Dynamics and animation for complex underwater motion



I’m faced with a task of animating underwater objects (e.q. rigged models with animation) along paths. But the objects (their motion paths) need to be affected by turbulence.

Particles or doing some flocking (e.q. flight node in mash) seem to be a solution in normal circumstances. )

Now, to add one more challenge, the objects don’t move continuously (e.q. propulsion on at all times). They move in jumps. Jump (move forward by x units) -> stop (propulsion off) and move with turbulence field -> jump the direction the object is facing -> repeat.

And one more complication: each object has soft body parts attached (ncloth, nhair, or “soft” parts of the rig) that need to be affected by the same common turbulence field.

The jumping behavior is something I can’t get my head around so far. Any advice/alternative approaches or software appreciated. In the worst case scenario, if I opt to animate objects semi-manually (not many are needed!), is it possible to animate the position of a dynamic body (soft or hard) in the middle of turbulence field?