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I have never used Blender, but I need to make an animation of electromagnetic waves for my project, I have a 3D model of a radio and I need to make radio waves emanate from the antenna. The animation should be like this gif:

[enter image description here]

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  • $\begingroup$ Do you want this visualized in 3D, or 2D as illustrated? $\endgroup$
    – Robin Betts
    Nov 11, 2023 at 18:29
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    $\begingroup$ I think 3D visualization would be better $\endgroup$
    – user571775
    Nov 12, 2023 at 7:45
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    $\begingroup$ Hmm .. if you can scrabble together any maths or a reference defining the field illustrated by the gif, that would help folks offer you an answer, here.. $\endgroup$
    – Robin Betts
    Nov 12, 2023 at 7:57

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Radio Waves in Blender with Geometry Nodes

The form can be thought as ripples on the surface of a lake. Your reference gif is like a topographic map of such ripples. there is also a “shadow” cast in the ripples from the shape of the antenna.

We can model this form in geometry nodes.

radio waves

Ripple Height Map

We'll start out by creating a height map of the wave form.

Use a Wave Texture node to model the rings of the ripple. The topographical lines in your reference are close together in the valleys, this means that the waves are more like a series of humps rather than a proper wave. we can use a Map Range and Absolute node to achieve this.

We wire up the Phase Offset to the scene time to animate the waves.

We then multiply the ripples by the "shadow" from the antenna. The math for the shadow can be summarized as abs(sin(arctan2(x, y)))

radio waves height map nodes

We could pause here and use this height map to displace a surface to get a simple visualization of the wave form:

enter image description here

but let’s keep going to get the topographical representation…

Topographical Lines Mesh

The topo lines will be made by creating a stack of grids, deleting the faces that are above the height map of the wave form, isolating the boundary edges of the remaining geometry.

topo lines nodes

This technique is inspired by this video by Chong 3D

Smooth the Lines

At this point the lines will look stepped, we'll add a smooth modifier to the stack:

smooth modifier

Convert to Curves and Finish up

radio waves topo

Add another Geometry Nodes modifier after the Smooth modifier. Use a simple network to convert the topo mesh lines into curves. then give them thickness with the Curve to Mesh node. Lastly, apply your desired material.

to curves back to mesh

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  • $\begingroup$ W...ow :) .. .. $\endgroup$
    – Robin Betts
    Nov 12, 2023 at 18:48

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