I would like to present to you an animation problem which attracted some interest in the German “blendpolis” forum (I was surprised) and for which a satisfying solution has not been found yet (I was surprised again). I had not expected the problem to be demanding for experienced blender users.
Here is the task - hopefully my English will do for explaining the main difficulties:
I would like to make an animation of a roller coaster train, camera not riding with the train. My main interest is the movement, not a detailed modeling work.
There are different characteristics that I would like to give that train’s movement in order to make it look realistic:
- The train should consist of more than one wagon (let’s say several cubes).
- The train should keep it’s total length (the wagons are connected to eachother in a real roller coaster).
- Accelerating / slowing down should be possible for the complete train without affecting it’s length.
- The rotation of each individual wagon around every axis should depend on its individual position on the track.
- It should be possible to use a track that twists, climbs, leans in every dimension, like the one of a real roller coaster (=not just a flat track as for a normal railway train).
Different approaches (downloadable .blend files) for an animation of this kind can be found here (including a very interesting one by user “qp”, making use of a curve deform modifier):
It seems to be extremely difficult to have all the characteristics mentioned above combined at the same time. I am not sure any more that there is a clean solution with blender - even if the movement as such does not seem that extraordinary to me!
I would be very glad to read about your ideas/experiences/questions, thank you in advance.
Greetings from Freiburg, Germany