Constraining Objects to a Surface in Cinema 4D

This tip shows a quick, repeatable, and simple technique for placing objects (trees in this case) along an uneven surface in Cinema 4D. Make sure to watch until the end for the caveats involved.

In this video, we look at the challenge ahead of us, and then see how we can solve it with the Cloner object. I don’t go into that approach in detail, but after we see the Cloner’s solution we take a closer look at how we can place the trees with pinpoint precision, making sure they stay on the surface of the terrain.

A Note About Alignment and Normals

I neglected to mention that once the object is being constrained to the surface of the landscape, you can set the “Align” option as “Normals” to have each object use the surface normal (or the Phong normal for smoother transitions) as it’s axis alignment. This is not particularly useful for trees (as they all reach for the sky), but it’s very useful for placing rivets or bolts on the curved surface of a vehicle.

38 thoughts on “Constraining Objects to a Surface in Cinema 4D”

  1. I’m trying to map icons to the faces of dice. Whats the easiest way to have the icons snap to each face of each die, rotation and all? Thanks!

  2. Amazing – this is a fantastically useful tip.
    I just wish I had known about it a while ago, when I had to model the sesame seeds on a burger bun – took me days!
    Thanks, Jamie!

    1. That’s actually a great use-case. I’m glad you liked the technique and I truly hope you get to use it in the future. You may have even been able to use some MoGraph stuff for the sesame seeds. Maybe I will look into that as another tutorial in the future. Thanks for watching/reading!

  3. I must say you are by far the best explainer (if that’s a real term) on the net! with Chris Schmidt from GSG he’s also realy good! Keep it up please love your help!

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