[Introduction to Blender 2.8] Let’s start modelling (7) Moving and Animating Bones

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

In the previous article

In the previous article, I showed you how to add bones to your model. There are two ways to do it. Please see the following article.    

What we will do in this article

In this article, I will explain how to animate an object with bones and upload it to STYLY.

Animation example

Animation example

 

Preparation

Name of bones

We will rename the bones to make it easier to understand when animating them, as well as for later uploading to STYLY.

With the bone selected in Edit or Pose mode, click on the bone icon in the lower right panel, and double-click on the name to rename the bone.

Renaming a bone

Renaming a bone

Select the bones one by one and rename them as shown below.

Bone Name

Bone Name

Master Bone Settings

As it is, if you want to move or rotate the whole character in the animation, you have to move all the bones. Therefore, we will create a master bone, a parent bone that combines all the bones into a child. In Edit Bone mode, select the tip in the middle of the spine, and immediately after pressing the [E] key, press the [Y] key to push the bone out in the Y-axis direction.

Creating a Master Bone

Creating a Master Bone

Set the name to Master, and release the parent-child relationship by pressing [X] for the bone set to “Parent” in the “Relations” section of the Bone tab.

Remove Parent-Child

Remove Parent-Child

Since we are making all the bones children of the Master, we will set the parent of Spine1, which is at the top of the upper body bone hierarchy, Hip_L, which is at the top of the right foot hierarchy, and Hip_R, which is at the top of the left foot hierarchy, to Master. By doing so, all the bones are now children of Master, so if you move Master in Pose mode, all the bones will move.

Master is now the parent of all

Master is now the parent of all

Also, if you select a bone and choose “Stick” in Display As in the Armature tab, the bone display will become a stick, making it easier to see when animating.

Make the bone display a stick

Make the bone display a stick


Bone display as stick

Bone display as stick

How to create

Adding animation

We will now add the animation.

The bottom part of the screen is the timeline for the animation.

The timeline

The timeline

If you set the synchronization mode to “AV-sync” from the top of “Playback” on the left side of the timeline, the animation will be played back at its original speed even if there is a processing failure when it is animated in Blender.

AV-sync

AV-sync

Each animation, such as running, walking, etc., can be registered as an action and managed by each action. Actions can be created in the dope sheet. From the upper left corner of the screen, set the screen view to “Dope Sheet”.

(3D Viewport and split screen at top and bottom)

Set the screen display to Dope Sheet

Set the screen display to Dope Sheet

Create a pose in this dope sheet or in the timeline, and keyframe it. Select “New” in the Dope Sheet.

Select "New"

Select “New”

Rename the dope sheet using ① in the image below, and press ② the shield icon. Press this to save the animation. The animation you created can be selected from the pull-down menu at ③.

Creating a New Action

Creating a New Action

We will create a walking animation as an example. Before we create the first pose, we will set the current frame to 1.

Set the current frame to 1

Set the current frame to 1

Select a bone, switch to Pose mode, and create a pose by moving the bone. Since we are creating a walking motion, we will create a pose for walking.

Once the pose is created, select all the bones with the [A] key, and then select [I] key -> “LocRot” (Location + Rotation).

Registering Keyframes

Registering Keyframes

The keyframes will now be registered. All bones in the dopesheet will have keyframes, and the timeline will have yellow bars at the locations of the keyframes.

Keyframes

Keyframes

Select a frame a little further ahead to create the next pose. In the case of the walking motion, it is the opposite of the previous pose, so we can create an inverted copy of the first pose.

Select the top keyframe “Summary” in the dopesheet by clicking on it. Once selected, press [Ctrl]+[C] to copy, then select a frame a little further on and press [Ctrl]+[Shift]+[V]. The pose will then be inverted and the key will be struck.

Flipping the Pose

Flipping the Pose

 

Now paste the first pose a little further into the frame. This time it will not be flipped, so press [Ctrl]+[V] as usual. Go back to the timeline and set the end frame to the frame of the last pose.

Paste

Paste


Setting the End Frame

Setting the End Frame

Now let’s play it back.

Checking the animation

Checking the animation

Check the animation, and if it looks strange, add more keyframes between the keyframes to make it more detailed, or move the keyframes to adjust the speed to make it more satisfying.

If you want to add a new action, click on the X next to the action name to unedit it, then click on “New” to create a new action.

Adding an Action

Adding an Action

Let’s upload our model to STYLY!

Exporting the model

Now, let’s upload the model with animation to STYLY. Basically, you can upload your model with animation directly from Blender to STYLY.

First, export the model. Select both the bone and the mesh, and choose File -> Export -> FBX.

Turn on “Selected Objects” in the settings, and select “Armature”, “Mesh”, and “Other” while holding down the [Shift] key. Make sure that all the settings in the “Bake Animation” tab are also checked.

Export Settings

Export Settings

Give it a name and export it.    

How to upload to STYLY

Let’s upload your 3D model to STYLY.

Create a STYLY account

How to create an account

How to upload to STYLY

How to upload from Unity to STYLY

(Extra) Through Unity

You can upload the output from Blender to STYLY in FBX format, but you may want to do some modifications in Unity.

Here’s how to do it in that case. The version is Unity 2019.3.x.

First, you need to import the STYLY plugin for Unity, which can be downloaded from the following link.

After importing, the following window will pop up.

Enter your email address and API key

Enter your email address and API key

Put the model you just exported into Assets, and place it in the scene.

Place the model in the scene

Place the model in the scene

Select the model file in Assets, open the Rig tab in the Inspector, set the Animation Type to Humanoid, click Apply, and then click Configure.

Change to Humanoid

Change to Humanoid

After clicking Configure, you will be taken to a scene where you can check the bones. If all the bones are green, click “Done” to return to the original scene.

Checking the Bones

Checking the Bones

If any of the bones are red, you may need to re-insert the bones, which can be fixed by simply rotating the bones in Unity.

Once you are back in the scene, drag and drop the animation from the objects in Assets onto the object you placed in the scene.

Animation file

Animation file

Go to Window > Animation > Animator from the menu above, and click on the hierarchy model to find the animation you just dragged and dropped (orange).

Animator window

Animator window

If you don’t have a name and it’s blank, you can enter a name in the Hierarchy window.

If you want to move from one animation to another, drag and drop another animation into the Animator window, right click on the first animation (orange), and click “Make Transition” to extend the arrow to the next animation.  

Since we’ve chosen a walking animation, we’ll show you how to loop the animation. Click on “Edit” in the animation inspector of the object in Assets.

Click Edit

Click Edit

The inspector will change to a state where you can edit the animation. Check “Loop Time” and click “Apply” at the bottom.

Check "Loop Time"

Check “Loop Time”

If the animation loops when you play it, it’s good to go. If the animation does not loop, it may not have been applied properly and the Loop Time is not checked.

When you are done, drag and drop the hierarchy object into the Assets. This is called prefabrication.

Prefabrication

Prefabrication

 

Select the prefabricated object in Assets, right click and select STYLY -> Upload prefab or scene to STYLY the upload to STYLY will start and you will see a window saying Upload Succeeded.

If you go to STYLY and open Assets→3D Model→My Models, you will find the object with animation that you just uploaded.

 

It also works in STYLY.

It also works in STYLY.

Introduction to NEWVIEW SCHOOL ONLINE

NEWVIEW SCHOOL ONLINE is now open! Learn the basics of Unity and PlayMaker, necessary for creating VR/AR content, and learn the process (and creation techniques) for developing attractive content available on STYLY.

 

  • Create VR/AR content without writing any programming code.
  • Professionally supervised Unity courses available.
  • Explore additional elements, such as photogrammetric production methods and content lightening.
  • Learn the concept of creating VR/AR content.