teaching machines

HNRS 304.503 Lecture 20 – Character animation




I’ve only ever exported to Collada. The clothes are sometimes too snug when I import, and body seeps through. Scaling the clothes isn’t quite what I want. Try selecting the clothes faces and fattening (Alt-S).


We’ll have a peak at creating your own character animations. Simple rigidbody transformations are not how we want to handle morphing our characters. Instead, we follow this process:

  1. Create a rig or armature or bones that span through the character and have joints where we want the character to be able to bend.
  2. Skin the mesh to the armature, associating vertices with the bones. After a good skinning, the bones will move the vertices in a non-rigid way!
  3. Orient the bones for each keyframe of a pose and add keyframes along the way.

As with anything interesting, experience is essential to being good at this process. We have to start somewhere.

Walk cycle

A minimal walk cycle. I think the image may be from Richard Williams’ The Animator’s Surval Kit, but I’m not certain.

Now, for a little exercise:

  1. Spend one minute studying one of the first four keyframes. You pick which.
  2. Write down the salient features that you see. How has the figure positioned itself?

Let’s animate:

  1. Select the armature in Blender.
  2. Go into Pose Mode.
  3. For each keyframe, position and rotate the bones as necessary. Hit I to record a keyframe.
  4. For the fifth frame, scrub to the first and select Pose / Copy Pose. Scrub to the fifth and select Pose / Paste X-Flipped Pose.
  5. Repeat for the sixth, seventh, and eighth.
  6. Paste the unflipped first as the ninth.
  7. Hit Alt-A to animate, or press Play/Pause in the timeline.


  • Check out Filament Games and play their games. Come to class Wednesday with a barrage of questions to ask and turn in!


I render fenders
I’m their bender in Blender
Rear-ender mender


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