View Full Version : Rope Forming Shapes

04-29-2008, 09:40 AM
I'm sure this has been asked before so forgive me in advance for being redundant.

I have a scene where I have to animate a rope forming different shapes while laying flat on a table. The shapes that the rope would form are fairly complex and I'm under the assumption that placing a massive number of bones into a single string shape may work against me.

What would be the best way to do this?


04-29-2008, 09:49 AM
The rope plugin would probably suit your needs well for modeling, but the cost is $50. I do not own it and I am not sure if it can animate as well.

04-29-2008, 09:51 AM
OK, so the rope actually morphs from one shape to another? Or is there a reprieve in between where the rope goes more or less relaxed. And the complex shapes are they letters? Or symbols? Or a Jackson Pollock?:


04-29-2008, 10:36 AM
Rope plugin is awesome. Not sure about animating with it though.

04-29-2008, 11:05 AM
The rope would have to move like a real rope. For example, if you laid a small bit of string on a table and formed a square with it. Then, you would take both ends of the string and pull them in opposite directions so that the square the string was forming would change into a straight string again. It would similar to those old stop motion animations that use to be on Sesame Street when they would take a rope/shoestring/jumprope and animating it changing into different numbers over time.

Hope that makes sense.

04-29-2008, 08:38 PM
You could try cloth dynamics on the shaped rope and then run that in reverse. Just an idea.

04-29-2008, 09:23 PM
Could you also just put a whole bunch of bones in the rope? And then use IK when you're moving it around?

04-29-2008, 11:00 PM
He mentioned using bones. I was thinking about that and also IK boost might come in handy. That would be a lot of animating but it could be done.

04-30-2008, 03:35 AM

Larrys IKB whip/fishing line vid might offer up something!


maybe a mix of bones and morphs ( you could have a look at smartmorph )

checkout Fi's Bezier bend and dstorms Trailer plugins ( find them on Flay.com )



04-30-2008, 08:25 AM
Very cool. Thanks for the suggestions guys. I'm thinking that bones will probably be the best method to go with this since it will give me the most control, but I will try some experiments with morphs and cloth dynamics to see if they shave some time off of animating.


Jim M
04-30-2008, 11:36 AM
IK boost will make it easy.
Very easy.

05-01-2008, 11:27 AM
You could also try a plugin called Trailer [do a search on Flay.com - don't remember the author].

I used it recently to bend a clients product in out and around other objects. It uses paths that you create.

Oops!! Did't see it was already mentioned!!

05-01-2008, 11:40 AM
I would say, be brave in your rigging. That is to say, I've seen some rigs where there were no single bones, only parallel bones going in opposite directions. In this way, you could animate in either direction, the anchor switching, kind of.
Pooby has shown these kinds of rigs. They are weird to conceptualize but once you do you see that there's a lot of power in such a setup. LOTS of computations, though.
Also, the plg ik thing might help here. Some of those rigs are pretty cool, too.

Had to look. In google, these words are what you want: isner spine Lightwave.

The Brain on The Flu is so imaginative once the temperature goes past 102.

05-01-2008, 12:13 PM
That sounds cool.

Also one other thing IK boost gives you is bone dynamics. That could help with secondary motion on the tips of the rope perhaps.