Keyframing VS. Paths -- Which is better?

My animation is of a human performing tai chi.

Path animation provides a very fluid and organic motion for the model. I attach constraints to the hands and let the Paths control the movement of the arms. Then I tweak minor joint related inconsistencies. Some transitions, however, represent such large spans of motion that keyframing seems best.

I am unsettled on the debate between following Paths and using keyframing. Can more experienced users help me settle this issue?

I could, concievably, animate the entire sequence with the character in one place. The hands and foot (and the attached body) could follow a complicated knot of paths, all being centered around the character like the skin of an orange. The other choice would be to use keyframing, as seems normal, to portray movement of the model.

If users who happen to read this post could add their preferred method and a few comments, it would be much appreciated by this stumbling n00bie.

Thanks, Bob

i think animating complex motions such as tai-chi is not a task for paths. however i never tried, so i may be wrong. it’s just that you’ll have create the entire motion right from the beginning at once (= the path).

i rather prefer using keyframes as they give me freedom. also i have far more control over timing, which is absolutely crucial in animation.

my advice: keyframe that.

Interesting. I think Blender does this automatically, ie; each IPO is a path.


i’m talking abt. bezier paths (added via add>>curve>>…) to which objects can be constrained so they follow the path. i also think that is what tilleyrw meant.

I realize that, but since each IPO is a curve…


yea, but the term “path animation” refers to objects following paths (in 3D space). the term “keyframe animation” refers to placing objects in different positions at different times. of course this involes curves to interpolate between keyframes, but from the user-point of view, it’s a different technique.

following your logic, NLA, RVK’s and such are also path-animations. this is partially true, but makes it hard to distinguish dfferent high-level methods of animation.

hey, it makes me think that we could show the IPO paths in the 3D view, it could help for tweaking the animation :slight_smile:

some sort of overlay? sounds interesting. also, the current animation path could be shown (as in max, or LW)

I find myself visualizing the choreography in terms of actions. If you can decide on the basic end-poses you can create very fluid “blend-in/blend-out” moves from one action to the next.