Flight Animation Frame

This frame is from an animation I recently generated using Blender. I used my csv_animate Python script to import motion data into Blender to drive the animation. A second script generated camera position and orientation to track the vehicle. I’ve posted regarding csv_animate in other forums, and you can find it here
The model geometry was imported from CAD models, then materials applied and rigging done in Blender. (Thanks to Greybeard for a tip on Object Hooks.)

I compiled Blender with a change to allow a negative Zoffset to be used to trigger rendering an object with maximum z-buffer depth, forcing that object behind all others. For details see:
This was used on the ground plane to avoid issues with z-buffer quantization that were causing objects on the ground to intermittently disappear behind the ground plane. That’s what’s great about open source software–if you need a change, you can make it. In hindsight I might have been able to use the Sequencer to do the same thing. (This is the first time I’ve used Blender.)

Some tricks I used to speed up rendering (for my fellow noobs):

  • For surfaces that have image map textures, especially the ground, make sure “mipmap” is on. This will cause a delay for the first frame rendered while Blender creates a mipmap, but then per-frame times are much shorter afterward because anti-aliasing has been done in advance.
  • For groundplane, sky and other non-vital objects, set materials to “Shadeless” and disable “Traceable” and “Shadow”. This disables raytracing and shadow casting for these objects for a significant speed up. Shadows of objects on the ground were faked with black polygons.

Some stats:
Vertices: 92K
Faces: 85K (does that qualify as hi-poly? :wink:
Lights: 3
1 sun
1 hemi blue tinged pointed down to simulate sky light
1 hemi yellow tinged pointed up to simulate light reflected from the ground
Memory used during render: 500 MB (largely due to the ground plane texture image and mipmap)

Blender Rocks.

Looks very promising. Will we be able to view the anim (or did I just miss the link…) Cool plane, btw. What’s its story?

Not sure yet if I’ll be able to post the animation. The vehicle is the GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bomb–I won’t bore y’all with details; lots of info available via Google if anyone is interested.

Just thought I’d update this thread to mention that some snippets of this animation can be seen on the ABC news web site. The video is at

A few seconds of the animation are shown at
And projected on the screen at the very end:

The article that goes with this is

Very nice :slight_smile:

It’s great to see Blender being used for a large range of things!