Animation model for comments and criticism

My current WIP is learning how to use blender. This is a character from what will eventually be a short film (unlikely to ever be finished, but a hobby). I probably need to model, rig and animate about 10 characters (and scenery) but hopefully I will get a bit more efficient as I figure out how to use the software properly.

He is currently hosted at mediafire:

As it stands, he is essentially un-material-ed.

Issues at present are:

  1. lots of deformation issues around joints - I haven’t yet found the best way to organise the vertex groups (including for fan bones) but for current use, acceptable
  2. some bones have rotation constraints to prevent weird deformations. Not yet all - I may or not do the rest depending on how he behaves when animated.
  3. custom bone shapes for head and chest IK display weird behaviour (in their rotation - doesn’t affect their use)
  4. custom bone shapes look like they have been drawn by moron. Jaw bone not shaped yet.
  5. not yet finished armature - still thinking about foot roll (not sure if I’ll need it so will wait until I start animating him) and plan to put in scale bones for finger control
  6. the actual character mesh is a little rushed and there are lots of places it could be tidied up (e.g. medial border of eyelids)
  7. Not yet implemented: teeth, tongue, face shape keys
  8. no plans to implement - muscle simulation with shape keys (too much work)

To be honest, I am currently working on rigging and animation so I am happy to leave the rest alone for now and either come back to it another time. I would be grateful if anyone can test out the rig and let me know:

  • am I doing anything really obviously wrong / could be better?
  • is there a way to fix the weird rotation issues with the head and chest IK bones? Ideally I would like them to either always be vertically displayed or to point towards the same direction the face / chest point towards


  • armature on layer 1, model, lights and camera on layer 2, custom bones on layer 12
  • armature layers: main controls on bone layer 1, fingers on layer 3, all others on layer 2

Comments welcome!


Give us a wireframe shot.

There’s a link to the .blend, so if you are interested in the topology feel free to generate as many wireframes as you like. I am more interested in learning how to rig and animate currently so I am not looking for comments on the wire. Cheers though.

Put up a quick’n’dirty walk test on vimeo

Some general observations:

Not many people are going to be willing to download a blend just to see some wireframes. If you want critique, you should consider doing things like posting wires.

Topology is so connected to rigging it’s nuts to try to rig without straightening out the mesh as much as possible before beginning rigging.

Your deformation issues are partly mesh issues.

The test video has too much going on to decently critique. If you want advice on how to improve the walk cycle, turn the lights on, don’t move the camera around, and show the whole model walking on a ground plane.

Point taken. Wireframes follow. I will change the lighting and stick up some more pics then re-animate.


some quick re-lit versions (I know there seems to be a 3 point lighting standard for showing work but that’s not made it into my learning curve yet so apologies if this is not as well demonstrated as it could be)


Just as an academic exercise - I started using blender about 2 months ago I think…

These are the previous models (also posted in forum) just to see if I was getting any better…

The first had no consideration of number of polys, the second was a deliberate attempt to restrict number. The current one is more of a ‘gentle restriction’.


Put up another video on vimeo with more light (I left the spotlights in as they show the ground well to check for slippage - animated with offset bone so shouldn’t in theory though).

The .blend in the first link is deprecated - at some point I had missed clearing scale/rotation of armature so I had to make some adjustments.

I would suggest NOT setting a TrackTo constraint from the camera to the figure, because then the camera bounces up and down. I suggest making a curve to the path at which the camera should go, for smooth camera movement.