So today I began working on the project and feel like I learned quite a bit. First off, Blender crashed every time I tried to import my .DAE file, so I was able to convert the model to .OBJ using a different piece of software called Meshlab.
It took me a bit to figure out how to manipulate the model, but things really took off once I figured out tabbing and the fact that right clicking selects objects.
I was able to break apart the model using the boolean difference function. That allowed me to make a break that didn’t follow previously existing vertices. After that I did some keyframing and made a little 12 frame video that shows the bone pieces “breaking” over the first 10 frames. If you watch the following video, don’t blink because you’ll miss the actual break.
This gave me a neat little demonstration, but as arexma suggested, I’m not nearly there yet. I still need to “fill in the ends of my toilet paper roll”, and I’d like to show some deformation before the crack appears. I understand that shapekeys can be used to accomplish this.
If I use shapekeys to show some deformation before cracking, how could I set things up so that both bone pieces are deforming uniformly? I think it would be difficult to set up two separate shape keys for the individual fragments such that they overlap perfectly whey they are both set to 1.000. Is it possible to shape the two objects simultaneously near the fracture site?
Also, I’d like to show the fracture gradually traversing the diameter of the bone, so that in any given frame only a certain percentage of the fracture has actually occurred. It isn’t immediately obvious to me how I’d accomplish this using keyframing and shapekeying. Is this possible, or is there another technique I should know about?
Finally, I had planned on waiting to fill in and texture the end of the bone until I had satisfactorily demonstrated the break. But if someone would like to advise me on how to proceed there, I’d like to start thinking about that aspect of the project as well.
Thank you all again for your previous replies. I hope this isn’t too tedious for you. I do think that if I manage to finish the project, this thread will be a useful reference for other beginners.