How to make animatable robotentaclething?

(Hexa-dB) #1

This is my first post, so be kind :wink:

I’m in the process of modeling a Sentinel from the Matrix (not very original I know…). Everything’s going well apart from the tentacles. I can either get them looking nice but non-animated or looking not-so-good but animated. Here’s what I’ve tried:

Curve & BevOb
Looks great when animated, very smooth and snakey :slight_smile: But, I’m restricted to a long smooth shape, rather than a shape made of multiple “links”. I tried creating the seperate links with textures, but couldn’t get them to stay in the right place (the texture ended up warping all over the place, presumably due to the vertices moving around as it bends?)

Modelling the links and using 4 or 5 bones
This works alright but as there’s only 4 or 5 bones, when bending it looks a bit segmented. Also 8 tentacles with 5 bones in each causes blender to get a bit sluggish.

Modelling the links and using many (15+) bones
Animates and bends quite nicely but even with 1 tentacle things get sluggish.

I tried creating one “link” using dupliframes to reproduce it along a line of vertices. This looks good when static but I haven’t had much luck animating this.

Should I concentrate on getting textures to stick and using the first method (which I’m not sure will work) or find a way of gettng bones to eat less of my CPU (I tried creating a vertex group in the mesh with nothing assigned which helps a lot but even so it’s pretty hard going).
I’d be grateful for any suggestions!

PS - I will post some pics in the WiP forum soon!

(theeth) #2

I had to face the same problem for my mantis’ legs. I modelled using dupliframe/path animation, than I made the duplis real (Ctrl-A if I remember correctly). I used about 4 bones for 8 pieces of hose. Some pieces are flat on the bones, while other use a 50% 50% weight between two bones.


(Hexa-dB) #3

Thanks theeth :slight_smile:

I’ll give this a try. I searched the forums and found a post where you explained the method to S68 (apologies if I got that name wrong) which is helping.

Can I just check I’m thinking about this the right way…

Some pieces are flat on the bones,
Meaning the vertex group is lined up with the bone exactly?

while other use a 50% 50% weight between two bones.
Meaning that some parts of the mesh are effected by two bones, with a 0.5 weight?

Sorry if I’ve got that wrong, hopefully I’ll have time to investigate further over the weekend. :wink: