Efficient Armatures and Rigging

Lee Salvemini - 337Radion
2 ratings

Learn Blender's Armatures. Start with the joint drawing tools and create a digital skeleton for Rigging and Deforming a 3D Character. Then a complete Control Rig for efficient posing and animation.

  • 25 Chapters with a total runtime of 10 Hours 30 Minutes
  • Resource Files and Example Files included
  • All steps recorded with Narration
  • Resources are CC0. Use them for anything! No need to credit or attribute
  • Learn the tools to empower your own Characters with believable movement


  • 1 Armature - Intro
    • Rigging is the process of attaching 3D meshes to a virtual skeleton. So that a character can move and be animated more naturally. In Blender, this object type is called an Armature. Starting with a single Bone, they can be drawn out as digital joints underneath a character model. Then, after attaching the character model to the bones, it can be posed and animated. This is the best way to get a character moving for a game or animation.
    • 3m 19s

    2 Armature - Adding and Editing Bones

    • Let's start with an overview of Blender's Armatures. This lecture covers adding and editing bones. Then drawing out the joints to create a skeleton.
    • 37m 27s

    3 Armature - Pose Mode

    • Once you've drawn out a skeleton with the Armature tools in edit mode. Next is to set the bones into solid joints and begin testing poses. We can do this by switching to Blender's third mode, Pose Mode.
      This lecture covers the features of Pose Mode, how it's similar to Edit Mode, and also how these modes differ.
    • 24m 0s

    4 Armature - Quickest Way to Export a Character

    • Let's go through the quickest way to Rig and Export a Character with a new Armature Skeleton. Now that you understand the Edit Mode of Blender's Armatures used to draw joints, and Pose Mode, where the joints become solid bones and can be animated. In this lecture, I cover the most efficient way to get a character and skeleton working and attached, then ready for Export.
    • 16m 14s

    5 Armature Properties - Skeleton Panel

    • Let's start our look at the Armature Properties with the top Skeleton panel. You can toggle reset the pose back to how it is in Edit Mode. Or manage Bone Layers with Protected Layers, which are helpful to avoid breaking a rig when it's linked in another file or scene.
    • 23m 21s

    6 Armature Properties - Bone Groups

    • Bone Groups are great, and serve two purposes which you can give to your rigs:

      1 - General selection sets. You can make a list, maybe calling one 'arm bones' and add only the arms to that group. Then you can select them any time you want.

      2 - Group colors. Along with grouping bones together to quickly select or deselect. You can change the Color Theme of any group with the pop down menu. All sorts of pre-made options exist to give your bone group a 3 color set (Normal, selected, actively selected). There's also a custom theme to add your own color combination. If you have custom shapes (covered soon) on your bones, they will be colored too!
    • 11m 44s

    7 Armature Properties - Pose Library

    • The Pose Library is a panel in the Armature Properties. Here you can save poses and apply them back onto the character later.You can take snapshots and capture the pose at a certain frame, or make up some poses and hold onto them.
    • 19m 32s

    8 Armature Properties - Motion Paths

    • Motion Paths for Armatures give us a line trace of the bones path of movement. Select the bones you want to see motion paths for, in the Panel. Click Calculate, and you can choose to track the base or tail of the bone, and set the frame range of the paths.
    • 19m 6s

    9 Armature Properties - Viewport Display

    • The Viewport Display Panel for Armatures gives you all the helpful options to work with a skeleton or building an animation rig.You can toggle the names of each bone listed next to it, or the axis to check which direction each bone is facing.There's also a list of different ways to display Armatures. Styles such as blocks, or thin wires to see the mesh easier.
    • 20m 28s

    10 Bone Properties - Transform

    • Now we're in the single Bone Properties tab. The Transform Panel will give you the current location, rotation and scale. Similar to the Side Panel of the 3D View.There's locks for each axis. So you can limit the bone to only move or rotate certain ways.And for Rotation, there is a Mode switcher, to use Quaternion or Euler. Which are different calculations for animating rotations, and each have different strengths.
    • 10m 29s

    11 Bone Properties - B-Bones

    • Bend or B-Bones are a way to split a bone into multiple segments. Essentially making it act like a spine. It will curve and twist to smoothly match the bone before and after it. And you can change all the curve and bend amounts for each bone here.
    • 26m 18s

    12 Bone Properties - Relations

    • This panel in the Single Bone Properties contains info related to connections between the other bones. Such as:
      The Layer the bone is on.
      Its Parent
      Its Bone Group

      And some options for how the rotation and scale from other bones in the chain will affect this one.
      It's here, for example, that you can uncheck 'Inherit Rotation' on Arm bones, to have them stay at the character's side, and not follow when the torso turns or bends.
    • 35m 13s

    13 Bone Properties - Deform

    • Deform holds some information about the older legacy deforming method called Envelope Weights. But the most important part of this panel is the checkbox in the panel header itself. Checking 'Deform' off for a bone will disable it from deforming a character model. And it won't export as part of the skeleton, if you send it to a game engine or other software.
    • 14m 39s

    14 Bone Properties - Viewport Display

    • This Viewport Panel has the display options for each bone individually. But it's here you can set custom bone shapes for Armatures.
    • 15m 43s

    15 Bone Properties - Bone Constraints

    • Bones can have Constraints just like Objects. And for rigging they can be used in combination with Bone Parenting.
    • 23m 50s

    16 Armature - Parent to Bone

    • It's possible to attach Objects of all kinds to a Bone, using the Parent To Bone option.
    • 15m 34s

    17 Armature Deform and its Elements

    • With Parent To Bone, the entire Object attached will transform as one. But using the Armature Deform, you can move one Mesh with many Bones. The three elements that make up an Armature Deformation (or Bind):
      1. Object Parented to the Armature
      2. An Armature Modifier targeting the Skeleton you want to deform with
      3. A set of Vertex Groups with the same name as each Bone. With some Vertices Assigned
    • 18m 47s

    18 Armature Deform - Vertex Groups

    • Learn Vertex Groups in more detail for Armature Deform.
    • 29m 55s

    19 Armature Deform - Per Vertex Weights Panel

    • Once larger chunks of Vertices have a Vertex Group, use the Per Vertex Weights Panel to see what groups are assigned in detail. There's also some tools to change assignment on the fly, and copy all the Vertex Groups and Weights of one Vertex to others.
    • 13m 50s

    20 Armature Deform - Weight Painting

    • A more intuitive way to Assign Vertex Groups is by Weight Painting. For smoothing out deformations, the Paint tools have ways to mask areas based on its current weight, and balance Weights of many Vertex Groups of one Vertex.
    • 38m 2s

    21 Animation Controls - Head and Neck

    • With a Character Mesh deforming with an Armature, adding Animation controls can make posing easier. Let's start with the portrait area and Rig the Head and Neck.
    • 29m 27s

    22 Animation Controls - Arms

    • The Shoulders will be both Deforming Bones and also Animation Controls. The Arms will be Rigged to pose in FK (Forward Kinematics), bone by bone. Or in IK (Inverse Kinematics) to pose by placing the Wrist, and the rest will bend to match.
    • 1h 7m

    23 Animation Controls - Fingers

    • We can Rig the Fingers and Thumb to auto-curl when rotating the first digit. Then allow further finger posing on top.
    • 40m 10s

    24 Animation Controls - Legs

    • The Legs almost require an IK Rig to avoid dropping under the ground. But can be switched into FK for any swinging or airborne animation.
    • 44m 51s

    25 Animation Controls - Torso

    • To complete the main body Rig, the Hips and Spine will be separated with their own Controls for posing the center of the Character's mass.
    • 31m 35s

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25 Lectures with all files included and written steps for each chapter.

Learn The Open Source 3D Suite Blender
While Making Rigs
Made To Make Game Exporting Quick & Easy
And Animation
Build Custom Rigs for Production
Adaptable for Animators
Enjoy The Process!
Smooth Rigs Make 3D Animation Fun!


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Efficient Armatures and Rigging

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