How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Let’s bring our robot to life! We will do so with bones. Yes, bones. And bones are what make up armatures. In Blender, rigging is the process of connecting an armature to a mesh to make it move. In this tutorial, you will be rigging Blender armatures to animate your robot.

If you’re just joining us, you will want to start with Part 1, Beginner Blender Tutorial: How to Model & Animate a Robot.

Rigging Blender Armatures

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Before we create our first bone, make sure the 3D cursor is at the center of the 3D View. SHIFT + S  and select Cursor to Center.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Now Z to wireframe and add a bone with SHIFT + A and select Armature, Single Bone.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

TAB. Select the bone tab in Properties panel.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Rename ‘Bone’ to ‘Spine’.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

TAB to Edit Mode. Use RMB to select the bottom of ‘Spine’.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Press G to Grab and Z to move it only on the Z-axis, then enter -1, and press ENTER.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Now select the top, or head, of  ‘Spine’.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Grab with G, constrain to Z,  and move it down -.35. Press ENTER.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

With the top of ‘Spine’ still selected, press E to extrude a new bone, and Z to constrain it to the Z-axis, then enter 1.35 and press ENTER.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Rename the new bone to ‘Neck’.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Select the top of ‘Spine’ again.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Press E to Extrude a new bone and X to constrain it to the X-axis. Enter .9 and press ENTER. Rename this bone ‘Shoulder.L’.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Select the head of ‘Shoulder.L’ and Extrude it 2 Blender units on the X-axis. E, X, 2, ENTER.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Rename this bone to ‘Arm’.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Select ‘Arm’ bone and in the Tools panel click Subdivide three times.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

This will divide ‘Arm’ into eight bones. Don’t worry about renaming them.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Select the last bone, and rename it ‘Hand.L’.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Zoom in with the scroll wheel if you need and select the head of ‘Hand.L’.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Extrude a new bone, E, X, .5, ENTER. Rename the new bone ‘HandIK.L’.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Select HandIK.L and in the Properties panel, under the Bone tab, under Relations, click the ‘x’ next to its name in the Parent field.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Grab HandIK.L with G and move it on the X-axis .25: X, .25, ENTER.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

TAB to Object Mode and from the Object Interaction Toggle, select Pose Mode.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Select Hand.L, and in the Properties panel, select the Bone Constraints tab.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Click the big ‘Add Bone Constraint’ button and select ‘Add Tracking: Inverse Kinematics’.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

In the IK panel, in the Target field, select ‘Armature’ and in the Bone field select ‘HandIK.L’. Set the Chain Length to 8 (because we made eight bones when we subdivide ‘Arm’ and we need the chain to connect back to the body).

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Select HandIK.L and grab it with G to move it around and see that it works properly. Press ALT + G to reset the pose.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

In the Properties panel, select the Armature Object Data tab. Under Display, select B-Bone.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Press A until the entire Armature is selected, then press CTRL + ALT +S to scale the bones and enter .5, then press ENTER.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Select ‘HandIK.L’ and scale it up with CTRL + ALT + S and enter 4. Then press ENTER.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

TAB into Edit Mode. Press SHIFT + S and select Cursor to Center. Be sure the Pivot Point toggle is set to 3D cursor. Holding SHIFT, select Shoulder, Arms, Hand and IK bones. Don’t select Spine or Neck.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Press SHIFT + D to Duplicate, then press ENTER. Now we’re going to invite our duplicated arm by scaling it 100% backwards on the X-axis. Press S, X, enter -1 and press ENTER.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Under Armature, select Flip Names

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

In Object Mode, select the Robot mesh.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Holding SHIFT, select any bone.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Press CTRL + P and select Armature Deform, With Automatic Weights.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

Grab the HandIKs and move them around to see that everything works properly. Then press ALT + G to return them to their original position.

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures

In the next chapter, we will pose and key frame a Blender animation our robot to audio an track. Sound good?

 

About the Author

How to Model and Animate a Robot: Rigging Blender Armatures was posted by on . Jared is one half of the creative force behind Dototot. In addition to writing scripts and tutorials, he draws and animates both the digital and the analog.

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