?

    Whenever i add the tracer and circle spline into the sweep nurbs, i just get a big horrible mess, and the circle is swept…

    Any ideas?



    • Hi there,

      I was having this exact same problem on R14 and think i solved it and thought i’d post here for anyone else that runs into it.

      It just seems to be a bug that happens if you put the circle into the sweep nurbs before the tracer.

      Putting the tracer in first solved it for me.



  • Hey Nick,
    awesome tutorial!!
    But here is a question. Is there a way to change the anchor point for the tracer?? I want to trace some letters but I want the trace “line” to begin from the bottom of the screen while the letters are at the top!!
    Thanks in advance,

  • You break the mystery of tracer object for me. Thanks Nick

  • thank you!!
    i have one questionwhen rendering, how can i effect??

  • can i bake tracer object ? i want to put it in cloner object source so that i can clone them , but it seems not work

  • ok so i love all of these tutorials and have a huge interest in the power of cinema 4d but i had no idea who else to ask

    this video

    i have spent days trying to work out how its done and i think Nick you are the only guy who can answer my question

  • Hi,
    I have a problem with Tracer, i want create light painting with, everything works but when the null rotate (tangential) i see all the line rotate with…
    I want, the begin stay fix versus the end of the line.
    Do you know the tricks ?

  • Thanks! Interesting posting, and i’m total agree. Hope to see more 🙂

  • Really Thankful for this Tutorial..

  • Hello! Awesome tutorial as usually!

    I’m having a problem with differences between the perspective view port and the final render.

    I always render the scene from frame 0.

    I’ll leave 2 pics to show the problem.

    Any ideas?

  • Very nice, Thanks Gorilla!

  • Thanks very nice 🙂

  • This was a very nice tutorial, but how can i like loop it? because the animation is sort of random…

  • Dear Nick, I just want to ask, could c4d tracer mograph, could make something like this…????

    do you have any clue for this…thank u for answering

  • Hi,

    Thanks for your tutorials!

    Where can I get CS tools for this one?


  • Very handy tutorials – thanks! Quick question – is it possible to have ALL the cloner objects attach to ALL the other cloner objects with tracer? So it’s not just two lines attached to each cloned object, it would be more like a web.

  • Hi Nick!
    This is a great tutorial, as are all of GSG:s tutorials, especially Nick’s. I’ve learned tons in a very short time. I only wish I could complete this one.
    So, I have the same question as Olga. It seems you removed the CSTools from everywhere.
    Is there anywhere I can get the CSTools in 2016?
    I use C4D R15

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