I modeled and textured the Inception spinning top totem .

enter image description here

now I need to animate it like here:


I not only need to rotate it around Z but I need it to wooble. Perfect would be a loop. What would be the best way to do this ?


2 Answers 2


On such occasions I like to separate the movements by placing inbetween bones or inbetween empties. Might be a bit of overkill but it's handy.

I have three empties parented to each other. Each one is only animated or rotated in a single axis. The other axes can be locked for convenience.

  • The main Empty is parallel to the ground and does the slow precession around the Z axis which happens to be parallel to the global Z axis. It determines how long one full circle of wobbling lasts.

  • Parented to this is the tilt Empty. That determines how strong the wobble is. Just a little bit off center or dangerously close to touching the table?

  • And parented to that is the Empty that actually does the fast spinning of the top. It will spin around its local Z axis, so the spinning stays parallel with the axis of the top.

That way you can comfortably animate all three elements independently, wobble, tilt and spin. You can use generators in the Graph Editor to create endless spinning.

enter image description here

If I was aiming at realism, I'd probably film an improvised top made out of legos or similar and rotoscope the wobbling.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Great answer. I’d love to see that animated! $\endgroup$ Feb 13, 2018 at 14:42
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    $\begingroup$ @RichSedman It spins and wobbles and I don't have a good software to make monster gifs. It's not a lawyer eating dino ( : $\endgroup$ Feb 13, 2018 at 14:47
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    $\begingroup$ I normally just use Gimp for animations - load as layers and then export as a .gif and check ‘Animated’. Quick and easy - although I’m sure it’s not the most efficient for packing the file size. $\endgroup$ Feb 13, 2018 at 14:55
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    $\begingroup$ Gandalf has mentioned peek as a gif screen recorder. Haven't had the strength to check it out yet. Gimp's my choice, too. $\endgroup$ Feb 13, 2018 at 15:00

I have created a simple example for you.

First, the origin of the object must be at the tip of the totem.

In Edit mode, select the vertex end of the tip and press Shift+S to move the 3D cursor there.

Next, switch to Object mode and press Ctrl+Shift+Alt+C to move the origin to the 3D cursor.

You are now set up for origin.

Second, you need to edit the animation.

Notice the shape of the curve in the graph editor in GIF which I attached.

The Z axis, which is the rotation axis of the totem, is animated by linear interpolation.

Then apply a sine wave key animation that fades out to the X or Y axis.

I hope this helps.

enter image description here


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