[Introduction to Blender 2.8] Let’s start modelling (6) How to add armatures (bones)

In this article, I’ll show you how to use Blender, make a simple model, and upload it to STYLY for those who have never done modeling before.

What we will do in this article

In this article, I’ll show you how to add bones to your modeled object.

There are two ways to insert bones, one is to manually make bones and insert them, and the other is to use the ones that are already prepared.

In this article, I will describe the method of using the already prepared ones.

For the manual method, please refer to the following article.

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How to create

Preparing the model

Prepare the 3D model of the human figure.

If each part is a separate object, select them all and press [Ctrl]+[J] to unify them.

 
All meshes are united

All meshes are united

Use the [5] key on the numeric keypad to set parallel projection, and the [1] key to set front view.

If you don’t have a numeric keypad, you can select both from the “View” menu above.

Setting Parallel Projection and Front View

Setting Parallel Projection and Front View

Activate Rigify

In order to use the bones (Rigify) that are already available in Blender, enable the add-on in the settings.

Go to “Edit” -> “Preferences” -> “Add-ons” tab and search for “rig” to find Rigging: Rigify.

Add-ons Settings

Add-ons Settings

 

Adding Bones

Display the model in wireframe view with the [Z] key, and select [Shift]+[A]→[Armature]→[Basic]→[Basic Human (Meta-Rig)].

Select Basic Human

Select Basic Human

Then, the completed bones will appear.

The bones will appear

The bones will appear

 

In the current state, the bones are only visible in wireframe view.

To make them visible in solid view, go to the Armature tab on the right menu and check the “In Front” checkbox.

Check "In Front"

Check “In Front”

In this state, you can change the scale to match the body.

With the bones selected, press the [Tab] key to enter edit mode and select the bones one by one.

Move, rotate, and rescale the bones to fit your model.

To change the scale of a bone, select the tip of the bone (the red arrow) and move it, instead of using the [S] key.

Resize the bone

Resize the bone

Also, if you check the “X-Axis Mirror” option under Options in the upper right menu, symmetrical bones such as arms and legs will move when you move one of them, and the other will also move.

Check X-Axis Mirror

Check X-Axis Mirror


Adjusted bones

Adjusted bones

Associating Meshes with Bones

Once the bones have been attached to the model, select Mesh > Bones, then press [Ctrl]+[P] and select “With Automatic Weights”.

With Automatic Weights

With Automatic Weights

Now the mesh and bones are associated.

Let’s check it out. Select the bone and switch to “Pose Mode” from the upper left corner of the screen.

Switch to Pose Mode

Switch to Pose Mode

The selected color of the bone is now light blue. As the name suggests, this is the mode for creating a pose.

Select the bones one by one and rotate them with the [R] key.

Move your hands to match the bones

Move your hands to match the bones

When you move a bone, the mesh associated with that bone will move along with it.

Use the [Ctrl]+[Z] keys to move the bone back to its original position. (If you can’t get them back by pressing [Ctrl]+[Z], you can reset the rotation by pressing [Alt]+[R].

When you have moved all the bones and found nothing strange, you are done adding bones. However, please see below.

Some meshes don't work properly

Some meshes don’t work properly

The eyes are not moving along the bones properly.

Because of the automatic association, there are some parts that cannot be associated properly, and as you can see, some parts are left out.

This is where a function called Weight Paint comes in handy, as it allows you to adjust the weight of the bones.  

Adjusting the weight of a bone

Now select the mesh and choose “Weight Paint” from the upper left menu (hereafter referred to as “Weight Paint Mode”).

The mesh will change to red or blue. This is the Weight Paint function.

The stronger the connection to the selected bone, the redder it will be, and the weaker the connection, the bluer it will be.

Relatedness to bones

Relatedness to bones

 

To switch the selected bone, click on the upside-down triangle icon in the right menu (in the red box below), and select the vertex group that corresponds to (has the same name as) the bone you want to select.

If you look at the panda’s head bone, you can see that the eyes are green and the relevance is low.

The eyes have low relevance

The eyes have low relevance

 

We will fix this.

In this weight painting mode, you can paint the weights of the mesh, but it is quite difficult to target only the eyes.

Therefore, we will use the edit mode instead of the weight paint mode to change the weight value of the eyes only.

(If you want to use weight painting, please refer to the following article.)

First, in edit mode, press the [L] key on the eye vertices (link selection) and select the eye mesh.

Select the eye mesh

Select the eye mesh

Once selected, look at the “Vertex Weight” item on the right side in the 3D view.

This indicates that this vertex has a spine.006 weight of 0.604 and a spine.005 weight of 0.396.

Since spine.006 is the head bone in this case, change the value of spine.006 to 1.0 and the value of spine.005 to 0.0, and press “Copy” to apply them to the entire selected vertex.

Switch to weight painting mode and check it out.


The eyes are now red. Now, the eyes will follow you.

Try moving it in Pose mode and adjust it as shown below.

The eyes will follow the movement of your head

The eyes will follow the movement of your head

Next article is here

In the next article, we will start creating the animation from here.

Terms and shortcuts mentioned in this article

Terms

  • Rigify: A finished bone prepared in Blender.
  • X-Axis Mirror: This is a setting to move the bones symmetrically.
  • Pose Mode: A mode for moving the bones after the mesh and bones are associated.
  • Weight Paint mode: After associating a mesh with a bone, you can see and edit which part of the mesh is associated with each bone.  

Shortcuts

  • [Ctrl]+[J] key :Merge selected meshes
  • Numeric keypad [5]: Parallel projection
  • Numeric keypad [1]: Front view
  • [Z] key : Wire frame view
  • [L] key: Link selection
  • [Shift]+[A]: Show Create Menu
  • [Ctrl]+[P] key: In this case, the association between meshes and bones.

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