Attaching an armature to a cloth

Good day all,

I’ve been away from Blender for a number of years, and am more than a bit rusty…

Here’s what I’m attempting to do:
Have a rope (made using the cloth simulator) attached to the end of a mesh such that when I move the mesh, another mesh at the other end of the rope rotates due to the pull on the rope.

I have the rope hanging off the first mesh just fine, and I have an armature hanging off of the far end of the rope (see image - top section shows the initial position, and the bottom shows what happens a few frames later)

The armature moves with the rope just fine, but I’m failing in getting the “base” of the armature to stay still while the end that is attached to the rope moves with the rope.

BTW, my ultimate goal: I have made a model of my sailboat, and I want to use this for playing around with different rigging arrangements.

Any hints as to the direction I should be going would be greatly appreciated.


Instead of making the armature follow the rope directly, have an empty that follows the rope, and then use the empty as an IK target for the armature.

Best wishes,

Thanks Matthew - After I posted I had tried exactly that, but to be honest I was just in “trying stuff” mode, so I’ll give it another go. When I did that I did get the “target” mesh to rotate (and reading my initial post, I think it does exactly what I described, but not what I want). To be sure I’m being clear (I know I have a bad habit of leaving out pertinent information), here’s another picture:

The cylinder on the left is my “control” lever (I need the red rope to follow it, and it is pinned to it and does so nicely). On the right end of the rope I have an empty which is now following it nicely. I have the armature linked to the empty, and it rotates to point at it (which was progress!). However, I also want the rope to stay attached to that armature, but it simply falls away and the armature points at the end of the rope like a compass.

I figure there’s a good chance that this is harder than I first thought it would be, but also thinking that there’s a good chance I’m missing a simple solution.


I rather thought that might be the case. (Incidentally, does anyone know an older online source for the ‘Night before’ poem than this newsletter from 1988?)

What you really want is considerably trickier, since it requires the armature and the rope to influence one another mutually. Two possibilities that occur to me (nether tried, or even thought through seriously):–

  • Use one armature for the lot, with spline IK targeting the attachment point of the rope. I think you’ll need an IK pole to fake gravity acting on the rope.
  • Simulate the physics with a soft body for the rope and a rigid body for whatever is being driven by the armature. This needs 2.66 for the rigid body physics, or else you have to bake the animation from the game engine.

Best wishes,

Hi Matthew - your first suggestion there shows some promise… I seem to have gotten on to another project so I haven’t yet tried it out. I’ll post back when I do. (Incidentally, the gravity on the rope wouldn’t be critical - just a “nice to have”).

Also - thanks for bringing up that “Night Before” poem, I had forgotten all about that! I’m tinking the first I ever saw it was somewhere around the 1990 timeframe.