Cinema 4D & Mograph Tutorial – Cloner Visibility through Effectors

Cinema 4D & Mograph Tutorial – Cloner Visibility through Effectors

When using MoGraph in Cinema4D, the effectors can be used for several things other than affecting the position, rotation or scale.  Another option is to control the visibility of clones. If you switch to the Parameter tab of an appropriate effector, scroll down and you will see an innocent little check box labeled Visibility.  Now you won’t find this on all the effectors as it just wouldn’t make sense on some of them.  On the effectors where you can use it however, this check box  . . .  believe it or not  . . . makes clones visible or invisible!

Visibility Checkbox - Cinema 4D & Mograph Tutorial - Cloner Visibility through Effectors

Visibility Checkbox – Cinema 4D & Mograph Tutorial – Cloner Visibility through Effectors

You can use this to simply control which clones are visible and which are not.  Of course you can use the Falloff to control this too.  I’m made a small example scene that demonstrates this using the Random, Shader and Step Effectors.  Although the Step Effector is only really using Falloff as it’s control.

Here’s a preview of the result.

You can download this example scene here.

Cinema 4D & Mograph Tutorial – Cloner Visibility through Effectors

Author: Tim


  1. Jacob Dyer
    Jacob Dyer On June 23, 2009 at 8:52 AM

    What about the plain effector? I can never get that to work with visibility.

    Sometimes it feels like I almost have my head around how fall-off, weight, and mograph in general work, but also that there’s a big fat brick wall between my head and enlightenment, and I’m constantly bashing my head against it!

  2. Tim
    Tim On June 24, 2009 at 10:41 AM

    Hi Jacob,

    To use the Plain Effector with visibility, switch to the Effector Tab and then fold down the Min/Max parameters. Set the Maximum to 0% and the Minimum to 100%. It should now work with visibility.

    Per-Anders, one of the genius Maxon programmers behind the MoGraph Module, gave me this explanation of why it is like this.

    “the reason is simply that under normal circumstances the visibility is turned off if the value is below 50%, but as the plain effector has nothing but 100% driving it’s values (no shader or noise or anything like that) then of course visibility gets turned on by it rather than off by default, and of course other effectors before it might have turned the visibility off, so it will re-enable those clones..”

    Hope that helps. Thanks Per for the helpful explanation!

  3. Jacob Dyer
    Jacob Dyer On June 25, 2009 at 5:51 AM

    No wonder I’d never got it to work. Thanks Tim and Per!

  4. odisoes
    odisoes On July 2, 2009 at 11:48 PM

    You make crazy stuff, MLG, FXphd, and now this blog, with amaizing tips. I have a problem with cinema 4d, that sure you have a solution for it. Here I go; I try to render hair with global ilumination, but I always get a black surface, without light or texture, only pure black. Do you know how can i fix that without make extra lights? I render the scene with sun light.

    Thank you.

  5. Tim
    Tim On July 3, 2009 at 11:35 AM

    You have to either render the hair as a separate pass and composite it with the GI render or if you want the hair to work with GI then you need to use polygon hair, so in the hair object generate tab set the type to flat, triangle etc.. You can then use the hair shader on this. The results will differ from the post effect but it will work with GI

  6. Jamal Qutub
    Jamal Qutub On July 24, 2009 at 10:56 PM

    I’m trying to make a clone invisible. I’ve attached a null to the clone I want removed and a Plain Effector is attached to that, so I am able to make it invisible during part of the animation, but sometimes it re-appears or causes other clones to disappear. How can I make a clone invisible using just xpresso?

    Any help would be awesome.

  7. Orien
    Orien On May 28, 2010 at 3:59 AM

    Just came across your website today… you’ve done some beautiful stuff.

    This tutorial was exactly what i needed, to make clones invisble. However, is there a way to make them slowly fade instead of just popping out of existence? Would that require more advanced programming?


    • Tim
      Tim On May 28, 2010 at 2:30 PM


      You could probably acheive this using the MoGraph colour shader in the transparency channel and then driving this with an effector and falloff.

  8. mike
    mike On May 31, 2010 at 3:02 AM

    This is what i was searching for, but it seems i’m too stupid to apply the information to my current issue.

    I am trying to get a text to fade in;
    Basically the letters are at a 90 degree angle (showing the backside of each letter to the camera), then the plane effector moves through the text, and rotates each letter 90 degrees to the camera. I am trying to get it to work to not only rotate but also fade in, and having each letter at Alpha=0 before it is rotated by 90 degrees.

    I am using mograph text and a plane effector with rotation which gives me the desired text rotating in effect, but i cant get the transparency to work.

    I tried using the color mode but i dont seem to understand what i need to do to link this up to the alpha.
    enabling visibility does nothing and changing the min/max values also has no effect. i am sure i am missing a small thing, maybe you can give me a tip what to do?

    Is this doable with mograph only or does something like this require scriptwork?

    Thanks a lot!

    • Tim
      Tim On June 6, 2010 at 12:58 PM

      @Mike It is doable without scripting for sure, but it isn’t something I can give you the answer to in a few sentences I’m afraid 🙁

  9. mike
    mike On June 6, 2010 at 5:25 PM

    thanks Tim!

    i expected it to be more complex, so thats fine.
    Maybe you consider it in a future tutorial clip 🙂

  10. Ben
    Ben On August 4, 2010 at 4:18 PM

    Thanks Tim, awesomely useful tidbit in that.

    I was wondering if you knew of a way to use two random effectors on a cloner object? Basically what I want to be able to do is use a random effector to control the visibility of a cloner object separately to another random effector that is controlling random scale/position.
    Any ideas?

    • Tim
      Tim On August 4, 2010 at 6:46 PM

      @Ben You can apply two random effectors to the same cloner no problem at all. Set one to control visibility and one to control position & rotation.

  11. Ben
    Ben On August 6, 2010 at 10:59 AM

    Duh.. thanks Tim. Don’t know why that didn’t work for me initially but its solved all my problems.

  12. jules
    jules On September 19, 2010 at 6:13 AM

    does this not work on text objects or am i missing something?

  13. wizobrat
    wizobrat On March 20, 2013 at 8:55 PM

    Hello, could you please help me find a solution for making half of one object invisible. Basically, i have a sphere pol. obj. which i have added to a fracture object to be able to add a step effector to it, with visibility checked.
    I want to make half of the sphere (that is near to camera) visible and the further half invisible. Also i would like it to have a falloff, (not just be cut in half, which could be done with boole i guess)

    Thank you for all the knowledge you share with us!

    • Tim
      Tim On March 20, 2013 at 9:04 PM

      @wizobrat You can do this with a texture. Either use a gradient or the Normal Direction shader (you’ll need to invert it) placed in the alpha channel of the material.


  14. wizobrat
    wizobrat On March 20, 2013 at 9:09 PM

    Thank you so much for this quick reply!
    Should this work if the sphere is rotating? I’m trying this right away.

    Thanks again!

  15. Tim
    Tim On March 20, 2013 at 9:11 PM

    If you use a 3D gradient in camera space, or a simple Fresnel gradient in the Alpha channel it will work on a rotating object.

  16. wizobrat
    wizobrat On March 20, 2013 at 9:21 PM

    This seems to be more complicated than i thought it would be. Can i somehow send you a project, so you can take a look.
    How can i show gratitude and repay for your time and effort to explain this to me?

    • Tim
      Tim On March 20, 2013 at 9:32 PM

      Try this file, it’s a 3D gradient (camera space) in the alpha. Sorry I don’t have the time to look at individual files, hopefully this will help.

  17. wizobrat
    wizobrat On March 20, 2013 at 9:35 PM

    Yes!That’s it. Problem solved. Thanks!!!

  18. 110C4d
    110C4d On January 15, 2014 at 7:08 AM

    Hello sir, i need your help.. im pretty new 3d and cinema 4d… i just want to control the scale of any OBJ with any effecter. i want an obj to pop up from (0) scale size to any size with delay effecter in spring mood and with paper unfolding effect.. i hope understood my poor english and my brocken question…

    • admin
      admin On January 15, 2014 at 9:02 AM

      You need to animate the paper unfolding so you have keyframes on your object. You can then drop it into a cloner (or fracture) and use a plain effector to scale the object and also drive the keyframe animation. I will have a new free tutorial released soon which covers driving animation with effectors and will show you the basic principle.

      • 110c4d
        110c4d On April 16, 2015 at 12:31 PM

        thanks, cant wait to see that tutorial

  19. Gyom
    Gyom On April 7, 2014 at 7:32 PM

    Tim… BIG thx !!! 🙂
    … this tip about Visibility on the Plain Effector saved my day, my work… my life 😉

  20. Lorenzo
    Lorenzo On May 5, 2014 at 4:02 PM

    Thank you very much for the tip on the Plain effector!

    I have a question, though:

    How can i make each clone editable without loosing the visibility effect? Is it possible cache the visibility of clones somehow?

    thanks a lot.

    • admin
      admin On May 7, 2014 at 10:30 AM

      You could use Xpresso to iterate through the clones and pass the visibility onto individual objects, google ‘baking mograph with xpresso’ and there are a few solutions online which could easily be adapted to help you out.

  21. Lorenzo
    Lorenzo On May 7, 2014 at 2:22 PM

    Nice! Thank you!

    I was trying to figure out how Beeple made Archimedes diamonds:

    i just can’t.

  22. Thomas
    Thomas On May 31, 2014 at 8:47 AM

    This just saved my day. Thanks Tim

  23. MTrippe
    MTrippe On February 28, 2015 at 4:42 AM

    Thanks for the tutorial. It helped me a lot. Is there actually a way to invert the visibility? With the volume effector I would like to make the clones in the volume disappear. Right now it makes the clones in the volume visible. Thank you

    • admin
      admin On March 2, 2015 at 8:19 PM

      Hi MTrippe, If you invert the Volume Effector’s Min & Max values under the Effector Tab then it will invert the visibility.

  24. jason_sone
    jason_sone On August 26, 2016 at 3:50 AM

    I literally searched the internet for several hours to find this solution. You just saved my sanity! One question…is there a way to always keep the anchor clone always on? So, if I have a linear clone with a count of “3” and using the random effector, I would only want objects 2 and 3 to randomly become visible and invisible, but object 1 would always be visible.


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