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.

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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.

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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