5 Oct 2020

Explode Surface Animation Script

A script that will animate the expansion of pieces of a surface. Contains the script, documentation, an example surface, and a video of the finished result.

The Explode Surface module can be used to animate patches of a surface moving away from the center of the data. This is done by creating new surface views of each patch and using the TranslateObject script.


  • The module will run as soon as a valid surface is selected in the Data port.
  • Performance is known to be slow for a large number of patches (e.g., greater than 100).
  • If you subsample a label object before making a surface, re-index the labels to avoid empty materials. Otherwise, the script will take much longer than necessary.
  • Not intended for use with recipes.
  • It is recommended that you save your work before using this script.
  • It may also be worth creating a new project with only the surface loaded for animation. This is because a new Surface, Surface View, and TranslateObject.scro is created for each patch, and for some projects this will cause the interface to be very slow until the script is finished.
  • There is a known error when the surface is very far from the global origin. You can circumvent this by first translating the surface closer to the global origin and then using the script.

Preview image is derived from a micro CT scan of a Boa constrictor skull. These data are courtesy of Mark D. Scherz, Lorenzo Senici, and Frank Glaw at Zoologische Staatssammlung München in Germany.