Big Trouble In Little Blender – 1.3 Initial Animation Notes


Notes made during my first attempt a Animating on Blender.

These probably won’t be useful for anyone other than myself. I’m planning on building models as required, rather than in one lump – Which means I’ll probably forget everything in the meantime – To avoid that as much as possible, I’m hoping to use this as a reference point – Allowing me to learn new tools & features of blender; rather than constantly relearning the same tools.

Apologies for any obvious mistakes or omissions – These notes were made as I was learning, and not necessarily as I had learnt.


Useful site: Beginning Blender Tutorial: Animating and Rendering a Mushroom

Basic animation can be managed in default view.

First add an armature – This will hold a set of (1+) bones
Mesh Tools panel->create->armature
or shift-A ->armature->single bone

With the armature selected (left click in the outlier window)
In Data Object Data panel, from the row of icons/tabs at the top – select the stickman
scroll down to the display section & add a tick against Names & X-Ray
Names allows each element to have a name
X-Ray ensures the bone can be seen through the model.

Use Mode Select and switch to Edit Mode.
Use Mesh Tools ->Transform or Mesh Values -> Translate to move the bone into position

To add another bone in the chain (with the bone selected) either;
MeshTools -> Modelling -> Extrude
Or with the press E

To attach a bone to a mesh – in the Outlier panel
Drag the MESH into the Armature – The armature should be the parent

This should open the set parent to window;
Generally choose either:
Armature Deform -> With Automatic Weights (reshapes mesh on animation)
Bone – Ensure model is in a resting\start of animation pose before applying this.
For simple animations I’ve used bone.

Mode Select -> Pose Mode allows you to move/position bones.
Ctrl-Tab is the keyboard shortcut from Pose Mode (Click in the main/model window first)
Or in the Outlier panel, under the Armature in the hierarchy click on Pose

To add an animation – In the Default screen layout..
If the animation timeline is hidden – At the bottom of the screen there are two rows of icons/tabs/drop down menus – click and drag up from the middle to reveal the animation timeline

To add a frame…
In the animation timeline – left click to set the green animation bar at the desired time.
Use the bone attached to the mesh to translate/rotate/etc the mesh into the desired position for that frame of the animation.
Right click in the main/model window
Press I – This should display the Insert Keyframe Menu
From the Insert Keyframe Menu – Select the animation type – e.g. If, for this frame in the animation, the mesh had been rotated – to store the rotation – select Rotation from the Insert Keyframe Menu
This will create an animation frame at the current time position (yellow bar will be added to show the animation timeline)
Note the animation timeline will only show frames for the currently selected mesh
& repeat as required.

The length of the animation is determined by the start & end key frame in the animation timeline
Start and end fields should be clearly visible in the animation bar.
24 frames = 1 second
If the animation ends after 12 frames (30 seconds) – set the start to 0 & the end to 12

Frames cannot be moved, but can be deleted.
To delete – Highlight the frame in the animation timeline (left click over the frame to be deleted – this should move the green bar over the yellow bar) & press space
Then click delete keyframe (twice)



Next post: 1.4 Initial Unity Import Notes

Last post: 1.2 Initial UV Unwrapping Notes

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