In This Chapter
Playing with particles
Simulating physics with soft body and rigid body dynamics
Working with cloth simulation
Creating fluid animations with Blender's fluid simulator
When animating, some actions are difficult or very time-consuming to get right, such as explosions, fire, hair, cloth, and physics-related actions like moving fluids and bouncing objects. In order to get these things to look right, one solution is to let the computer do the work and create a simulation of that action taking place. You use variables like gravity and mass to define the environment and the computer calculates how the objects in the scene behave based on the values you set. It's a great way to get nearly accurate motion without the need to key everything by hand. That said, don't make the mistake of thinking simulations give you a huge time savings in animation. This isn't necessarily true, as some highly detailed simulations can take hours, or even days, to complete. Instead, think of it as a way to more reliably animate detailed, physically accurate motion better than you might be able to do by hand alone.
This chapter only scratches the surface of what can be done with the simulation tools in Blender, so you should certainly look at additional resources, such as Blender's official online documentation, as well as Tony Mullen's Bounce, Tumble, and Splash! (published by Wiley) book on physics simulation in Blender to get a full understanding ...