Control Your Clones with the MoGraph Selection Tool
A big advantage of working in CINEMA 4D is the availability of the MoGraph tools. The MoGraph tools consist of Cloner Objects, MoSplines, various Effectors, and other tools that make creating motion graphics much easier. However, many of these tools can also be used for creating models and scenes in CINEMA 4D. For instance, Cloner objects allow you to quickly create repeated geometry in various configurations. Catwalks, bridges, and other objects with repeated shapes can become much easier to build and can retain a lot of flexibility when changes are needed.
One of the issues with using Cloners, though, is that it can be laborious to modify single clones. While it's easy to create a huge network of scaffolding or fencing, it will become more difficult when you want to go in and modify just a part of the fence. That's where the Mograph Selection Tool comes into play. Let's look at an example.
Let's say that we want to design a sci-fi type floor using a single grate that we've created. The first thing we can do is add a Cloner to our scene. Then we can drop the grate object inside of the Cloner to create copies. By default, the Cloner will copy our objects along a straight line, but we want a floor in two dimensions. To get that look, let's change the Mode to "Grid Array."
The Grid Array mode will create clones in all three dimensions, but we just want a flat floor. So under count, let's increase the numbers in the X (first) and Z (last) boxes and reduce the Y (middle) value to 1. Change the X and Z size values until the grates line up right next to one another. You can also use the little orange handles in the viewport to change the size of the grid.
Now that we have a nice looking floor built, we really want to create an opening in the center. We could bake down our Cloner Object to geometry, but we would lose the ability to modify the floor by changing a single grate and we'd be using more memory than necessary. What we want to do is modify individual clones while keeping the Cloner Object setup.
First, let's add an Effector to the Cloner Object in order to get rid of some of our Clones. Choose the cloner and go to Mograph>Effector>Plain to add a Plain Effector. You can see that the Effector is properly connected by going to the Effectors tab on your Cloner object. Now we need to decide how the Effector is going to transform our clones. Let's choose the Effector and go to the parameters tab. We want the grates to disappear, so let's turn off Position and turn on Scale. Additionally, we'll change the Transform Mode from Relative to Absolute and check on Uniform Scale. Now if we change the scale value to zero, you can see that all the grates disappear.
That's exactly what we want to happen, but we only want it to happen to specific grate clones. Let's choose the MoGraph Selection Tool from the MoGraph menu. You should see dots where all of your clones used to be. Let's click or paint across some of the dots with the tool (the dots should turn yellow). You'll notice that a new MoGraph Selection tag has been added to your Cloner Object. Click on the tag and go to the basic tab. Now you can change the name to something more meaningful, like "grates."
The final step is to tell our Plain Effector to only apply the scaling effect to the clones specified in our selection tag. To do that, select the Plain Effector and go to the Effector tab. Now either type "grates" into the selection box or drag the tag directly into the box. Instantly you can see that only the grates we selected are scaled down giving us a nice opening in the floor. Also, we still get the flexibility and efficiency of working with a Cloner instead of a ton of baked-down geometry. So next time you're working with Cloners, try out the MoGraph Selection Tool and take control over your clones. Be sure to check out our in-depth CINEMA 4D tutorials to learn more.