Deform surface along a 3d Path?

Can a surface be deformed to match the curve of a 3d Path along which its being offset?

I’m trying to take a full screen page of text then fly it off into z-space as if its a piece of paper being blown away - flexing and bending as it goes.

I can move the surface as a solid along the path, but i want it to bend with the curves. I tried making it into extended bicubic, but not sure what to do after that!


Extended bicubic works in 3d space so, try to animate beziers in z while your surface moves along path. An animated displacement map applied to the surface producing bumps will also help, giving a more organic look

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thanks. unfortunately thats way more complex than i was hoping for. I need to animate 20 pieces of paper floating across the screen in different directions. I was hoping there was a way to deform the sheets to fluidly follow a 3d Path, but there is no way to do this.
Also tried Deform Mesh, but thats no good as you cant push the shape through the mesh, only the mesh across the static surface - the opposite to what i wanted.
I think the idea now is to scrap this and think of a new approach!

I had a similar task some time ago animating leaves, so I created the first one to my like and then replicated it a lot of times. It works if you offset them and the path also

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One thing you might be able to try - if you draw the coordinates in an axis using the draw button then link these to vertices.

or can you animate on a 3D path then just bicubic the surface but linked to another?

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i’ll try that when i get chance …thanks John. I’m not quite sure what you mean but its definitely a direction to investigate!!

I could have sworn there was a way to push a surface/shape through a deform mesh. My understanding of deform meshes is fogged somewhat by Maya 1.0’s lattice. It’s the same in theory, but Maya being a 3d app, it’s much easier to get under the hood and work on the source and destination cages separately.

but in theory you could have a long and boring source cage and a completely warpy crazy destination cage that did all the twists and turns you’d want.

As with most things like this, it’ll probably take you as long to work out if that’s feasible as it would to hand-animate everything. That’s my usual experience anyway.


As the surface is a direct parent of the deformation you would need to invert the surface’s axis animation for the deform mesh to be static in world space.

Also the lattice of the deform mesh is smooth for 3x3x3 grid. But when you make subdivision they break the smoothness continuity as far as I remember.

You could in theory create a BIIIG extended bicubic that will be the warped space of your object and animate the texture coordinates with a diffuse map that is scaled down.

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I tried it, failed, then read the manual which said it wouldn’t work!

I have a theory the 3dtools are so limited to encourage users to get Maya (or other 3d apps)…if Flame could do everything sales would be lost.

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How about you make a really wide action (say 10000x1080) with a piece of paper (1920x1080 but reduced in size) moving from left to right through the frame. Put the output of that (with matte for the paper) into a 1920x1080 action and bend the surface as a simple extended bicubic to provide the shape you want disappearing off into he distance or wherever, then the paper will flow and bend around the shape.


Nice solution sir!
I’ll give that a try next week when I get back to the office.

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I meant exactly this but being away from the box couldn’t illustrate. Thank you…

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You could even put a displacement map on it if you wanted to get crazy!

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