Use Effectors to Trigger MoGraph Clone Animation

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Instructor Rick Barrett

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Trigger Animation Playback with Falloff using Adam Heslop's Trigger Animation Python Effector.

Gain even more control over the keyframed animation of MoGraph clones using Adam Heslop's Trigger Animation Effector. This Python Effector works with the Cloner Fixed Animation Mode to trigger animation playback based on effector falloff.

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- In this tutorial, I'll show you how to trigger animation with an effector and have it play back at the same rate that the animation was originally designed. We previously looked at the Fixed Animation mode of the cloner, and how you can control the keyframed animation of cloned objects using the fall-off of effectors. If you'll recall, we talked about the main problem with that, which is that if your fall-off doesn't ramp smoothly you can't actually get a smooth animation played back. You'll see pops. The rate of the playback is always defined by the fall-off zone, not by the rate of the original animation. You can see an example of this problem here, with these mousetraps. What I've done is defined a source fall-off and used an emitter, emitting these little pieces of cheese, in order to define my fall-off zone. But what happens is that the cheese falls in and out of the fall-off so quickly that the animation pops from one state into the other, and then back. We're not actually getting a smooth animation playback. Well, the solution to that is actually not available in Cinema 4D, but fortunately it is available through the power of the Python effector and thanks to Adam Heslop, who created the trigger animation effector. You can visit this video page linked in the tutorial description and find the download for the trigger effector right here at the description. This is a very powerful Python effector that actually allows you to trigger animation with fall-off. I've already copied the animation trigger effector into my scene, so I'll just activate it here, and we need to drive this animation trigger with the fall-off from our plain effector. So we're going to use the same source fall-off that's already set up in the scene. But in the Parameter tab, instead of a direct time offset, we'll zero that out. We're going to add a weight transform of 100%. So the fall-off is going to set a weight value on each clone and pass that weight to the clones that are underneath it in the Effectors list. So you can see that the animation trigger happens after the plane effector has modified the weight. The animation trigger reads that weight and actually plays back the animation. You'll notice here also there's an animation curve within the user data on the animation trigger. By default, this looks like a hump, so it actually will play the animation back and then reverse it. I've reset this to just a straight linear curve in order to get the animation to play back just once. So let's take a look at what this looks like. You'll see that the cheese falls and it triggers the animation, but it's playing back very slowly. This animation should happen in 15 frames, and it's taking forever. The reason for that is that the plain effector, when it triggers the fall-off here, it has a fall-off curve of 100%. So the cheese is falling at the edge of the sample distance and it's not getting the full weight of this fall-off. So what we need to do is go ahead and drop this fall-off down to 0%, and now the plain effector is going to pass 100% anytime the cheese falls anywhere within the sample distance. So let's go ahead and play that back, and now the animation plays back at its original rate and completes in 15 frames. Now, in addition to that spline curve I showed you, you can actually modify the speed of the animation playback by sending it a higher weight transform. So if we up this weight transform to 500%, the animation is going to play back five times faster. Or we can drop it to 50% and it's going to play back at half of normal speed, so it's going to take 30 frames for the full animation. So the cloner's play mode offers you an incredible amount of flexibility in the keyframed animation of your cloned objects. You can use the Play mode in order to play back the animation, the Loop mode to loop it continuously, the Fixed mode to directly control the animation with fall-off, or the Fixed mode with the animation trigger effector in order to actually trigger animation playback. The Fixed Loop mode works just like the Fixed mode, except it allows you to loop as well if you pass it a frame number higher than the number of frames in the source animation. So that is the cloner animation modes. I invite you to play around with them and create some great animations with your cloned objects. If you found this tutorial handy, please like, share, and visit for more great tutorials and resources.
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