I want to create a 3 dimensional matrix of cubes and have each of those cubes represent a pixel. I'm looking for an easier way to animate those pixels. For example I would like to create a low resolution figure walking through the matrix, that figure being made out of the pixels. The pixels would not move, only the material color on the pixels would change as the figure moved. It would be like a very low resolution monitor in 3 dimensions. For simple shapes I could just do it mathematically through scripting but wondering the best way to do it with other shapes. For example I was wondering if there is a way I could animate an armature and then map that movement onto the 3 dimensional pixels. Anyone have any creative ways that may simplify this rather than animating each pixel or doing it mathematically. I am new to animation so may be missing something simple here. Thanks
I have the same exact questions a few years back ago. You can perhaps use Blender Modifier to achieve that, see REMESH modifier.
Actually you can do it today a lot easier using Add-On like Sverchok or Animation Nodes.
The key answer is: VOXEL GRID. Imagine you have 3 dimensional empty point matrix, it can be in any resolution, but remember 10x10x10 is equal to 1000 and that 1000 matrix position will be replaced with geometry.
I think the most efficient way to do this is by using Particle Instancing, but you can set it up using Sverchok pretty easy.
Now for 3 dimensional empty point matrix, you either have it ON or OFF. ON means draw the Voxel. OFF means do not draw it, leave it empty. (In a more complex setup, you can have Voxel in different sizes.)
You can "fill" and draw the actual voxel box using all kind of methods. Whether using 3D Texture, or using animated deformed mesh using Armature that draw the points when it is inside (see BVHTree of Blender).
There is no simple one answer to this. You can perhaps use Cycles Material to draw Voxel Volume Grid.