Monocyte rig in Cinema 4D: Deformers

Posted in Cinema 4D, Medical Animation by Joel Dubin on November 8, 2009

Cinema 4D has loads of useful deformers which are a big help in both modeliing and animation. In this test below, which is still a work in progress, I have used several Mograph DISPLACEMENT DEFORMERS to create the undulating irregular surface on the rolling cell.

The displacement deformer is a tool I use in practically every project I work on, and because one can quickly achieve some very cool organic surfaces and motion with it, it’s a very useful tool for medical animation.

Another favorite of mine seen here is the SQUASH AND STRETCH deformer. This creates the effect that the cell is compressed against the surface of the blood vessel wall as it lands and moves along.

For the tendril-like protrusions coming off the surface of the monocyte (pseudopods), I’ve used the Mograph EXTRUDE DEFRORMER. I pre-selected polygons on the cells surface for this deformer to effect, then keyframed the effect to trigger as the cell lands. There were issues with the pseudopods going out of whack as they came into contact with the SQUASH and STRETCH deformer, but that was easily fixed using a SHADER EFFECTOR with the color white loaded in and set to a spherical falloff at the base of the cell where the SS deformer is, which counteracts the extrude effect in that area.

I’ve also used the MORPH TAG to quickly animate the endothelial cells spreading apart as the monocyte moves through. Finally the good old BULGE DEFORMER, one thats been around as long as I’ve been using C4D, creates the squeeze effect as the cell infiltrates between the endothelial cells of the vessel wall.

12 Responses

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  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Joel Dubin, Jesus Bibian. Jesus Bibian said: Good stuff! RT@JoelOtron: New blog post: Cell rig created with Cinema 4D deformers: [...]

  2. Nikola said, on November 13, 2009 at 9:58 am

    I am Nikola from Serbia, and I am a scientist. Please, tell me is there any tutorial to learn this effects? I would like to know to do this, can you post me short video how to do this rolling cell animation? Thanks In Advance.

  3. Joel Dubin said, on November 13, 2009 at 10:26 am

    Hi Nikola. The first step would be to thoroughly learn a 3D animation program. Learn the fundamentals of modelling and animation. Not something you could learn from one video. I could show you how I did it, but it won’t help you if you’ve never used cinema 4D before. It would almost be like asking you to post a video outlining how to write a paper on some complex cellular mechanism that a layman with no science background could understand.

    You can download a demo of cinema 4D here:


  4. dannymontenegro said, on November 19, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    Brilliant Work! I love C4D for its simplicity of use. Is there a textured/lit version we could check out?

    • Joel Dubin said, on November 19, 2009 at 1:27 pm

      Hi Danny. Thank you
      There is a still showing it lit and textured in the following blog post. Once the job is done I could post the clip.

  5. vanMaaren said, on July 9, 2010 at 7:23 pm

    Great work!
    It rlly would be like impossible to learn all around c4d without help like you guys give!
    keep it up!

    • Joel Dubin said, on July 9, 2010 at 7:45 pm

      Just keep playing with it. The more you experiment the more you’ll discover. Cinema 4D is an app that offers surprises a every turn. Good luck!

  6. Lee said, on July 18, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Hi Joel,

    Nice animation! Also love the recent pyro experiment.

    I may be being really dense here but where can I find the Stretch and Squash deformer? I have R11.5 and can’t find a reference to it.

    Kind regards

    • Joel Dubin said, on July 18, 2010 at 2:51 pm

      Hi Lee–thanks.

      Assuming you have the 11.5 Studio bundle, which includes the MOCHA MODULE, you will find the squash and stretch deformer under the CHARACTER menu.

  7. Lee said, on July 19, 2010 at 7:40 am

    Hi Joel,

    Thank you, just after sending the message to you I found it in the Character menu.

    As you may have guessed I don’t have a lot of experience with animation so I rarely venture into the depths of Mocha. I hope to correct that over the coming months.

    Many thanks for the informative blog, I think I’ll be back regularly.

    Kind regards

  8. Lee said, on July 19, 2010 at 11:40 am

    Hi Joel,

    another question if you don’t mind!

    How did you model the endothelial cells to create such a “tight” fit?


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