Dotted Line in 3D - but how?

Hello my friends,

can someone experienced give me a tip about lines in blender?

I only used curves for controlling, but not for really modelling …

What I want: A black dotted line that will look like a graphic element moving inside my animation. I thought about just addding a row of 20 UV-spheres lined up in a row. But that seems quite heavy?!

Should I use curves? But how are they being rendered??

I will continue with some tests. Does anyone of you has an answer already?

Thanks a lot!!

Have you considered using a plane with a dotted line texture and background transparent?

I don’t have experience with this but there is a ‘billboard’ visualization modifier in the particle system which can keep the plane aligned with your camera view.

you can add a plane then extrude a few times
and remove every other faces inside

that will give you a dotted line

hope it helps

You can use a plane (or circle) that represents a single “dot”.

Now you add a curve that represents the line’s path.

Now add an array modifier to the plane. Set the “Length fit” dropdown to “Fit to curve length” andset the “Ob:” name to the curve’s name.
Set the offset to “Constant offset”. The x offset is size of the space between the dots. “1” means the space is the size of the dot.

Now add a curve modifier to the plane. Set the “Ob:” to the curve’s name.

Now you have a path with dots that automatically adjust to length and path. You can even animate it easily (just animate the curve).

Fine tuning:

  • The “dot” adjusts to the curve. If you want it smooth, subdivide the dot (high count of loop cuts in x direction).

  • You can set an arrow head (and end) with “start cap” and “end cap” for the array modifier.

  • Use a material that doesn’t react on light to get a “graphic” effect.

  • Oh, and the curve’s resolution is responsible for the “smoothness” of the line.

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This last explanation will be it! Just tested it. Great! Thanks a lot!!

You’re welcome.

Oh, and I just remembered another neat trick… if you use different curves for the array and the curve modifier you can let the line easily wander along the path by resizing the curve responsible for the length.

I’ve been playing around with this method for a bit, and for some reason, having the dropdown ‘Fit to curve length’ does not ‘fill out’ the whole curve? It just kinda starts the curve, then stops…

I wonder what I’m doing wrong (a bit of a newbie here).

My graphics are actually fairly small, is there some sort of limitation to curves? I just tried it on the default 2m cubes and it works there…

Be sure that your object scales are at 1 1 1.

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They seem to be, but the items are just small… I must have something set weirdly. =<

thanks for the super quick reply!

The curve also have a scale at 1 1 1 ?

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Well that was silly… I DID scale the object (plane) so I Ctrl+A, and reset the scale… so silly.

Now the curve (in this case I’m just trying to make a straight dotted line) is offset from the curve though… I’ll have to see what I’m doing weirdly there. Hahah. it never ends

Make a plane. Duplicate a vertex at the desired distance for the gap. Use array modifier with curve length as option. Use curve modifier to deform. If needed subdivide plane for a more bendy shape.
Every body need to be at the same place. And scale to 1 1 1

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Here’s my tests…

Seems the Y is offset somehow… Maybe my transforms got messed up when I moved the vertex points on the curve?