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I'm trying to animate a sectional door, but without success.

I made a profile using a bezier spline and I want the sections to follow exactly the profile.

If I use the Follow Path Constraint, the section does follow the profile but in an unrealistic way :

enter image description here

Adjusting the pivot does not allow a more realistic way.

The main issue with follow path is that the orientation is made on only one point : the pivot but I want here is to have two "pivots" : one for each extremity of the section of the door.

I also try to use the Curve modifier with a whole door, but it doesn't solve all the issues :

enter image description here

Here the extremums of the sections follow exactly the profile, but the placement is difficult (conter intuitive, I have to move the door down to get it up ...), and most important it introduces some deformations on the door extremums, and this is not realistic. Moreover it would be more realistic to have independent sections of the door instead of of full block (because the last section have different movement)

I also tried to use some empties to follow the profile (using drivers, I was able to move only one empty and move the others on the profile with good spacing between the empties), but I wasn't able to set the door sections follow exactly the empties.

Anybody have a good suggestion ?

Ideally I would like to have :

  • Wheels that follow the profile (I can do that with some king of cylinders, it works well) ;
  • Sectional doors that are independents each others (they should be independent objects) ;
  • Sectional doors extremities are tied to the wheels ;
  • Sectional doors must be rigid (no deformation like in curve modifier) ;
  • Animation should be simple (a single empty that is moved on one axis can drive the full animation).
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Model a single segment e.g.:

enter image description here

Add an Array and Curve modifier

enter image description here

Now you should be able to animate open/close by translating the x-axis.

enter image description here

Method 2

To avoid that the Curve modifier distorts the segments, you could add another object say plane (Empties cannot have the array modifier) and parent the segment to the plane. Use face duplication on the plane to create the undistorted segements.

Note it is important to apply scale.

enter image description here

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ I already did this (see the second capture) but this doesn't help because : 1) It introduces deformation on the segment and I don't want that (in real life sections are rigid). 2) Animation must be identical for all sections and that's not desired (the last section has different animation path) $\endgroup$ – rperrot Jan 2 '16 at 10:03
  • $\begingroup$ @rperrot can you show the segment mesh ( only one ) $\endgroup$ – Chebhou Jan 2 '16 at 10:13
  • $\begingroup$ @rperrot this answer will not introduce deformatiions if you use simple mesh for the section ( a rectangle ) and reorder you modifiers ( array, curve, solidify, bevel/subdiv ) $\endgroup$ – Chebhou Jan 2 '16 at 10:21
  • $\begingroup$ @rperrot Did you test the attached .blends? It is only controlled by the bezier curve. There is no different animation path. If it really distorts the segments check the 2nd method. $\endgroup$ – stacker Jan 2 '16 at 10:36
  • $\begingroup$ I'll check the second method, it seems that it will solve the deformation issue. $\endgroup$ – rperrot Jan 3 '16 at 7:54
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I tested the solution that uses the plane as a proxy, and it does not deform the sectional parts, that a good point. But orientation is not exactly as I want.

Here is an example :

enter image description here

As you can see, position is ok but rotation is done after my wishes. What did I do wrong ?

I tried adjusting the pivot but it's not easy.

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