How to Create Your First Character Rig in Blender: Part 1 - Setting up the Armature
Blender is a 3D application with a wide range of tools, allowing you to create 3D models, render, rig, animate, etc. The process we'll be discussing in this article is rigging, which is a vital part of any production. Rigging is the process of creating bones and joints for the 3D models which allows the animators to pose them and manipulate them in anyway they want. The techniques and workflows for setting up character rigs are very similar across all 3D applications, but knowing the program's set of tools will ensure you're using the rigging toolset to its full capabilities. Let's go over setting up a very basic biped rig inside of Blender so you can get familiar with setting up bones as well as skinning and weight painting. One thing that needs to be laid out on the table first is the fact that Blender features a pre-built basic bipedal rig that you can drop in and tweak to the size and shape of your 3D model. This is an extremely handy feature, however, it's important that you understand the basics of rigging, and how the tools in Blender work. The preset biped rig is really meant as a place to start from, which you can add to and tweak as needed. To really get you to understand the basics of rigging in Blender I'm going to walk you through the process of creating a biped rig from scratch. While it's certainly nice to have a "Rig Button" being able to create a rig from start to end on your own is a skill that will benefit any 3D artist. In order to build a rig, we need something to create it for. I've gone ahead and imported the Biker character model which you can learn step-by-step how to create it in this tutorial. It's a 3D model that has been built with rigging and character animation in mind, so the topology is nice and clean. If you're new to Blender I recommend checking out some of the introductory articles to Blender like Mastering the Blender UI and What You Need to Know When Learning Blender.