Blender: Introduction to Character Rigging

In this video tutorial for Blender 2.60 we introduce you to the basics of character rigging. This tutorial covers the initial armature creation, working with Inverse Kinematics (IK), various constraints, defining deform and control bones, and setting up basic drivers for extra control.

The character model used comes from BlendSwap by Blork:

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289 Responses to “Blender: Introduction to Character Rigging”
  1. Posts: 2
    James Foley says:

    For some reason, I can’t get the hands_follow driver to work with the hips – the hands don’t move at all. Any ideas what I’m doing wrong?

      • Posts: 4146

        Can you tell me what’s not working exactly? If you can describe the problem then I can try and trouble shoot it.

      • Posts: 3
        harborphil says:

        At first, when I operated the slide for the hands-follow property, nothing happened. I checked and double-checked your instructions, followed them to a T, and still no movement. I started clicking around to experiment and found that, by selecting “Set Inverse” on the “child of” bone constraint settings for both the arm_IK.R and arm_IK.L, I could at least get the arms to move backward … but not forward. Now, I can’t get the arms back to where they won’t even move at all. Clicking on “clear inverse” doesn’t seem to reset or eliminate the backward motion of the arms. I’ve tried playing with the tick marks for the location, scale and rotation of the XY and Z axes in the “child of” bone constraint settings for both the arm_IK.L and .R. I can get them to move oddly up and down, but still in a backward way. I just can’t seem to find the right setting to get the hands/arms to move forward. I hope my explanation helps. Kinda wordy …

    • Posts: 3
      raak says:

      I had the same thing at first. I don’t know if my problem is the same as yours, but what I did wrong was to copy the wrong path into the driver’s Path property. I did a copy path on the Influence slider of the bone constraint, when what I should have done was copy the path from the slider that sets the custom hands_follow property. When I fixed that it worked.

      • Posts: 3
        harborphil says:

        I copied both data paths that you mention. They’re both the same. So, my rig is still not working. Here’s the path that I created: pose.bones[“hips_root”][“hands_follow”] …

        Is yours similar?

      • Posts: 3
        raak says:

        Yes, that’s the same as the path I got.

  2. Posts: 3

    What if i wanted to create my own Vertex Groups per bone? For a more complex mesh

  3. Posts: 2
    Robert Lamb says:

    Can I just say as an introduction, this video is a bloody headache. You go about a million miles per hour. Give no information, dash through everything. Slow the hell down. An introduction is supposed to ease you in to an area. You’ll spend ten seconds copying a name across (something that everyone knows how to do) but spend literally seconds performing methods through keyboard shortcuts, things that without prior knowledge mean nothing to me. I’ve been working through this for about an hour now and beyond some procedural knowledge I don’t think I’ve learnt anything.

  4. Posts: 2

    I got as far as the IK for the arms and legs but then I saw that if i moved either arm in any direction, it would slowly raise my characters left knee. I have no idea why and it’s kind of ridiculous how nonsensical it is. Is it a bug? I hope I don’t need to redo the armature.

  5. Posts: 2

    Kept watching and I can see what Robert Lamb was saying. My god, man, slow down. You’re going so fast you’re screwing yourself up. And that just makes it harder to follow. Either pre-plan your tutorial or slow down. Don’t get nervous because you’re screwing up and start rushing.

  6. Posts: 1
    digman says:

    Great starter tutorial. A simple rig with a little tweaking can go a long way. One thing I learned is start out simple and work to more complex. I know this is a somewhat older tutorial but was able to follow all the steps in 2.70A.

    Created a walk cycle by watching a few other tutorials here and at Youtube.

  7. Posts: 2
    anisionpc says:

    Hi, I’m new here and in Blender 3D.

    I make a simple low poly character in Blender and I want to use then to make a simple game in Unity, but I have a doubt.

    I need my character rigging so that it can be controlled by the player within the game or rigging is only for animations?

    Thank you.

  8. Posts: 8
    corogrin says:

    This may not be the right place to ask. I have been working on a model where I would like to see the ground automatically stop the feet or any other part for that matter. for example if you have a character and you create a box under it’s left foot and just the ground (lower) under his right foot and you move the torso down the knee and hip and foot of the left foot automatically bend as the foot contacts the box while the right foot stays straight until it contacts the floor. It doesn’t have to have rotation limits. Or when you rotate the foot bone on the ball of the toes the toes automatically stay on the surface of the ground instead of seperately having to move them and then you move the foot up they return to a straight position. Hope someone can help. Or if there is somewhere else I should be asking this please post a url. thanks

  9. Posts: 1
    mitchmcq says:

    Can you rig a character like this which is composed of different objects all joined together? I have a character with features which are just separate objects intersected with the body mesh and joined together, but I’m having some trouble parenting the bones to the mesh…

  10. Posts: 1
    creativenoob says:

    awesome tutorial, this place covers everything, thats why i join,, thanks Jona for your hard work and awesome tutorials.

  11. Posts: 3
    raak says:

    I found this a very useful tutorial, and I’m beginning to get a grasp of how to use constraints and drivers to get the right interactions among the bones.

    I have a few problems in the very last part, where you parent the hips-root bone and all the IK bones to the root.

    With the hand-follow set to zero, the whole avatar moves rigidly with the root bone, as required. But with hand-follow at one, the handIK bones get a double dose of displacement, once from the root and once from the hips-root bone. If I don’t parent the hand IK bones to the root, moving the root works with hand-follow at one but at zero the hand IK bones don’t move at all with the root. (I expect the same will happen for the foot IK bones, but I skipped over making IK for the legs.)

    I can see why this is happening, but it’s not clear how to fix it. Does it happen with your rig as well?

    Another problem I’ve found with the root bone is that rotating it does not rotate the avatar above the waist. The lower spine bone needs a ChildOf constraint referencing the root. The same is needed for the neck bone — in fact, anything that had Inherit Rotation turned off. Is there a simpler way to fix these things than adding extra constraints to cancel them out?

    • Posts: 4
      videmus says:

      I think so? I didn’t have to do all the axis switching that he did either (crossed arms issue), my stuff was just correct. I noticed that mine was working right off the bat fortunately. I think they’ve patched some things since this video was made, probably as a result of it.

    • Posts: 4
      videmus says:

      I think so? I didn’t have to do all the axis switching that he did either (crossed arms issue), my stuff was just correct. I noticed that mine was working right off the bat fortunately. I think they’ve patched some things since this video was made, probably as a result of it.

      I wasn’t entirely sure what to set as the pole target but I hit something and it seemed to work lol.

  12. Posts: 1

    Hi!! Very useful tutorial. How do i create a boolean driver for toggle hand or foot inherit rotation?

  13. Posts: 2

    Hi, my question is: My model has particles of hair. When making the skeleton hair falls apart. As I get is emparente with the skeleton?

  14. Posts: 2

    Hi, my question is: My model has hairĀ“s particles. When i make the skeleton the hair falls apart. As I get is emparente with the skeleton?

  15. Posts: 1
    the one says:

    So I just assigned the rig but it won’t rotate. It’ll only move with g. How can I fix that?

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