Animate a Circular Path

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Let’s animate a circle! Easy….right?

OVERVIEW

This exercise is designed to be an application of the information learned in Chapter 1 of the Animation Bootcamp course. The point is to animate a sphere in a perfectly circular path using only 5 keyframes and the graph editor. What you will learn is how the f-curves of your keyframes can work together to generate smooth, clean animation. “Clean” as in it uses the least amount of keyframes as possible.

exercise_animate-circle-path_demo

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Download the Animate a Circular Path: Source Files from the Downloads tab. Unzip and open the included .blend file with Blender.
  2. Using only 5 keyframes and their f-curves, animate the ball in a perfectly circle path around the world origin.
  3. Render your animation as an openGL viewport render loop. “Loop” means that the animation ends exactly how it begins so it can play seamlessly forever.
  4. Loop your animation 5 times and export as a video file.
  5. Upload your video to YouTube or Vimeo.
  6. Finally, submit your exercise by clicking the Submit Exercise button in the top-right corner of this page and pasting your video’s URL.

Exercise Questions and Answers

Ask a question and get an answer!

Submit your Question
  • Replies: 2

    When I try to use the OpenGL render option I receive the following error…

    “Failed to create OpenGL off-screen buffer, unknown.”

    any ideas on this? Using Ctrl F12 works just fine though.(save its just a black circle moving, guessing there is no lights set up, and I can’t say how to set the motion path to show with that method either.)

    2 months ago

    • Replies: 0

      Maybe your file has not been saved?

      2 months ago

    • Replies: 1

      Blender will get confused if it doesn’t know where to save the images to.
      So try to save the file to your HDD and then try again.

      2 months ago

      • It was saved, and using the regular blender render created the render folder in my exercise directory. Was working on my laptop at the time, when I copied it over it worked just fine on my desktop machine though. The only difference I can see right off is the laptop is running Win 7 and the desktop is Vista. Same version of Blender (2.77), the desktop’s main use is with Blender, while I use the laptop for games, web searching and things the like mainly.

        Well was able to submit this exercise so moving on to the next exercises. I’ll just fiddle around to see if I can find whats going on with the laptop, maybe someone else will run into it someday.

        2 months ago

  • Replies: 1

    I’m having some issues exporting the animation as an openGL to youtube. I’m able to get the file to render and play, but I’m not sure how to save it and export it from there.

    4 months ago

    • Replies: 0

      If it is playing after you render then it has been exported. Check you render settings to see location and the format of the export.

      It is most likely that you are exporting to an image sequence (.png) which won’t be accepted by Youtube.

      You will need to turn the image sequence into a movie file.

      4 months ago

  • Replies: 2

    I am trying to increase the spacing between keyframes. Since there’s no caption on the exercise video, I couldn’t figure out which key to press while dragging. Help?

    7 months ago

    • Replies: 1

      Select the keys and hit ‘G’ or ‘E’. (I explain the difference in the video)

      7 months ago

      • Hi, Wayne: Thanks for your quick reply. When I did it, for some reason, instead of moving the keyframes, there are new keyframes added when I stopped moving the mouse. I had tried both the “G” and the “E” key. The results were the same for both keys. Did I miss something because in the video the old keyframes are supposed to move instead of new keyframes being added?

        7 months ago

    • Replies: 1

      It sounds like you have either duplicated the keys or you are not actually selecting all the keys in the dope sheet.
      Maybe you have locked the channels? That will prevent those keys from moving but relocate any unlocked channels to the new frame (and give the impression you have created new key frames)
      expand them and see if there are and padlocks next to the channels.
      That’s all I can suggest I’m afraid.

      7 months ago

      • Hi, Wayne: Thank for your suggestions. I had one of the channels for location Z locked. It works now that all the channels had been unlocked. Thanks for your help.

        7 months ago

  • Replies: 1

    It seems the animation is all well, but I can’t seem to be able to move the camera back and forth (looks like the Z axis) to catch the whole circle. It’s close enough for this, but I can’t figure out why that is. Just to be clear, it moves on the other axis just fine.
    Maybe a bug, probably a face palm.

    7 months ago

    • Replies: 1

      The camera is in orthographic mode.
      So select it and change the ortho_size.

      It is in orthographic intentionally so you don’t get any perspective distortion.
      That can change the appearance of the spacing dastically depending on the camera angle. So learning how spacing works with ortho first is best 😉

      7 months ago

      • Got it thanks. I adjusted the circle to fit the camera, but I do appreciate the info.

        Ps. I really love this course. Thank you!

        7 months ago

  • Replies: 1

    How do you get the motion path to render?

    8 months ago

    • Replies: 0

      Use the openGL render and make sure you don’t have ‘only render’ checked.

      8 months ago