Waves of color?

I want to make an object appear to have current flow. My idea is to animate groups of faces with more emissive color that appear to travel down the object. Hopefully, you can get the picture.

First, what do you think of this idea? Is there a better way to give the impression of current flow?

Secondly, do you know of an easier way to this other than assign IPO’s to the faces?

Have you tried mapping a blend texture to an Empty and moving the empty along the conductor?

Create an Empty and put it at one end of your conductor.

On the conducting object, create a material with a linear Blend texture; a colorband would work nicely here also. In the Map Input tabs, map this texture to Object and type the Empty’s name in the box. Animate the Empty to move along your wire.

That’s a great idea.

To tweak that a little - instead of an empty, maybe have short tube surrounding the conductor (only as long as the wave you want), but very close to the surface of the conductor. Play with the alpha value to get it almost transparent, and emit/color/whatever of the cylinder, and animate it along the conductor. The material could also use the ramp shaders for a cool effect, I think. Also, you could have a comet tail like effect, probably, too.

Depending on your camera angle, it could work.

(Caveat - I’m new at this, so it might be a sucky idea.)


Edit - oops - I just realized I assumed a wire-type conductor. If its something else, my idea probably wouldn’t work so good…

edit 2 - another idea… maybe just animate a lamp traveling down the conductor? Could play with the color of the light, even.

The empty idea is good, thanks. But if I wanted several emissive parts traveling together, I would need several empties and that seems almost as much work as the IPO’s. Maybe I don’t completely understand you though.

I have been thinking about using particles as well. I don’t suppose anyone has used anything like this?

Does anyone know how to renumber particle emission sites? For example, if you start with a circle the sites emit in order (as would be expected). If you subdivide the circle, the sites are now out of order. I thought I maight be missing a command, but can’t seem to find anything on this.

i dont know why you are avoiding ipo´s but you could use an animated texture in a shaped wave plane and then animate the plane and also add a emitter to get the wind effect hitting the wave it s simple and dont hurts

I’m avoiding IPO’s becuase the object I want to animate is high polygon count. If you don’t think that is a lot of work, then try it. Do some smaall objects first. Then get back to me.

I’ve been experimenting with the new 2.4 wave effects, pretty neat if you havent tried it.

Does anyone know a way to have these waves modulate the color of an object?

is high polygon count. If you don’t think that is a lot of work, then try it.

Vertex Groups, Armatures, Hooks…


Please don’t be so glib fligh%. Of course I know those tools, but think about doing this for as high poly count. I want several different bands. If I select the wrong amount to form a group and the anim doesn’t look right, then I have to go back through the entire object again. It’s also not very flexible if I want to change the anim in some way.

I think the best option is to use the new 2.4 wave effect and have it change the colors. Just need to fugre out how.

You can make a mockup to experiment on. You can make as many Vertex Groups as you want, they can overlap, be copies of previous ones, can be weightpainted, hooked, have particles and you only need to use the ones you want.

I’m not being glib as much as I’m saying that something like this takes a lot of trial and error, and then when you get it, it takes a LOT of work to pull it off so it looks acceptable (ask coq) and even more if you want it to shine. Up until my post Vertex Groups, (which was the first thing that came to my mind when I read “Groups of faces that travel”), hadn’t even been mentioned.

I feel for you but you’re going to have to do the work yourself.


i didnt knew the complexity of your scene, and was thinking like myself the intent was to help you begin doing your waves, this is a matter of my interest too, if you dont like small things crank your brain to have it done. I do expect the results !

I think the animated texture is a good idea too. Use an AVI movie file as the texture, instead of a still image.

…the animated avi sounds interesting, I’ll try that. May have to UV map it for complex objects, but that’s still fairly quick. And that’s what I’m looking for really, a simple and quick method to do this since I could use it on a lot of things that I model.

Ok, the avi format doesn’t support alpha (that means no transprency). Any ideas here guys?

The transparency problem can probably be solved using a sequence of tga or png files that support transparency. I’m having trouble now UV mapping an AVI. I only get the first image. Has anyone done this?

There are settings to adjust how many frames of the AVI to use, which frame to start, where to end, and how long… … and if you want to loop it too.