Trail / thruster animation

been working hard on trying to re create this trail animation in blender

so far as I get it is a plane divided therefore is not particle.
but can reproduce it correctly, been trying the whole afternoon and im going insane, any ideas?

I have an idea!

You could create the thruster trail by using a curve object complete with a bevel object, this also has to be a curve object. Then give it a light emission based material, with halo effect to boot. To animate the curve object you can use hook modifiers to “bend” the curve as the ship twists. These hook modifiers use a target object so what you would need to do is animate these targets to achieve the bending. The thinning of the trail can be achieved by using a “taper” option on the curve object.

I see from the video that the ship is effectively “stationary” to the camera, so you can just place the ship in front of the camera and then animate the passing object to “fly” by the ship. If you want the trails to move with the ship as you animate that relative to the camera, it might get a little more complex.

This is just my first thought - other may have a better idea, as might I in time, but it might give you a start.

Cheers, Clock.


If you make the rotation of the hook targets lag incrementally behind the rotation of the ship, you will get the effect you are looking for.

it sort of worked :o! will animate something and show you the results. but insted of using a bewel object just created a plane mesh in which the effect is proyected.

im having issues with the thrust follow the rotation of the whole model, the trails tend to cross and get deformed, is there a way to make it track the models rotation but slower?

so far this is what I got, im thinking about making a tutorial for this effect once I get it right cause it has been a pain in the ass.

managed to copy the rotation of the hull using a copy location contrain aiming to a empty parented to the hull, one for each trail, but now must fix the trail self rotation, because when I make a “barrel roll” with the ship the trail rotates inwards and not outwards as it should. so im trying to fix the rotation trying to copy the rotation of the hull as it rotates as the trail should but so far I have no result.

just figured that the origin point for the bezier curve wont follow the hook modifier, only the bones.

Post you blend file and I will look at it, for larger rotations (out of the -180 to 180 range), you are better off to use Drivers rather than Copy Rotation constraints. For the Hook modifier, you need to assign vertices to each modifier in Edit Mode, I think you need at least three vertices snd three hooks. I would place the origin vertex of the trail next to the ship and add a Hook modifier there so it follows the ship, or you could try a 3 Axis parent. Until I see the blend file, I cannot comment further as I am not sure exactly what you have done.

Cheers, Clock.