Parachute - deploy animation + damage


At the beggining I’d like to apologize for my English - I’m one of those people who make Grammar Nazi shed a tear. Not intentionally though - still working on it.

I wanted to incorporate parachute deployment for one scene of my animation but I’m not entirely sure how I should apporach the subject.

Type of parachute will be old military WW2 like this one:

Could you please give me tips how to create beliveable parachute that would work with animated character? By beliveable I mean parachute deployment that afterwards is pretending to be under air force flinging a little bit and reacting to movement (jerking arround, character animation will incorporate yanking with the holster to take out the pistol) of character that it’s strapped to. Also parachute would be damaged after deployment by projectiles creating small holes that then expand under air forces to the state similar to shown on above reference picture (still remaining functionality)

Please, if you know how to make above then explain it in the most dumbproof way you can imagine. I’m kind of fresh to Blender, especially in animation and simulation department (I was mostly playing with modeling, sculpting and general retopology for the time being). Aside from technique, how to model parachute itself so it folds out properly?

Thank you in advance,


This could be an advanced topic, depending on how realistic you want to simulate the parachute.
You could use the physics system, cloth physics and wind force for example, or you could fake the effects.
Both systems have different work flows.

When it comes to shooting holes in the parachute, I think swapping the parachute for a different mesh, when it gets shot would help.

Unfolding the parachute from the bag, depends what system you would be using, physics, or rigging.
Im not sure how good the physics effect would be, for unfolding, this could take some serious testing, or may just work nice.

Heres a low poly cloth and wind parachute example:
With physics, make sure you Free All Bakes before saving, or the file size may be giant, unless you want to keep the baked physics.

You should decide, if you want to try animate with physics, or rigging, or both.
Also, how detailed is this project, are you going for realistic, or low poly style?

Aside from technique, how to model parachute itself so it folds out properly?

I dont think it will matter much how the parachute is modelled, as long as the topology is decent, when its rigged, just make sure its folded correctly.
The parachute could be folded with armature bones, shape keys, or just remodelled like that, ready for physics.
Im not sure how good the physics effect may be, for the canopy opening.

If youre making a high poly parachute, it may be best to use a low poly deform cage.

Good luck with the project.

Thank you for contribution dirty-stick

That’s not good - that’s pretty uncharted territory for me. Is there any specific source (article, tutorial, example) that would handhold me for a while before jumping into the deep water that I could get in this regard?

Thanks, I will check it out once I get home.

Parachute won’t be high poly - I have only single GTX Titan at my disposal as my available rendering power so it will have ~60k tris at best if necessary. (I’m not sure if it’s ok polycount by the way, it’s going to be my first “serious” animation - I didn’t know what I’m signing for when I choose topic for my project and now I can’t change it - but I won’t wave white flag)

Idea was to render it in cartoon/comic style similar to “Paths of Hate” although I have no clue how to achieve even remotely similar effect in Cycles (and that’s mandatory requirement as with my i5 2500k it will take AGES to render), actually it doesn’t even have to look exactly like it, I just desire that flat 2D effect - general topic of the project is focused arround animation so from visual standpoint it should just look “acceptable” (yeah, I know it’s a wide term). On average I’m trying to stick with 40-60k tris for models that require detail like pilot, plane, cockpit (separate model to use in different scene with pilot’s PoV), carrier ship, airfield - first doing high poly version then baking maps and reworking topology for low/med poly.

I’m thinking to create that kind of “jerky” animation to better fit cartoon-ish style. I mean with no interpolation between keyframes to better fit 2D effect.

Shape keys may be a good way to make a jerky effect.
Something like this example:
Im not really sure how parachutes flap about in the wind.

If the parachute is high poly, it would probably be best to animate it with a low poly cage, the Mesh Deform modifier can be used to bind a high poly mesh to a low poly mesh.

There are different ways to rig a parachute.
You could use just shape keys, or parent mesh to armature bones + shape keys, or rigging + physics.

If youre new to rigging, learning any of these will help you get better at rigging.
May be best to avoid physics if time is a problem, the desired results can be hard to achieve sometimes, and you dont have as much control over the final animation.

Learning how to make and animate shape keys may good place to start.