March 27, 2021 Jenny Ha

3D Blender Rigging For Animation & Character Design

Bone is used to control the character (animation). The bones combine together into skeletal systems (armatures). In other words, controlling the character’s movement by controlling the skeletal system. This article shows how to connect the character to the armature, collectively known as rigging.

Built-in Armatures, Blender provide human-shaped built-in armature systems in the addon called rigify. You can activate the “rigify” by clicking User Preferences (Ctrl + Alt + U) -> Addons -> Rigging ->  Rigify. Once activated, you add Armatures by pressing Shift + A -> Armatures

1. Edit Mode, Pose Mode

Edit Mode: bone editing

You can use transform tools like object: G, R, S

You can also use E (Extrude) to add more bone

Make Parent / Clear Parent

Create pedigree (father, son) for bones. When the father’s bone moves, the son’s bones also move

  • Make Parent: Ctrl + P => Create a pedigree
  • Clear Parent: Alt + P => Delete them

2. Armatures deform

Armatures with the character by selecting the character then pressing Shift to select the bone then pressing Ctrl + P

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  • With Empty Groups: Attach characters to Armatures but do not create Vertex Group, characters have not been influenced by Armatures. This is an application when you want to manually weights (see what “Weights” is in the next part)
  • With Automatic Weights: Automatically calculates the effect of armatures on points on the character

3. Vertex Groups

Vertex Groups can be understood as groups of points. Use Vertex Groups to control points on character. In this article we use Vertex Groups so that armature can control points. Vertex Groups will automatically create when we choose With Automatic Weights in part 2.

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Vertex Groups can be added or removed by clicking the +, – buttons.

4. Weight paint

Specifies points on the character that is influenced by the armature and they operate under the principles of Vertex Groups. When the Vertex Groups name is the same as the bone name, the Vertex Groups are influenced by those bones. There are two ways to edit bone impact on vertex:

a. Edit in Weight paint

After connecting the bones to the character (part 2), control the bones to Pose Mode.

Select the character and bring back to Weight Paint.

Right click on each bone to see bone impact on vertexs represented by color. Take a look on this above picture, Red is most influential (1), blue has no effect (0). Then you draw directly on the vertex to determine the amount of impact

  • Weight: Level of effect
  • Radius: Brush size
  • Strenght: The force of the brush

b. Edit in Edit Mode

(1) Put character in Edit Mode

(2) Select the vertex you want to edit

(3) Select bone by clicking on the bone name in Vertex Groups

(4) Click Assign to accept bone impact on the selected vertex

(5) Change the impact level by changing the Weight value between 0 – 1. Or remove to remove bone impact on selected vertex

5. Conclusion

Rigging is a technique used in skeletal animation for representing a 3D character model using a series of interconnected digital bones. Specifically, rigging refers to the process of creating the bone structure of a 3D model. This bone structure is used to manipulate the 3D model like a puppet for animation. For basic Blender operation like Rigging, Modelling, should always make sure to install the latest drivers from the graphics card manufacturer website. When it comes to rendering, you will need higher requirement, especially graphics card – the most important factor affecting your rendering process.

  • NVIDIA: GeForce 400 and newer, Quadro Tesla GPU architecture and newer, including RTX-based cards, with NVIDIA drivers (list of all GeForce and Quadro GPUs)
  • AMD: GCN 1st gen and newer. Since Blender 2.91, Terascale 2 architecture is fully deprecated, try using 2.90 (albeit not supported, it might still work) [list of all AMD GPUs]
  • Intel: Haswell architecture and newer. [list of all Intel GPUs]

In case you still can not afford to build your own PC and have to wait for hours, or even days to process the final step, you can consult our cloud rendering service:

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach us via Whatsapp: +(84) 981-868-890. We will be ready to help you in any way! Become a member of the iRender community today to stop wasting pointless hours of render process. Always at the forefront of cutting-edge graphics technology, we do the rendering, the creativity is yours!

Keep an eye on my blog for more coverage of exciting new Blender features!

Thank you & Happy Rendering!

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Jenny Ha

Greeting everyone. I always hope to know more about 3D artists and share benefit information with them :)


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