How to use Vertex Maps and Xpresso to make a Growing Texture Animation in Cinema 4D: Part 2

April 27, 2011

In part 2, Chris finishes up how to use xpresso and vertex weights to create a growing animation style that you can use in your next project.

Download the Scene File

Example Render

Watch Part 1

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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  • Thanks Chris. This was an awesome tutorial. Yeah, some of those xpresso node are difficult to get your head around if you’re no math guru but …… it’s definitely worth trying to understand. Looking at this setup it’s easy to see the awesome potential to be had. Good work πŸ™‚

  • It’s fast,the part 1 is not to learn End.

  • Nice tutorial! Would be perfect for a roasting marshmallow πŸ™‚

    • That’s a great looking number 3 man!

    • Looks awesome!
      Where did you get the texture for the background?
      Or how did you make it?

      • Thanks man πŸ™‚ All Thanks To Chris and Nick!

        The Background was done in After Effects, only thing I did in Cinema was the number and then fliped it and edit the opacity so it looks like theres a floor reflecting it and inserted a grunge texture and masked it out and lowered the opacity πŸ™‚ And played around with some colors

    • hey man. Where do you get the sounds? It’s impossible to me to find good sounds, and yours looks pretty awesome.
      Nice video btw.

  • Man, thanks so much for sharing your knowledge with us. I had so many applications for this concept pop into my head as you were explaining the technique. So powerful.

    I am humbled that guys like you, the monkey, Nick and others, share your pearls of wisdom.

  • That was very cool. I could just watch you work forever Chris. I really liked Venom Super Evil. @)

  • 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?

    • You could add a second sphere that is just the water, so the land pushes up through it. As far as things moving for you… hmm, maybe try animating one of your noise shaders? Perhaps use a shader displacement so that there is movement, but only a little.


  • nice tutorial
    i see potential for this technique

  • Very inspirational….just think about the possibilities

  • That’s a great tutorial.
    It covers so many different things, I actually learned a lot from it.

    Thank you!

  • I was just thinking that looks like sugar burning or as Jessica said like a roasting marshmallow…

  • hola! I like that will create a video tutorial on how to shape a heart.!

  • long time ago I wanted to see something about textures…how about a tutorial on realistic textures?

  • Very usefulll tutorial…Thank you Chris.

  • That’s great tutorial. But I’m waiting for a special edition (only for a donkey like me! ahah) with expresso training for.. donkey because I really don’t understand many of steps of this tutorial (I know.. I already write this in other part of video). So.. Chris, in Italian language: BRAVO!

  • thank you! gam sa ^^-

  • Great tutorial! thx you!

  • Thank you so much, Sir.
    Hope you share more of your kowledge/talent in the future.

  • Hey, nice tutorial!!! Thanks πŸ™‚
    Can you do this tutorial for a text PLEASEEE?!
    i do it with a text, but it looks like shit πŸ™

    please help me

  • i got a problem.. it says not enough memory.. i got the full version and when i try to render it tells me i don’t have enough memory.

  • I really like Nick’s tutorials, but thanks to you im starting to understand xpresso I really apreciate it

  • Hell that is a lovely effect.

    Looks great if you plant a camera really close to the object you are ‘coating’…

  • hdskillzproductions May 16, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    i got a problem…i cant find the common tab in preferences…im in r12

  • Hey Nick or Chris the the first thing i did was animate the position of the cube in the project file and the first thing i noticed was that the bump map was static meaning the uvw coordinates didnt move with the animated cube though the displacement map was fine because it was based off the vertex map. I tried to generate uvw coordinates from the tags menu but it didnt seem to fix it.

    How do you assign uvw coordinates to a mesh and its corresponding texture so that the shaders used move with the animated mesh via deformation/transformation? a response or even a tutorial would be HUGE! Thanks guys and keep up the great work.

  • Hi Chris, great job, very inspirational. And thanks for your lighting Xpresso rigs!-Craig

  • Awesome stuff, Chris, thank you so much for sharing through these tutorials! Great inspiration and learning!

    Thanks for posting too, Nick!

  • Thanks so much for this tutorial! I’m 15 and im going on work experience doing video editing and production in a few weeks! I’m new to Xpreso and i followed this tutorial fine! Thanks a lot!

    Btw I’m making a showreel for when i apply for uni in a few years

  • thanks for great tutorial!
    i will apply this idea to my project!

    i just have one question.
    is there any way to make a kind of an alpha channel to delete the area in the cube that is not affected by the growing vertex mapping, which is finally rendered out with a blur edge of vertex mapping without looking like no cube there.

    please give me a follow-up if you have a good answer

    thank you again, chris!


  • hi chris

    the question that i asked had been solved since you put the material named rust which has a alpha channel.

    thank you again and sorry for my careless mistake.

  • I have been looking over this tutorial the past few days. I am totally new to C4D and been playing with it and this just made me more addicted to it. I am trying to apply this technique to text which being a noob is a bit hard but I’m enjoying the challenge.

  • I have been trying to figure out how to apply this to text with no luck. when i make mograph text object then make it editable to where i can manipulate the caps and extrude the displacement explodes it apart. But that seems to be the only way to modify the vertex map. If anyone has some pointers or maybe where i went wrong fell free to reply to this with some pointers.

  • I’ve actually been looking for tutorial on an effect like this. I found replacing the vertex map/xpresso solution with an animated gradient map or any “ink bleed” footage works pretty well too. Obviously it lacks the ability to repaint your map in realtime, but it’s easier at least for me. I think the biggest lesson here for me was the indepth look the C4D texturing system.

  • place could u just put the example folder up for download as i am doin stuff wrong n i want to tweak it

  • Very Cool. The only problem I see with the vertex maps is you don’t really get smooth transitions. You get straight edges as the polygons fill up. The smooth function doesn’t really work to alleviate this as you pass through different levels of merging. Subdividing polys would help but you’d have to really have a lot of tiny ones to get it really smooth.

    Any thoughts on how we might get smoother transitions?

    Great Tutorials though.

  • Great couple of tutorials! Thanks!
    Not sure if I missed it, but what was the shortcut for the Erase function in the Paint tool?
    Keep up the good work!

  • Hey Chris, love this tutorial. This will come in very handy for me. Question, once I have the setup, I can apply this to other polygon objects, after I have adjusted the vertex maps? In other words, I can create other models, modify the tags to my liking, and it will still work , please let me know, thanks, Craig

  • Hey Cris! Thanks for the great tutorial. Needed it just today.

    I faced a little problem, actually two.
    I’m trying to change two textures from one to another with this method and I went to make two vertex maps in color channel, one for the base and one for the final one. The first one goes with inverted vertex map abnd it works fine, the second one goes with regular and it is not seems to be working.

    Also I tried to apply this expresso to multiple objects. I have 16 skulls, with will change textures in one time. But I haven’t found the way to do tahat without making 16 WWR nulls with brand new xpresso for each one. Is there any way to copy the result for all 16 skulls in any siple way?

    Thanks a lot!

  • i need help with this
    as soon as i use the vertex maps on a primitive that isnt from the help files
    this whole thing doesnt work.
    i made my new primitive editable , i added 2 vertex maps and a 3rd as a “result” one
    i updated the vertex weight remapper xpress thing with the new vertex maps i created
    and set keyframes so the yellow areas ease in , but it doesnt work at all

    what am i doing wrong?

  • I’m sure I’ll never see a reply to this since it’s a little dated, but I’m trying to apply something similar to text and it breaks apart the faces (ie: front, sides, back) any idea on a workaround?

  • Great tutorial! (I’ve come to rely on you guys as a source for learning anything C4d)

    I was wondering if there is any way to alter the xpresso rig where the vertex maps are being driven by something else, say particle collisions on a surface? How would I go about getting that added into the setup?

    I know its really a different setup than what you’re showing here, but this is the only tutorial I’ve been able to find that deals with animating vertex map weights.


  • Thank you very much, very great tut πŸ™‚

  • Does Not Work in Version R18 Value of Vertex Map conflicts with ranger mapper
    Any solution?

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