Newbie with questions


I’m a teacher and I’m trying to create animations to teach about mechanical motion such as gears meshing, chains & sprockets turning , cams going up and down, etc. Would Synfig be a good program to show mechanical motion? Could I show how a piston moves up and down a cylinder, etc?

Also, what formats can I export to? I would like to make .swf files, if possible.


Synfig has something special that would allow to make you very complex math driven animation. If you know the maths, Synfig can animate it. Just take a look to the Convert page of the wiki and to the examples around for doing this:

Unfortunately there is not swf export. We can export to many video formats using ffmpeg bridge or just png sequence to assembly it ona video editor.
Good luck!

Synfig is designed for animation mostly.

There’s the possibility of implementing maths into the animation in order to simulate things like you want, but in general it would be very labor intensive except for the simplest simulations.

I think a 2D physics sandbox would be far more suitable for your purposes. Algodoo (previously Phun) is a really good one. I think this picture says it all: … _start.png

I spend quite some time playing with gas physics. It’s amazing just how easy is to simulate a gas: Just create lots of small circular objects with 100% elasticity/bounciness and confine them inside a container. As soon after simulation starts the objects will start bouncing off each other in chaotic manner and gas like behavior will emerge. I remember making a piston with “gas” on either side and managed to make it to oscillate by adjusting the initial “pressure” for one side higher than the other.

There’s also liquid like simulation by using “slippery” particles. All sorts of mechanical simulation (including gears). There’s even gun mechanism simulations on youtube. The sky is the limit.