This section will develop the creation, configuration and animation of 3D models that have armatures. It will also show how to control an armature in the Blender game engine.
What is an armature? what do the terms rigging and skinning mean? –
- An armature is an underlying, unseen, supporting structure. In animals (vertebrates), a skeleton is an armature and that is why the component parts of an armature are called bones.
- Rigging is the process of creating and configuring an armature for a mesh model.
- Skinning is the process of connecting the armature to the mesh model.
Below is a five minute tutorial that shows how some of the basics principles of rigging and skinning –
Making an armature a parent to a mesh, so that the mesh deforms when the armature is posed. A very simple example of a cylinder/pipe bending in the middle is demonstrated.
linkingBonesToMeshTutFinal.blend this is the completed file from the tutorial.
Demonstration involves –
- Scaling a cylinder in the Z direction making it long and thin ready to bend.
- Adding the first bone of the armature (turning x-ray on in the armature properties).
- In edit mode scaling the first bone and extruding the second bone by selecting the head of the first and press E.
- In object mode select the cylinder and then shift select the armature.
- With both selected, Ctrl P to create a parent child relationship.
- Choose Armature Deform – With Automatic Weights
- In object mode select the Armature alone, go into pose mode.
- Select the top bone and rotate it, the cylinder does not deform how we want.
- To fix this need a more complicated mesh.
- The simplest way to increase the complexity (add more vertices, edges and faces) is to add loop cuts around the joint in the armature.
- Going back to object mode to select the armature and then into pose mode, now when the top bone is rotated the cylinder deforms by bending in the middle.