Offset and Randomize Keyframed Animation on MoGraph Clones

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Instructor Rick Barrett

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Use Time Offset in MoGraph Effectors to offset animation in Play Mode.

When using the default Play animation mode within C4D's Cloner Object, you can offset and randomize animation using the Time Offset attribute within MoGraph effectors. Use a Step Effector to offset the animation between each clone, or a Random Effector to play the animation at random intervals.

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- Anytime you have an object that has keyframed animation and you want to go ahead and drop that into a cloner, one of the first things that you're probably going to want to do is actually offset that animation so that it's not happening at the same time on all of the clones. One of the easiest ways to incrementally offset the animation is using a step effector. You're going to want to make sure that the cloner is set in the animation mode of Clay in the Transform tab of the cloner, and with the cloner selected just go ahead and apply a step effector. Now, when we do this we're going to go ahead and jump into the Parameter tab and disable the Scale option, and we're going to set a time offset. This animation is 50 frames long, so let's go ahead and start with a time offset of 50 frames, and let's take a look at what we get. You'll see that we're getting something that looks along these lines. Now, the first thing you might notice is that the animation isn't being triggered evenly. That's actually because the step effector comes with a built-in spline curve and this thing gets in the way more often than I think it helps. But what I'd recommend doing is simply right-clicking and setting it to the Linear Spline present, and now that's going to be applied linearly across all of your clones. So now our animation is being triggered at even keyframe offsets. What you'll next notice is that with a 50-frame animation, you might expect that the animation would complete on one clone before starting on the next. What you need to keep in mind is that the step effector is actually outputting a number, basically, from zero to one for each clone. So when you've got five clones, it's basically outputting a value of 0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, or 100%. If you want to map that into the time offset, you're basically getting a time offset of 10, 20, 30, 40, something like that. So in order to actually have each clone complete its animation before the next clone starts, simply modify your time offset by the number of clones. So we'll get 50 times 5, or 250. Now when we go ahead and play this, we'll get each clone fully completing its animation before the next one starts. So now you know how to control with the step effector, and of course our timeline would need to be longer in order to get this full animation. Another method to control this is using the plain effector. So I'm going to turn off the step effector and we'll go ahead and add a plain effector. Again, we're going to want to turn off the default transform on the position, and I'm going to set the time offset to 50 frames. Now what we can do is use the fall-off for this plain effector to actually control that time offset. So I'm going to set a linear fall-off, and I'm going to go ahead and rotate this negative 90 in the H direction. We'll go ahead and scale it out so that it encompasses all of our clones. Whenever I do this, I like to set the fall-off to 100% so that we're applying it across the entire range of that effector. Now, if we go ahead and play this animation, you'll see that we get a very similar effect to the step effector. Where the plain effector can come in handy is if you use a different fall-off shape. So for instance, if I go ahead and switch this fall-off shape from Linear to Box, and we'll go ahead and increase the size of our box in the X and Y direction, what you'll get is actually all of the outside ones flipping, and then moving inward. So you can get interesting effects with different fall-off shapes here. Now, of course, you can also apply something like a random effector if you just want to randomize these. So I'll go ahead and add a random effector in here with the cloner selected. And again here on the Parameter tab we're going to eliminate the position attribute and set a time offset. Now, what you'll see is that we're actually randomly triggering this animation. Now, with that you can actually go in here and of course change your random seed, and now we get a different random animation of those clones. So that's just a quick look at a couple of ways that you can incrementally offset or randomize the keyframed animation on Mograph cloned objects. If you found this tutorial helpful, please like, share, and visit for more great Cinema 4D tutorials and resources.
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