Polygon Reduction Deformer Effect

May 22, 2012

This tutorial was really fun to make. It all started when Ramiro posted a link to this animation over on the Facebook Page asking how to make the polygon effect starting around 15 seconds in. Well, that got me asking around the office how everyone would do it. As we huddled around my computer, we got playing in Cinema 4D and trying different techniques. “Animate the Noise In The Displacer” Chris said. Jack added, “Try Adding An Atom Array”. and within a few minutes, and after adding some quick sound design in After Effects, I had this animation and a tutorial idea for the blog. It’s little fun things like this that made Cinema 4D (And working in a real office) so fun for me. The ability to try out different ideas and get a fun result, fast. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the tutorial. We sure had fun making it.

Example Render

Tutorial Focus:  ,
Software:  ,

  • Nice tutorial! Definitely going to try this next week when I finally have some free time. So time to get into C4D R13 again !!

  • Great tutorial as usual Nick. Thanks very much for sharing.

    I think the Beatles tune you’re talking about is “A Day In The Life” – http://youtu.be/P-Q9D4dcYng

  • Your tutorials make me want to learn Cinema 4D.. I think it’s time I dive in.

  • The original animation is sick!!!!! I’ll give this one a shot and see what i can come up with. Thanks Nick. You’re awesome.

  • Thanks Nick. Another great tutorial with was nice and fast and to the point.
    I would be so spooked out tho working in your office with that Ghostbuster painting of Vigo in the background. (shudder!)

  • Great tutorial! I’m not a C4D wizard (yet πŸ˜‰ ,but I was wondering, is this also possible with text?

    • I too am wondering about text also Nick

    • Yes it is working. You just need to do exact oposite as Nick did in terms of key framing.
      The only problem that you may have is the exces geometry on the round letters O, C, R, etc. In rest everything is pretty straight forward. An by the way throw some more deformers (FFD + some point level animation) or you can play with PolyFX and a lot of effectors for PolyFX. The possibilities are unlimited once you dig into it πŸ™‚
      P.S. If you use a polyFX put Cloth NURBS only with Thickness of whatever value you need and subdivisions on 0 πŸ™‚

      Have fun πŸ™‚

  • Thank you for this tutorial and for the ample explanation on each point you used to giving us.

  • Great tutorial, always love your work ! And mind-blowing that you can make sound in after effects, that’s awesome !

  • Good looking render.
    I had done something very similar in a conceptual logo build.

    I took a Mograph letter and used the Connect tool.
    Super simple, and produces a nice effect.

  • Thank you for the great tutorial Nick! You show the simple way to build this Polygon Reducer. btw: did i see the Ghostbuster picture in the background? =)

  • Thx for this new tut!
    i can’t stop trying things… :=)

    i try to make cool shits !!!

    Gare au Gorille !

  • Nick, there’s standard polygon animation out there ( like this https://vimeo.com/33952075 in 0:20 seconds and ownards ) and I’m trying to find a tutorial in GG but I couldn’t, do you think is there any clue where I can find one? Or which modifier would help me animate them in that manner ? (fluid, instead of this reduction animation like in this tut)

  • Great Cinema tutorial Nick and I was also intrigued to learn a bit about audio. Any plans to do more tutorials about (or including) sound? I recently watched a couple of old posts on GSG by The Monkey where he said he had plans to do some tutorials on sound in Cinema 4D, building on his NAB presentation. Any idea if he still plans to do these? It would be great if he did.

  • Really enjoyed the little sound piece you did here; A contemporary beauty.

    I always wanted to experiment more with AE Audio but never really found time for it, except when i was putting out a mute Mograph-project on my site: I combined data from an AE Camera Tracker with the AE Tone effect and found a great potential there that i hope one day i’ll be able to dig deeper into. Maybe something for The Gorilla to pursue? http://bit.ly/Jn7KSY

  • heres my attempt. https://vimeo.com/42657501
    i’ll most likely try it again soon, but try a whole lot of different things.

  • Hey Nick,

    great tutorial, worked great for me, except for one problem.
    When I’m trying to animate the Polygon Reduction Strength it all works out very well, just that my last Polygon isn’t floating around nice and smoothly, it’s going completely apeshit, vibrating around, like it’s having spasms of some kind… I tried reducing the animation speed and some other things, I’m fairly new with Cinema so I can’t really find a solution to that, any thoughts?


    • I had same problem…

      Solution, delete one displacer.
      And put polygon reduction above remaining displacer.
      It’s work for me…

      • Cheers mate, that really did the job.
        I just set the animation speed for the second one to 0, or a something small and I still get all the spikey things plus a nice smooth floating in the end!

  • Here is what I came up with! πŸ™‚

    • That’s looking really good, are the color changes done in Cinema or in AE?
      Bit of a newbie, sorry πŸ˜‰

      • Thanks man!
        The color changes was done in C4d. You just make a gradient texture, set the projection to flat and then you just keyframe the coordinates on the texture tag. πŸ˜‰

  • Hi I’m from Mindmech. And I want ask something about birthday cake.
    -How can I do a birthday cake ?
    -How can I do a candle ?
    Thanks in advance.=)

  • Hi Nick,
    Great tut, love it!
    Something I just discovered in C4d is you can use footage, .mov files etc, as a texture, blew my mind!
    Are there any tutorials on the horizon that explore the possibilities of this, as I’m struggling to utilise this the way I want to.

  • Hi. Superb tutorial Nick! You are a great inspiration as always!

    Check out my own brand new blog about interactive graphic and motion graphic, at http://www.tommablog.com.

    Peace out! πŸ™‚

  • Thanks Nick!

    Awesome Tutorials. I keep checking daily for new ones. you and Chris have been monumental in helping me learn C4d. Thank you.

    Here is my attempt…


  • Cool technique with the polygon reducer. Just got your TRANSFORM plugin the other day and have been having a ball. Made this today after watching the tut…
    As always, thank you sir for your awesome work and your awesome plugins.

  • Great tutorial! Very helpful as always!!!

    Here is what I came up with…..https://vimeo.com/42808667

  • Hola!…. quisiera saber como puedo lograr este efecto o algo similar en 3DS MAX ???

    I want to know how i can do something like this in 3ds max ?

  • does anybody knows how can make this kind of type on cinema 4d?

  • thatΒ΄s another advanced polygonal example with a similar technique,i guess. maybe with sound effectors applied. It was shown at the SXSW this year.

  • Hi Nick,

    It is a very nice tutorial. I love it. I’m from Belgium and find all your tutorials very nice. I learn a lot from them. Thank you. I would like to say, keep it up and I wait for the next tutorial.

  • Rotthier Etienne May 26, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Hi Nick,

    It’s a nice tutorial. I love it. I’m from Belgium and follow all your tutorials.Ik learn a lot of them. Thank you. I would like to say keep it up and I’m waiting for the next tutorial.

  • Nice tut Nick as always, I learn a lot each time I visit GSG. Thanks again

  • Great one, Nick. Thanks

  • Hello, I enjoyed the tutorial, and I have some questions about the example render:

    Where do you get those sound effects that you add to your videos ? Is there someone making them for you, or do you make them yourself ? Anyway, could you, or someone you know make a tutorial on adding sounds to the video ?

    And by the way, your tutorials are great !

  • I love your hairstyle!!

  • this is my version, created in blender πŸ™‚ http://youtu.be/mbm9431ZVQY

  • Hi, here is my effort, thanks for the inspirational site Nick GG.

  • here is mines i used live footage and tracked it..also with transform….https://vimeo.com/43146435

  • Great tutorial Nick!… Combined a few things recently you’ve done into a sequence


  • Your tutorial is awesome, and seeing some of your tutorials really made wanna learn cinema 4D !!!!

  • Great tutorial again nick. love your stuff. I’m using this effect along with some other tutorials to work on a full animated music video. This is just a quick test I did using this effect.

  • Thanks for a simple and great tutorial!
    Here’s what I turned out with https://vimeo.com/43343800

  • Thank you for this amazing tutorial, I made a trailer for IRONMAN 3 using this technique
    this is my trailer https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KiKAjIR6txA
    Hope you’ll take the time to watch it.

  • And here is my little something out of this tutorial
    thanks Nick πŸ™‚

  • Hey Nick,

    great tutorial! I have a question. I want to use this technique for a promo piece only I want the letter “X” to have this polyreduction look. How do I go about utilizing this technique into a letter form or logo? Thanks.

    – Tony G.

  • very nice stuff! πŸ™‚

  • Just starting with 3D and I’d like to know if you have a video that shows how you set up your layout? Please let me know. I like your tutorials but I get very confused because our setups are not the same and I would like them to be.

    Thank you

  • Hi Grey Scale Gorilla, I have just started using Cinema 4D and this website it’s the best I have found!
    Just one question probably too silly…I have done several tutorials but in regards of the above tutorials I am struggling for one thing I cannot find the polygon tools my layout doesn’t have all the icons that you have on the Edit & Selection meaning Enable Model Tool Point Tool, Polygon Tool and so forth. You would give me an immense help.

    Thanks In Advance

  • Thanks for the great tutorial. I used the animation to create this video fΓΌr a design course.

  • Nick, thanks a lot for your tut!
    Check my video https://vimeo.com/45598391

  • Pedro Chavarria July 19, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    amazing tut!! I’m 16 years old and I would like to learn motion graphics specially with cinema 4d

  • my polygon reduction attempt failed. i cannot add a keyframe to the reduction strength and therefor it it is not affected. any tips on that?

  • hi hellow
    First thing first: thanks for a great tutorial.
    but (now) i have one little problem. when i want to reduce my polygons to 0 (so polygon reduction is at 100%), my object doesn’t dissapear – it appears at full amount of polygons. does anyone knows whats wrong?

  • Hey Nick,
    wonderful tutorial with just enough info to get this done but also enough options left untouched so we have plenty of freedom to create our own version. Quick question:

    I would like to use this technique, without the atom array, to create a neat text effect. However when I use MoText, even just with one letter, the polygons keep going through one another and it will end up with some abstract shape instead of my letter. Any idea how that could be fixed?

    Thank you so much in advance!

  • Hey gorilla :),

    again a grate tutorial!! Thank you very much for all your tutorials and your support! πŸ™‚
    Here is my reduction animation. I add a little particle explosion and a flash in after effects.


    have a nice day:)

  • Not very often we get a little music theory along with our motion graphics. Thanks, Nick!

  • Again I used your tutorial. This time I produced a timelapse movie in combination with you Polygon Reduction Deformer Effect and a lot of After Effects Editing.
    I hope you like it, Nick!
    (Again thank you very much for you help!!!:)

  • Thanks for this. I was looking to do a graphic similar to this for a bumper. Even more, I didn’t know you can make music with AE! Dopppppe!!! Next time I rock a beat I’ll end it with that tone generator.

  • I want to thank you Nick for helping me learn more about the field of motion graphics. Although I hope to specialize in graphic design someday, I can honestly say your tutorials have progressively helped me learn cinema 4D, and expand my skill sets!

    At the moment I’m currently a senior at Perpich Center for the arts in MN, and have been applying to many colleges to specialize in visual communication.
    I tell you this because I think you should know that, because of your tutorial, the admissions panel at MIAD was “particularly impressed with my animated piece for it’s combination of video, animation, design and concept” helping me receive a scholarship that pays for my possible next 2 years at MIAD.
    So once again, thank you so much for your wisdom and teaching, its been such a blessing, and had definitely made an impact in my life, and rest assured many others! Keep up the amazing work!

    My animation can be found here:

  • Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge with us for free ! I am very grateful! πŸ™‚

  • Dude you rock so hard is hard to describe

  • Hey is anyone else having a problem when the polygon reduction gets up to 100%? Mine is working fine, but when it gets up to 100% instead of deleting all of the polygons it jumps to having no polygon reduction at all.

  • hey Nick!

    Please I have A problem coming with this technique.. it was working on the sphere correctly but…

    as I’m using it on a model.. this model is a camera on tripod all in one polygonal object,

    when I’m reducing the polygons it’s not reducing at all.. even after i put the displacer, I’m doing a logo intro I want to make some kind of morphing by reducing the polygons and increasing it into another object πŸ™‚

    please if u have any clue provide me asap….

  • WoW…. you know what nick I just got the solution while I’m trying…

    the solution in to put your polygon object inside a fracture object… and boom it’s done.

    if you have any other solution please tell me… thanks nick you are awesome..!

  • tutorials are super.. but the Ghostbusters painting the the background made me fall in love.

  • Thnx so much for this tutorial, just starting to play around with cinema 4d and this site is amazing!!!!! πŸ™‚

  • Hi! I’m trying to make foil animation and the only thing I could think of is to animate cloth with polygon reduction and bevel deformer. And it’s almost what I need, but it is impossible to make the animation smooth, each frame is counting as new one.
    I am almost in despair. How can I make it work smoothly?

  • Hi Nick,
    Thank you once again for yet another great and very inspirational tutorial! I’m a little stuck on tweaking the seamless floor; when I remove the floor, what I am left with is a square as a background, and I need to make it wider somehow to get a consistent seamless background in the whole frame. I’m working with the R15, how can I do that?

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