How To Use Blender For Animation: Using Physics Tab

In this post, we will be looking at the simplest animation you can create using Blender. We’ll set up two scenarios using the exact same scene but acquiring different end results.

The idea here is to demonstrate an understanding of how animations (using the physics tab) work on Blender and how easy it is to setup the basic principles.

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What We Learn From This Blender Course

This basic Blender tutorial is directed mainly for the beginner user. It’s not necessarily designed for creating complex and elaborate animations, but rather for giving an understanding of the basic principals to allow you (the user) to work your way up to bigger and better projects.

“A car is a complex piece of machinery, you need to learn the basics before you can drive it… same applies to Blender

In fact the key purpose of this tutorial is to demonstrate that it is not only about how to use Blender and its array settings, but also to show that the settings only play a part of the end animation results… sometimes you need to help Blender create the desired results even with the exact same settings in place.

Setting Up Your Scene

This is probably the most basic scene set up in the history of Blender.

You simply have the default cube (that loads up automatically on startup) and a simple plane (flat square area). This will be our scene to demonstrate a simple Blender physics simulation.

setting up your blender animation scene
Simple Blender scene ready for simple animation

Step 1: Creating The Default Cube

As already mentioned, all you have to do is load up this amazing 3D modelling software and the default cube will automatically be there.

However, it is worth noting that you can use any model that you may have already created for this experiment.

Step 2: Creating A Plane

This next part involves a little more 3D modelling experience, but I promise it is easy to do.

So we want to create a simple plane and we do this by going into the “Create” tab on the left of the screen and then clicking on “Plane”.

After that, you may move your mouse up or down to increase or decrease the size of the plane. Once you are happy, left-hand mouse click to set the plane in place.

creating a plane surface on Blender
Creating a simple mesh plane on Blender

Step 3: How To Move Objects In Blender

I promise, this is easy!

Here we want to simply raise the cube upward so that it is some distance above the plane. Essentially all we want is for the cube to fall downward and collide with the plane.

To do this, it is best to use a mouse (it can be complicated doing this using a touchpad.

Simply Right-Hand Click on the cube (you will see an orange outline around it, indicating it has been selected).

Then, move your cursor over blue arrow pointing upward, left-hand mouse click (keeping it held down) and move your mouse upward… the cube will now move upward.

moving objects on 3D package
Moving objects on Blender

Step 4: Applying Animation Settings To Your Models

Once we have the cube hovering above the plane it is time to learn how to make a simple animation in blender.

1. Select the “Play” button to run the animation: You will see nothing happens and this proves you need to apply settings to the models.

How to run your animations

2. Select the cube: Then Physics -> Rigid Body -> Active

Applying animation settings to 3d model

3. Select the “Play” button again: Notice how the cube now falls with gravity? However, we see it falls right through the plane… we want it to collide with the plane.

4. Select the plane: We want to follow the exact same steps as point 2. above, but this time we select “Passive” instead of “Active”… we do this because we do not want the plane to fall with gravity.

5. Select the “Play” button again: Now notice the cube falls and collides with the plane.

6. Watch the video: Now watch the rest of the video to help Blender with animating more realistic movement, dynamics, bounce effect.

And there you have your first Blender Physics animation. Although it is a basic animation, it does provide the foundations for advancing into more complex movements.