With DRIVE! you are able to create physically correct vehicle animations playfully easy. With just one mouse click you’ll get a ready-to-drive vehicle, which drivability can be edited by a variety of setting possibilities.
Perhaps you have already attempted to make an animation of a car. It is no big problem with a leisurely driving vehicle but as soon as dynamics become a factor – for example, with an oversteering racing car or an off-road vehicle on rough terrain – then it becomes much more arduous or almost impossible to achieve convincing results with classic key frame animation.
With DRIVE! you’ll be amazed how playfully easy it is to make an appealing animation of a car.
It’s not animated, it’s simulated: the basic principle
If you have ever used CINEMA 4D Dynamics then you are probably already aware of the principle: The objects and a framework of conditions are created by you and then the simulation creates the physically correct course of movement. The DRIVE! plug-in will set up a complete basis car with one mouse click. Adjust the measurements of your 3D model and move the auto body and wheels into the appropriate container objects of the simulation. If you want to, you can now change the vehicle parameters to match your original model or to suit your own personal preferences.
Let’s go! – vehicle controls
Spline objects on which you can position speed markers allow you to determine the driving path. Moreover, you can directly influence acceleration, braking, steering, or turn ABS and traction on and off with command objects, which are to be envisaged as a kind of switch that is sunken into the ground. For the ground, polygon grids, landscape and relief objects are supported. Various grip values can be allocated to these – inside of polygon grids you can even allocate values for partial areas that you can define using weight mapping.
DRIVE! will now move your vehicle according to your settings while taking physical laws into account. The car won’t be able to manage a sharp 90° curve at 100 km/h nor will it come to a dead stop from one second to the next even if your control object directs it to. That is why the result perhaps won’t always satisfy your expectations straight away. But it is fun to experiment with the various control dials and observe how it affects the behaviour of the car. Sometimes the unexpected results are even so good that you want to integrate them into your animation script.
While running, the simulation object outputs much data which you can use for simple XPresso switching. For example, spinning and sliding of the wheels can be transferred to emitter objects in order to trigger the simulation of smoke or gravel.
Some basis data already has triggers to other objects built in. For example, steering movement is sent to a steering wheel object as a rotation, or a brake light object is activated when the braking pressure reaches a certain value, or the current state of the shock absorbers controls the length of helix spline objects.
Optionally, the vehicle can leave behind tracks; as desired, only when the wheels spin or slide. The tracks are outputted as spline objects which make the tracks visible using any kind of profile splines in Sweep NURBS objects.
DRIVE! makes these output objects available with a click of the mouse. You don’t have to take care of the right ‘wiring’.
When the simulation is running as you like it, you can record it as a conventional key frame animation and thus render or edit it on computer systems on which DRIVE! is not installed. Optionally, the output data just described can be recorded so that even your XPresso wirings will continue to function without DRIVE!
Data and facts
DRIVE! contains a complete, speed optimised physics simulation that works with the Runge-Kutta integration method at a minimum of 1000 simulation steps per second. This corresponds to a 40x over-sampling at 25 images per second. Despite that, in a reduced scene in Cinema4D editor, a vehicle will still be able to turn its curves in real time.
What’s New in Version 2?
The body of the car can be forced on the movements of another object. So you can, for example, use a simple cube to apply animated sequences to the simulated car to create spectacular, physically perhaps impossible moves or simply force a car onto a driving line.
From the friction of the wheels with the ground, the simulation calculates the heat on the surface of the tyres. The friction is caused by slippage when accelerating or slipping when braking. The values can be mapped to a vertex map of a tyre polygon object, e.g. to dynamically change the texture of the tyre using a vertex map shader or to control an emitter for tyre smoke.
Collision Check with Underbody
So far, only the upper sides of the body have been checked for collision with the ground in order to realize a rollover of the car. Now, the underbody is also tested for ground contact. An adjustable vertical offset allows to take extending vehicle parts in the center (e.g., driveline or exhaust pipes) into account. With this feature, e.g. an off-roader can sit on a hilltop or a race car gets stuck in the gravel.
Vehicles can now change the the driving line, i.e. the route object. The command to change is transmitted to the car via a new command object. Thus, e.g. branches or overtaking maneuvers can be realized. This new feature entails that cars no longer drive the assigned routes in the order of the object hierachy, but always chooses the nearest starting point of all existing route splines.
Support of Command Instance Objects
Instead of the original, also an instance of a command object can now be located in the command objects group. Thus, the original can be placed anywhere on the object hierarchy. A typical application example would be a command to change lanes, which is placed in the body of a slow-moving vehicle. A faster car approaching from behind passes over this movable command object and changes the lane to overtake.
New Execution Condition for Commands
The previous condition “Stationary” for the execution of a command has been changed to the more flexible condition “Speed”. Only if the car moves over the command object with the speed within the specified range, the command is executed. The previous “Stationary” behavior can be achieved with the value range from 0 to 1 km/h.
Improvements of the Gearbox
The gearbox has been stabilized and optimized for high engine performance. It should no longer come to simulation errors when using high gear ratios.
Size of Speed Points Adjustable
The drawing size of the speed points in the view port can now be edited.
Windows, MacOS X
Cinema 4D R20 – 2023
Compatibility with Apple M1 chips
Good news for Mac users: Heyne plugins are now compatible with the new Apple M1 chips. Cinema 4D R25 or higher is required.
Registered users can download the updates free of charge in the customer area.
Running Cinema 4D with a multi license server?
If you run CINEMA 4D with a multi license server, you have to provide the multi-license digits (starting with 2). You may then need multiple plugin licenses depending on the number of clients:
up to 3 clients: 1 plugin license
4 – 7 clients: 2 plugin licenses
8 – 14 clients: 3 plugin licenses
15 – 25 clients: 4 plugin licenses
more than 25 clients: 5 plugin licenses
Reviews & Comments
4.50 2 reviews 100% of reviewers recommend this product
Please Note: This page is intended for product reviews. If you are having trouble with a product and require customer support, please Contact Us
You have to disable the front-rear-symmetry to enable different settings for front and rear (e.g. wheel sizes).
V 1.8 provides rear-axle steering as well.
Would you recommend this product to a colleague? Yes
By: Hein Klaasson Date: August 08, 2017
Huge time saver but a few limitations
I brought this plugin for use on large scale safety induction project which involves lots of large trucks and machinery driving around a site. It saved me hours days of time and pretty straight forward to setup and use.
Overall its a great plugin but was a bit frustrated with a couple of things...
• There doesnt seem to be any way to have different wheel sizes, alot of machinery have different wheel sizes so seems impossible to simulate using this. Such as a forklift, which generally has smaller wheels at the back.
• Unable to use rear wheel steering
• Automatic setup by dragging in objects doesnt seem to work properly and I have found that a manual setup is required after trying auto setup on various models. But overall very good plugin.
Would be great if the author could address the issue of different wheel sizes and rear wheel steering and then I would give this plugin a 5.
Would you recommend this product to a colleague? Yes
By: Darren Tretheway Date: October 03, 2015
Sept 2022 update
Added support for Cinema 4D 2023
What’s new in version 2.04?
In addition to some bug fixes in the area of data output, the current version 2.04 comes with new functions. The Distance Control is now optionally based on the current speed. Turn signals can now be switched on or off with a new function in the command object. As with the brake lights, the visibility is controlled by the simulation, whereby display tags are now also supported. So the visibility can be faded in the given time. Alternatively, a light object can be assigned and the brightness is controlled.
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