Make sure the Puzzle Pieces group is still selected in the Object Manager and set new keyframes by hitting the record button in the Time Manager. You can now slide the time slider back and forth between the five and ten second point to scrub through the explosion. Try rendering a frame at the seven second point to see how the exploded pieces look rendered in mid explosion.
Next you want to make it so that the pieces don't just explode apart but they also fly past the camera. Select the Puzzle Pieces group in the Object Manager and then select the Move tool with only the Z axis activated. Place your cursor in the top view (upper right) and drag the entire group until you see all the pieces go past the camera in the camera view. Set new keyframes and test your animation again by scrubbing through it.
Welcome to my first tutorial for Cinema4DXL. This tutorial goes into sufficient detail for a beginner to complete. My own progress in learning C4D was greatly assisted by the many fine free tutorials offered by enthusiasts who went before me. This tutorial is meant to return that favor by adding to the volume of information available on the web for learning C4D. Hope you enjoy it. My web site is at
Puzzle Tutorial
Michael's Puzzle
Jeff's Puzzle
C4D Puzzle File (XL5.3)
The first thing you need in order to make an exploding puzzle is a spline puzzle. I know of no resource for such things so I made my own for a recent project using Adobe Illustrator. To download a Cinema file with the spline puzzle I built click the link above. Additionally, I have included a second spline puzzle kindly contributed by Jeff Carlson. If you make your own and wish to share it please send it along and I will make it available here.
If you download the above file you will find the 350 splines that make up the puzzle pictured above in a group object called Puzzle Splines. Select the Puzzle Spline object group in the Object Manager and then extrude the splines using Extrude Object (Object-Spline Objects-Extrude Object). I recommend the following settings as pictured below but you can use whatever settings you please.
The above extrude settings will make each piece 10 inches deep with closed ends (caps) and a rounded edge bevel on top. (If you use Jeff's puzzle set the rounding radius to at most 1.1 in) After extruding the splines you will have a new object group containing 350 (400 for Jeff's puzzle) polygonal objects which are the pieces of our puzzle. In flat shading mode it should look something like the picture below.
Change the name of the group to Puzzle Pieces. Next you will apply a picture image to the puzzle. For illustrative purposes I have included in the Cinema file two materials, one with the MVP logo and one that says MVPNY.COM.
Open the MVP Logo material by double clicking it.
Now you can load your own image by clicking the file button or keep mine. Notice the size of the image which in this case is 492x394 pixels. You will have to know the size of the image in order to correctly apply the material to the puzzle as a texture.
Next apply the Material to the object group Puzzle Pieces and set your texture settings as follows: Choose projection type Flat so that the texture doesn't wrap around the pieces. Turn tiling off so the puzzle ends at the edge of the image. Enter the image size based upon the size of the image file in your material. (If you don't do this step the image will stretch to a square and the proportions won't be correct unless your image is perfectly square.)
Set your display mode to bounding box (View-Display Mode-Bounding Box) in order to improve display speed and make it easier to see the texture box in the next step. Now select the texture axis tool and the scale tool. Click the texture icon next to the Puzzle Pieces icon in the Object Manager and you will see a blue box representing the Texture we applied to the Puzzle Pieces. Drag the box to scale it larger until most of the puzzle is covered by the box as pictured below. Feel free to do a test render to see how the texture looks applied to the geometry.
Later on we want to explode the pieces apart so the we have to apply the texture to each piece, not just to the puzzle as a whole like it is now. Fortunately Maxon has given us a great shortcut that will save us from having to drag the texture to each of the 350 puzzle pieces. With the texture selected in the Object Manager choose Copy Property to Child Objects (Object Manager-Function-Copy Property to Child Objects) then while holding the option key down click on the texture icon. The texture is then copied to all the puzzle pieces which each one perfectly positioned so that all the puzzle pieces together form the puzzle image as a whole. Now when you explode the pieces in the next step the textures follow the pieces.
Create a new camera (Object-Scene Object-Camera) and give it the following coordinants: X=0, Y=0, Z=minus 3000. Make it the active camera and switch to four way view. Adjust until your four way view looks something like the picture below.
Next is the process of making the pieces explode past the camera. To do this we need to create keyframes for the pieces in their current position, then new keyframes for the pieces in their exploded position. Open the timeline and drag the time marker to the five second position. Open the Time Manager and make sure Position, Size, Direction, and Sub Objects are all checked as below:
Before setting keyframes for the puzzle we will create a keyframes for the camera. Select the camera in the Object Manager and hit record in the Time Manager. This sets keyframes for the camera for position, size and direction. Sequences are automatically created too but they are only five seconds long and we want all sequences to be ten seconds. Double click on one of the sequences in the Time Line and in the dialog that opens change the sequence To Time from 5 seconds to ten seconds. By changing this one sequence to ten seconds long, all newly created sequences will automatically be ten seconds long.
Now to set the keyframes for the puzzle. Select the puzzle group called Puzzle Pieces in the Object Manager and then hit record in the Time Manager. The computer will seem to freeze for a few moments while it creates keyframes for all 350 puzzle pieces. Check to make sure keyframes were set and then drag the time to the ten second point.
Now we are going to set the exploded position of the puzzle pieces by using the 'Randomize" command. Select the Puzzle Pieces group in the Object Manager and then choose Randomize from the Tools menu. The following dialog will open. Please set the values as displayed.
These settings will move all objects by a random number falling within the parameters set in the Move settings, and will rotate all objects by a random degree falling within the Rotate parameter settings. Click OK and you will see the pieces scattered as shown below:
Lastly, you can make one of the pieces stop in front of the camera like in my example by removing a piece from the group and positioning it in front of the camera where you want it to stop. Turn it so you see the backside of it and texture it to taste. Set your last keyframe, add some spot lights here and there for dramatic impact and you're done.
Oops, one more thing. You can use the five seconds before the explosion to animate your camera. Go to the top of the sequence, move the camera into a starting position of your choice and add a keyframe. The camera will move from that position finishing at its resting position just as the explosion starts. Happy rendering.