How to Animate a Graph

I want to present a graph of rising costs. It would slowly reveal data points over time with the arrow head moving. Like if you nailed a snake’s tail to one end and the snake’s head kept moving as the snake was growing. Is there a good way to do this?

graph.blend (594 KB)
I have attached a blend file showing one way you could do this. I have a shape key on the shaft of the arrow that scales it on the X-axis (you could probably just keyframe the scale). I have an empty vertex parented to the shaft and the arrowhead parented to the empty. The shaft has a curve modifier. When you adjust the value of the shape key the arrow will grow along the curve.

This is wonderful! I am very, very impressed with this - not only did you offer a perfect solution for me, but you took the time to make an example project to explain the concept. My goodness, Alan, you are a forum super-hero! The next time you’re in Nebraska, I’ll buy you a beer. Seriously, I can’t thank you enough.

Nice one! Thanks for your sharing! I often meet these kind of graph stuff!

AlanK, Thank You!

I have been trying to figure out how to do almost exactly the same thing for a few days now.

I am very new to Blender2.5, but I have dabbled in 3D off and on over the years, going all the way back to Sculpt3D on the Amiga.

I am trying to figure out exactly how you set up that .blend so I can use the technique myself. I strongly believe in the whole “If you give a man a fish and you feed him for a night. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”*, so I always try to learn how to do things, rather than just copy and paste.

I haven’t figured it all out yet. I have the ShapeKey part mostly figured out. The part I really can’t get yet is how you got the arrow head to stay attached correctly. Mine stays attached, but it stubbornly keeps it’s starting orientation.

I did pull the objects from your .blend into mine, so I could test it out and this is what it looks like.

I have about a dozen of these segments to do so, I still want to figure out how to do it myself, but If you could point me in the right direction, I would appreciate it.

  • “Build a man a fire and you keep him warm for a night. Set a man on fire and you keep him warm for the rest of his life,” :smiley:

Is it possible for you to post your blend file?

Hey AlanK,

I figured out another way to do it so that the arrow head is part of the arrow mesh.

Here is the .blend with just the arrow and curve. TravelRouteArrow.blend (565 KB)

The revised animation looks like this.

Thank you again for the assistance. I’ll try and figure out how to get a seperate arrow head to stay correctly attached.

I’m glad you got it working for your needs. The reason I had a separate arrow head is that if the curves are tighter and the head is part of the same mesh as the shaft, as in your case, then the arrow head itself bends around the curve, which looks weird.

@ ErikRuud : lol, nice map, small world =P

Quandtum, We stayed one night at Charles Lindbergh State Park near Little Falls, MN. The ultimate destination of the trip was Yellowstone National Park. We also stayed one night at Killen Woods State Park near Lakefield, MN on the way home.