Animate Octopus Tentacles

 [Beginner-Intermediate] [Requires Mograph/Cloner Object, Dynamic Joint IK]

In this 4 part series on Rigging and Animating an Octopus Tentacle, we’ll build our first tentacle using a Spline, a Cloner, a Loft Object and a Step Effector to create a tentacle with incremental geometry, then set up a perfect Joint Hierarchy using Edge Selections.

Once we have our first tentacle built, we’ll Mirror the Geometry, Joints and a Hierarchy of Nulls until we have a very crude but functional four-tentacled Octopus, just so we have something to animate. (Not a modeling tutorial)

We’ll explore a couple of ways to set up Dynamic Joint IKs, then Bake our Simulations right within Cinema 4D’s Timeline to create a Motion System that allows us to render out Motion Clips for our tentacles that can be slowed, speeded up, trimmed, combined with other clips, and added to any of the tentacles for infinite possibilities of lifelike movement.

Download “_Single Tentacle_Start Spline” – Downloaded 438 times – 49.21 KB

There is also a bonus Palette in the zip file with the Start Spline which will prove indispensable as we Align, Freeze, and Zero Out the P/R Coordinates for our Joint Hierarchies. If you are not familiar with how to load this, don’t worry, we’ll cover that in Part 3. This handy Palette has shortcuts for X-Ray, Visibility, and of course, Position and Rotation.

So let’s get started!

 [I will be using a three-way mouse extensively (center scroll wheel) throughout tutorial, so if you have one it will be handy, as we will be selecting multiple joint hierarchies and it is much simpler with a center mouse button. I also use right-click extensively for adding tags, resetting defaults, accessing numerous commands, etc.]

Part 1

   In Part 1 we will set up the Cloner and Step Effector, and use the Loft Object to add geometry to our tentacle, then create our joint chain from edge loops.

Part 2

    In Part 2 we’ll add to our geometry, use the Mirror Tool, the Naming Tool, flip the Normals on our new geometry, and finally, utilize the Bridge Tool to connect the four tentacles and create the simple body of our Octopus. [And learn a cool trick on how to center your knife cuts exactly on your geometry.]

Part 3

    In Part 3 we will add a joint chain for the Octopus body, use the Joint Align tool, add our new Position/Rotation Palette to the UI, freeze all our Joint Coordinates, use a Protection tag to limit Rotation, explore the IK tag and the IK-Spline tag, create a spline from Nulls, set up our Spline Dynamics, bind our Joints to the geometry, then delve into the forces that will bring our Tentacles to life.

Part 4

    In Part 4 we will explore how to take our animated tentacle and Bake it into keyframes in C4D’s Timeline, then take those keyframes and render those down to Motion Clips we can save, store, add, combine, and control in order to harness the power of Cinema 4D’s robust Motion System. At the end of this video I abandon the “forces” approach for a more “hands on” technique of manipulating the Dynamic Tentacle set up.

Thanks for watching! Hope you enjoyed it!


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3 Responses

  1. Wim Opsteen says:

    Part 2 Animate Octopus Tentacle. All settings are conform. When I click on Mirror (Mirror tool). It make only a copy and not a Mirror object.
    What did i wrong? HELP ME!!!!

  2. Robert says:

    This is an excellent, incredibly detailed tutorial, recommended even for people not interested in building a tentacle, as it covers so much ground and so many different techniques used in modeling, texturing and animation, you’re bound to learn something new even if you’re an old hand at this.

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