Blender Tricks 01

Blender Tricks, 2024

I’ve been a blender user and advocate for a long time now. This open source project opened many doors for me and I have spent my 10.000 hrs in front of it’s magnificent interface. It also allowed me to remotely as well as physically connect with so many different kinds of people over the years. I’m always keen to give something back to it’s fantastic community so here are some tricks from my 10 years of use in commercial projects with varying size and contexts.


  1. Manipulating Cloth Simulation Speed
  2. Dupliverts and Duplifaces (coming soon)
  3. Using the Modifier Stack to your Advantage (coming soon)
  4. Not so Poor Mans Render Farm (coming soon)

Manipulating Cloth Simulation Speed

Story Time

This little trick saved my sweet buttocks when I created a quite long 3D Flag animation for a big seller of consumer electronics around 2014-ish.

The project was going really well, instead of only a few After Effects Animations I got the chance to flex my blender muscles and supply the team a custom 3D race flag animation to use as a key element across the whole campaign. The TV production house also liked the animated asset I created - but asked for the renders to be two times slower. I went back to regenerate the whole sequence but with double the amount of frames and half speed. Naive me thought the job is done, but very late we get a mail that the animation is still too fast! Half speed wasn’t a clear direction - it still needs to be slower.

Redoing the animation that slow resulted in extreme baking times and I could already see a few glitches - the cloth was just behaving different… I could also estimate render times to be around 90minutes for the now even longer sequence. So after a very stressful research I learned that you can export cloth simulations to an MDD cache - which basically stores vertex locations for each frame (shapekeys in blender). And then you could import these back on your mesh – this worked like a charm. I made the animation just as slow as my left over render time would allow. I sent out the img sequence on the save evening.

But the best about this!? I just checked – this little trick still works without any problems in blender 4.0.2, nearly 10 years later.

Converting a Cloth Simulation Cache to Shapekeys and interpolate between them

  1. Create your Cloth Simulation with no generating modifiers after the cloth sim.
  2. Activate the mdd import and export addon.

Edited Basis

  1. Select your Cloth Simulation Mesh, then simply navigate to the MMD exporter and save your mdd cache.
  2. Save a copy of your mesh – or your file - to be on the save side.
  3. Delete or disable the cloth simulation.
  4. With the mesh selected, navigate to the mdd importer and import your mdd cache.
  5. Select all now imported keyframes in the timeline, and while at the 0th frame scale up all the keyframes.
  6. And Boom – you can stretch your animation, do touch ups on single frames, transform the basemesh and even try to come up with seamless loops. Just be aware that this works by linearly interpolating from one key to another - so this technique will have it’s limits, too.

Edited Basis

  1. You can also disable linear interpolation on the keys. Doing that enables you to do Stop Motion like simulations on twos or slower.