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I'm trying to make a curve move in sort of a worm-like fashion, and I'm not able to get it to move properly with F Curve modifiers. Basically, I want it to move in a looped "s" shape pattern. How can I achieve this?

This is the pic; the curves are the yellow beam and the electric forcefield wrapping around it. I used displacement modifiers for the ripple effect.

enter image description here

Basically, I want to animate the curves in an s-shaped pattern like in Ghostbusters:

enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ Have you tried giving the curve a Wave Modifier? $\endgroup$ – Paul Gonet Sep 27 '17 at 19:01
  • $\begingroup$ Yes but it seems to only ripple the curve in a completely stationary manner...kind of like it was made out of cloth and wind is blowing on it but it just ripples. It doesn't have that dramatic worm wiggle effect. $\endgroup$ – lakerice Sep 27 '17 at 19:41
  • $\begingroup$ Do you have a visual reference for the kind of movement you want? If I'm imagining correctly, a worm mesh using a Curve Modifier might be your best bet. $\endgroup$ – Mentalist Sep 28 '17 at 2:02
  • $\begingroup$ Just added some reference photos...the first is my render and the second is the effect I'm going for. Let me know if you need more info. $\endgroup$ – lakerice Sep 28 '17 at 2:58
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Good ol' fashion hook modifier.

One way to set up a hook.

Snap 3d cursor to control point of curve in edit mode, then in object mode add an empty. With the empty selected, shift select the curve return to edit mode, and "Hook to selected Object" (from space search).

enter image description here

Now you can animate the position of the hook to manipulate your curve. Adding more hooks will give you more control.

enter image description here Pretty crappy gif, but you get the idea. The empty is hooked to the right control point of the default bezier curve. The empty is animated to rotate and follow a circular path.

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  • $\begingroup$ Hook to new object will create the empties for you. $\endgroup$ – sambler Sep 28 '17 at 8:50
  • $\begingroup$ @sambler thanks, an easier way to add hook.. I don't use the UI enough and prefer to do things via script. The noise will indeed give it a buzz. Will get back and edit ... or feel free to edit in... who you gonna call? 8^) $\endgroup$ – batFINGER Sep 28 '17 at 8:57
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    $\begingroup$ this can also be done with shapekeys blender.stackexchange.com/questions/21233/… $\endgroup$ – user1853 Sep 28 '17 at 13:45
  • $\begingroup$ @cegaton probably duplicate of? $\endgroup$ – batFINGER Sep 28 '17 at 13:58
  • $\begingroup$ This was exactly what I was looking for! Don't know how I forgot about the hook modifier. For some reason it only worked for me when I selected the specific vertex in edit mode and pressed ctrl + h. Anyway, same thing. Also, instead of keyframing and shapekeys (thanks @cegaton), I found a much easier way to get the effect I wanted was the noise modifier on the empty...pure repetitive wiggleness :) $\endgroup$ – lakerice Sep 28 '17 at 18:14
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As per @cegaton's request, I'll show officially how I fixed this.

STEP 1: Select a vertex of your curve that you wish to be able to animate in edit mode (it has been beveled to give it a 3D look) . Press Ctrl + H and a simple empty should appear.

enter image description here

STEP 2: Go out of edit mode and select the empty. The hook modifier will be automatically placed on your curve with the empty you just created as the object of reference.

enter image description here

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STEP 3: Select your empty and keyframe your it wherever you want to start the animation (simply press "i" and select location in your timeline for the keyframe). At this point you could place your empty wherever you want and keyframe it manually in different places. But for creating a dynamic and somewhat random squiggly effect, it's best to add a noise modifier in the F-Curves panel in the graph editor. So go to the graph editor view and select location. You will see the X, Y and Z axes of your empty. You can then copy or make new noise modifiers for all axes. You will have to play around a bit with the settings though to get your animation the way you want it.

enter image description here

STEP 4: Press play and watch your proton pack's laser come to life...just don't cross the streams ;)

enter image description here

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