How to use Vertex Maps and Xpresso to make a Growing Animation in C4D: Part 1

April 26, 2011

In this series of tutorials, Chris Schmidt shows you how to use xpresso and vertex weights to create a growing animation style that you can use in your next project. He included the scene file below so you can see how he sets it up.

Download the Scene File

Example Render

Watch Part 2

About Chris Schmidt
Chris Schmidt is a self taught Cinema4D user since version 6 in 2001. After teaching C4D for 4 years at Prairie State College and creating a series of tutorials for Maxon on Cineversity, he cofounded Chicago’s C4d user group ChicagoC4d. With a general obsession of all things C4D especially character rigging, animation, Xpresso and Thinking Particles. Most recently co developed the City Kit with The Gorilla.

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  • great tutorial, im going to try it later 🙂

  • sorry, i forgot the little big word, thanks

  • Looking mighty interesting! Thanks for sharing Nick & Chris!

  • I just love your tuts. thanks again

  • Holy volcanic growth Batman!

  • Such a big lesson! To watch and watch again, (with that unexpected end), and in order to practice sometimes. Thanx a lot for this more than a tutorial.

  • Cool, but for me is really difficult understand all the expresso steps. It’s my limit, I know, but I must start from the ABC of expresso tutorials.

  • Good stuff, never thought of using vertex weights this way. It opens up lots of possible deformer type animations.
    I’ve done siimlar with texture mapping for nice hi-res animated effects transitions, but combining vertex,textures and deformation will create a great looking effect.
    Thanks Chris

  • Really great Chris loved this, opened my eyes a lot to the simple stuff in cinema. Like cheebachops, i was using external greyscale textures to get this look going, so great to see it being done within cinema with a lot more control too.

  • TNKX Chris!!! it is amazing!!!!! I’m going to make a Volcano with this Tip!!

  • NICEEEEEEEEE!!! (Fabolous Voice)

    Already did something cool!
    I’ll be posting it in a few but can you do
    a litle more on what else you can achieve with
    Vertex Map? Like Deformers and all those stuff?

  • Nice one dude.
    I have one question for you about Thinking particles
    When I use an object like a cube for instance as the geometry for the particle.
    What about the collisions, is it possible to make the particle colide at the boundaries of the object instead of the centre of the particle?

    I hope you can answer this one.
    Thank you in advance.


    • Short answer… nope. Dynamics engine can though, and since you can put TP into mograph that’s your best bet.


  • Innocentbystander April 27, 2011 at 9:53 am

    Wow! Thanks for the tutorial! I have always needed some tip or clue on how XPresso works. 😀

  • Here is my result! I decided to make a little planet using what I learned from the tutorial.

    I have a few questions for you guys tho, if you could watch my video first.

    Okay, so I like my concept but I would like it more if the continents were not simply growing and shrinking along the same patterns.
    If they would move more realistically over the planet and merge with each other but remain roughly the same size… any idea how to do this?

    Sort of like this:
    But in 3D!

    Also; is there any way to make the “water” part of the model separate so that I can give it a better texture?

  • I have a problem with live update of animation on the viewport. How can I turn that option on in CR12?

  • Can you bake the calculations for the vertex mapping animation ?

  • thank u chris, this more advance, well i try to follow though, although i’m just newbie lol

    • well i still can’t get understand about the iteration things that you explain, a lot about ‘zero’ came about, i don’t really get it honestly, can u explain it a little more?

  • wow nice one I like it

  • first of all, niiice one!

    BUT, im not that confident in cinema and I wonder how to use this on other objects, everytime i copy my tags (or makin new) the script doesnt work. I guess its very simple and I am kind of stupid 😉

    Other question:
    how does it work to combine textures? I tryed zu seperate the texture with the vertex map a – inverted but it works only in the colour channel :/

    Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Yannick,

      I´ve got the same problem. I don´t know how to use it for other objects. Even if I just make a 1:1 copy it doesn´t work anymore.
      Did you already find a solution?


  • hey someone help I followed the tutorial exactly as he did and now I want to do it with a different editable object and what I was thinking to do is just copy the tage but that doesent work on the third tag the paint doesent show up and also even after the render if someone knew a solution that would be great

  • Chris Schmidt, if I didn’t see your face, I would have think your about 45 years old (by sound of your voice). 🙂 Great voice!!

  • Hi Chris,
    really great tutorial. I start learning Xpresso right here from 0 and everything was extremely clear.
    About the part 1 i have a question: why you do connect the “count” into Iteration End?

    Tnx a lot

  • Great tut chris thanks. but i struck how to apply burn ,rust textures .help me

  • Hi,

    Something wrong with the video. At 39.10 it stops and doesn`t go forward even if I click a bit further.

    Has anyone else experienced the problem before?

    Great tut!

    Thank you


  • Good Morning,

    First thing first, many thanks for the tutorial.

    Then, I did the tutorial and had one issue regarding the range mapper which didn’t work (I couldn’t create the spline, may be a plugin?)

    Otherwise, I have another question in terms of functionality, Is it possible to change the texture of a cube, with texture A, by the contact with snow, or rain (which would be texture B)?

    again thank you very much for the tutorial,

    Gaël Schlupp

  • Ok…idk it seems to be just me but everything was fine till I got to adding the spline control…..
    I can add the control and it works…its just that I dont have the ability to make a curve with the spline…I have the begin point…and the end point….and that is all…if I try to grab the line anywhere else all I get is a selection type box with my cursor….if that makes sense….
    I tried deleteing the spline controls and make them over again but still get the same thing…and I cant figure out why….

    Any info is appreciated…ty

  • Followed everything down to the T… doesn’t seem to work in R14. even the scene file…. maybe a re-visit in R14?

  • Hi Chris, nice tutorial. I have to agree with Marcello, from 1-22-13. I tried this file in R13, and now R14, and it doesn’t work. Any thoughts,or revelations would be great, since I’d love to employ this great technique. I look forward to hearing from you. Craig

  • Hello there! I’m trying to follow your tutorial with the demo file but at 6′ 25″ you change something in the “Function” menu of the vertex merger. this Function menu does not appear in my window, I only have a Vertex weights menu with Sources and Destination..

    I’m working on Cinema 4D R13, is that the reason why menus are different ?

    Thank you

  • Hello, where possible free download plugin PLAVELOCITY – TAG PLUGIN

  • how are you painting smooth on such a low poly cube? when i paint the faces on my cube cause sharp edges even with smooth setting on, this is really making my displacements look terribe

    • This is a great tutorial! Chris goes at the pefrcet speed. He’s fast, but he repeats himself, so things keep moving and I never feel like skimming through. I really feel like I learned a lot from this tutorial. I’m looking forward to more!Now if I could just think of some way to use this

  • can anyone help me i’ve followed this to a T but not getting the results, I’m using R16 and the only difference here is that where ‘WeightMap’ is in the Xpresso nodes menu, there is VertexMap’ instead, I’m assuming this is just a new name for the same function but maybe I’m wrong? Can’t find a ‘weightmap’ node anywhere else…

  • This is nearly what I need to achieve the look im after. What I need essentialy is the black material that is consuming the cube to do so but wiihout the cube being there.
    In other words I need it to grow to for the cube. Ive tried all sorts but to no avail. Please help

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