Surface Deformer Tutorial

August 22, 2011

In this tutorial I will show you how to use the surface deformer to add additional movement to your animations. This deformer can be combined with other deformers/effectors to create just about anything. To prove this I created this example video / personal project using the techniques shown in this tutorial

Example Video

About Simon
Simon Homedal is a motion designer/3d artist at Man vs Machine before that he was a student at hyper island in Sweden. You can see his work on his site

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  • Slick stuff from Simon again

  • Is there a surface deformer in 11.5?

  • Very useful one, thx a lot!

  • Great tut Simon. I dig your stuff!

  • Tried applying a surface deformed with a pyramid in it to a cube… it was like that scene in Alien 4…. “kill me….”, said the cube…

  • a bit tricky but useful…
    im not sure if c4d has it’s own tool for it but i think with surface deformer you can have a face and then bunch of the same face with differences like closed eye, open mouth and stuff… and then you can animate the strength to have the original face do its stuff

    • it’s used in character animation through the morph tag 🙂 they’re all kinda similar processes. In fact the surface deformer reminds me a lot of the mesh deformer. Pretty useful to simplyfy collisions and make your own deformation cage.

    • Excellent for shoes and gloves. I have also attached helmets and sunglasses onto people using this deformer.

  • very useful .

    thanks sir

  • Awesome tut, per usual, Simon. Love learning from you! Cheers.

  • nice tutorial thanks from Pakistan

  • Great tutorial Simon. I like your presentation style, but would find it less confusing if you named the individual objects. Visually I have a hard time following what cylander your talking about at first. By the time I realize which you’re talking about, I realized I just missed your next slick move. Thank God I can watch the tutorial more than once to catch on. Looking forward to your next tut, thanks.

  • Saw this a while ago, pretty amazing stuff as usual… Your approach is the best!

  • As always, Brilliant Simon !

    Hope we’re not going to see thousands of this on vimeo now.
    I’ll try to play with it in a few days and see what I can do to make it my own way.

    And go to the doctor so we can have plenty of your tuts 😉

  • Thanks Simon! This was a cool tut! I’m trying some creative ways of making this look cool, as I type! Peace from NYC!

  • Super nice!!!
    Cool silver foil texture, how did you made that?


  • Very nice indeed, but I was a bit disappointed that you didn’t go through the process of making that example :\

    • Thank you Yoshi!
      I recorded tutorial before I made the example-vid I’m afraid…So sorry about that. But I don’t really se the point of showing how to build a specific project, I believe that it’s more important to understand the tools and it would have been the longest tutorial ever, since each clothstrip took about 20 minutes to simulate. Its up to you and everyone else to use these techniques in your own projects. I believe this triggers creativity, not “copycats” if you catch my drift.. hehe
      although, If you have any specific questions about the example-vid I more than happily answer them.

  • Excellent job bud, you are the man—keep up the good work. Hey! Simon, is there any way that you make a tutorial on how to animate a ribbon bow using the Spline deformer that would awesome–thanks again for wonderful tutorial..:)

    • Dude I wish I knew. I have never used the spline deformer, but I’ll wright that one down for later and maybe just maybe ill figure out a way and put out a tutorial on that subject. thanks for you input mark! 🙂

  • Thanks for this Great tut nick !

  • great tut friend,please tell me and help me with little tutorial this animation…please my friend,

    I know he was write the comments of the video it says but I can’t do that:

    “here is the technique behind it. first animate a single block(rotation and visibility). copy the block in a vertical row and manually offset keyframes for the copies. then copy the hole row in vertically for several times. again? offset the keyframes for every single row. this way an animated wall will be done. this techniques is used for the whole animation. actually it’s all about selection and offsetting keyframes.”

  • Cristiá Ramírez August 23, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    Great!!! thanks.

  • Great tutorial Simon, as always. Looking forward to the next one : )

  • Hey Simon,

    I tried to make the bridge but when I applied the surface deformer my cloned objects vanished and left me with a dangling plank. How do I fix this?

  • I think Cinema 4d R12 Surface Deformer is different. You must make editable all of the cubes to make Surface Deformer work. Am i wrong?

  • Simon thank you so much for this tut ,it is just what i needed :).. hope you will get better soon!!

  • Good work!
    Very inspiring!

  • Great post Simon, nice work, already using this on a current project. Keep up the good work GSG!

  • Very useful indeed!

  • So helpful thanks a lot…

  • sweet video. 🙂

  • Hi all and gorilla… you are amazing, thank you.

    this is my try with breakerfx final compositing.


  • I cannot make it work. I hit initialize in the bridge example and nothing happens.

  • Surface deformer is not showing up in render…. if i preview it its fine but when i render it it doesnt work. What can be wrong?

  • Great Tutorial!

    However I have problems with recreating the part with the bridge. I followed every step.
    My Cloner doesn’t get influenced by the Surface Deformer. It doesn’t Initialize. What am I doing wrong ?

    I really want to use this technique to create another scene which involves surface deforming.

  • Hi Simon.
    Nice tutorial! I’ve a question about the white structure of example vid? Like some parts are closed and others not. Im trying to do that but without success.


  • Awesome! Thanks Simon

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