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How to master rigid-body simulation in Blender

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Date Added: 23rd September 2013
Software used:

Sphere setup 1

Let's see how to launch a mesh. Add a UV Sphere, Scale (S > 0,2), set Shading as Smooth and move to the front of the pyramid. Apply Scale (Ctrl+ A > Scale), click on Add Active button in the Rigid Body tools panel and change Shape to Sphere. Now click on Calculate Mass and choose a heavy material (like stone). We're ready to launch. Select the Sphere and open Physic panel, click on animated button (allow rigid body to be controlled by the animation system).

Sphere setup 1

Sphere setup 2

Select the first frame, move the mouse cursor to the 3D viewport and click I > Location (Blender creates a location keyframe). Jump to frame number 2 and move the sphere just a little (G key) and create another location keyframe (I > Location). Blender will use the difference of the two positions to calculate the initial velocity of the Sphere. Now move the cursor to the animated flag and press 'I' (this keyframe controls the animated flag). Move to frame number 3, deselect animated flag and (with the cursor on the button) click 'I' to create another keyframe. Jump to frame number one and click play.

Sphere simulation

Render setting

Select Cycles Render engine, add a Plane to the top of the scene and set material as emission. Other materials are very simple; I used a mix of diffuse and glossy Shaders with a wood texture for the cubes and a glossy Shader for the spheres. In Render tab enable Motion Blur, click on the No Caustic button to improve render speed, set render samples to 100 and select a movie file as the output. Move the camera to a good position to see the animation, click Ctlr + F12 and wait for the rendering.

Simulating the Spheres hitting the cubes

Top tip: Simulation cache and animation

The length of simulation is different from the length of animation. In the Scene tab you can change simulation length in Rigid Body cache panel. About simulation; it's better if you don't use small objects, as they're currently unstable. Objects should be at least 20cm in diameter. If your simulation is unstable try to increase the Solver Iteration in Rigid Body World panel.


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Readers Comments (Newest on Top)
Inogbox on Sat, 15 March 2014 12:36am
Confuse on Sphere setup 2 "Now move the cursor to the animated flag and press 'I' ", where i should move my cursor ? and what the "animated flag" mean, is that mean animated checkbox on physics panel?
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