I have a math-art project I’m working on in which I’m trying to do a 3D version of graphics stuff I’ve done a lot of in 2D using Java. I’m trying to find out what 3D modeler can do what I want via scripting rather than manually. I’ve done a few simpler things in Blender using Python scripts and that’s the route I’d like to use here.
The basic thing is I have points that are coupled to one another in such a way that they each trace out a different curve as a single parameter in the system is changed. In 2D each point is given some shape - typically a small circle - and as the parameter changes each of these traces out it’s own curve (Each frame is just a point cloud but compositing these gives the path traces). I can control the color of each trace, the diameter of the shape, etc. to end up with a wild collection of these curves. I typically want a lot of them so there are usually anywhere from 10 to 10,000 of these curves that get rendered into a single image.
I want to do this in 3D because the equations governing these are easily extendable to 3D a 3D animation of the curve set developing would be great for animations I sometimes do to go along with talks about this kind of thing.
I am not far beyond newbie level in Blender, but I can’t seem to find out a) can I do this using Blender and b) what would be the best way if it is possible.
Naively I image thin tubes being created as the trace of small spheres moving under the influence of the equations. I’m not really clear how to go about that, and I have a big concern that I would be able to get a reasonable number of them (I’d be delighted with just 100 or so) and not either crash Blender or have to wait until I’m really old for a render to finish.
At first I thought maybe I could use Python to control a particle system down to the level of each particle’s path and somehow get finite diameter traces out of their paths that could be rendered, but it seems that that was expecting too much when I tried to look into that.
I’m also willing to hear that I should consider using X (I was looking into 3Ds Max last night) instead of Blender for such a project, though I’d prefer Blender as I like the price and that I can script pretty much anything it can do using Python. This is not a scripting question: I’m familiar enought with that part of using Blender, I just don’t know if Blender is a good choice for this.
In the end I want these “tubes” to be able to be semitransparent, or reflective or some combination of that rather than just opaque but that’s down the road. For now I don’t know if I should be spending any time at all in Blender trying to do this particular thing.
Thanks a lot for any insight or suggestions anyone can offer.