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View Full Version : How to animate along a curved path?



toshgaal
03-02-2009, 11:32 AM
Hi all,

It has been a long time since I have used lightwave and I am having trouble figuring out the best way to animate along a curve. I use to use morphing to do something like this years ago, but I know there must be an easier way. Here's what I am trying to accomplish...

I need to have a sheet of paper follow a path that continues to change directions. Each time it changes direction it goes around a curve. Kind of like paper on a printing press does. It travels along a straight line and then changes direction around a roller and then continues straight again until it contacts the next roll.

Any :help: would really be appreciated.

Thanks so much

Todd

PointC
03-02-2009, 12:48 PM
There is actually another thread going right now that may have the answer to your needs.

http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=95890

Cheers.

toshgaal
03-02-2009, 01:23 PM
Thanks for the reply. It is kind of what I need, but I need the paper to conform to the path the whole time. Imagine a sheet of paper 4 feet wide and 6 feet long. I want it to run up a straight path and then curve around a 4 foot wide roller in a 90 degree turn. As the end of the paper reaches the roller it to continues around the curve. I know this is probably easy to do, but it has really been a long time away from lightwave. Oh, I am using version 9.5 now.

Thanks,

Todd

SplineGod
03-02-2009, 02:49 PM
First I wouldnt use 9.5...too unstable.
Use a free plugin from DStorm called Trailer.
It will animate your paper along a path and conform it to the path.

Mr Rid
03-02-2009, 03:54 PM
The old school way is to move the paper with a single morph along say the Z. The motion will follow the curve of a chain of bones that form the path of your paper. Maybe this is how you did it before. But a lot of people dont know about this fun trick. I read this as a tutorial in Video Toaster user back in lw3 days that was specifically for the newspaper-thru-rollers type of thing you are doing.

An example where I used the bone-morph gag was to control the main volume of 'oats' that had to move along a path. This allowed much more control than using PFX to shape, scale and move a column of points.

http://www.box.net/shared/static/r8ymb6o4sq.mov
wire
http://www.box.net/shared/static/0ut4b1vq3d.mov

toshgaal
03-02-2009, 06:33 PM
Mr. Rid, thanks so much for the response and yours too SplineGod. I use to animate using morphs. It was a long painful way of doing it, but it worked ok. I would create an object and just move the points in each layer and then use morph targets to create the animation. I never really used bones much, but it really seems to be the way to go. I am just getting back into Lightwave after a long layoff so I will need to do some research on how to achieve this using bones or paths. If you know of any tuts out there send them along.

Oh, and your demo real is amazing:thumbsup:I think everyone should take a look at Mr. Rid's stuff. Thanks again for all the help guys. This forum has never let me down.

Todd

Sekhar
03-02-2009, 07:37 PM
You could also try the CurveConform (displacement plugin). What you do is:

Add the curve path in Modeler on a separate layer
Create a morph for the paper so it moves completely out of the curve
In Layout, add a morph mixer displacement to move the paper from -100% to 100% (i.e., out from one side to out on the other side)
And add a CurveConform displacement using the curve you defined (You might have to play a bit with the range in the CurveConform options)

Below is a rough example to show you what I mean.

SplineGod
03-02-2009, 10:41 PM
Having used all the above methods I would still highly recommend the Trailer plugin. One thing nice about trailer is that is work work in conjunction with other deformers and bones.
Heres a test I did using bones and trailer.
http://www.3dtrainingonline.com/examples/snake.mov
and using trailer in a slightly different way:
http://www.3dtrainingonline.com/examples/roller_coaster.mov

toshgaal
03-03-2009, 05:46 AM
SplineGod and Sekhar, thanks so much for the info. Wow, I never thought there would be so many ways to achieve this. I will look into the CurveConform pulgin. SplineGod, is there any tutorials on how to use the trailer?

Thanks again for taking the time to help!

Todd

SplineGod
03-03-2009, 07:07 AM
Trailer is very simple to use. I was able to figure it out without reading any docs. You can, for example, animate a null and then apply trailer to your objecft and tell it to follow and conform tot hat nulls motion path plus you have several o ptions for stretching, rotating etc. I rarely if ever use curve conform because its just very limited. The same goes for the serpent plugin. Its very old, limited and very very slow. Other ones I like are FIs bezier bend and Shift Spline Transform.

toshgaal
03-03-2009, 09:28 AM
SplineGod, I did a test and I am having problems getting the paper to follow the path. I used curve constraint/align modifier to get the null to follow the path. As the null rounds the corner it rotates and continues to follow the path. I parented the paper to the null and applied trailer to the paper. The paper follows the null, but when it rounds the corner the paper just flips with the nulls rotation. It travels up and and rotates 90 degrees. I cant seem to get the paper to conform to the path. Any suggestions?

SplineGod
03-03-2009, 10:04 AM
This is one reason why I recommended againstu using curve constraint. Trailer will have the same problem except that you can combine it bones as I said. You can twist bhe bones which will twist the paper at the right time.

Mr Rid
03-03-2009, 02:56 PM
Quick setup:

Make object laying flat horizontally.

Make new endomorph and move object along Z, at least the distance it should cover in animation. Save.

Select object in Layout, add bone, set rest length to maybe 1/5 the length of your object (depending). Click 'Add Child Bone' key repeatedly to make chain long enough to cover distance needed.

Enable 'Use Morphed Positions' in bone properties.

Enable all bones.

L-click+drag to select maybe 5 bones (depending) where you want a turn. Rotate accordingly.

Set envelope in MorphMixer accordingly.

70534
70533

Sekhar
03-03-2009, 04:54 PM
Quick setup:

This is an awesome trick, thanks a lot for posting the example. I played with the method a bit and can see how powerful it can be. E.g., I animated the bones, wildly changing the path - and the paper still faithfully followed. And if you create your detailed curve in Modeler and convert it to skelegons, you get just the path you need.

toshgaal
03-03-2009, 06:38 PM
Mr. Rid, thanks sooooo much for the scene and objects:thumbsup:I will be able to go in and see just how you did this. You rock Dude :rock:I can't tell you how much I appreciate this.

Thanks again,

Todd

Mr Rid
03-03-2009, 06:52 PM
...I played with the method a bit and can see how powerful it can be. ...

Very controllable.
70542

THREEL
03-04-2009, 05:28 AM
Quick setup:

Make object laying flat horizontally.

Make new endomorph and move object along Z, at least the distance it should cover in animation. Save.

Select object in Layout, add bone, set rest length to maybe 1/5 the length of your object (depending). Click 'Add Child Bone' key repeatedly to make chain long enough to cover distance needed.

Enable 'Use Morphed Positions' in bone properties.

Enable all bones.

L-click+drag to select maybe 5 bones (depending) where you want a turn. Rotate accordingly.

Set envelope in MorphMixer accordingly.

70534
70533

Mr. Rid,

Would there be anyway to see this scene in :lwicon: ver. 8.5? I'd really appreciate it. Also, is it possible to do a completely looped conveyor belt with this technique?

tHANX!

tHREEL, but you can call me Al.

toshgaal
03-04-2009, 10:53 AM
This worked great! The only thing I am having trouble with is the paper edges are curling up. Is there something I am not setting right?

Thanks,

Todd

Sekhar
03-04-2009, 02:23 PM
Also, is it possible to do a completely looped conveyor belt with this technique?

Yes, sirry Bob! See below travel along a helix. :)

raw-m
03-22-2009, 03:47 AM
....And if you create your detailed curve in Modeler and convert it to skelegons, you get just the path you need.

Sekhar, can you post your technique for getting your object to follow the detailed path?

I've tried using spline>convert to skelegons to create the path I need but this assumes this is your bones resting position, ie no deforming when morphing along a path.

Sekhar
06-23-2009, 12:09 PM
Sekhar, can you post your technique for getting your object to follow the detailed path?

I've tried using spline>convert to skelegons to create the path I need but this assumes this is your bones resting position, ie no deforming when morphing along a path.

I just wrote a tutorial on this, check out LightWave: Animation Along a Predefined Path (http://blog.allurefx.com/2009/06/lightwave-tutorial-animation-along.html).

Chrusion
10-24-2016, 10:28 AM
Well, Hello 2009! Welcome to 2016.

Hey guys, I've encountered a snag in using the bone-chain morph method in LW 2015.3.

EDIT: Never mind. Post deleted. Stupid me made a bone chain in the shape of the path I wanted the object to follow, expecting the object to magically snap into place and follow the chain when I activated them all. Nope, it don't work like that. You have to layout the bone chain WITHIN the object (straight line of arrows in this case), keyframe them all on -1, activate, THEN go to frame 0 and move and rotate the bones to conform to the desired path. Yeah... shows you how many times I've used bones to do industrial illustrative work. :-P