Butterfly wings animation (simulation?)

I have problem with my butterfly. I’m animating wings using shapekeys, but wings looks too stiff. I tried using cloth and softbody to add more delicacy to wings but with no acceptable results… I think that I can’t set all of the settings right. Any ideas, help or something?

Maybe you could try out a IK chain on the wings to give it a slight bending instead of shape keys.

You should not veer too much from nature - butterfly wings have very little flexibility in them anyway and they have no internal muscles or articulating structure, so do’t put too much flex in - these wings are not bird wings!

I agree with @Furlow - use an IK chain with maybe only two or three bones and seriously limit the rotation of these bones against each other. You should do this in the bone’s Object > IK properties panel, Limit Rotation constraints have no effect on an IK chain BTW.

Cheers Clock.

Sooo… I don’t need too flex wings. I want to create animation like this https://youtu.be/7i-KE1Pf8Q8?t=2m28s and you can see in further part of film (when butterfly flies) that it’s wings are pretty flexible (looks like cloth or softbody)…
Here’s what I get so far with shape keys https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=utvvBysRxt8&feature=youtu.be

CGI Butterfly versus real one - you choose!

The one in the film requires that you add several bones to the wing rig and I suggest you use and IK rig and probably some drivers to get the motion right.

Reality requires less bones and a very stiff IK rig.

If you want help rigging it, you should post a blend file here, with just your butterfly mesh in it, we can then help more specifically.

Cheers, Clock.

I would do a combination of bones/weight painting, and shapekeys. Drive your shapekeys with additional bones and drivers for the curling. It’s the best of both worlds.

Also, I would use an FK rig, not IK. IK is great for sticking something to something else. FK gives better arcs of motion and in this case it will give you better/easier results with fewer keys.

Good luck!

I prefer CG butterfly. It just seems more beautiful :slight_smile:

I did it :smiley: Simple, one bone for each side wings and cloth simulation with weight paint :slight_smile:

Is that right? I suggest you google a bit for photographs of butterflies in flight and you’ll see butterfly wings are far more flexible than you’d think.


Yes, I said don’t put too much in - not don’t put any in, what flexing exists is caused by air pressure not internal muscles and structure. The bending moment due to this pressure is greatest at the tip, so some curving will take place.

The CGI butterfly in a previous post has far too much in for a real butterfly - it is an artistic graceful flow at a far slower-than-real-life frequency, it does not reflect reality, if the OP wants artistic graceful flow, I have no problems with that, I was just pointing out what real life was like, where most of the flexing is between wing and body.

Anyway it looks like the OP has solved the issue to his satisfaction.

Cheers, Clock.