animating a growing vine in Blender 2.6

Nikolaus Gradwohl2012-01-02T05:58:10+01:00

There are some really nice video-tutorials out there in the internets that show who to animate a growing vine in blender - unfortunately all I found are for blender 2.48 and use keyboard shortcuts that aren't working in blender 2.5/2.6 anymore.

so I tried to recreate them for the current blender-version. Here is a short video to show what the final animation looks like.

vine

To make a vine in blender 3 curves are needed. The first one defines the curve the vine will grow along, the second one defines the shape of the cross-section, and the third one defines the thickness of the vine.

So first define a bezier-curve by pressing Shift-A and selecting curve and bezier

select a beziercurve

define the curve your vine should grow along by switching to edit mode and etxtruding the last vertex some times (press tab to go to edit mode and e to extrude)

bezier curve

then add a bezier-circle and scale it down a bit

bezier circle

now select the first beziercurve by clicking it with the right mousebutton and select the object data-section on blender-menue on the right side

object data

down in the geometry section click on the bevel object and select the bezier-circle

geometry section

This should make the vine look like a tube curling along your path.

Now add a second bezier curve, select it with the right mousebutton and switch to edit mode

select all vertices by pressing A and scale them to 0 along the y axis by pressing S Y and 0

then extrude the left vertex 2 blenderunits along the y-axis by pressing E Y 2 and enter

select the vertex on the top and the vertex at the corner and scale them to zero along the x-axis by pressing S X 0

your curve should look like this

geometry section

This curve will be used to define the width of the vine. So press tab again and select your first bezier-curve

go to the geometry section again and add the new bezier-curve as a taper object to the first one

geometry section

if you select the second bezier curve now and move around the corner-vertex you can watch the vine grow and shrink along the first curve. Which is exactly what we want to animate, but we cant keyframe a single vertex.

The trick that most video-tutorials use is adding an empty-object as a hook to the vertex. so if the empty gets animated the vertex we hooked will move along.

To add a new hook select the second bezier-curve and go to edit mode. Select the corner-vertex and press space

then enter hook and select hook to new Object

hook to new object

This adds an empty-object to your scene that is hooked to the corner vertex. if you select the empty object in object-mode and translate it along the x-axis (press G X and move the mouse) your vine should grow and shrink.

The movements of this empty object can be animated using key-frames so move your empty all to the left and add a keyframe by pressing I and select Location

add keyframe

now advance some frames in the timeline at the bottom then move the empty along the x-axis by pressing G X and moving it to the right

then add another keyframe by pressing I and selecting location again.

when you click the play button at the bottom your vine should get animated and grow along the path

I'm sure this isn't the only way to achive the desired effect but it's the easierst I can think of at the moment

you can download my blend-file here

hope this helps a bit, and happy vine growing :-)

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See also:

Blender Monster Tutorial - material animation
particle emitting particles - tutorial
light and shadow
bend and twist part 4
icosphere deformation part 2

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  1. new vine grower 2012-01-07T02:10:33+01:00

    Thank you for taking the time to post such a clear, well written tutorial. I followed your steps in Blender 2.61 and it worked on the first try. I plan to adapt this technique to create a video inspired by the Bourne Identity end credits sequence that had growing pipes.

  2. Bruno 2012-11-19T16:09:20+01:00

    Thank you very much! I did it on 2.64 and it worked perfectly! Very good explanation, simple, easy and fast!

    thanks a lot!

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