Advanced curve modifiers

In this text I'll explain how Blender's curve modifiers can be used with scripted vertex group manipulation. Basic knowledge of Blender usage is required.

Curve modifiers can help you to make some interesting forms that would be otherwise difficult to model.

curve modifier example

Curve modifier deforms mesh according to curve. By default this affects whole mesh. But it is possible to use vertex groups to define which area are deformed and how much. And that is what makes curve modifiers quite a nice tool.

The problem is how to produce smooth transition between weight values. It is practically impossible to achieve smooth results with weight paint tools. But fortunately there is Python.

I made a following script which linearly interpolates weight values from 0 to 1: weight_interpolation.py

The script is linked to the min and max objects via Script Link-system. This makes it possible to have real-time deformations when min/max texts are moved. I think this is kinda cool!

interpolation

You can download .blend file from here.

Animation

Well, of course, if moving min/max -objects deforms the mesh, it is possible to animate deformation. This way you can animate vertex group's weight values too. If you download the .blend file above and hit Alt + A, you can see this effect in practise.

Gardening tool

I started with plane and then subdivided and added holes and spikes to it

Then I added first curve modifier in order to make place to the handle. For that I made a Bezier circle. Because I wanted to limit the effect of the modifier, I had to add vertex group to the plane. Then, by adjusting weight values with the script above, I managed to achieve something like this:

Next modifiers followed same pattern: make a curve, add curve mofier, add vertex group and adjust weigth values and curve.

And then some bending...

As a last modification I added a lattice that finalises the form.

That's it! The actual process of making this model was much more messy than described here. The reason for making this was that I wanted really test the possibilities of curve modifier.

You download the .blend file from here.

 

Conclusion

Benefits:

  • easy to texture
  • you can make wacky animations by animating curves
Working with curve modifiers can be quite confusing at start, but I think they are worth of trying. One tool more in your Blender toolbox.

 

More images of curve modified meshes:

curve modifier example

curve modifier example

curve modifier example