||the character mesh can be imported with one of
blender's import scripts (file
-> import) (or it can be modeled in blender of
course). the mesh should be in a stretched out pose and it should be
symmetrical if you want to take advantage of mirrored armature/skin
weight/animation editing. the character i use isn't textured
and not perfect but good enough for the tutorial.
the origin (displayed by the little dot) of the mesh has to
be centered. select the mesh object. centre new in the
mesh button panel will set it to the center of the mesh's bounding box.
to enter edit mode and press [a]
to select all vertices (vertex mode has to be active in the window
header). some 3d-formats like 3ds split vertices at uv-borders
and other places. to have a clean mesh press rem doubles in the
mesh tools button panel. it will merge vertices which are closer than
the set limit. in side view move all vertices around to have the center
dot approximately at the hip where the spine will start upwards.
edit mode by hitting [tab]
again (or by
choosing object mode in the window header). the armature/skin
weight/animation mirroring tools of blender work along the x-axis so
make the character look in -y direction by rotating
it correctly. move it to the center of the world along the
x-axis. scale it uniformly until it has the correct size in
meters (blender units best get used like meters). you can use the grid
in one of the 2d views as reference. move it up until it stands on the
after this is done the transformations have to be baked with [ctrl-a]
(or 3d view header -> object -> clear/apply
-> apply rotation/scale). in the transform properties panel the
rotation values have to be 0 and the scale values have to be 1.
preparing the mesh
animation ~ 1mb
to side view and snap the cursor to the origin of the selected
character with [shift-s]
(cursor->selection). the armature will be created
at the cursor location (it's important that the armature has the same
origin as the mesh it will be linked to).
add an armature with [space](add -> armature). the new armature
will be in edit mode and there will be a first bone. enable the x-ray mode in the
armature button panel. the armature will be drawn above everything else
then. select the tip of the first bone and move it down like
on the screenshot. extrude the other bones of the spine with [e] (accept the
position of newly extruded bones with [lmb click]). you
can also adjust the positions of the joints or bones afterwards.
select all bones (click on the bone itself and not on the joints) and
name them root, spine1, spine2, neck, head in the armature bones button
switch to object mode and bake the transformations [ctrl-a] of the
armature. like for the mesh its rotation values have to be 0 and its
scale values have to be 1.
(you can pan and zoom with [mmb
drag] and [ctrl+mmb
in the buttons window just like in the 3d view! window headers can be
panned left and right aswell if they don't fit to the window!)
||in the buttons
window switch to object
buttons by pressing [f7].
in the draw button panel toggle wire in the draw
extra section. with the wire frame as reference placing bones is
easier. switch back to edit
buttons with [f9].
at the border between the 3d view window and the buttons window and split the 3d view window.
set the left window to front view and right window to side view.
edit mode again for the armature. click the
cursor to the position at the hip where the left leg bones should
start in both views. [space]
(add -> bone) adds the first leg bone. adjust its
tip, extrude the other bones with [e]
and place the joints like on the screenshot. select all bones of the
left leg and name them leg1.L, leg2.L, foot1.L and foot2.L.
in the armature button panel enable x-axis
duplicate the 4 selected leg bones with [shift-d]
(or window header -> armature -> duplicate) and place the
bones somewhere in the viewport. name them leg1.R, leg2.R,
and foot2.R (instead of renaming them manually it's also possible to
select them and press [w](flip
left-right names)). select the bones of the left leg again
and move them
slightly back and forth a few pixels. the bones of the
will snap to their correct position now because of the x-axis mirror
edit mode which keeps bones with .L and .R postfixes
window to top view and in both views place the cursor where the left
arm bones should
start at the shoulder. in the top view add the arm bones like on the
them arm1.L, arm2.L, hand.L. mirror them like described in the previous
select arm1.L, arm1.R, leg1.L, leg1.R. in the armature bones button
panel set the parent (child of) of the two leg bones to root and of the
two arm bones to spine2.
turn on draw axes
armature button panel. the axes should be somewhat consistent
for connected bones. for example the x-axes should
the same direction for all bones of the left leg. if they don't you can
adjust the roll angle in the transform properties panel ([n]) or try to clear
the roll angle of selected bones with [ctrl-n] (or window
header -> armature -> clear bone roll angle).
since this tutorial will only cover a walk cycle the armature is rather
simple. i don't care for the face or fingers. maybe i will do a more
elaborate tutorial (with stuff like shape keys for facial animations
and a better hand setup) sometime in the future.
armature - flash animation ~ 3.5mb