How to create an ANIMATION SKELETON in blender — ARMATURE

In this arti­cle we are going to see how to cre­ate the ani­ma­tion bones that are used to ani­mate a 3D mod­el using frames.

Starting situation

We start from the 3D mod­el shown in fig­ure 1, it is a cylin­der to which sub­di­vi­sions have been added as seen in the arti­cle on adding and remov­ing edge loops.

3d model of a cylinder with subdivisions in blender
Fig. 1: We start with a 3D mod­el of a cylin­der with some subdivisions.

Creating the animation bones

In object mode we will place the 3D cur­sor over the ori­gin of the object to which we want to add the skeleton.

3d cursor on the origin of an object in blender
Fig. 2: We make sure that the 3D cur­sor is over the ori­gin of the model.

Press SHIFT+A and add the object "Arma­ture" as shown in fig­ure 3, with this we cre­ate the skele­ton, it is like­ly that the ani­ma­tion bone is hid­den as in this case, to view it you can enter the Wire­frame mode as shown in fig­ure 4.

creating an animation skeleton in blender
Fig. 3: The ani­ma­tion skele­ton is created.
animation bone inside a 3d model in blender
Fig. 4: We enter Wire­frame mode to see the Arma­ture object that appeared inside the model.

To visu­al­ize the ani­ma­tion bones more com­fort­ably I will make the ani­ma­tion bones be dis­played in front of the 3D mod­el as shown in fig­ure 5.

animation bone inside a 3d model in blender visualized in front of the model
Fig. 5: We set up the Arma­ture to be seen in front of the model.

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Adding animation bones

We have cre­at­ed the Arma­ture object, if we select it we can enter the edit mode as shown in fig­ure 6, this allows us to add new ani­ma­tion bones, sub­di­vide them, rotate them, etc.

editing mode of an animation skeleton in Blender
Fig. 6: Enter­ing the Edit mode of the Arma­ture object.
editing an animation bone in blender
Fig. 7: The tip of an ani­ma­tion bone is selected.

To obtain the two ani­ma­tion bones seen in fig­ure 8 what I do is to select the tip of the first bone as in fig­ure 7 and then press the E key, the new bone that appears is anal­o­gous to the extru­sion of a face. I will place the tip of the sec­ond bone at the top of the 3D mod­el as shown in fig­ure 9.

animation bone inside a 3d model in blender visualized in front of the model
Fig. 8: A sec­ond ani­ma­tion bone appears when extruding.
animation bone inside a 3d model in blender visualized in front of the model
Fig. 9: The sec­ond bone is posi­tioned at one end of the 3D model.

Then I will take the tip of the first bone and place it approx­i­mate­ly at the cen­ter of the 3D mod­el as shown in Fig­ure 10.

animation bone inside a 3d model in blender visualized in front of the model
Fig. 10: The tip of the first bone is placed in the cen­ter of the 3D model.

Pose mode to animate bones

If the Arma­ture object is select­ed, the "Pose Mode" option will appear when chang­ing the work­ing mode.

pose mode of an armature in Blender
Fig. 11: With the Arma­ture select­ed we go to Pose mode.

In Pose mode we can give the bones the rota­tion we need and make ani­ma­tions with keyframes and the time­line, the prob­lem is that we have cre­at­ed the ani­ma­tion bones but we have not linked them to the 3D mod­el nor have we estab­lished how those bones will deform our 3D mod­el, as shown in fig­ure 12, when we rotate the ani­ma­tion bone in pose mode, the 3D mod­el remains unchanged.

pose mode of an armature in Blender
Fig. 12: In Pose mode you can change the posi­tion, rota­tion and scale of the ani­ma­tion bones along with oth­er properties.

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