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Animated Modifiers


animated modifiers ipo -Matt EbWith all the talk about new and future modifiers its logical that we should be able to animate them.

But unfortunately you currently can't animate a modifiers settings. Easily at least. Matt Ebb has come up with a nice little hack using the bPython API to animate them now if you'd like. A work around until this gets addressed.

One neat example Matt demonstrated is animating a decimate modifier (short animation demonstrating, right click and save as please). I can see this being powerful and very useful. Imagine linking a decimate modifier or even SDS modifier to your camera. Then have an object's polygon count adjust during an animation depending on its distance from the camera.

Matt's full post on animating modifiers can be found at his website.

A demo .blend file is also available to demonstrate this technique. Download it here. (remember to enable script links in the scripts button tab)


  1. I never thought of that kind of implementation of the decimate function, but that would be amazing for certain applications. I'm already envisioning drivers that would clamp so that it never went below a certain detail level. It would be great for something like a battle flyover. I've often wondered why these couldn't be animated. I'd especially like to be able to edit the array modifier.

  2. That would be a very great improvement!

    Being able to change the subsurf level as well would allow to reduce the computing time when the object is far enough from the camera... Less progressive than decimate, but maybe less deformation of the mesh...

    A lot of very interesting features could probably come with animated modifiers !

  3. One thing to watch out for when animating modifiers is that vector motion blur fails on a mesh who's poly count changes between frames. So, either the vector blur node would need to have some surgery done to it or you'd have to be very careful about how you used it. Cool though. And I see no reason why modifier settings would be any harder to enable as Ipos than other elements in the sources.

  4. Interesting point harkyman. I'd hope in the process of updating the source to support animated modifier settings that vector blur could be updated to adapt with polygon count changes as well.

  5. harkyman, yep, I think that example might be a bit misleading though - there are plenty of interesting ways in which modifiers could be animated that don't involve changing geometry (especially modifiers that don't exist in Blender yet but could potentially, like taper, bend, twist, etc).

    And as much as I surely don't mind the publicity, it would be nice to also see some news here that I haven't already read ;)

  6. I do like the idea of modifiers being able to be animated and such, but I'm kinda uncomfortable with the idea of blender becoming bloated with modifiers, ever seen max? Sure some more could be good, but wouldn't it be a better idea to wait with that untill the gui redesign? Maybe the modifiers could be reordered, and double functions could be merged into single modifiers and such. There was a topic a while back about having a spin modifier for instance. this could be merged with the array modifier if you really really need it (from an enduser point of view that is) and with a new interface the tools could be better reorganised.(this is getting to long and offtopic...........)

    Having said that, the edgesplit modifier really saved my neck a couple of times.

    Example about refining modifiers: for instance the edgesplit could be refined by also being able to split based on vertex groups, thus behaving a bit more like smoothing groups the way max has em. Not that I would need em, not now anyway, but it's just an example, maybe we can make more of the modifiers we have, than keep adding new ones?

    Wasn't there a taper script around somewhere? for those that need it? can't be animate though.

  7. "Everything animateble" is a must on modern animation packages.
    "Is Maya better than Blender?" Yes. Without a doubt. Maya does not need an extra IPO struct entry in its software to get a slider moving over time...

    I think Matt's solution to this is less of a "Hack" then what it looks like. I have no idea why nobody made some "value" ipo's that can be "wipped" AE style to any button in blender, creating an "on frame change" python scripty. (Actualy I do have an idea as to the why, but that's another discussion).

  8. Just a stupid question, what if you are rendering a big or large single object, like a superstar destroyer, is it possible to perform a progressive decimation? So the same object is fully detailed near the camera and fully decimated in the far end. I think that a more, a lot more thought should be put in this LOD. It is a very complicated subject.

    But all in all, the way it is presented now it will solve a LOT of problems. Thank you Matt!

  9. this is great news. already some modifiers that can't be animated would benefit, like turning on and off ( or ramping smoothly) a wave modifier. Ideally, every place you enter a number should be animate-able ;)

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