Cinema 4D Tutorial – Recreate the Atom Array with a Cloner

Atom Array with Cloner

Atom Array with Cloner

I teach a few classes at FXPHD and one question I had today was about using the Cinema4D Atom Array and how to have individual control over the spheres.

I rebuilt the Atom Array using a couple of Cloner Objects. The first Cloner adds a Sphere to each Vertex of the object I’m cloning onto. The second Cloner Object adds a Cylinder to each edge of the object I’m cloning onto. The trick here is to use the Edge Scale parameter in the Cloner Object. This allows you to scale the clones to fit the length of the edge. You can also offset the clones for some interesting effect.

Cloner Edge Scale

Cloner Edge Scale

To control the spheres, you can of course use Effectors, and this combined with the MoGraph Selections allows ultimate control. Alternatively, you can always use Xpresso for even more flexibility. The Atom Array is a simple one trick pony, this type of setup not only replicates the Atom Array but gives you a lot more besides.

Scale along the edges

Scale along the edges of the mesh

I also added the MoGraph Color Shader inside a Colorizer, this combined with a Random Effector allows you to randomise the colour of the Clones, but keep the random selection within a specific range of colours.

The scene is free to download here. I hope some of you find this useful?

Cinema 4D Tutorial – Recreate the Atom Array with a Cloner

Author: Tim


  1. Joey Camacho
    Joey Camacho On March 1, 2013 at 5:29 PM

    Nice work Tim. Always good to see a more in depth, and more flexible, workaround for some of the quick and easy stuff that not many think about. Cheers!

  2. Augenhorn
    Augenhorn On March 1, 2013 at 8:41 PM

    Woah cool Idea.

  3. Shalom Ormsby
    Shalom Ormsby On March 3, 2013 at 2:27 PM

    Smart and helpful. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Andy
    Andy On March 6, 2013 at 6:58 AM

    Thanks for providing the project file – really helps when I inevitably get stuck somewhere along the line. Love learning about new ways of using MoGraph!

  5. Erik
    Erik On March 14, 2013 at 6:58 PM

    thanks! i once builded a spherical dome using triangles, going to use your info to recreate that dome.. i already know it’s going to be less time consuming!

  6. M
    M On June 19, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    Just want to say thanks, this is exactly what I needed to know how to do, and providing the project file was a huge help!

  7. Lex
    Lex On February 12, 2014 at 5:24 PM

    Cool idea to use the Cloner Object and Edges….!!! Thanks for sharing!

  8. Tony Jacobson
    Tony Jacobson On April 15, 2014 at 3:34 PM

    OMG, I’ve been scouring all the C4D forums for this type of approach for days! Thanks for sharing good ideas like this.

  9. Ed
    Ed On February 4, 2015 at 10:06 PM

    It looks great! Quick question – if you were doing this with a more complex model (a head, for example), do you have any idea how you’d go about hiding the rear/background particles?

    • admin
      admin On February 4, 2015 at 10:47 PM

      Hey Ed, Probably the easiest way would by using the MoGraph color shader in the alpha of a material and then using the plain effector with falloff so the clones fade out at the back. You could also do it by offsetting the clones from the surface and then use a compositing tag on the ‘head’ object, check Matte Object and this object will then render transparent, hiding everything behind it.

  10. Ed
    Ed On February 14, 2015 at 3:28 AM

    Ah, thanks a lot, Tim. I’d never actually used the Matte Object before, so that’s always good to know about!

  11. leigh9979
    leigh9979 On October 27, 2017 at 4:05 AM

    This is great Tim, really helpful so many thanks. One question, if I replace the spheres with a cylinder (similar to a coin in depth for example) is there any easy way to make all the clones face outwards as from the centre? Hope that makes sense?

    • Tim
      Tim On October 27, 2017 at 9:35 AM

      Hey Leigh, use the target effector to make the clones point at an object, and then point the back of the clone towards the centre which would achieve what you need.

      • leigh9979
        leigh9979 On October 27, 2017 at 8:27 PM

        Hi Tim, thanks for getting back to me, really appreciate you taking the time out. It’s worked a treat! Have a great Friday!

Leave a Reply