My project is simple - create a dynamic neural network, for a stellar animation.

Using the skin modifier on a simple wireframe, I created an armature inside a softbody mesh. Next I need to instance the mesh many times around the scene, however, since I plan to animate my camera right up to a synapse, I need each axon to reach right up to and almost touch each adjacent neuron's dendrite.

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In the screenshots, I did this manually by duplicating the object, and moving the mesh around to get it just right, which is obviously not a technique that will scale. The challenge is to do this as procedurally as possible.

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I'm thinking of a few methods to help achieve this, but I'm still new to blender, and not fully aware of all the tools available. One idea might be to add some kind of "magnetic" force at the terminating ends of each axon, to automatically attract to the nearest dendrite, however that could only work if each one is flexing the mesh in a proportional way. I'm not opposed to programming rules for mesh interaction if anyone could offer a starting point there.

Another curve ball here, is that I must maintain an armature, or some wireframe throughout the center of every mesh, as I am also animating a point light along the wireframe, to shine through the mesh material. I'm using a point light because, the whole thing must be done in Eevee.

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This noob would much appreciate your wisdom and advice!


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