I'm trying to animate a polygon plane so that it follows a predetermined path, namely a spiral shape (the idea is to have two spirals to wind round eachother and create a DNA helix). The original position shouldn't move, the plane is supposed to 'grow' into the spiral. I'm kinda at a loss as to how to accomplish this. I guess it is possible to use curves somehow? Or model a spiral and have the animated plane sort of snap to it as it scales (warp deformer?)? I've no experience in this and don't know what to do, help please? :)
If you create a spiral curve, and also a square curve (not an actual plane, just a square-shaped curve) you can then use the spiral as an extrusion path (Surfaces > Extrude). If you choose 'Partial' instead of 'Full' in the 'Curve Range' option, this can be animated.
You'll have to manually add the 'cap' to the form, possibly just by doing a Planar operation on that square curve, or by lining up a poly plane in the right spot.
One downside is that as the length of the extrusion animates, you may notice some popping in the shape because the number of segments will have to increase as it gets longer and longer.
Give that a try and see if it is a useful technique for you.