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  1. 3D & Motion Graphics
  2. Cinema 4D

Create a 'Cybernetic Plant' in Cinema4D


In today's tutorial, Konstantin Muromtsev takes us through how he created his 'Cybernetic Plant' scene using the MoSpline/Spline-wrap technique in Cinema4D. After modeling, Konstantin then animates our robot plant using the Wind modifier, before setting everything up for the final render. Enjoy!

To create this scene we will be using MoSpline, Spline Wrap and Cloner Objects from Mograph module, along with the Wind particle modifier. This tutorial will also show you how to create simple but effective materials using the Danel Shader (my favorite shader in C4D) and give you some tips about creating animation with and without keyframes. Let's get started!

Additional Files/ Plugins:

Step 1

To create the main stem object, we'll be using MoSpline and Spline Wrap. Start by creating a Cylinder object (Objects > Primitive > Cylinder) – with height 200m, radius 2m and height segments 23. Then make it editable (C on keyboard).

Step 2

Select alternating height segments, starting from the second one from the bottom, using Loop Selection (U~L).

Step 3

Start adding details using Extrude (D on keyboard) and Extrude Inner (I on keyboard) with low values around 1m; make sure to keep the selection, so that all of the selected polygons will be extruded.

Step 4

Continue to add details by selecting polygons with Loop Selection and using the Extrude tool. This simple method helps to create a complex looking mesh without much modeling.

Step 5

At the bottom of the object add details using Extrude and Bevel without subdivision (M~S).

Step 6

At the top create the base of the flower using Extrude Inner and Extrude. Move and scale polygon selections to archive the result you're looking for.

Step 7

Continue to add details and create a lightholder at the end of the flower.

Step 8

Select the edges of the flower using Loop Selection and use Bevel with the– Inner Offset set to ~0.2m, the Subdivision set to– 5 and the Type set to– Convex.

Step 9

Select all of the polygons that you want to glow and Set Selection (Selection > Set Selection) so we can easily apply a material later on.

Step 10

Create a MoSpline object (Mograph > MoSpline); MoSpline is a spline generator from the MoGraph 2 module and is very useful for creating and animating a plant-looking spline.

Step 11

In the MoSpline attributes Simple tab, set the Length to match the height of the main object (in my case it's 213 m), then decrease the Steps amount (80), increase the Segments amount (13), adjust the Angles (147 P and 87 B), and play with Curve, Bend and Twist values (38, 33 and 110 accordingly) until you get something you're happy with. Remember, my values here should only act as aguide, it's important that it looks right to you!

Step 12

Create a Spline Wrap deformer (Mograph > Spline Wrap) and add it under main object. Drag our MoSpline into the Spline field in the Spline Wrap object properties, and change Axis to +Y.

Step 13

Create another Cylinder object –with Radius ~3m (slightly bigger than average radius of main object), Height 0.3m and Orientation +Z.

Step 14

Create a Cloner object (MoGraph > Cloner Object), and add the new cylinder to it; in the Cloner object attributes change Mode to Object, drag MoSpline to Object field, change Mode to Step, set Step to be slightly less than Length of our MoSpline, check the Per Segment and Smooth Rotation options, and then tweak the Start and End values if needed. Optionally change the Rate to some value (50% for example) to make the cylinder move along the MoSpline like in the Final Effect video.

Step 15

Create a Sphere object with small radius (~10m), Hemisphere type, and move it at the bottom -– this will be base of the plant.

Step 16

Add details to the base using Extrude, and then select the polygons you want to glow and Set Selection.

Step 17

Create a Light object, and in the General tab, adjust the Color, change Visible LIght to Visible, check No Illumination option, uncheck Diffuse, Specular and GI Illumination. In the Details tab, change Falloff to Inverse (using this falloff will make light fade out more softly). In the Visibility tab, change Outer Distance to 10m, and Brightness to ~300%.

Step 18

Create a Cloner object and add the light to it. In the Cloner object attributes, in the Object tab change Mode to Object, drag our MoSpline into the Object field, change Mode to Count, Count to 1, check Per Segment option. Now change the Offset value so the light object will be at the tip of the flower (in my case 99.5%).

Step 19

Create a Wind object (Objects > Particles > Wind), rotate it and tweak settings (for example – Wind Speed: 1, Turbulence: 51.08%, Turbulence Frequency: 40.65%).

Step 20

In the MoSpline object attributes, under Fields change Mode to Include (to include all particle modifiers) - note that MoSpline works with Wind, Turbulence, Gravity, Rotation and Deflector particle modifiers. Press Play Forward (F8 on keyboard) at the animation palette to see the effect of the applied fields.

Step 21

With our plant in place we'll now move on to adding in the surroundings. Create a Disk object (Objects > Primitive > Disk) with radius around 500 m and use it as the floor. Add a Compositing tag (right-click on the object in Object manager > CINEMA 4D Tags > Compositing) and check Compositing Background option. Compositing Background option will make object receive shadows, being self-illuminated.

Step 22

Create Sky object (Objects > Scene > Sky).

Step 23

Setting up the materials: create new material (double-click in the material manager). Under Color, change the main Color to some value (in my case orange – 255 90 0).

Step 24

Check Luminance and change it's Color to a more saturated version of the one we used in the main Color properties (bright orange – 255 130 0 – worked for me). Uncheck Specular (we don't need any highlights on a self-illuminated surface). This will be the glowing light surface material.

Step 25

Create another new material. Uncheck Color; check Luminance, and as Color, use the same value as in the previous material (255 130 0). Change Brightness to ~300%.

Step 26

Check Transparency, change Mix Mode to Multiply. Use a Gradient as the texture, and set it up as a– white to black gradient, 2D-Circular type. Uncheck Specular. This is our transparent light material.

Step 27

Create yet another new material! Under Color, change Brightness to ~50%.

Step 28

Check Alpha, and use a 2D-Circular white to black gradient as texture like before. Uncheck Specular. This is our floor material.

Step 29

Create new material, uncheck Color, check Luminance; at Luminance use Gradient as texture; in Gradient properties adjust gradient handles, change type to 2D-V, change Turbulence to ~25%; this is sky material.

Step 30

Finally, create a new Danel shader, which is a shader for creating gloss and metallic materials (in material manager select File > Shader > Danel). Under Diffuse select some dark color (in my case dark grey – 49 49 49).

Step 31

At Specular 2 change Color to match your taste, at Specular 3 change Color to much darker version of the color you used forSpecular 2.

Step 32

Check Anisotropy, set Projection to Auto-Planar (this projection automatically projects the highlight to the plane parallel to the current normal). Change Roughness X to very high value (more than 5000%), and change Roughness Y to be less than 100%, which is going to stretch the highlight across the material. Play with Amplitude, Scale and Length until you're happy. Our metal material is complete.

Step 33

Apply sky material to the sky object, and the floor material to disk object.

Step 34

Apply the transparent light material to the cylinder in the cloner object (from step 13-14).

Step 35

Apply the metal material to the main and base objects.

Step 36

Apply the light material to the main and base object's selection by dragging the Selection Tag into the Selection field of the Texture Tag.

Step 37

Create an Area light (Object > Scene > Area Light), change Shadow to Shadow Maps; under the Details tab, increase Size X and Size Y.

Step 38

Under Shadow, increase the Shadow Map size (bigger size equals sharper shadow) and decrease Density (intensity).

Step 39

Create (or just duplicate) another Area light and place it on the other side of the scene. Decrease it's intensity, make Size X and Size Y smaller than the ones in previous light object. Under Shadow change Density to ~10%.

Step 40

Onto the animation! The MoSpline flows with the wind because of the Wind particle modifier, and the Cylinder with the transparent light material is moving because of the Rate value (from step 14), so at this point only the lights and the camera needs to be animated, for which I'll use simple keyframing. Open Project Settings (ctrl+D) and change Maximum time to a much bigger value to give us time to animate (in my case 180 F was enough).

Step 41

For the light animation, I only used two values of intensity - 0% and 100%. Add keyframes (to add keyframe right click on propertie, select Animation > Add Keyframe) alternating between these two values to make the light flash on and off.

Step 42

Using Editor Camera choose your starting view and add a new camera.

Step 43

Now move and rotate the camera, adding keyframes where needed (you can save time by pressing F9 to record all animated values of current object), to animate it over time.

Step 44

With the animating done, we can move onto rendering! Open the Render Settings (ctrl+B). Under Output choose properties that match your needs (I just used HDV/HDTV 720 29.97 preset), and change Frame Range to All Frames so that it will render the entire animation!

Step 45

Finally, under Anti-Aliasing change Anti-Aliasing to Best and Filter to Sinc. And with that you're ready to render!

I really hope you enjoyed this project and if you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below!

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