Modeling an Easy Chain

In this Blender 2.5 video tutorial we have some fun and show you how to create an easy chain with nothing more than a single link, a array modifier and a curve modifier. Then we take it a bit further and show you the process of using the freshly created chain in a simple scene.

Note: this tutorial uses the official Blender 2.5 Alpha 2 release.

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74 Responses to “Modeling an Easy Chain”
  1. Posts: 7
    John Faurbo says:

    I can’t find the link to the studio setup tutorial that you talked about? Could you let me know where to find it?

  2. Posts: 1
    Lucas da Silva says:

    Very Nice tutorial! Keep up with the good work!

  3. Posts: 47
    Larry says:

    When using Ctrl 1,2,or 3 ect. you actually can delete the sub-surf modifier using Ctrl 0.

  4. Posts: 2
    Zech says:

    Hey Johnathan,
    I’m trying to get a “curve Path” added,but when I see the name of the “Curve Path” instead of saying curve like yours it says “NurbsPath”. I do have the option of the Curve Path but every time I click on it, it brings up a NurbsPath instead. could you help me fix this promblem.

    • Posts: 4100

      Hi Zech,

      The NurbsPath is still correct. The name of the object was changed a while back. You’re good to go :)


  5. Posts: 16
    Tony Clark says:

    Enjoyed the tut Jon but 1 prob, when you click H twice (when bezier circle is selected) to go in to free form I think you called it..all that happens for me is the curve hides, Im using 2.63 is there a different command now for this function. tnx for any help Jon.

    • Posts: 4100

      Hi Tony,

      At what point in the tutorial are you referring to? “H” hides the selected object. If you’re referring to the freeform rotation then it is R > R.


  6. Posts: 2

    Hi there, great tutorial…however no matter how hard I try I cannot get the array to work with the curve. Even replicating what you did does not remedy the situation. I’m Using 2.63

  7. Posts: 8
    Emmanuel Woo says:

    i am having a problem, when i render i don’t see the chains, only the pillar and no chain wrapped around it…

  8. Posts: 1
    somkit says:

    Seems to be an issue with blender 2.63.0…. the links don’t replicate down the path as they are supposed too. Is there a setting that needs to be applied to this version of blender to make it act as expected? It still follows the curve and more links will auto generate if you extrude or stretch the path…but the offset is so large it would be useless in most situations

    • Posts: 1
      Sean ONeal says:

      There’s an important bit about scaling, objects and using fit to curve that either was overlooked or has been changed since the video was made (I’m not sure, I’m still fairly new to Blender). I ran into the same problem but figured out the following solution after a bit of frustration.

      Make your torus as the video instructs. But, and this is the important part. Do NOT scale it in Object mode. Scale it down in EDIT mode only. As near as I can tell, this is because when you scale something in Edit Mode it actually moves the vertices. When you scale an object in Object Mode it scales the whole object relative to its Local Position. Since, again as best I understand it, the Fit to Curve option works off the local position and scale of the object, if this has been altered it messes up the whole thing. However, changing the vertice positions in Edit Mode leaves the Local Position and Scale unchanged (if you go back to Object Mode, hit N to bring up your tool menu you’ll note that the Scale for the object is still at 1-1-1). This is important in some other areas of modeling and probably good to keep in mind for anything you want to apply modifiers too. Hope that was clear.

      To Sum…
      Make Torus
      Switch to Edit Mode
      Edit shape to create link shape. **Edit Size**
      Then switch back to Object Mode
      Add curve
      Apply Array, etc.
      Should work fine.

  9. Posts: 1

    Is there a way to sort of ‘randomize’ the chain links, so they are unevenly spaced in relation to each other? The chain ends up a bit too perfect for me.

    Also, would it not be possible to have the surface that the chain is sitting on be set up like what a box for fluid? In other words, the surface would more or less ‘interrupt’ the chain …

  10. Posts: 3
    madski says:

    I’m following this video as best I can, but now that we’re on updated Blender 2.7, a few things look a little different. Instead of just adding an empty, there are now some options. I want to make sure that I am choosing the right items. Is there an updated tutorial for this particular segment or can you let me know if anything else has changed much with this scene?

    • Posts: 4100

      Hey madski,

      The new empty options are merely different display types for empties. They’re all the same type of object, and so any of them will work.

      • Posts: 3
        madski says:

        Thnx. I am still playing around with it. The Path is what’s killing me at the moment. I get to the point where I change from Fixed Count to Fixed Curve and it takes the whole chain away except for 1 link. Stuck lol

      • Posts: 3
        madski says:

        Never mind! I got so frustrated with it I had to take a break. I got it worked out now. Always take breaks! lol

      • Posts: 4100

        Breaks do wonders :)

        Anytime you’re working with Curves, Curve Deform modifiers, Arrays, etc, be sure that your Rotation and Scale are applied. Scale/rotation transforms can wreak havoc on expected results with these. Also pay careful attention to the object origins.

  11. Posts: 10
    jaguier says:

    Im starting to learn blender.. i just have a question. how do you toggle cycles on blender 7.1? when i press “C” i get the selection circle….

      • Posts: 10
        jaguier says:

        Thanks for the tip… i discovered that you can also do that with Alt + C… :)

  12. Posts: 1
    takenote61 says:

    Everything works great – one minor (I hope) confusion. When I set the Curve modifier to the CurvePath, the whole chain scoots over so that the center of the curve is at 0,0,0 location. Per the video, the chain link, empty and path should all be aligned. I line them up and as soon as I add the curve name to the Curve modifier, the shift left (x) occurs. How do I set the curve origin to the first adjustment point?

  13. Posts: 1
    xenophobia says:

    Okay, so I got as far as ‘add empty’ and when I set the chain to offset object empty, it makes the second link enormous? How can I fix this?

    • Posts: 4100

      Select the chain link and press CTRL+A > Apply Scale. The issue is that you’ve scaled the chain link in object mode, thus changing it’s relative scale. By applying the scale it will set the XYZ values back to 1, making the array work better.

      When the scale or rotation values are unequal to one it will use that value as a multiplier for each instance in the array.

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