Animating in Blender 3D: Your First Character Rig | SouthernShotty3D | Skillshare

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Animating in Blender 3D: Your First Character Rig

teacher avatar SouthernShotty3D, Motion: Design, Direction, & Animation

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

15 Lessons (1h 5m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. The Project Overview

    • 3. Understanding Topology

    • 4. Using Your Own Character

    • 5. The Basics of Rigging

    • 6. Using Bendy Bones

    • 7. Inverse v.s. Forward Kinematics

    • 8. How to Use Rigify

    • 9. Creating our Skeleton

    • 10. Adding Constraints

    • 11. Basics of Weight Painting

    • 12. Using Shape Keys

    • 13. Adding Custom Controls

    • 14. How to Make an Arm IK System

    • 15. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

This is the perfect place to learn character rigging in Blender.

  • Learn Rigging Terms and Tools

  • Learn the Basics of Weight Painting

  • Create a Character Rig

These skills are necessary for anyone looking to pursue a 3D career. This class will cover skills traditionally used in animation, motion design, and video game design.

You’ll learn rigging tools, weight painting, and tricks to speed up your workflow. Feel free to follow along with the class example or make your own!

Meet Your Teacher

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Motion: Design, Direction, & Animation

Top Teacher

I’m a motion design: art director, animator, and illustrator with a love for all things 2D and 3D. I'm work as a animator in silicon valley at a social media giant. I am also a creative director at MoGraph Mentor. It’s a blessing to be part of the motion design community. I enjoy teaching others in MoGraph Mentor, Skillshare, and Youtube courses with a focus on character design and animation.

If you catch me away from my computer, I’m probably hiking, volunteering, or traveling with my lovely wife and spoiled dogs.

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1. Introduction: Hi, I'm Southern shoddy and I'm an animator that works in Silicon Valley at a social media tech giant. I also run Southern shoddy where I teach Blender 3D. And today we're gonna be looking at how to do your first character rig. These skills are necessary for anyone looking to pursue a 3D career will be rigging this character while learning the basics of preparing a character for animation in blender, filler and rigging tools, weight painting and tricks to speed up your workflow. Feel free to follow along with the classic sample or make your own. Now this class assumes you have used blender before. If this is your first time, I recommend checking out my ear first day and blender class, which covers the basics of opening blender for the first time. This course is intended to teach you how to build your first rig. But we'll also talk about some advanced techniques you can explore after this class. So let's get started. 2. The Project Overview: In this project will be completing a character rig for the algebra, my most popular Skillshare course, my first 3D character. This is a beginner focused rigging course and will be creating a simple first RIG. Feel free to download the project files to follow along if you don't want to complete that course first. We'll also show you how to use a free add-on, making it easy to rake humanoid characters as well. Final project files are included as reference as well. And with that being said, let's dive in and begin learning about rigging. 3. Understanding Topology: Now if you've taken my intermediate modeling class, you may recognize the opening of this lesson as a portion from the topology and that section. And that's because topology plays a large role in character rigging. So first we're going to talk about topology in general, and then we're going to dive into how it applies to rigging. Specifically, Topology refers to the distribution of vertices and edges that make up the face is seen on your object. The direction these pieces come together forms your topology flow. Having a good flow is good for texturing and animation or character. Today we will have some simple topology. So let's look at a more advanced example. Here we have a humanoid model. I've gone ahead and marked some important areas red to illustrate my point when modeling your artwork, especially with characters, it's important to keep your edge flow in mind. The flow is primarily controlled by edge loops and pulls. An edge loop is a continuous ring on your model. You can select a loop by Alt clicking in Blender, there are exceptions, but you should pretty much always be aiming to have quad based faces, meaning they only have four edges. This will keep your edge loops flowing. However, it's worth noting most game engines use triangles, but you can convert quads to triangles easily with the triangulate modifier. A poll is when five vertices connected 1, you'll notice that the flow stops in some areas here. That's because there was a poll here. Those are great ways to redirect topology. This makes it easier to adjust pieces of the model anime and subdivide these models, pulls our best use around defining features such as the eyes, mouth, ears, shoulders or legs. You'll notice it's usually wearing an appendage or feature is attached to the body. So that's an overview of topology. Now let's look at how it can apply to our character rigs. Well, using this basic example, I'm going to illustrate that point. So when we go ahead and attach our character models to a character armature, what will then happen is we can go ahead and pose our bones. And when we move those bones around, based on how the model is attached to each bone, it will try and move those faces around in a natural way to follow that bone. So it's important that you have good edge loops, good topology, and a good enough amount of topology that there's enough things to Ben. Let me illustrate here with these two examples, let me switch to pose mode here. You can see here that we have a box on the left with very little topology. There's only a couple of faces. And over here we have one with quite a bit faces. So if we go ahead and take this and we turn these over here, you can see how the box is contributing and distorting and not bending naturally. That's because there's not enough information for this bone to be able to translate that movement smoothly. Let's look at this example over here on the one on the right where we have more information. We go ahead and we rotate this. We can see that there's bending and contrasting these faces, shrinking faces, rotating faces and moving them around so that we can get a much more natural looking bend. When we bend our little box. Let's take a look at a character example. This character is called Snow and it is a free rig from the blender Foundation. If you'd like to download it to play with, I will put a link in the description. So let's go ahead and switch to pose mode here. And then I'm going to zoom in on her character. You can see here that our character has a lot of what are called pole directions and edge loops here around the deformation points. So we can see up here, if we go to the eye that we have clear geometry encapsulating the eye through these kind of circular edge loops. And if we grabbed these, we can go ahead and move that and you see how much of a natural motion we get. Let's go ahead and look at an easier example to understand. We'll go to the top view here. Let's look at this arm. We can see that we have extra edge loops here on the elbow with some redirected poles here that will allow us to get a much more natural movement when go ahead and grab this hand and move it in and you can see how it naturally deforms and bends. And likewise on the wrist we have plenty of geometry there. So you can see how having good topology, a good amount of topology and kind of edge loops where it matters can really help with deformation. Another great spot to look is here on the knees and other spot that is going to bend a lot. If we go ahead and grab this foot down here and we'd bend it, you can see how it uses all the topology there to bend. And you can even see that in the back of the knee where it's bending the most, they've actually put even more edge loops. So this is a great example of good topology and efficient topology that will easily animate. Taking a look at the class project example. Now, this is a class aimed at creating your first rigs. So we're going to be doing a simpler character rig. And there are a lot of complicated things which we'll talk about a bit later, such as shape keys and weight painting and things like that that come into play when rigging your character. But here in this example, we're going to be using a technique that a lot of video games use that if I go ahead and switch over to wireframe view, you can see that a lot of these ligaments aren't actually attached to the model. And they're of joining inside of the model. And what this will do is make rigging a bit easier for us. So what you can do is actually just go ahead and download this class project example and follow along with this model throughout the course. 4. Using Your Own Character: However you may be wanting to follow on it and rig your own character, say the character that you made from your first 3D character class. So let's go ahead and take a look. Here's the original OWL from that character. If you're in following the instructions from that class, you may get something like this. If I click this character, you can actually just turn on the subdivision and we can see that the subdivisions adding on a topology. So if you want to go ahead and use your character from that class, I recommend just applying that subdivision surface. You can also go through in here and manually add some edge loops by grabbing places a little bin like the legs, we can hit Control R and then rotate up on our mouse wheel and add a little bit of extra topology there, which will allow things like your legs to bend. So we can go through and add a couple extra edge loops where you think points on your character might bend if you'd like to follow along with your own character. Now for the sake of simplicity and this being your first character, I do recommend separating out your limbs. So what you could go ahead and do is here where these legs are attached. So we can switch to edge mode. We can go ahead and grab those edges there. And then what we can do is press V and that will split those edges. So if I switch into Wireframe view here, this is now its own separate edge loop. We can go ahead and press E and extrude that up into our character. And then if I was to press L to select that object and H to hide it. You can see that now we kinda have this hole here. So we can go ahead, grab those edge loops and press F to fill that hole. And then if you are using your character from that class, I recommend going ahead, switching out to object mode. I'm gonna go ahead and apply the mirror, so divider and the subdivision subdividing, and then it'll be ready for character rigging. That's how you go about following along with your own character in this course. 5. The Basics of Rigging: To create a character rig, we're going to need a character model and a character skeleton. And then we will attach that model to the skeleton and use the skeleton, the move around portions of the model. So the way you go about creating a skeleton is through an armature. So we can hit Shift a armature and you can add a single bone here. And if I tap into edit mode, I can then begin adding more bones up here, you'll see how I have the bone info. So if I was to grab this bone, I could go ahead and press E to extrude and z, and that will create another bone there. Now if I tap into pose mode here, I can go ahead and rotate that bone and you see how that top bone is attached because that is parented this bone, but tab into edit mode here. I can hit Alt P to clear the parent. And I can choose to clear the parent of the bone or disconnect the balance. So if I disconnect the bone, I can move that bone away, switch back into pose mode and it's disconnected off on its own, but it's still attached, but I can grab it and move it around the tap back and edit mode and clear parent completely. And go back into pose mode. You see that those bones no longer attached one another. That's the basics of how these bones will be attached to one another. They can get more complicated than that, but that's all you need to know at the moment. Now one thing to consider too, is the accesses of the bone. So here you can see that in local mode, when I have this bone, the rotation gizmo selected, I can rotate it on the y and the z in the x. Let's go ahead and reset that by pressing Alt R. Now if I tab into edit mode here we have this thing called bone roll. And you can see here that it's set to 0. But if I go ahead and rotate this and turn on my axis is for visibility to see that each one of these bones has their own axis and that bone roll is rotating that. Now if I tap back into pose mode, you can see that the axis's here are different than the ones here because the bone has rolled. Now when you're rigging certain elements of characters, for example, say if you have strands of hair on a character, you may want to roll these bones to match the direction that you planned to rotate those pieces of the character. Now we're not going to be doing anything complicated with the bone roll in this class. So try not to get too overwhelmed by it if you don't quite understand it yet. But this is just a basic intro into how it works. Now here is a Rig skeleton example with no character model attached. And this is how things can get a lot more complicated. Where when I tap into pose mode here, if I grab one of these feet here and I move this in the side view, you can see how it's automatically rotating all of these bones to follow. And that's something called an IK system, which we'll talk about a bit more later. But this is what's called a bone constraint. So the come here to the bone constraint tab with that bone selected. You can see some of the constraints I have attached, in this case, a copy scale, so you can add bone constraints and creep pretty complex rigs will be doing a simple bone constraint on our character, which we'll talk more about later. It's also worth noting that you may notice none of these are actual bones. If I tab into edit mode here, you'll see that these are all bones. This is the actual skeleton and edit view. When we tap on into pose mode, you can see that we have all these what are called custom controls. These don't serve any purpose besides just being visually easier to use for animators and making things stand out a bit more when you have complex rigs bike, this will go through how to create your own custom controls later in this class as well. So we know that we need a model and that we need a rig to create a character rig. But how do we go about telling the character rig which portions in the model to move? So you know that if we grabbed, for example, this hip here, it's only going to move the bones and portions of the body associated with the hip. Well, it's through a technique called weight painting. So let's go ahead and take a look at that. If I switch over here to object view, I'm gonna go into weight painting mode on the arms. And you'll notice here that over in the vertex group tab, all the bones and the rig are listed in the vertex group. And that's because when we parent our model to the rig, it is going to create a vertex group for every bone. And then we can go through and these vertex groups and assign painted weights to each one of them to determine what portions of the model that bone will move. So here you can see that we have the deformation forearm bone selected on the left side of our character and that everything red is a 100% under that bones control. And then as it tapers off to blue, it goes out to 0% of control. And if I go ahead and grab the next bone and that you can see how those begin to overlap and share in-between. To make this even a bit easier to understand, let's go ahead and take a look at some of the thumb bones here. And then we can switch back out into pose mode, grab that bone, and you can see how that corresponds to the weight paint and is only affecting the bones associated with that. There are a couple of different ways to assign weights in Blender. One way is through the way painting tool, which should be of the bone selected and urine the weight painting mode. You can actually go ahead and just begin painting in that. And there are various tools up here such as blurring and we'll use some of these later. You also have the option of tabbing into edit mode and selecting points, and then going ahead and assigning them a weight on a one to 0 scale. So if I go ahead and grab all of these and go ahead and assign one, and then switch back to weight point mode. You can see how now this bone is controlling everything. Now one thing worth noting is that if two bones are controlling the same area, it may cause some issues. So as we just went ahead and assign all these to this thumb bone, if I come out here and grab this bone, you can see now that when I grabbed this bone, but it's causing a whole host of issues as it is now fighting the other bones for the same area of the model. Now blender has a normalised future. If you come up here to wait, normalize all what we'll do is try and normalize all the bones so that no two bones are fighting too much oversized portions of the model. And this will fix some simpler issues. But as you're painting in weight paints, this is something you want to be mindful of. Now, again, our character rigs going to be simple, so this shouldn't be too much of an issue for us. So that's how we go about attaching the model to our armature. As I said, this may seem a bit overwhelming at this moment, but with our character will be doing a much more simple example. And I promise you'll understand by the end of class. Now shaped keys are a cool feature that allows you to take a model and then edit that version of the model and create a new version. And then you can use this slider here to strange in-between the two versions. Now this can be helpful on character rigs using something called corrective shape keys. So if I move our character leg up here, it's likely that not all of this geometry would deform as we want it to. If you look over here and the sheep Q menu, you can see that by moving this leg up, a lot of these values have changed. And that's because these are purple indicating that they have drivers on them. Meaning that the position of the bone can drive the value of this. We'll be looking at how to do this later in the course with a blinking rig for our owl character. So you should hopefully understand that a bit more by the end. But if I go ahead and start deleting the shape case, pay attention up here. You will see how begins changing the shape and how that defamation doesn't necessarily look realistic with the hip kinda dipping in. Those corrective shape keys can be used across the rig to allow you to do more extreme motions and get a natural deformation. 6. Using Bendy Bones: Bendy bones are a unique feature to Blender, which allows us to kind of curve and bend bones almost like you would a curve with a pin tool and an Adobe application. Let's look at how we can create this simple little Laura, which we'll be using later in the class. Now blender has a unique feature called bendy bones. And we're gonna look at a cool bendy bones rig we can create using a constraint, which is what I mentioned before. So let's go ahead and add a bone here. And our mode, we're going to hit Shift a. We're gonna go to armature. We're going to add a single bone. Then we're going to tab into edit view here. We're going to grab the top of that bone, will turn on our Move Gizmo, We're gonna go ahead and move this down here. We're going to press E to extrude, and we'll tap z and move that up on the z-axis. Then we're going to do that one more time. Press E and then Z. Move that up just a little bit. Now what we're going to do is to have an object mode grabber bone here. Over here on the armature tab. We're going to change our viewport display from octahedral to bend the bone. Now this doesn't change anything except for the way that the bones are drawn on the screen, just making it easier to see what we're doing. So great. Now let's tab back into edit mode. We're going to go ahead grab this bone here. And over here you'll see that we have a bone tab where we can edit individual bones. So let's go ahead grab this bone tab here. Twirl down bendy bones. We're gonna go ahead and add a bunch of segments and you can see how it's adding segments. And what this is going to let us do is curved the bone. So great. Now we have ten segments on this bone. Let's go ahead grab this top bone, press Alt P, and we're going to clear the parent. Now what we're going to do is name these bones to make it easier. So there's a couple of ways we can do that. We're gonna go ahead grab this first bone here and then the bone tab. The easiest way is to type it up here. You can also press F2 in the viewport. So go ahead, press Start. We'll grab this bone here. We'll call this middle. We'll grab this bone here and call this end. Now if we want to add a constraint to a bone, we need to be in post mode. So we're gonna go back out to object mode. Now I need to switch to pose mode in order to add constraints. You can switch your modes. Up here on the top left, I have my tab for Pie Menu turned on, so I'm just going to use that. So let's switch to pose mode. We're going to grab this middle bone because this is the one we want to add the constraint on. So you can see that on both mode, we have our armature tab or bone tab and a new tab here where we can add constraints. So let's go ahead and add a constraint. Will add a bone constraint and we're going to use a stretch to constraint. So we'll click stretch two. And then we need to choose a target for this bone to stretch two, which we want it to stretch to this bone up here. Let's go ahead, grab this little eyedropper and click that bone right there. And it's going to select our armature right there, which is named armature three. Then we're going to select the bone and we're going to select end. And nothing will happen quite yet. So what we're going to do now is we're going to come under to the bone control here. We're going to come down here to the start handle and the end handle. We're going to change both of these two absolute. And then for the start handle, we will choose our star bone. And for the handle we will choose our inbound. Now, when we grabbed this, we can go ahead, press G to move that around and you can see how that stretches to our bone. And then we will also follow the curve if we rotate it. This is kind of a fun little rigging example we can do in Blender. And this is actually something we will be using on our character. Next up, let's look at what AI can constraint is, which we will also be using on our characters. 7. Inverse v.s. Forward Kinematics: Returning to our character rig here we will use this as an example to show the difference between inverse and forward kinematics. Forward kinematics is where the bone kinda drives the bone in front of it forward. Whereas inverse kinematics will automatically kind of inverse the bones to follow. Let me show you by an example. And this example, I have the right side of our character set to ford kinematics and the left side of our character set to inverse kinematics. So if I go over here and grab this hand or grab this leg, you can see how everything is automatically moving up that bone chain. And if I grab these elements, I can go ahead and rotate which way that is pointing. Whereas over here on the right with the ford kinematics, I need to go through and rotate each bone individually in order to make those bones move, which is called ford kinematics. And I'll show an example here on the arm. Now both have their advantages. For example, ford kinematics is great when you want control over every single bone and how you're animating that bone. Or a common use case examples when your character is reaching for an object, it might be easier to do in ford kinematics, whereas for example, a walk cycle per se, probably going to be easier using inverse kinematics. Both have their strengths and weaknesses and use case scenarios. And we're going to be creating a simple inverse kinematic system for our character's legs, which you can turn on and off to use when you want. 8. How to Use Rigify: Now we're going to be creating a custom character rig that fits our character specifically. However, blender ships with a free atom which you can enable under the add-on preferences called rigor phi. And what Berger phi does is add a couple of presets under the armature menu. So for example, assume we have a bird, cat or shark wolf, and then we have some humanoid ones. I'm gonna go ahead and add a basic human. Then I'm gonna come over here to the armature tab and click in front so we can see it in front of our character. Now rigor phi is a complex tool that has a lot of advanced options. But the great appeal of rigor phi is that it has these preset armatures which allow you to kinda just position the bones over your character and automatically generate a rig. Problem being if you've created a stylized character or a special character doesn't fit one of these presets, it can be difficult to get it to work. But if you're looking to do something like a simple humanoid character, also need to do is position the rig over your character and then tab into edit mode and you can move all the bones until the appropriate place. Now one thing to note is that when you're doing a humanoid character, we want to make sure that there's a slight bend in the elbows and the knees. That way when you go to switch to pose mode, it doesn't lock. When it locks, it can create some unnatural positions and things for having just a slight bend can prevent those from locking. After you've gotten all the bones and the place, you can go ahead and just click Generate rig under the rigor phi section, the armature tab, and then that will create a rig. You can go ahead and delete the original armature and then you can grab your character model, and then you can grab the rig. If I rig and you can hit Control P to parent, then you can use armature, then select Automatic. And what that will do is automatically try and assign weight paints to the bones that it believes will work best. It doesn't always get it right though. So you can tab into weight paint mode and fix it, which will be going through how to do later with our own character rig. And just like that, you have a humanoid character rig that is ready to go. 9. Creating our Skeleton: Now as we dive into kind of create our rig, I just want to point out again that this class assumes you know how to navigate around blender. So I'm not going to be calling out every keyboard shortcut. I will have those down here. And the big thing we're gonna be doing is switching views quite a bit, which you can do up here under the View menu over here, or on your numpad. Not this is something you're not comfortable with and you need more help navigating. I do have a class just about opening blender for the first time and I recommend maybe returning to that to refresh your memory. But with that being said, let's get started on our rig. Great. So the first thing we need to do is create an armature for our characters. So we're gonna go ahead and hit Shift a here, and we're gonna go to armature. We're going to just start with a single bone. And you notice that that's hidden behind our character. So over here on the armature tab, what we're going to do is come down here to viewport display. And we're going to tick in front. What that will do is make it impure in front of our character from any angle so that we can always have a good visibility on our bones. Now let's go ahead before we get started to keep things organized. We're going to name our rigs. We're gonna go ahead, tap this rig here. We're going to press F2 or you can double-click it up here and we're going to do our rig. Great. Now we're going to tab into edit mode. So let's go ahead tab here into edit mode. And this bone right here is going to be our root bone. Was that means is it's going to be at the root of our character. So we'll keep it down here at the center. And then we'll parent a lot of our other bones to that so that we can then use the root bone. 10. Adding Constraints: So first of all, let's go ahead and do the leg first. We're going to add an inverse kinematic constraint to our leg. So we'll grab the shin bone right here and we'll come over to the bone constraint. ****, that's a little blue line. We're gonna go to add bone constraint. And then we'll see that we have an inverse kinematics here under the tracking. So we'll go ahead and click that. And we need to target our armature. So we'll go ahead and we'll select our rig. And then for here under the bone, we need to select the foot control. So we'll go ahead and type in foot. Select foot control there. Great. Then we need a poll target, which was our knee. So we'll go ahead and type in knee. We'll go ahead, click our rig. I'll click bone and we'll type in knee. Knee will pop up and you'll see that everything breaks. And that's because we need to go ahead and change some of these settings here. So first of all, we need to change the chain length. We have two bones and the length of change that we want to be affected by the inverse kinematic system. So I'll go ahead and turn this up to two and you'll see how most things they're kinda snap back into place. And then for the pole angle, we'll want this to be set to negative 90, so that way it's facing forward. Now if I grab our foot here and begin to move, you'll see that it's breaking and not working correctly. And I'd left this on purpose so that I could show this example because I feel like this happens a lot to beginners. So if you remember me mentioning before, we needed to add a slight bend to our bones. If we tab here into edit mode and we grab this little knee bone right here. And this is usually only true for knees and elbows. So we'll go ahead and we'll just bend this forward over so slightly. And then we'll also take our knee here and we'll parent that to her foot control. So go ahead. Parent that to the foot control. Keep offset will tie back into pose mode. And now when we grab our foot control and move forward, you can see how our knee is bending naturally. Great. So you can lift your knee up there and then move your foot up. So how the knee works is we can grab our knee. If I move back here in the front view, you can see that wherever we put it, it will point towards that. So that's how you can go about rotating your knee on your leg. Now I'm gonna go ahead. I'm going to grab everything with Select All and I'm going to press Alt and Alt G. They'll snapback everything into place. We have another constraint that we're going to add to make this foot rig work a little bit better. We're gonna go overhead here and we're going to grab this first foot bone here, and we're going to add a copy of rotation. So we're going to go ahead to the bone Constraints tab, copy rotation. We're going to target our algorithm. Then we're going to target our foot controls. So if we type in foot, we can select Control. Great. And you'll notice everything flips backwards. That's because right now the target and the owner, or set the world space, which is this out here in the world. But we want to focus on the local space of the bones and where they're oriented. So it's simple James world space to look with parents and local with parents. And it should pop right back into space. Now when we lift this up, you'll see that our foot stays flat and it doesn't rotate until we rotate our foot control. Great. Now let's go ahead and focus on adding a constraint to our wings. So I'm just gonna go ahead and select everything with a here. And I'm going to press Alt R, and G, and that'll reset all of our bones back to rest post. Great, Let's go ahead and focus on this arm next. So for this, we're gonna be using that same bendy bones rig as before. So we'll go ahead. We'll grab this arm here. We're going to click here on the armature time. We're going to change the display of our armature to bendy bones. And this will just allow us to see the segments on the bones. Technically, all bones are bendy bones. They just don't show it until they had the segments. Let's go ahead and add some segments here. I'm gonna go ahead and add around eight. And you can do that under here on the bone tab, under bendy bones, just like before. Great. Now we'll come down to the constraint tab and we're going to go ahead and we're going to add a stretch to them. We're going to select our owl rig. And then we're going to type in wing and we're going to select that wing. O2 is that's the last one there. Now what we're going to do is come back to the bone tab and we're going to add so that it follows the curve. So right now it will stretch to it, but it's not really following the curve, which is why we do this. Next step. We'll take our start handle, set that to absolute and our n handle and send that to absolute. We'll go ahead and change these stowing dot 000. Awesome. Now we can use these to rotate our arms and get a correct rotation there. So if I wanted to go ahead and grab the wings and make this a bit more, I could go ahead and rotate that down. Great. Again, we're gonna go ahead and reset everything. Now we're ready to symmetrized the bones. So we're gonna go ahead, we're going to tap back into edit mode and we're going to press a or Box Select, deselect everything. We come up here to armature. And we'll come here down to symmetries. And you'll see here that it's flipped over and put our rig there. Now if we grabbed these bones, you'll see that they're named the same thing, but dot r to indicate that they're the right side of our character. So we'll go ahead and make sure everything's working. Sometimes when using the inverse kinematics systems, you have to go ahead and rotate the legs. So if I hit Control three, it'll take me to that other side view so I can go ahead and grab this bone and see that everything's working as according to plan. Now you'll notice that some of these bones look really thick, making it hard to see what you're doing. If you want, you can go ahead and change it back to an octahedral bone now that we hit the bunny bones setup and that'll make it a bit easier. One last step. If you want to turn off the IK systems, what you would do is you'd grab your shin bone and come over here. You've come to the constraints and you would see here that you'd have this influence. If you turn off that influence, it will then work like a Ford kinematic system. So we can go ahead and just rotate those bones as you see fit. It is worth noting though, that if you try and switch this mid animation, it can lead to some glitches. So be careful when you go about switching back and forth between these two setups. Great. Let's go ahead and test out our rig. I'm going to grab our rig here and just play with this a bit. So we'll grab our hips here, rotate our hips. Cool. I'll see that everything is working as anticipated. Great. So now we're ready to begin attaching our character to this rig. 11. Basics of Weight Painting: So what we're going to do is we're going to go ahead and grab our character here. And then we're going to grab our armature and we're going to hit Control P. Now, automatic weights isn't likely to work here because our character is very stylized and it has objects intersecting into itself. What we're trying to do is empty groups. So go ahead and attach them to groups. And you'll see that when we post, nothing changes and that's because we attached it with empty groups. So if we come over here, select our character. We come here into the vertex group, will see that we have all of our bone groups here. But if we tab over and await pain, they're all empty. So that's what we're going to work on next is weight painting our character. So let's get some of the simple ones out of the way first. One simple way to do this as if we're tab into edit mode, we know that some of these are going to be attached to just certain portions of our care. So some of these bones are going to be simple with the body being the most complex. So let's go ahead and go through the simple ones first. So we'll go ahead here and we'll tab into edit mode and we can attach some of these things fully to each bone. So I'm gonna go ahead and switch to Face Selection Mode. Then if I hold L over these little feathers and press L, I will select each one of those objects. I'm gonna come over here to the vertex group and I'm going to find the Featherstone. Here. I have a weight set to one. That means that if I assign this to that group, these will fully follow that bone. So I'm going to click feathers and click assign. You see here I have a remove button as well. Now, if I switch back out to pose mode, you can see that that is moving my feathers around. Great. So let's look at a couple of other easy bones. We can do that too. We know that we only want the tailbone to follow detail, so we'll go ahead and make sure that you have these de-selected. You can do that by pressing a work, clicking off to the side. Press L over here on the tail. And we'll go ahead. We'll grab tail, we'll click Assign, will click off to the side here to get rid of that. Next, let's go ahead and attach the wings. So we'll take this wing left here. And we're gonna go ahead and find wing in our list here. And we're going to be attaching this the wing dot 00 L because we only wanted to attach to that bendy bone. Great. Let's click off here and do the same thing with this wing as well. But with the right side. Great. Now if we switch back out into pose mode, I'm gonna go to front view here. We can see how these are all kind of attached and working. So next up, we're going to work on the legs and the feet. So what I'm going to do is go ahead into the body view here. And we'll go ahead and grab this body. And we're going to switch on wireframe mode. And then now I'm going to switch to vertex mode. So what we're gonna do is we want to hide the portions that are already selected. We only want to focus on this body. So we'll go ahead and grab the body, the beak pieces, the head, and all the, i's here. Now what we can do an edit mode, Let's press Control I, and that'll select the Inverse and then compress h. That makes it so that we only have this body in front of us, making it a little bit easier to work with. Great. I'm going to switch back to wireframe mode. Now we see that the head bone ends around here. We're gonna do in wireframe mode. We're gonna go ahead and we're going to box select. We're going to drag this down just a little bit below that bone. And then what we can do is you can come here to the head bone and click Assign. Now what we're going to do, so we're going to drag right under that and go down a little bit further there. And we're going to assign this to the body. Then again, we're going to drag below that body and get these vertex down here. And I'm gonna go ahead and deselect these. I can press C and then use my middle mouse button to de-select those. Great, and if I right-click, I'll be back in the box selection mode. Then what I can do is apply these to hip 001. Let's click Assign. Great. Now when we switch back into our post mode, Let's take a look at how that's looking. I rotate the head. You can see that it's rotating that part at the bottom where we're getting this really sharp edge here. And likewise, we'll see the same thing with the body as well. And that's not what we want. So let's go ahead. We'll reset the pose here. Now what we're going to do, we're going to click our body again. And we're going to go into weight paint mode. And if we look at our hip and our body and our head, we see that there's almost no blur there. Now we have a couple of tools over here. So if I click tool here, you can see that we have a draw and add and subtract. Those can be add to, add, weight pointing, or to subtract pretty painting. And by default, symmetries aren't going to go ahead twirl down symmetry and turn that off. So that's how we can go about painting and things manually if we want. And this is how a lot of people do things. There's also this blur tool here. You can see that we can grab that and blur. Just go ahead and use this blur tool to maybe blur the influence of bit. So what we'll do is we'll come here with the blur tool. We'll turn our strength up to 100 and we're just going to drag back-and-forth a couple of times until that looks a bit more smeared. Great. We'll go ahead, rotate over here. And we'll just rotate it around the body. Blurring that ever so slightly. Great. Now, for some people, depending on what settings you have, you may not be able to paint directly. And you might want to check and see if you have this button on here. This paint mask will make it so that you can only paint what is selected in edit mode. So you can select certain portions and only paint those portions when you go back to white paint. But I'm choosing to turn mine off so that I can paint everything at once. So if you're struggling to paint, that may be why. And I can go ahead and kinda blur out this bottom. Yet again. Let's look at another way we can simply blur sum. So what we're gonna do is select our body group over here will come into pose mode mixture our body bone selected, go back out to object mode, grab our object, switching the weight paint mode. And that's just so that we make sure we have the active bone group selected. We're gonna go ahead here. Go to Weights, click Smooth, and we'll get this option to smooth down here. If we turn up the iterations here, you can see how it's blurring out those bones a bit more naturally. Great. Now let's go ahead and do the same thing for our hip 00 bone. So we'll go ahead and grab this bone. Zeros 01 will go back into object mode, grab our object here, and then we'll come over here to our hip dot 001, switch to white paint, will come, come up here to weights and smooth. And do that again. Great. Now when we come back out into pose mode, Let's look at how we can improve that further. So I'm just gonna go ahead, tap back out into object mode here. I'm going to grab into weight paint mode. We're going to come back up here to that smooth option. And this time instead of active group, I'm going to choose all groups and just leave that around three or four. What that's going to do is go ahead and blur all of the bones in the group. Great. Now what I can do is tap back out into object mode to havoc and in pose mode and check. And you can see how things are looking much smoother there. Great. Now what we can do is come back into our weight paint mode on our object. We're gonna do is go to Weights, normalize all. And what that's going to do is make it so that it equally spreads out the control of each verse over bones. That way they're not fighting for things as we shared earlier. And these, so go ahead and see that things are looking quite a bit better here. Now, another thing we can do, as well as we can grab our character here and come over here to the modifier properties. And you see here that we have a subdivision. So we can go ahead and we can turn that subdivision on, on our character. Now what this will do is affect our armature. So I can see here that if I go ahead and rotate this here and here, because we have more geometry, it's giving us a smoother result. Now the order of the subdivision matters how defects, if it's before the armature, that means that the armature will have more geometry to the form. If you put it after the armature, it may yield smoother results. So you can choose which one works best for you. For now, I'm gonna go ahead and turn this off. And the viewport, we're going to go ahead and grab our pose mode, select everything, hit Alt R to reset that rotation. And next up we're going to do the legs. So what we're going to do is select our object here in front view mode, and we're going to tab in edit mode. Now we're going to press Alt H to reveal everything, and we'll press a so that we can de-select everything or you can right-click off to the side. In this next portion, I'm going to start with how we can actually separate pieces of the body and do certain sections is automatic weight painting. And by separating certain pieces, we can kinda help blender get a better accurate representation of what to do. Because the automatic weight painting really only works for simple objects or more like humanoid objects when we're doing kind of stylized characters like this, broken in pieces would want to do is create kind of a broken mess. So let's look at how we can kind of maybe work around that a bit. So we're gonna do is in front view here and our object mode, we're going to tab into edit mode here. And we're going to press Alt H to reveal everything. If you haven't already done that, we're going to do is select our legs. So we'll go ahead and grab our legs here. And then we can press P and separate by selection. Now what that does is create two separate objects. So now we have our body as one and our likes this one. So we can go ahead, grab our body, and we can go ahead and hide that body. Now without the rest of the mesh. In the way, what we can do is tell blender to just automatically paint these with just a select few bones. But there's one more step we have to do. So there's certain bones in here labeled as deformed bones. So if you grab a bone here and he come over here to the bone tab, we turn this up here. You'll see that down here we have a deformed section. And by checking this on and off, will decide whether that bone plays a role in deforming or not. So for example, certain bones we'll be turning to form off for our, our foot controls. As our foot control will not directly be attached to any model as Orwell, our root bone. So what we can do is we can actually turn off the deform of all these bones. So what I'm going to do is in pose mode here, I'm going to press a to select everything. Then what I'm going to do is hold Alt and press Enter while hovering over that. Now holding Alt Enter, we'll apply that to all the bones at once. So if I click around, you can see that none of these bones are deformed bones. So now what I can do is I can turn back on the only bones I want to do. Because the problem is. That was kinda big chunky shapes like this, overlapping one another when it tries to automatically apparent the bones, as you've seen in our example of the rig, breaking, it ends up kind of giving weird portions of the mesh to the other bones. But we only want these bones to be affected. So let's go ahead and we'll grab the thigh bone, the shin bone, and both foot bones. We'll do that on both sides. We'll come back over here to the deform. We'll hit Alt Enter. And what that will do is turn on to form for all of those. Now if we come back out here and the object mode, we'll grab our legs, and we'll grab our armature here. And then we'll hit Control P. And we'll do with automatic weights. Now if I come back into pose mode here, go ahead and take a look at this to see that it's actually done a pretty good job because it didn't have to think about how everything was tied together, rather just these legs. Great. So now what we're going to do is we're going to stay in pose mode here. We're going to select all our bones. We're going to pick one bone that has the empty here and we're going to hit Alt Enter to make sure to farm is turned back on for all of our bones. Otherwise it will disable that bone moving around our model. Now what we can do is turn off to form first few select bones. We don't need it on for the knee bones, so we'll grab both of those or the foot control bones. We also don't need it on or the handle bones up here. Great. With all of those selected. We'll go ahead and also grab the hip dot 000 bone, which is the one that is pointing downward. So we'll go ahead and grab that one. Come over here to the foreign press. Alt, Enter. Great. Now none of those bombs while affect our geometry. So let's take them back out into object mode. We're going to press Alt H to unhide our body. And now we'll see that our character rig is complete. Great. Next we're going to add some face controls. But before we do that, let's go ahead and switch back out into object mode here. We can grab this object and then we can grab our legs and we hit Control J. We'll name that object. And we will see that our weight painting has transferred over and combined without any issues. So just like that, our character is rigged and ready to animate. Now you'll notice that each of our bones has these axis that they can rotate on an over here, you may notice that the rotation has an extra letter here called W. Now you may notice that when you grab some of your bones, they have this W, X, Y, and Z rotation as opposed to which you're probably used to have being X, Y, and Z. Now this is an advanced topic for animation. But in general, what this w does is allows you to create more natural rotation methods with less work. However, in the case of our character be so simple with simple directions, It's not really necessary and may make it harder to animate. So what you can do is go ahead, grab your bones and switch them over to an x, y, and z rotation. And that'll give you the traditional controls you're used to. 12. Using Shape Keys: You've seen how shape keys can be used as kind of corrective shape keys. And we're gonna be using Shape Keys to create a blinking rig or our owl character. Let me show you how I go about creating a shape key. So here we have the sphere we're going to do is select that sphere. We're going to come down here to the mesh and we're just going to click Add. This is going to be our basis shape key. This is basically the base element that all other shape keys will be based, hence the name basis. Now we're gonna go ahead and add a new shape t. Let's call this one stretch. Go ahead Here, tab into edit mode with stretched selected. Go into edit mode here. Now, anything we do in here, it will be applied to the stretch shape key. So I'm going to go ahead, I'm going to grab these here. And I'm just going to move these up. Great. Now, it's important to know that in shape keys, you can adjust geometry, but you can add geometry. So if I was to add, for example, say another cube, that wouldn't work. So let's go ahead, tap back out into object mode here. We'll grab our stretch here, and we'll move this value up and you see how it transitions in-between those two keys. Great. So that's the basis for how to make a shape key if you want to go about adding them to your own character. Let's look at how I use this in the owl character. I'm going to turn this back on. Now if you're following along with this project, I already have these shape keys created. I've basis, blink and happy. Let's go ahead and look at what these do. But go ahead and turn on blink. You'll see that I have a blinking here. If I go ahead and turn on, happy, you see that we get these little half happy eyes underneath. Now the way I'm doing that is that an edit mode here. We'll go ahead and click basis and go into wireframe mode. You can see that I've actually hidden these little half spheres inside of the eyes. And those aren't revealed until I come here to blink. Where they are then scaled out to cover the whole eye. Or happy where it's kinda scaled out and rotate down. So that's how I created this basic shape keys for this character. Now let's look at how we can attach these to our rig. So we're gonna go ahead tab back out into object mode here, I'm going to switch to front view bright person one on the numpad. I'm gonna go ahead and do our armature here. I'm going to tap into edit mode there. And I'm going to hit Shift a to add a bone. And I'm going to move this bone over on the x axis. Just kinda out of the way. They're great. I'm gonna go ahead and name this bone link. I'm gonna hit Shift D x, move this one over. And then I'm going to name this bone API. And these bones are going to control our Shape Keys. Now the way we're going to do that, because I'm going to switch over here into pose mode here and turn on the move here. And we're going to use the z-axis to control our shape key. So when we move this up, it will turn it on. Great. So the way we do that is with a driver. So you notice that if we move this up, the y is changing. And that's because we need to pay attention to the local movement of this bone. So we'll go ahead, grab local almost see that the up for a bone is actually y. So what we're going to do, we're going to use that y location to drive the value of our eyes by using a driver. Now what a driver does is uses a value or a scripted expression in one field to drive the value of another field. That's it and it's most simplest terms, it can get much more complicated than that. Let's go ahead here though, with our bone selected. Let's right-click here. Hit Copy as new driver. And then we're going to switch out to object mode. Grab our object over here. And then we're going to click happy. And in the value field, going to right-click. And we'll see we now have a paste driver option. Now if we grab our bone here and pose mode, we move this up. We'll see how it is creating our driver. Now, the animation between Shape Keys generally isn't that great. So you're going to want to animate from 0 to one rather quickly. Let's go ahead and do the same thing for our button over here. We'll grab it, copy the why as a new driver, come back out to object mode and do the same thing for blink. Go ahead, right-click paste. Now we can add one more thing here to make this a bit more intuitive. We'll go into pose mode. We'll grab this bone here. We'll add a bone constraint. We'll go ahead and go to our Transform. We're gonna go to the limit location. And then we're gonna go ahead and turn on. The minimum for y is 0, and the maximum for y as one. No, go ahead and grab local space down here. And then now when we move this up, you see hot stops there. And then we have a value of one for our eyes to be closed. That way we can just move this up and down and animate our character's eyes quickly. When using keyframes on this, you can use a constant keyframe. I'll talk more about that and my animation class, we'll go ahead and add the same to this as well. Then next we're going to focus on controls. But before we get into controls, you may want to grab these bones here and we're gonna go ahead, select both of those. Select a root bone, hit Control P, and keep with offset. That way these will follow around our character when we are animating. 13. Adding Custom Controls: So congratulations, you've made it this far. We're on the last step. Now. Our rig is done, but we can go ahead and add controls to make it a bit easier. And it's quite simple. So we're gonna do, is we're going to hit Shift a, go to Mesh and we're going to add a circle. Now you can use any shape you want. But I'm just going to use the circle for simplicity. I'm also going to take this circle and I'm just going to move this way out of the view because we don't want that appearing in our scene. So you'll just want to make sure to hide your controls somewhere off in the scene where they won't be seen. Now what we're going to do is go ahead and grab our armature here and switch into pose mode. And I'm going to show you how to do this on the root bone, but you can apply this to anybody want with any shape you want. So we'll come here with our Ruben selected. We'll go to the bone properties tab. And then under view-port display, you'll see that we have the Ottoman for a custom shape. We're going to click here and I'm going to type in circle and select that circle. And you can see here that it creates a little circle there, but that's not necessarily ideal. So what I'm going to do is we're gonna go ahead and rotate that on the x-axis, 90 degrees. So I'll just go ahead and type in 90 here, which will make that circle flat, way too small. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to click this Tomsk a field. Then I'm going to drag down to select all three. I'm going to let go and that will allow me to type into all of those at once. I'm going to go ahead and type in something like ten, which will make that quite a bit bigger. Now you can see that we no longer can see our root bone, and instead we see it as a circle. And we can use that to move around. Feel free to move throughout your entire character. And you can add this to all the other objects as well to create a more appealing or easy to use rig. Now one other thing is over here, we can go ahead and label these as well. So if I was to create, say, a text object here. And I'm going to go ahead and type out link. I'll go ahead and back out. I'm gonna go ahead and rotate this up. You don't need to follow along here, just kinda showing you an example. I can go ahead and put a blink over here. Then under the object over here, I'm just going to turn off that this will not show up and renders. So that way it doesn't show up in ruin my render. Then what I can do is grab this object, grabbed my armature, go into pose mode, and then I can choose the route bone here, hit Control P. And you'll notice that we get a different menu. We get a bone relative menu. So I'm gonna go ahead select bone here. And what that's gonna do is parent that into the bone inside of the armature. Then when I go ahead and move this around, you'll see that the blink also false. So we can go ahead and label these or create custom controls as you see fit, I created a little box and a nice custom controller, which you'll see in the final project files if you'd like to play with that. This the final part of our rig, but I have one more tip to show you. 14. How to Make an Arm IK System: You may have more of a traditional arm, whereas our character had a wing. And you may be wondering how to create an IK system on your arm. So I'm just going to very quickly go through this. We're not going to worry so much about naming as it's very similar to the leg. I just want to show you a few of the differences in front view here I'm gonna go ahead add an arbitrary bone tab and edit mode here. I'm going to rotate this 90 degrees. This would be considered our shoulder bone. So I'm going to switch to a top view here and just move this in. And I'm going to extrude ones which would be considered our bicep and extrude one more time. This will be our forearm and extrude one more time. This would be our hand. We'll go ahead and take that hand bone. I'm going to duplicate that bone. We'll name this one control so we can keep track of it. We're going to press Alt P and clear parent. Then we're going to hit Shift D and duplicate that one more time. Move that up here, and we're going to rotate that 90 degrees and put that above the elbow. Now this is going to be our poll. So it's important that it's the same height there since we've been doing everything in the same view, that'll work. I'm going to switch back to the top view here. We need to add some bend so that we avoid that kind of locking glitch that I showed before. So we'll add a little bit of been there on her shoulder and a little bit of been there and our elbow. Now we're gonna go ahead, take this pole bone, grabbed her shoulder bone, hit Control P, and keep offset. Great. We'll go ahead and we'll name this poll. So to that we're ready to add our constraints. So we'll go ahead and grab our forearm here. And an inverse kinematics or target, grab our armature for a bone grabber control or bold target, we'll grab our armature and for our bone, we will grab our poll. You'll notice that that rotates up. So we need to go ahead and set this to either negative 90 or 90 degrees. It'll depend on what side you're on for me right now, it's going to be negative 90. We'll go ahead and turn the chain up to two here. And then if I grab this control bone here, you can see that we're getting a natural bend in the arm, but we want that hand to follow our control. So let's go ahead and grab this hand bone here. We'll go to add bone constraint, copy rotation, target, armature, Bone control. And then we can use that to go ahead and rotate our bone. Perfect. And then if you want to grab your elbow and move that around, you can do this in your elbow point at that. So that's how you go about creating a basic arm or leg. If you'd like to apply that to your character. 15. Final Thoughts: Thank you so much for watching my class. I'm excited to see what you make. So please post your projects on Skillshare so we can all see, feel free to download the example projects to learn and reference.