The Btrace addon has several features to combine curves with animated or static objects. One of the features is to trace the surface with curves. Another feature is to connect objects with curves and there is a lot more you can do. Instead of curves though, you can remove the bevel and convert curves to mesh. Then you add a skin- and subdivision modifier. If it’s not for animation this gives better results.
How to enable the Btrace addon?
In Blender you go to Edit > Preferences > Addons. There, under the community (button) category you will find the Btrace addon. So type in the search-field Btrace and be sure you toggle-button Community is on. Enable Btrace (Add Curve: Btrace), then Save Preferences (left bottom) and Refresh (right top). You can find the Btrace addon in the N-Panel in the Create TAB.
How to use Object Trace?
For the feature Object Trace, best is to use the skin modifier after converting the curves to mesh. Before you do that be sure to turn the bevel off for the curves. In the video below I’ll show you the work-around.
There are other features in the Btrace addon here briefly a list. I’ll see if it’s an idea to make video’s for those as well later this week. So keep an eye on this article if you find the Btrace addon interesting.
- Objects Connect. Usage example: Create three cubes, animate their location. Then use Objects Connect and run the timeline. You see the cubes connected by a curve and these curves will follow the animation. You can also add noise. Now a fun part is that if you don’t like those curves, you can delete it. And still the cubes have noise in their animation.
- Mesh Follow. Quite a cool feature. Usage Example: Add a cube to the scene and animate the cube. Then use Mesh Follow. You will see now curves that draw the path of the animation. It’s worth to experiment with the Add Grow Curve Animation option, but you will want to scale the time in the timeline. So selected all the curves, go to frame 1, and press s to scale. (To make it faster, probably).
- Particle Trace. This option gives an error at the moment. [Btrace]particles.particletrace: OperatorError: name ‘ob’ is not defined
- Particle Connect. This option gives an error as well. particles.connect: OperatorError: bpy_prop_collection[index]: index 0 out of range, size 0
- Grow Curve. Add a curve to the scene. For example one of the nice curves that come with Fluid Designer. And then use Grow Curve. Go to frame 1 in the timeline, select the curve. Then Scale the keyframes to your liking. Probably you will want to scale it down so the animation goes faster.
- F-Curve Noise. Give an object some noise (animated) on Location, Rotation and/or Scale. Pretty handy. Though, you will want to go to the Graph Editor to adjust some settings. (Speed, strength, etc).
- Color Blender. Also a nice feature. With this you can animate the base-color (diffuse/albedo) of a material. It seems the the base color will get a driver.