Cinema 4D Tutorial – Sub-Frame Emission with Thinking Particles

Here’s another little tip for working with Cinema 4D, specifically Thinking Particles. I offer up a solution to what appears to be quite a common problem with TP and hopefully this small tutorial will stop a lot of head scratching.

This time around, I show you a simple technique you can use to stop the pulsing you sometimes see with Thinking Particles when your emitter is moving too fast and you get those big lumps of particles emitted on every frame rather than a nice smooth emission..ย  Yes โ€“ you guessed it, this is sub-frame particle emission.

Of course this tutorial doesn’t cover many of the different ways that you can emit particles using TP but hopefully it gives you some idea of a solution that you can adapt to your own TP scenes.


Check out the quick tip over on the helloluxx vimeo channel.

Cinema 4D Tutorial – Sub-Frame Emission with Thinking Particles

Author: Tim


  1. Mike
    Mike On November 5, 2011 at 12:10 AM


    I guess, excluding the two small attempts by Mike “the Monkey”, you remain as the only C4D guy who’s actually making USEFUL tutorials. You’re also the only guy not trying to call us educated graphic designers (master degree here) learning c4d after years of Maya, LW and Max… “BEGINNERS” by showing us stupid 3D text in a studio and some reflective spheres like others are doing.

  2. Matthew Butler
    Matthew Butler On November 5, 2011 at 10:43 AM

    Great quick tip! Straight to the point love it

  3. Mike
    Mike On November 5, 2011 at 9:33 PM


  4. Markus
    Markus On November 8, 2011 at 10:20 AM

    Great tutorial! Are you in Stockholm now?! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. SmedleyX
    SmedleyX On November 8, 2011 at 4:12 PM

    Excellent tip! Thanks!

  6. Greg
    Greg On November 10, 2011 at 1:02 AM

    Hey Tim…thanks so much for this great tutorial…
    Quick question though…how do I tie in a Pyroclucter Volume Tracer and a Pyrocluster onto the Emitter in XPresso/
    Thanks so much! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Greg
    Greg On November 10, 2011 at 4:35 AM

    AWESOME tut Tim…thank you so much…
    Can anyone tell me how I would tie in a pyrocluster volume tracer and a pyrocluster shader to the Xpresso nodes.
    I tried just dragging and dropping the materials onto the Nulls that Tim had us create, but…no dice…
    Thanks to anyone who can help me out here!

    • Tim
      Tim On November 11, 2011 at 9:07 AM

      Greg – You need to add in a Particle Geometry object and assign the pyrocluster material to this. You also need an environment with a volume tracer added.

  8. Greg
    Greg On November 12, 2011 at 3:00 AM

    Thanks Tim,

    Can I drop the Particle Geometry into the object Manager as well as the Environment or do I need to have the nodes all linked up in XPresso?
    This is fun stuff! Thanks Again

    • Tim
      Tim On November 14, 2011 at 11:02 AM

      @Greg You simply add them as objects to the object manager, check the C4D help it shows you how to use TP with Pyrocluster.

  9. rich
    rich On November 17, 2011 at 8:43 AM

    Great tip tim, cheers

  10. Sash
    Sash On January 9, 2012 at 4:48 AM

    Thumbs up, you are one of the greatest Person in the Web who share his science with all of us and I know to esteem your great Works. Thx for your being !!!

  11. oLi
    oLi On January 12, 2012 at 9:57 AM

    Hey Tim,
    love your tutorials and tips! I actually have another problem with sub frame calculation using TP:

    Is there a workaround to calculate collision-events between frames? I have a setup, where particles hit a deflector object and on the collision-event they die and transform into another emitter.

    But it seems like, some of the particles die BEFORE they hit the emitter, because on frame later they would be beyound the collision object. Is there any other chance to get this calculated without changing the actual projects framrate?



  12. Mariusz
    Mariusz On April 4, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    Hello Tim, first of all thanks for great tip. I have one question. In my scene im generating particles on object using volume position and after few frames i changing this group into another by animating reflector. And i have same sub frame problem with second group. So my question is: how i can assign deflector position velocity to PBorn node wchich im using to generate new particles onto object?

  13. gokhan
    gokhan On August 29, 2012 at 7:42 AM

    firstly thank you very much Dear Tim,really awesome tutorial ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Please share more tutorial about TP and XPresso…You know you have very little TP and Xpresso tutorial…
    also How do I smoke rocket using with pyrocluster (how to add a pyrocluster this XPresso combination ?…)

    Thank you very much.

    • Tim
      Tim On September 7, 2012 at 10:49 PM

      @Gokhan I’ll be updating the site very soon with more tutorials…

  14. gokhan
    gokhan On September 7, 2012 at 10:59 PM

    Dear Tim,thanks for reply ๐Ÿ˜‰
    This is great news about your site :)))
    Awesome !! I will be waiting you,thanks again for everything,take care of yourself Tim,bye ๐Ÿ˜‰

  15. Improving Cinema 4D | Fusepilot On October 26, 2012 at 12:14 PM

    […] specific feature in need of addition is true sub-frame sampling for particle simulations. This solutionย does not solve problems across the board. In cases of high velocity emitters and other situations […]

  16. Miroslav
    Miroslav On January 22, 2014 at 12:51 PM

    Hello Tim,

    do you know how can i solve the following problem:

    I make a cube editable and select one polygon to use it as a emitter for particles
    (i use PStorm with PSurface Position and PSet data as learned from you, and it’s all working)
    I set the cube to also be a deflector for the particles
    (P Pass with PDeflector ) I add a PGravity and its all working well. They shot from the selected polygon then the gravity forces them back and they bounce of of the cube.

    But when i try to animate the cube all the particles that were created the frame before go through the cube (which is logical because the position of the deflector surface is now above them)

    So I need to find a solution to never let them be inside the cube or go through the cube even do it’s animated.
    (This should eventually be a lion running and his mane should be made up of particle streams ๐Ÿ™‚

    Big thanks for all this knowledge you share with us!

    • admin
      admin On January 23, 2014 at 8:51 AM

      Not sure I completely understand, but have you tried using some offset with the PDeflector? You could offset the collision for the first burst of particles and then animate the value back down. The particles shouldn’t really pass through the deflector anyway but the sub-frame calculations aren’t great for TP so perhaps the cube is moving too fast.

  17. Miroslav
    Miroslav On January 23, 2014 at 2:17 PM

    Thank you Tim, I’ll try that.

Leave a Reply