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Free script: Prepare Soft Bodies

Prepare Soft Bodies is a small companion script for Newton3, the physics engine for After Effects.

This script prepares a shape layer (or multiple) for a soft body simulation in Newton. It creates many small solids and places them at regular distance along the shape. It also connects the original shape path to the solids using expression.
After running the script, open Newton and add the appropriate joints to create a soft body. When you are back to AE, the original shape will be automatically modified to follow the animation of the small solids.

User Parameters

The script provides a Preferences dialog that allows you to customize the following parameters:

  • distance between 2 consecutive solids
  • size of the solids
  • color of the solids label (fixed color or random color for each path)
  • Bezier tangents method in case of Bezier path (maintain the original tangents or choose adaptative/”auto-bezier” tangents)

Usage Tips

  • When a path is processed, the created solids have the same color so you can select them easily in Newton using the C shortcut.
  • Create a soft body in Newton by connecting the small solids with distance and/or pivot joints.
  • Use the Shift + Click shortcut to create a cycle of joints (i.e., an additional joint is created between the last and the first selected body).
  • In the Joint Properties panel:
    • Turn off Collide Connected
    • For pivot joints, turn on the Enable Limit parameter (you can try to change the limit values)
  • It often helps to increase the Sub-steps parameter in the Global Properties/Solver panel, and the Collision Tolerance too.
  • If your objects are moving too fast, use the Time Divider to slow down the simulation. You can speed it up back in AE.

Tutorial : Balloons with Newton2

Tutorial : Balloons with Newton2

The final product:

Music: “Against My Will” by The Fisherman

You can download the AEP with Newton2’s settings (CS6 and above) here.

In this example, I wanted to illustrate the Gravity Scale feature in Newton2, and how we can use it to simulate flying balloons that interact with their environment.
Gravity Scale allows you to set a custom gravity per body.
I’ve used Connect Layers to represent the ropes attached to the balloons.

There’s no “Flying in the air” option in Newton, but you can somehow make objects fly if you use a negative Gravity Scale value!

balloons gravity scale

You need to tweak some parameters to make it look correct: for instance, balloons have lower density and higher bounciness coefficient. I’ve also increased the Linear Damping value to fake air resistance.


To add a sense of depth in the animation, I’ve used the Collision Group feature: the pink and green balloons collide with each other, but ignore the orange balloon. The little squares that simulate the ropes can only collide with the walls.


I’ve animated the hand graphics using AE’s Motion Sketch. I wanted the ropes to start from a unique point, but animated freely when the hand releases them. I’ve simply parented the start point of 2 ropes to the animated one. Then in Newton, I’ve chosen the Kinematic body type for all start points. At the end of keyframes animation, when bodies become dynamic, ropes move independently!


Creating the ropes was made easy by the use of the Rope feature of Connect Layers. You just need to select the reference objects, and hit Rope.

balloons Connect Layers


One common mistake is to forget to place the anchor point of your objects to the desire place, where the rope must pass through. You usually think about this after creating the keyframes in Newton. To solve this, create a null object, place it appropriately, and parent it to the reference object. Then choose the null instead of the reference object for creating the rope.

balloons null connect layers

Download test scene

[wpdm_file id=1]


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