Double Accordion Armature Fold

I am attempting to recreate the ‘double accordion’ fold that is used when hanging XXL prints on the side of buildings. This starts out as a tight little folded package, then lifted to the upper left corner. Here is the tricky part: the package first unfolds to the ground in the Y axis like an accordion into one long strip. It then unfolds into x axis like drapes being pulled, until it stretches out into its full unfolded glory.

Sounds easy right? Hmmm. I have a plane, subdivided it… create the vertex groups, map them to armatures, and pose. I can get it to either unfold in the Y or the X… but I have to manually change armature parenting. Is there a way to change a meshes armature parent during an animation?

Any hints or ideas are greatly appreciated.


Just do it with two different meshes. Have the one fold up while the other one’s hidden, and at the end of that first animation, duplicate the mesh with the anim data baked in so it’s an exact replica in the same position and everything.

For the second part, animate the first mesh turning invisible and the second one turning visible, and have mesh2 set up with the second armature set to fold the other direction. When it’s rendered out, it should appear seamless.

Thank you for the tip. I was looking for a way to do it all with one mesh… but do a duplicate of the mesh at the transition point, and then ‘make real’ so it basically baked the armature pose as the mesh shape, allowed me to get it done. Thanks Jeff! Here was the end result: