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I have a group of objects (toys) that should run trough a cone then along a curved pipe then falling out, down to a production line and going along that line. The objects are one after the other so the second object enters the path when the first item has done a short distance so the items should work like 'one object' but each one should follow the path. I have tried parenting them and also tried joining them into one object, So whats the best solution for that sort of animation?Here is a picture for easier understanding. The items are positioned here so it should look when all items have already entered the path

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  • $\begingroup$ Do you want to use physics? $\endgroup$ – user1853 May 31 '15 at 17:20
  • $\begingroup$ Curve modifier on a joined mesh, and animate the position? $\endgroup$ – VRM May 31 '15 at 17:24
  • $\begingroup$ Is there a requirement that these object maintain there hard body shape or is deformation acceptable? $\endgroup$ – atomicbezierslinger May 31 '15 at 18:06
  • $\begingroup$ You have provided a static image. Not an animation (file.gif). What is acceptable in your animation and specifically what has failed? Has spacing failed? Are these object to behave like the links of a chain with freedom to rotate? $\endgroup$ – atomicbezierslinger May 31 '15 at 18:22
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  • In the not so extreme case you might consider an armature with a one to one correspondence between and object and a particular bone. Spline constraint.

  • In the not so extreme case you might consider physics in the comment above.

  • Consider a [Follow Path Constraint] and . Enable [x] Fixed position of the constraint. Keyframe Offset. (You have done that already)

  • In the [follow path constraint] case ...place keyframes on each object in the constraint in staggered (shifted) time form. The [Follow Path Constraint] can be used with no deformation of the object.

  • Consider adjusting the off curve control points of your keyframes in the graph editor for more control.

  • The image below shows 3 object with a follow path constraint to the same path. The dope sheet shows the staggered keyframes. This is a slightly simplified view. You many not want the speed up and slow down associated with Bezier curves. And the objects may have different starting and ending keyframe values when spacing is a requirement.

enter image description here

  • Read this bullet at your own risk. By staggering form I mean the following. Object[N] (where N is in the set of numbers (1 ..K)), Q is another convenient static positive integer for pausing, may have keys on frames [math formula ((N-1)*Q) and (N * Q)] approximately. The keyframe values would be [0.0] and [1.0]. Yes that paragraph is not easy to read.

  • If you have a few objects to place, (<20 perhaps), the above can be done by hand. If you have more than that a Script might be worth the cost.

  • Once those keyframes are placed and correct they may look like bumps and inclines ... just translated in the positive x direction in the graphs editor.

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ @cegaton: IMHO Physics would be great but is totally over my abilities to get the items on the track one by one and let each item really run along the production line, without jumping away when they fall down from the tube to the production line, so I'll try to get it done by animating them along a path.. $\endgroup$ – Jonny Poet Jun 1 '15 at 23:23
  • $\begingroup$ @NoviceInDisguise I had already tried to work using curve modifier on a joined mesh, but it deforms the objects totally ugly. Especially the stars, but also the different spheres where deformed to much. So this was no solution for me. $\endgroup$ – Jonny Poet Jun 1 '15 at 23:29
  • $\begingroup$ To atomicbezierslinger: Your idea seems to be good. No there is no bigger deformation allowed the objects should look like they are slipping through the tube like children on a waterslide, then coming down vertically on the end of the tube like falling out and then being transported along the production line. In the moment I have set the toys manually into the tube, but the real starting pont for all of them is on top of the tube.The middle item of that chain will have an empty object added and the camera focus tracked to it so the camera is following the movement of the items. $\endgroup$ – Jonny Poet Jun 1 '15 at 23:47
  • $\begingroup$ In the end I found a very easy solution, because using only one path results in a lot of other problems like some stars are smaller then the spheres and even that spheres have different sizes, so I decided to use different paths for each element by copying the path the adapt each path so it fits to the distance to the production line and no object would look like to float above it.. But thx for help, it would be a good solution if all the objects would have same size. $\endgroup$ – Jonny Poet Jun 4 '15 at 8:09

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