I'm new to blender and I have learned some basic animating features. I have taken a video project for a school in which I have to explain the digestive system in a fully animated way.

I have modeled the Digestive system. Now when the food enters mouth and goes through esophagus(food pipe) esophagus creates a pushing wavy movement to push the food to stomach.

Could you suggest some easy ways to animate it?

This picture explains the process of peristalsis.

Peristalsis process]1

  • Try playing with Lattices and the Lattice modifier. You basically create a cage off influence and then you can animate the location of the influence. E.g. a "pinch" and "swell" and then animate that moving along the pipe. – rob Nov 20 at 13:10
  • Related Bulging Garden Hose Animation – batFINGER Nov 20 at 13:25
up vote 6 down vote accepted

You could do it with Cast modifier as explained here.

But first I proposed the Lattice method:

  • Create your food and oesophagus objects.
  • Create a lattice with shift A and scale it in Object mode so that it encages a little bit more than your food.
  • Subdivide your Lattice in the Properties panel > Data > Lattice and U, V and W values (subdivide more than I did so that you'll be able to create details like the little pinch contraction).
  • Give your oesophagus a Lattice modifier with the lattice as the Object.
  • Select your lattice and in the Properties panel > Data > Shape keys, create a basis shapekey with the "+" button, then a second one that will be the deformation shapekey.
  • Keep that second shapekey selected, go in Edit mode and play with the lattice vertices so that it deforms the oesophagus the way you want.
  • Come back in Object mode, and play with the Shape Keys Value to deform the oesophagus.
  • Now, select both the lattice and the food object and move them up and down, you can see that the oesophagus deformation follows the lattice, as if the food was deforming it.
  • Create your animation with keyframes in the Dopesheet.

enter image description here

  • Thank you so much. It was really helpful. I am going to do the same with small and large intestines. – Aravind S Nov 20 at 13:27
  • As I said you need to give more subdivisions to the lattice so that you can create the little pinch above the food, it should work – moonboots Nov 20 at 13:32
  • Yes, that's a different situation, that's why I recommended him to use the Cast modifier ;) – moonboots Nov 23 at 15:15
  • The other interesting part of this topic ( blender.stackexchange.com/questions/123276/… ), is that you shouldn't deform the external points of a lattice. Only deform the inner parts. It will save you from some headaches if you ever do some slightly more complex animations. – L0Lock Dec 11 at 9:37

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