Animation paths for planetary orbit

I’ve started work on a scale model of the Solar system, with a 1/10000th scale in Blender 2.57, and finished modeling and texturing all of the planets and Earth’s moon. However, I’ve struck a roadblock in animating the orbits of the planets. I’m trying to use a bezier circle as a path, but for some reason Mercury keeps getting deformed from its sphere as it travels along the path. I’ve attached a couple of screenshots, and would be greatly appreciative of any advice.

Attachments



I decided to just move on and try to make the paths for other planets, and all of the rest are getting flattened almost entirely.

parent the planet to an empty placed inside the sun (or whatever its orbiting) then when you rotate the empty, mercury will go around it. but make sure you add keyframes to both the empty and mecury.

good luck :slight_smile:

Well, the issue with just having it orbit around an empty is that I need the paths to make the elliptical orbit. If it were just a perfectly round revolution, your idea is perfect. In this case, however, I think paths are the best way; but again, I get the deformation. Thanks for the suggestion anyway.

heres a solution that i think will work for you :slight_smile:

good luck :slight_smile:

Attachments

orbit_solution.blend (321 KB)

It seems to be working perfectly so far, thank you so much!

Actually, one more question: each orbit seems to only be going around once, even with a cyclic extrapolation put in. I’ve messed around a bit with the curve editor and with the path’s frames and evaluation time, but haven’t been able to make the orbits repeat. Any suggestions there?
PS: @YouthOfBlender, your solution works great, but I had to drop the clamp constraint. Thanks again.