Machine Animation

Hello everyone, hope you all are doing well.

I have designed a machine part in Rhino and wanted to make a video of it, similar to the one in this video -

Any advice on how can I get started with it? Is grasshopper a good option to make this kind of video? Or if any other software if anyone can suggest, it will be really helpful.

Thank you

i think you should be able to make simple up down animations like these including simple camera movements even without bongo just plain grasshopper, also having DOF and similar textures i think. it could get a bit fiddly thought, but i dont have any experience.

for a broader spectrum such visualisations are usually done in software packages which are more aimed at animation and rendering including particle simulations, mostly like probably in this case combined with video editing and/or tools which are more focused on implementing effects and animated description.

i personally use cinema 4d for such work, a free and similar capable option would be blender.

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I haven’t used it myself, but this plugin appears to be for making exploded assembly animations like this:


Thank’s a lot Daniel, I haven’t used this plugin either but looks interesting will surely check it out. Thank you.

Thank you for the reply, I have no experience with cinema 4D or blender myself but I can take a look at both of them. Which do you think will be more appropriate for this kind of work, Cinema 4D or blender?

Pardon me but what does bongo and DOF mean?

if you google DOF which means Depth Of Field the first or second link will give you already a wikipedia entry. to spare you the heavy typing, it is a photographic term describing how much field you have till it starts blurring out. it is simulated in 3d to make blurry for-, backgrounds.

Bongo is McNeels own Animation package, a homegrown plug in.

If you have both at hand C4D or Blender, i would prefer C4D because i am used to it. The interface is known to be very intuitive and the package is very capable. Blender is a very powerfull tool which is getting a lot of attention these days not only because its free but also because the development is constantly being pushed and has evolved into a very serious “competitor” even for commercial screening. but the interface was never a real friend of mine. i tried many times to get into it, even they changed a lot to make it more inviting for the masses, but it remains akward.

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Do not even consider wasting your time with Bongo! I’d go with Blender if your new to it. With very little experience, I’ve done some product animations in Blender that look amazing. It is truly a formidable tool these days. Cant beat the price!

If you put some effort into materials and lighting you will get as good if not better results than your example.

I’ve also tried using grasshopper a few times for this type of thing but the setup is tedious and rendering out of GH still seems incomplete and buggy to me. Not really worth the effort most of the time my opinion.


i never used bongo, because there simply is no mac version. but i heard it will be in the making if it has not started already and that the new version will contain dynamics which is an important feature. i am curious how the development will progress.

i am not a fan of switching software all the time, if it could all be made in rhino i would prefer that. also if bongo would be integrated into vanilla rhino, that would make it even less complex and diverted in my o pee onion.

Oh never knew about Bongo, that is nice will have to check sometime. Thank you so much for this information, helps me to narrow down to few software options.

Thank you for your response. Yeah, I have no knowledge of blender or bongo.

Yes, I have done basic video with grasshopper but the scripting to match each piece take a while and as you said tedious. I will surely give a look at blender, seems like the best option. One last thing, do you know any place where I can start learning it for such animations? Any youtube page or website would be helpful.

Thank you once gain for this information.

Blenderguru is a good one start with on YouTube but there are many out there. A quick google search will usually yield good results if you are looking for a specific topic or tool. Start with basic key-frame animations.

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Your not missing much. Bongo would be half acceptable if it came preinstalled with rhino. As a paid add on it is terrible value for money and just not very good in general.

I’m not sure what your referring to with dynamics, but I’m sure Blender has an equivalent, probably better. You can certainly set up really nice easing curves between key frames that add a lot of realism. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

yes that would be the idea, if it would be shipped with Rhino out of the box, not having to pay for it extra. It lags kind of behind the competition. still i would prefer it being developed and brought up to the state of the art.

was talking about this

This has turned into a Bongo discussion so I moved it.

Thank you for the guidance, will search for Blenderguru. Yes, I have never used blender so basics is what it is :slight_smile:

You could create an animation like that in Bongo. You also wouldn’t need to leave the Rhino environment when creating the animation. This can be quite convenient when you want to modify an object or material, and then can avoid the hassle of importing/exporting between software. Bongo also comes with an IK (inverse kinematics) system similar to Blenders allowing you to simulate the motion of your machinery. Bongo also has a suite of tutorials here and we’re always willing to help you here on the forums.

Here’s an example of some machinery animated by another Bongo user

You can also try the evaluation version of Bongo here before making a final decision.

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Thank you for the response Joshua, this looks promising. I haven’t used Bongo but will try with the evaluation version.
Yes, changing different software platforms is a pain, geometries get exploded and it messes up. I would like to know do we get a .mp4 output from Bongo or images that we have to stitch later?

You can get both!

When you render an animation with Bongo the individual frames will be output. Bongo also includes a video encoder that will combine all the frames into a variety of video formats, including MP4. Here’s the corresponding documentation for the video encoder.

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That sounds perfect. Thank you for the guidance.