Building a Chess Board with Particles

I'd like to create an animation of squares falling down (1) to form a chess board.

The squares would be falling in sequence and once at field level a chess part will emerge from it resizing from 0% to 100% (2) and (3).

So, here's my question:

I'm currently animating square by square and part by part. Is there an easier way? I was thinking maybe particles or solid bodies would help...

I've seen tutorials where you can model/animate a group of objects and then use particles to populate a world, but so far I've only seen random worlds, nothing as structured as a chess board (8x8 squares). If I use rigid bodies and let the squares fall all of them fall at once and once they hit the ground they bounce a bit so it does not look perfect.

What would you do? is this a 100% manual task?

• Sounds perfect for Python if you have a bit of scripting experience. – JakeD May 7 '18 at 1:15
• Thanks @jakeD, no programming experience at all. So there's no native, out of the box solution you think? – Alan Estrada May 7 '18 at 1:31
• I don't think so, but someone may know a clever "artist-friendly" solution. Never say never. – JakeD May 7 '18 at 1:32
• Not an expert at it but also sounds like something Animation Nodes could do easily – Duarte Farrajota Ramos May 7 '18 at 2:36

Animation Nodes can be used here. Grid Mesh Node can be used to create the grid. Move the grid $10$ units upward and offset the polygons by $-10$ using the Offset Polygons Node and use a falloff of your choice, I am assuming you want a Delay Falloff.

Similarly, you can scale some instances of an object to get the scaling effect. The same Delay Falloff can be used, but you will have to delay it using the Delay Time Node so that the object starts scaling after its corresponding grid cell has been positioned.

The falling grid is quite easy to do with particles :

I forgot some things in the original answer, added them in emphasis

• add a Grid object with 9x9 subdivisions (= 8x8 faces) (Not strictly necessary, a simple Plane works as well)
• add a ParticleSystem on it with Grid distribution, render Unborn, Died, no Emitter. Choose a Grid Resolution of 8.