Can you make an object automatically rotate as it moves along a path?

I’m a total noob with blender. I want to animate a pool ball moving across a pool table. I’ve seen an example of doing this, but in the tutorial the guy manually rotated the ball at different key frames. Is there some way to make blender know that it should rotate the ball itself as it moves a long a path? This would also make animating a wheel simple because it wouldn’t need to be rotated manually at key frames - blender would just be able to calculate the rotation based on how far it moves along the ground.


I think pool balls are moving in strait lines. other than that, I don’t think using a path is very comfortable for the animator, I usually use keyframes, so I don’t know if its what you’r asking is possible. in any way animating the rotation is super easy and will take you a few seconds.

So I have to have a keyframe at the start and end of the path, and then manually add keyframes along the path to get the rotation to animate? Won’t that require a lot of fiddling around to make it look realistic, i.e. so it looks like it doesn’t rotate too quickly? What I was wondering was whether blender could somehow compute the circumference of the ball, and rotate it accordingly as it moves along the table, so I don’t have to manually try to get it to rotate in a realistic looking way. Is this possible? I also want to use this for animating car wheels, etc.


You need to use a driver. The driver needs to know the circumference of the ball in order to rotate automatically.
You may want to visit and see if you can just download an auto-rolling wheel. Then parent your ball to it and hide the wheel from rendering.

Thank you. I’d like to use python to do this sort of thing, so now I know what to look for in the docs.

The ‘English’ on a ball is not difficult animate accurately but can be done with animating the rotation and using that to drive only ONE axis of translation, the other being animated directly. The ball should follow an arc that straightens out as the spin decreases…