Make an Impressive Exploding Text Effect in Cinema 4D


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Being able to animate a 3D object, both on and off the screen, is one of the most important concepts to understand in motion graphics. In this tutorial, you will learn to use the 'Explosion FX' deformer in Cinema 4D to break an object up according to it's polygons, change the parameters of how those pieces will behave, and then animate the entire explosion with a single keyframe.

Final Effect Preview

Step 1

Click on "Objects > Spline Primative > Text" to make a Text Spline at the origin. Click on "Objects > Primitives > Cube" to make a cube object at the origin.

Step 2

Give the Cube Object the parameters of : X= 400, Y=180, and Z=10. Set the 'Position' to: X=0, Y=70, and Z=10. Then set the 'Segments' to: X=5, Y=3, and Z=2. Click on "Objects > NURBS > Extrude NURBS object". Apply the 'Extrude Nurb' object to the 'Text Spline', by parenting the 'Text Spline' to the 'Extrude Nurb'.

Step 3

Give the 'Extrude Nurb' a '2m' bevel by clicking on "Caps" and changing the 'Start' and 'End' Caps to 'Fillet Cap' and the 'Radius' to '2m'. Move it on the Z-Axis to a position of '-10'.

Step 4

Select both the 'Extrude Nurb' and the 'Text Spline' and click on the "Make Editable" option to turn them from nurbs into polys.

Step 5

Click on "Objects > Modeling > Connect Object" and parent the 'Extrude Nurb' to the 'Connect Object'. Then click "Make Editable" to turn these separate polygons into one single polygon object.

Step 6

Delete the selection tags, and change the 'Phong Angle' in the "Phong" tag to '35' degrees. This hardens the edges in the bevels.

Step 7

Click on "Objects > Deformation > Explosion FX" twice. Parent the 'Explosion FX' deformer to the separate objects, and rename them 'Box' and 'Text'

Step 8

Cinema 4D will get ahead of us on this (like it always does) and apply a stock explosion to both objects, using the polygon parameters we have given it to break up the object. First, change the Box's explosion. Turn the display off of the Text by clicking on the topmost dot two twice to turn it red.

Step 9

Go into the 'Explosion FX' (under the Box), and change the parameters as follows. First, under "Object Properties", change the Time to '0%'.

Step 10

Now, change the "Explosion" properties to the following parameters. Turn the 'Strength' to '1,050' (greater than 1000 is important), the 'Direction' to 'Except Y', the 'Blast Time' to '1,020' (greater that 1000 is important again), the 'Second Variation' to '57%' (this will vary the blast speed), and finally, the 'Blast Range' to 600m.

Step 11

Under the "Cluster" properties, change the 'Thickness' to '7', and the 'Cluster Type' to 'Polygons'. Now turn on 'Disappear', and set the 'Kind' to 'Time', the 'Start' to '0', and the 'Duration' to '10'. This makes the pieces appear on the screen as they scale up from nothing and reach their final place on the object.

Step 12

Under "Gravity" change the 'Acceleration' to '0' and the 'Range' to '670'.

Step 13

To animate this effect, keyframe the 'Time' under the "Object" settings of the 'Explosion FX' tag. Start at '50%' and animate it down to '0%'. To animate it coming from a set direction, move the 'Explosion FX' tag to the opposite side that you want the polygons to fly from (if you want them to fly from left to right, move the tag to the right side of the object).

Step 14

For the text explosion, under the 'Explosion FX' tag, follow the same steps as above, only change the 'Explosion' settings as follows: 'Blast Range' to '0m', and 'Blast Time' and 'Strength' to exactly '1000'. The "Cluster" settings should be the same, except the 'Thickness' should be '10m'. Under the "Gravity" settings, change the 'Range' to '400m'.

Step 15

To animate the Text 'Explosion FX', animate the 'Time' under "Object Properties" from '50%' to '0%'. The polygons will appear to grow in place (instead of flying in), since the 'Blast Range' is now '0m'.

Final Results

Note: Reflections make this thing pop, and give it depth. Try animating the actual 'Explosion FX' tag moving around the text letters. Combining the 'Time' animation with one of the 'Special' animation properties can yield some interesting results (especially 'Twist'). A more advanced method would be to add an 'Align to Spline' tag to the 'Explosion FX', and draw a spline for the 'Explosion FX' to follow. Since the 'Explosion FX' object stays parented to the object that is being broken up, it will allow for some pretty sweet stuff!