Model, Rig, Animate a Wheel and its Tracks in Blender

If you have ever wanted to see a process from beginning to end in Blender, have a look at Juandre Labuschagne’s tutorial for modeling, rigging and animating a wheel in Blender. The cool part is that the wheel will leave behind tracks as it crawls along.

People sometimes underestimate what it takes to animate a simple wheel. Getting it to roll along at the correct pace can be tricky. You might think that you may need to bust out maths, citing the relationship between circumference and revolutions, but that is not always the case.

Applications that have constraints as part of their animation and rigging systems will allow you to animate a wheel quite easily. This is what Juandre Labuschagne shows, using a transform constraint on some bones in Blender. It is equally quite simple. As for having the rotating wheel leaving tracks behind, that can be done with Blender’s Dynamic Paint feature, revealing a displacement as the wheel rolls along.

Dynamic Paint can be used for a lot of tasks in Blender, as data is kept with the object’s vertices. This can make it really useful for a wide range of tasks in modeling, rendering and animation, like making tire tracks.

If you want to have another look at creating tire tracks with Dynamic Paint, Sardi Pax had a tutorial showing how to create wet tire marks.

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