Curve resolution for smooth path animation?

Hi there…

I wasn’t sure whether to post this under modeling or animation.

I’ve been looking at NURBS curves and surfaces and read that they are perfectly mathematical but are restricted by what Blender can represent.

My question is then when you do Path animation, is the motion truly smooth or is it simply based on the resolution of the curve?

I attached on object to a Path (with the default 5 control points) and moved the points to make a slight “S” curve. Then I decreased the ResolU value to 1 and scrubbed the timeline and watched the object move in a top view.

Even with the choppy look of the path, the object moves mostly smooth, except for two slight “derailments” near the beginning and end of the path. Also, the object center point is off the curve. As I increase the ResolU value past 1, the object seems to follow the path smoothly. The only difference is that the path “tightens” closer to the control points as the resolution is increased, and the object center point moves closer to the actual path.

So I guess I’m just wondering if path animation also follows the rule that Blender can’t represent perfectly smooth results (just in theory), and therefore the motion is not perfectly smooth either, even though it appears to move smoothly when you lower its resolution?

Which leads me to the other question of: do you just set a high enough resolution to make it look right, since that’s what really matters anyway?