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 Rigging and Skinning, Help with creating Animating Characters.
Posted: Nov 26 2007, 06:17 PM

Colonel Member

Group: Members
Posts: 250
Member No.: 7
Joined: 6-June 07

Animating a character

First of all we must have a character so for convenience I have
posted a ready made Poser man on the site.

So we load our man into the object editor of Anim8or.
You can see the standard configuration of outstretched arms for him.

Next we need to build a skeleton for him, This we do by switching
to the figure editor in Anim8or.

Here you will be presented with just a triangle this is the base bone (fig1)
user posted image

click on this to highlight it then add a first bone by using the add bone
icon Or use Build/Insert Bone from the menu bar ( I prefer to use this
method as you can rename the bone to something more tangible)
or you can double click on the bone to rename it. Rename it RootBone
Our Character will be "glued" To this bone at a later stage,but for now
we need to start building up bones to create a skeleton for
the character.

Click on the Rootbone if it is not highlighted, and click the add Bone icon
(Build/Insert Bone from MenuBar) You now need to rotate this bone thru 45 degree
so, click on the rotate button and leftclick and move your mouse until you have
the bone as fig 2
user posted image

repeat the process for the other side, click the rootbone
and then click "insert bone icon" rotate thru 45 degree until it mirrors the other
bone ( I suggest you rename these "LeftThigh" and RightThigh" repectively.)

It should now look Like Fig 3.
user posted image

We can now proceed to repeat these steps to make the leftupper and lower legs
without any rotation.

So now we have the upper and lower legs, we can also add at this stage
the feet, once you have the bones attached to the lower leg bones,
switch anim8or to left view , and rotate the foot bone thru 45 degree,
switch to right view and do the same for the other foot, our sleleton should
now look like this
user posted image

Go back to front view and click on our rootbone that we made, and insert another
bone, this will be the lower torso, then add another bone to this, the upper torso
we should now be in this position

user posted image

Now you can create shoulder bones as the thigh bone steps, and to these bones add
upper and lower Arms just like the upper and lower leg steps
If everything has gone right, then your skeleton should now look like so

user posted image

Ok so far so good, we can now click on the upper torso bone then insert a bone for
the neck and one for the head.
This now completes the main skeleton, you could go on and make bones for the hands
fingers,toes, eyes etc, but for the purposes of this tutorial I am going to leave it
at this
user posted image

I would recommend you save the file in figure/Export as give it a name
like skeleton.

Now the fun begins.

Our main model man has now got to be attached to our skeleton and it is vital that you
attach it to the correct bone, if you attach it to the WRONG bone then the skinning operations
will not function correctly and you will get an error message stating that "bone must be parent" make sure when you attach the model, that the ROOT bone we first made, is highlighted.

So with the ROOT bone highlighted, go to Menu/Build/Add object and select your man object
this will automatically paste the character to the bones.
We can now adjust the bones to fit the model, either increasing or reducing the bone
sizes to fit.

(Note The Scaling button does NOT work for the model - if you want to scale
the model either up or down, then return to object editor and scale from there as it will
affect the model in figure editor)

This will take a little time so persevere with the resizing until your skeleton and model look
like this:

user posted image

We now need to set what is known as bone limits. It is vital that you set limits to the bones
as setting "No limits" sometimes has adverse effects when animating ( and is a common error
that new users make )so you could see your models head, arms or legs rotating sometimes thru
360 degree, and I very much doubt if you would be adept at performing this in real life.

Perform actions on your own arms, how far would your leg rotate, and in what directions.
If you set realistic values then it will make animation much easier for you.

In figure mode click the object button to hide the mesh and double click a bone this will bring up
the bone parameters,

user posted image

If you just use the x and y selection set these at -45 /45 and and -22.5 /22.5 for both upper
and lower arms. you will have the axis limits set as so:

user posted image

Use the Rotate/zoom tool to see the result and don`t forget to turn on Axis points.


why not visit my site at
Posted: Nov 27 2007, 02:22 AM

Lieutenant Member

Group: Members
Posts: 64
Member No.: 11
Joined: 27-October 07

Good onyou Kevin. This looks good.
Posted: Nov 27 2007, 07:45 PM

Lieutenant Member

Group: Members
Posts: 64
Member No.: 11
Joined: 27-October 07

Best instructions I've seen so far!

Only suggestions are: a list of shortcuts would be handy; and perhaps a less dense object to make it easier to see what is happaning? (only minor comments)
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