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I really like flexible, quick, non-destructive workflows where I can shift stuff around on the go.

I want to achieve the effect of molten tin pouring out of a can. Simple enough, but I really don't like Blender's liquid system, for me it's too unwieldy, you have to create gigs of cache and slowly re-bake every time you wanna make a change, etc. I'd like to create this animation so I can edit it on the go. I tried various approaches, but haven't yet been able to create satisfactory results:

  • Shrinkwrap modifier - I created a cylinder object and a shape looking like a frozen pouring liquid for it to go through, using this modifier to "stick" the object to the shape. Problem is, in the places where the shape makes a turn (on the edge of the can, where the liquid pours over) the vertices stick to the wrong side of the shape, and generally just flap about when trying to move the wrapping object through. Still, I feel like this is the most promising solution.
  • Moving 2 boolean objects around to "clip" the start and end of the animation. Besides being very clunky, this creates jerking artifacts when the animated stuff actually moves.
  • Shape keys - I'd have to create like a dozen of them to negate the interpolation making it look weird.
  • Metaballs attached to small rigid body spheres. Rigid body system was supposed to drive the animation, and the metaballs would provide the visuals. Long story short, it didn't work, and is too stupid a system anyway.

I feel like there is a really simple and robust solution to this somehow, without using the nerve-wracking liquid system, but I can't quite find it. Any help? Btw, I'm using 2.81, I've heard that 2.83 Mantaflow is supposed to be better, is it truly that much better?

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    $\begingroup$ Mantaflow is indeed a lot better, mainly because it's way further into it's development than the old fluid engine in Blender. Also, you mention that you hate having to rebake every time. The Mantaflow engine bakes way and way faster (and it's to improve in the future) and you also have to option to pause baking and continue it again if you later find out the animation is too short or something. I would just go for 2.83 right away. $\endgroup$ – Hendriks3D Jun 14 at 12:25

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