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I didn't use Blender before, but from what I saw (e.g. on YouTube) I think I could use it for creating dynamic flow chart animations (that actually look good :-). Since I do not know how to start with this, I hope you could give me a hint and/or guide me the right direction. This is a schematic example on what I want to do:

enter image description here

For a series of time points, I get data for the temperatures inside a set of water tanks and the amount of water flowing between them from some computations that are done in Python. I would like to visualize the temperature within the tanks by color, and the mass flowing between them by thickness of the arrows, in both cases also stating the current values, and show their development over time with an animation (while the changes between time points do not necessarily have to be animated, a series of pictures showing the states at the time points would already be great).

Everything should be designed in a way that the animation can be automatically generated also for other data sets. Also in future, this animation will probably be extended. As I stated, I'm completely new to Blender, but advanced in Python.

All hints and advises are highly appreciated! Thank you very much for your help!


Edit: as suggested, I split up the question in several smaller ones step by step.

  1. Link to first question on how to create the curved arrows (solved)
  2. Link to second question on how to calculate object colors from external temperature data using a color map
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    $\begingroup$ yes, this is very possible - but as it stands you are asking a question which is multi faceted - or rather 4 or 5 considerably elaborate questions disguised as a concept. Someone could answer, but it would take a long time and only be applicable to a narrow audience. Let me suggest that you break it down. 1. How to make boxes at positions 2. How to script the splines to join them 3. How to make the arrows 4. How to animate Colour changes 4. How to animate spline Width changes. -- Also the design of how to spread these boxes and decide where the spline goes and what the arrow looks like. $\endgroup$ – zeffii Aug 9 '15 at 11:58
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    $\begingroup$ You are allowed to ask as many separate questions as you want in new Questions. The better you become at making your question modular, the better we can answer short and direct. $\endgroup$ – zeffii Aug 9 '15 at 12:01
  • $\begingroup$ @zeffii Thank you for your suggestions! In the meantime I found some hints on animation, and I managed to create the boxes (which are cylinders in 3D). So I will now first of all ask a question on how to make these curved arrows (which I think would be Question 2 and 3, but make sense to be asked together, right?), and link it to this question as well. $\endgroup$ – mindm49907 Aug 9 '15 at 13:06
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    $\begingroup$ yes! my response was definitely not intended to be discouraging, I love these kinds of questions..but splitting it up gives more people a chance to answer the individual elements. $\endgroup$ – zeffii Aug 9 '15 at 15:04
  • $\begingroup$ As zeffii explained, SE does better with shorter questions about specific operations; these are more likely to be applicable to other projects and thus more helpful for people looking for solutions in search engines. As it is now, this question is still too broad (your other question is great though :). Feel free to edit this question at any time, and we can re-open it accordingly. $\endgroup$ – gandalf3 Aug 9 '15 at 19:13