First, some background info:
I work for a thermoforming company who makes packaging, with food packaging being a large portion of our business. Take-out containers, pre-packaged foods, prepared food containers from your local grocery store chain and baked goods containers are the sorts of products that we produce. I create conceptual containers and packaging in CAD with the purpose of creating visual representations of what the final, manufactured product would like like, to help determine exactly what the customer is looking for, before any engineering or production takes place. I create the products in CAD, render them using Keyshot using the appropriate materials and create presentations showing the customer the options.
Showing renderings of the empty containers is a step up from the majority of our competitors, who resort to just CAD drawings. Whenever possible, I like to also show the containers filled with product. When this is a few larger items (cupcakes, brownies or a sandwich, for example) this is easy. I either make, purchase or sometimes using photogrammetry for items like this. If the container is to be filled with a larger number of fairly simple objects (candy, cherry tomatoes, berries, etc.) I’ve used Blender to make simple rigid body simulations to drop the items into the container to fill it, export the resulting simulation and combine that with the CAD files in Keyshot to render it (example image below).
The problem comes when more complex simulations are needed, for example, filling a container with a salad with a variety of different contents, both soft and rigid bodies and very odd shaped items, like lettuce leaves. I haven’t been able to do this in Blender. Once I start trying to introduce something like a lettuce leaf, all sort of problems start, including it just falling through the containers.
One other thing to keep in mind, 90-95% of my time is modeling in CAD, only 5-10% of my time is spent in the visualization. While I’m willing to learn what I need to, I also don’t have the ability to spend hours creating and running simulations to fill containers. While my employer would love to be able to present containers realistically filled, the amount of time dedicated to just that sort of visualization is limited.
My questions; 1) is this something that should be possible with Blender? 2) Is there something better to use for my narrow focused needs? 3) Does anyone know of resources, courses or even individuals who might be potential sources of information to help me work through this? I’m willing to invest my time and (my employers) money to help overcome some of the issues I’m having.
Any help, suggestions or insights would be appreciated.
Or here is a rendering of the Blender animation, render in Keyshot: https://vimeo.com/291694741
I just need to do this with more difficult models, like the elusive salad.