Fundamentals of Rigging

This course is a part of the

Introduction to Blender

Learning Flow

  • 149 lessons
  • 12hrs 21min
  • 8 exercises
Start Learning Flow

66151 members taking this flow

Fundamentals of Rigging

Rigging is the art of movement preparation. Without rigging, there isn’t any character, vehicle, or machinery animation. This course teaches the essential skills needed to get started with rigging in Blender.


Watch this brief video to see what the course is all about!

Mechanical Rigging

Mechanical rigging is useful for general mechanization and automations. It's based on object-to-object relationships and constraints. Guest instructor, Chris Kuhn, teaches this chapter.

Character Rigging

This kind of rigging centers around the Armature object type, which is used to deform mesh models based on a skeletal system.

Exercise: Rigging a Dog

Put your rigging knowledge to the test with this practical exercise.

What is Rigging?

Rigging is the art of preparing something for movement. What the skeleton and muscles are to the human body or the engine and wheels are to a car, so rigging is to 3D graphics. Therefore it’s an extremely important part of the animation pipeline. And like a car engine and a human skeleton, rigging is a very technical skillset that can get complex.

But this course is designed to ease you into the subject, so we’re just focusing on the fundamentals. And there’s 2 methods of rigging with Blender that we’re going to cover:

Mechanical Rigging

Mechanical rigging focuses on object-to-object relationships and constraints, similar to machinery in a car engine or other mechanizations. Chris Kuhn is one of the best mechanical riggers in the Blender community and he’s your instructor for this first chapter.

NOTE: Chris’ advanced helicopter rig is available on Blendswap.

Character Rigging

Character Rigging, as you can imagine, is focused on characters. This is very much the digital equivalent of skeletons moving a body, whether human or creature. It centers around a unique object type in Blender, called an armature. This armature is primarily used to deform a model organically.

NOTE: An advanced Baker Rig is available to download as a CG Cookie Resource.

CC Attribution

Where to go from here?

Check out all of our Blender rigging courses!

Lesson Questions and Answers

Ask a question and get an answer!

Submit your Question
  • Replies: 1

    Thank you for your tutorial !
    Is there a way to apply rigging on bezier curve or 2D mesh ?
    When importing a 2D character from inkscape I’m not able to do the rigging correctly. Do you have any tips ?

    3 months ago

    • Replies: 0

      Yes, rigging can be applied to both bezier curves and 2D (flat) meshes. While we haven’t taught the latter yet, I have taught the former in the context of rigging a phone cord. You can find that tutorial here:

      2 months ago

  • Replies: 1

    really in need of a dumbdown Course of the mechanical rigging, (done 95% of the course and understand entire character part) so No im not stupid just just dont see the Monkeyheads is good example and all the tabing to his complete project isent helping,

    5 months ago

    • Replies: 1

      Nevermind, Couple of weeks mindprocessing it workt out even then there still some Blanks in my mind about the rigging need to learn your entire database alone so kinda bummer this one made me fall behind a bit,

      5 months ago

      • I’m sorry to hear about your initial reaction to the mechanical rigging chapter. But glad to hear it sunk in a bit more with time! Trust me, computer graphics is an expansive thing to learn. I’m at year 13 and still learning all the time. That to say, stay diligent (as you have) and you will learn.

        4 months ago

  • Replies: 1

    My questions disappeared :-( I was asking about the course files; the rigify version of Baker (final video lesson) seems very broken. I have been trying to fix it by deleting the incomplete body and importing just Baker’s body from the manually rigged blend file… but this seems to be too advanced an operation for my newbie skills; I don’t seem to be able to import just the Baker mesh over the top of the rigify armature and controls. I was hoping to be lazy and study the rigify output the easy way, but I guess I will have to get some real rigging practise and manually place all the rigify bones correctly!

    5 months ago

    • Replies: 1

      Advice from another forum: turn on Run Python Scripts Automatically. This works — got the full Baker and the rigify setup. There is yet another rig lurking on a hidden layer — a very elaborate one with moving fingers and so on –and I have not yet figured out how to get that one to pose the model.

      5 months ago

      • That hidden layer should contain the widget source objects. The rig references those shapes but they don’t affect the behavior of the rig in any way.

        4 months ago

  • Replies: 2

    At 23:24 in your video, you hold the Alt key so that unchecking the Deform box applies to all selected bones. When I try that, my cursor becomes a scroll icon, so I can scroll in the Properties panel (and in other panels, like the UV/Image Editor), but I can’t uncheck the checkbox. How can I work around this? Remap the scroll feature or the Alt Click feature in User Preferences? If so, what are each of these called?

    6 months ago

  • Replies: 1

    Hey Kent!
    I have just finished the Tutorial about MECHANICAL RIGGING and rigged a car model i made.
    It’s pretty simple. An empty (Square) that contains all the model parented to it, and if it moves to Y direction, the whells will rotate with constrains. The wheels will also turn constrained by another object.

    My question is… How to i LINK this model to another file and still be able to have these riggings to work?

    I know i can Append, but it consumes more memory.

    7 months ago

Continued Learning

Have you completed the flow? Extend your knowledge and become a super cookie star. Here are some related courses and exercises you will gain some value out of.