Making an object point the direction that it's going

A silly name, but it actually is a very convenient trick that I have discovered. When you animate an object moving from point A to point B to point C, you probably want it to point the direction that it’s moving. With this you ether have to make it follow a path, or animate the rotation along with the location. Does that make any sense?
First you create an arrow, then you make it cange it’s location over several frames, then you make an empty that follows the same path as the arrow except that it’s one frame faster, then you make the arrow track empty. This makes it so that the arrow always points the direction that it’s going.

  1. Start with the default scene.
  2. Select the default cube, and go into edit mode.
  3. Stretch the cube verticaly along the Z axis.
  4. Select the top four vertises and merge them. (press alt + m then select " at center" in the menu that pops up.)
  5. Go back to object mode and make sure that your new arrow, (the cube) is selected Also make sure that you are on frame 1.
  6. Press i.
  7. Select “loc”.
  8. Jump ten frames forwards by pressing the up arrow.
  9. Move the arrow to a new location.
  10. Repeat steps 6-9 as many times as you like.
  11. Add an empty.
  12. Go to the empty’s ipo editor and give it the same ipo as your arrow. (At the bottom of the ipo screen there is a pop up menu that shows the current ipo that the object is using. This should be blank though. Click it and select “Obipo” in the pop up menu.)
  13. Go to the empty’s anim settings in the object setting and at the bottom there should be a little number imput labeled “time offset”. (The T might not show so it might only say “ime offset”) Set it’s value to -1.
    Were almost done.
  14. Select the arrow and then the empty so that the arrow is dark pink and the empty is light pink.
  15. Press ctr + T, and select “track to constraint.” in the pop down menu.
  16. Click the arrow, and go to constraints under object settings. There should be a “Track to” constraint.
  17. In the constraint settings, there are six buttons in a row. The first three say X, Y, and Z. The next three all have “-” on them. Out id the three “-” buttons, select the middle one.

And that should do it! Press alt a in object mode to watch the arrow point the direction that it’s moving. I’ll try to add pictures later. Do tell me if there is anything wrong with this tutorial.:wink:

Well I tried it till step 6.
Not that the tutorial itself is unclear, but to me, this is basic animation.
Thank nevernontheless, though.