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I'm animating slicing up something like this along the y axis:

monkey block

I'm going to shave slices off the front until the whole block is gone.

My understanding is that the only way to do this is by having many pre-sliced meshes, moving them around together as one unit until it's time to make a "cut".

The above approach doesn't work because of the transparency:

monkey block cut

What is the best approach I could take to animate slices coming off the front of this block?

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm currently working on a script that keeps a "slices" list and a "remaining" list. With those, it adds keyframes which toggle visibility to show the next "remaining" mesh as each slice comes off the front. Is there a better way? $\endgroup$ – ajwood Jul 16 '13 at 17:44
  • $\begingroup$ Oop... didn't see your comment when I made my answer. Short version, though: this is animation; it's naturally time-consuming. :P By the time you come up with a better way, you probably could have achieved the effect you're looking for using this method. $\endgroup$ – Fweeb Jul 16 '13 at 18:24
  • $\begingroup$ It's seriously hard on the head! Glad to hear I'm on the right track - excited to see how it turns out :) $\endgroup$ – ajwood Jul 16 '13 at 18:26
  • $\begingroup$ A script like that could be massively useful when combined with the Cell Fracture addon for joining different shards and toggling visibility for them on the proper frames.. :) $\endgroup$ – gandalf3 Jul 17 '13 at 3:06
  • $\begingroup$ @gandalf3, what I'm doing now is quite specific to my my block and the objects inside. If you can describe what a general purpose script would do, I can try to make this as generic as possible! $\endgroup$ – ajwood Jul 17 '13 at 15:44
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A common trick is to have multiple objects... not just for the slices, but also for the remaining chunks. You animate the visibility of the chunks in succession as each slice is made. This is taking a note from the stop-motion animation world. In effect, you're not animating slices so much as you're swapping in and out the sliced parts in order. When done right, it will look like the slab is being sliced up.

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Dissolve slice

Use a Boolean modifier with and animated intersection object:

Animated Suzanne dissolveBoolean modifier

Chop slice

  1. Add a Boolean modifier to your mesh and set the target boolean object.
  2. Shift+select the boolean object and Object | Parent | Object (or Ctrl+P, o).
  • You can now use the boolean object to move the mesh without affecting the boolean operation.
  1. With them both still selected Object | Duplicate Linked (or Alt+D), cancel the translation (Esc) and change the boolean operation type of the new mesh to Difference.
  • You should now have two half's that can be moved separately.
  1. Finally create a shape key on one of the boolean objects that you'll animate to enable/place the boolean/chop.

Animated Suzanne slice

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  • $\begingroup$ This way, I get the "remaining" but lose the "slices." Perhaps it's unclear in the question, but having both is a requirement. $\endgroup$ – ajwood Jul 16 '13 at 18:46
  • $\begingroup$ This is a neat trick though! $\endgroup$ – ajwood Jul 16 '13 at 18:47
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    $\begingroup$ I want to animate shaving slices off the front of the block. To make it realistic, something needs to happen to the pieces that are shaved off, rather than simply disappearing. $\endgroup$ – ajwood Jul 16 '13 at 19:50
  • $\begingroup$ I don't understand how your chop slice works, but it looks promising. Could you elaborate, or point to a tutorial that might explain some things? $\endgroup$ – ajwood Jul 17 '13 at 16:52

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