Procedural Modeling in Cinema 4D: McGuyver Style! Sneak Peak…

UPDATE: January 9, 2014
Its been 2 and a half years since I wrote this blog post, with the best intentions of recording a video tutorial to explain how to build the procedurally tiled cellular surface shown below. Well, as with many ideas I’ve had for this blog, life and work kind of got in the way of all that, and I just never got around to it. As consolation I thought I’d at least share the file with the c4d community, so other artists could pick the file apart and hopeful learn something new…maybe pickup a workflow that could benefit someone on a project.

It just came to my attention today that another cinema 4d artist has used the file, pretty much as is with a few very minor modifications, and has passed it off as his own for a medical animation project that he is crowd funding on Indiegogo. This is a no-no. I can’t believe I have to actually say this, but any scene files I have shared here, unless stated otherwise, are not to be used for commercial purposes, but for educational use only (Microfloaties is Ok to use for whatever you want). You are not going to get very far in this business if you can’t actually create the work you display on your website yourself. A very short-sighted business strategy.

Anyway..back to the blog:


Working on a tutorial that will show you how to create this tiled cell image below with nothing more than a rubber band and a paperclip. Actually, a sphere, plane, and a disk primitive. Plus a little help from some Cinema 4D generators…

Took it a little further….

25 thoughts on “Procedural Modeling in Cinema 4D: McGuyver Style! Sneak Peak…

  • hi, thanks a lot for the c4d file,
    very helpy for me.
    I’m trying to know how they did the migrating system of the skin cells from inside to the surface, starting at 0.15s of the skin animation link here :
    There is a transformation, rotation, flattening effects and and some dynamiques because the cells are deformed when they arrived near the surface and near the limits of the “membrane where they are i”n.but in c4d soft dynamiques are not vorking with a lot of objets. Still trying to understand. i’m trying the mograph way and the displacement way but still not working. “sorry for my bad english”

  • Hi Joel,
    I really appreciate you posting this. Your work is brilliant!

    I’m a newbie at C4D and am trying to illustrate an axonal cross-section and have been playing around with your construction rig to generate the lipid bilayer:

    I like the results so far, but I can’t figure out how best to put the bilayer onto an axon that I generated with sweep nurbs, a circle and a spline: (ignore the hideous texture fail)

    Anyway, I suspect that there must be a way to bake the lipid bilayer as a texture and apply it to the editable axon object, but I’m having trouble figuring out how to do it and preserve cross-sectional appearance of bilayer.

    I understand if you don’t have time to give specific advice. But, any direction or input you can provide would be much appreciated!

    Thanks again!

  • I thought that might be the site for “Translucent 1.6”, but noticed that vreel only offers Translucent Pro 1.5. Regardless, I think I’ll try your suggestion first.

    BTW, thanks again for sharing and for being so generous. I’m learning a lot from your brilliant work!

  • Hi Joel,
    Just wondering where I can get the “Translucent 1.6” plugin used in this file. I searched for it online but couldn’t find a plugin by this name.

  • Thanks Joel,

    Been following this post since I replied, waiting for a tutorial! Client project is long gone, but looking forward to figuring out from the C4D file.

    Thanks for taking the time to upload!


  • Apologies for the loooong delay. I will post the file here for the next day or 2 . I don’t promise any explanation yet to how it’s constructed but you can examine the file and see for yourself for now. In a nutshell, there is a connect object containing the geometry onto which the cells are cloned. Still hoping to do a proper video tut soon. Thanks for your patience.


  • Hi Joel. Beautiful work!!! I’d love a quick walkthrough on how you created this. Or, if you don’t have time to put a tutorial together, I’d love to at least take a look at the .c4d file to see what functions you used to construct this scene.

    Regardless, great work!

    dprobers [at]

  • Sorry–really dropped the ball on that one didn’t I. I’ll see if I can fit in SOMETHING whether a vid or a written walk through this weekend. Sorry about that and thanks for the interest.

  • Joel, just stumbled across your blog, it is so useful. I have just started creating medical animations in C4D for my company, and there are not many useful resources out there. Its hard to go from zero to decent animation, even though C4D is so powerful for this stuff.

    We have our first project now, and I have no idea how to create this cell wall which is key to the mechanism of action! Is there any way you could post up the tutorial or maybe a link to something similar?

    You are a legend!


  • Hi,

    i tried to do this organic look but don´t get this random shapes.
    For what to you use the disc???

    Looking forward to see your tut!


  • Sounds great – looking forward to it.
    Love seeing the variety you are able to inccorporate in your work.

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