Object Data

The curve properties can be set from the Object Data tab in the Properties Header (shown below in blue).

../../../_images/modeling_curves_properties_data_header.png

Shape

../../../_images/modeling_curves_properties_data_curves-shape-panel.png

Curves Shape panel.

Dimensions

By default, new curves are set to be 3D, which means that control points can be placed anywhere in 3D space. Curves can also be set to 2D which constrain the control points to the curve’s local XY axis.

2D, 3D

Resolution

The resolution property defines the number of points that are computed between every pair of control points. Curves can be made more or less smooth by increasing and decreasing the resolution respectively. The Preview U setting determines the resolution in the 3D View while the Render U setting determines the curve’s render resolution. If Render U is set to zero (0), then the Preview U setting is used for both the 3D View and render resolution.

../../../_images/modeling_curves_properties_data_shape-resolution-3.png

Curves with a resolution of 3.

../../../_images/modeling_curves_properties_data_shape-resolution-12.png

Curves with a resolution of 12.

Twisting

A 3D curve has control points that are not located on the curve’s local XY plane. This gives the curve a twist which can affect the curve normals. You can alter how the twist of the curve is calculated by choosing from Minimum, Tangent and Z-Up options from the select menu.

../../../_images/modeling_curves_properties_data_shape-resolution-12.png

Curves with a twist of Minimum.

../../../_images/modeling_curves_properties_data_shape-twisting.png

Curves with a twist of Tangent.

Fill

Fill determines the way a curve is displayed when it is beveled (see below for details on Beveling). When set to Half (the default) the curve is displayed as half a cylinder.

Fill Deformed
Fills the curve after applying all modification that might deform the curve (i.e. shape keys and modifiers).
../../../_images/modeling_curves_properties_data_shape-fill-half.png

Curves with a fill of Half.

../../../_images/modeling_curves_properties_data_shape-fill-full.png

Curves with a fill of Full.

Path/Curve-Deform

These options are primarily utilized when using a curve as a path or when using the Curve Deform Modifier. They control how objects use the curve and are dealt with in more detail in the appropriate links below.

Radius
Causes the deformed object to be scaled by the set curve radius.
Stretch
The Stretch curve option allows you to let the mesh object stretch, or squeeze, over the entire curve.
Bounds Clamp
ToDo <2.71.

Path Animation

../../../_images/modeling_curves_properties_data_path-animation-panel.png

Path Animation panel.

The Path Animation settings can be used to determine how child objects move along a certain path.

Frames
The number of frames that are needed to traverse the path, defining the maximum value for the Evaluation Time setting.
Evaluation Time
Parametric position along the length of the curve that object following it should be at (the position is evaluated by dividing by the Path Length value). By default, it is linked to the global frame number, but could be keyframed to give more control over the path animation.
Follow
Make the curve path children rotate along the curvature of the path.

Note

Deprecated, but still available use. A more future-proof method is the Follow Path Constraint.

Example

This example shows you how setup a Path Animation.

  1. Add an object you want to animate and a path along which this object will move. In this example it’s the Monkey and the Bézier Circle.
  2. To parent the monkey to the Bézier circle, first select the monkey then the curve (so that the curve is the active object), press Ctrl-P and select Follow Path. It will automatically animate Evaluation Time and activate Follow option in the Path Animation panel.
  3. Select the monkey and Clear Origin Alt-O to reset its offset.
  4. You can change the orientation of the monkey by changing the Tracking Axes under Relations Extras (with the monkey selected).
../../../_images/modeling_curves_properties_data_path-animation-example-1.png

Monkey parented to the Bézier Circle.

../../../_images/modeling_curves_properties_data_path-animation-example-2.png

The final result.

Active Spline

../../../_images/modeling_curves_properties_data_active-spline-panel-curves.png

Curves Active Spline panel.

The Active Spline panel becomes available during Edit Mode.

Cyclic
Closes the curve.
Resolution
Alters the smoothness of each segment by changing the number of subdivisions.
Interpolation
Tilt
Alters how the tilt of a segment is calculated.
Radius
Alters how the radius of a beveled curve is calculated. The effects are easier to see after Shrinking/Fattening a control point Alt-S.
Smooth
Smooths the normals of the curve.

NURBS Curves

../../../_images/modeling_curves_properties_data_active-spline-panel-nurbs.png

NURBS Active Spline panel.

Knots

One of the characteristics of a NURBS object is the knot vector. This is a sequence of numbers used to determine the influence of the control points on the curve. While you cannot edit the knot vectors directly, you can influence them through the Endpoint and Bézier options in the Active Spline panel. Note that, the Endpoint and Bézier settings only apply to open NURBS curves.

Cyclic

Makes the NURBS curve cyclic.

../../../_images/modeling_curves_properties_data_nurbs-default.png

Default NURBS curve.

../../../_images/modeling_curves_properties_data_nurbs-cyclic.png

A NURBS curve with Cyclic applied.

Bézier
Makes the NURBS curve act like a Bézier curve. The NURBS control points act like Free handles of Bézier curve. Depending on the Order, 3 or 4 control points form one curve segment. Cyclic and Endpoint must be disabled for this option to work.
Endpoint

Makes the curve contact the end control points. Cyclic must be disabled for this option to work.

../../../_images/modeling_curves_properties_data_nurbs-default.png

Default NURBS curve.

../../../_images/modeling_curves_properties_data_nurbs-endpoint.png

A NURBS curve with Endpoint enabled.

Order

The order of the NURBS curve determines the area of influence of the control points over the curve. Higher order values means that a single control point has a greater influence over a greater relative proportion of the curve. The valid range of Order values is 2-6 depending on the number of control points present in the curve.

../../../_images/modeling_curves_properties_data_nurbs-default.png

NURBS curves with orders of 4.

../../../_images/modeling_curves_properties_data_nurbs-order.png

NURBS curves with orders of 2.