Martin Wall, 3D artist

Newton's cradle

Of course everybody knows this little "manager's toy". I did it to experiment with physics a little bit.

It would have been too simple just to animate the two outside bullets and leave the others static. In fact they do swing increasingly; and I wanted to get the movement as natural as possible.

Blender offers the chance to do so; it includes an Open source library called "Bullet" dealing with rigid body dynamics; and there are several tutorials on the web describing Newton's cradle. Unfortunately most of them use the Blender Game engine; whilst I wanted to do it in Cycles (where it's included at least for the newer Blender versions, but offering quite different variables). Furthermore I'm not really a "physics guy", so that meant doing it by trial and error.

Funny enough the whole system seems not to work with bullets touching each other (as anyone would expect). The distance between the bullets is - amongst others - one factor influencing the duration the animation looks good. (I'm proud to say that I reach 18 collisions in the meantime; afterwards the bullets behave absolutely chaotic. I'll try to exceed this someday as soon as I find the time...)


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