Help with rigging needed! Fixing an object in space?

hi guys, I’m trying to set up a rig for a man rowing a boat, but I can’t figure out how to keep the oar the boat’s rowlock (see attached). I need some sort of fixed pivoting point, so that when the hand moves the end of the oar, the oar rotates in the rowlock rather than the whole thing moving and coming out. Is there a function in Blender which will allow me to do this?

I’ve spent a while searching the net and can’t find anything… (I’m a bit of an animation noob by the way).

If anyone’s got any ideas would be a great help.


Having a pivot in space is easy . Just add a bone with the head tip where you want your pivot and extrude from that another bone which will control the entire oar (name the bone “oar” and use a single vertex group to control the oar) . Though I can’t really see your set-up very well from the image, so I don’t know if you want to set up an IK chain with the rower or not but if you do it would be more complicated - depends on your intentions .

EDIT: BTW I’m also assuming you just want this for just one scene - because if you have the character move out of the boat later the oars will follow in this set up

Here’s a little example I put together with notes in the file


Cheers guys! Took a while, but finally got it sorted. I’ve got it using IK, thanks to Mike’s example.

The only thing I can’t figure out, is that when I parented the oar’s armature to the main rig bone (I labelled it Oarcontroller.R), the oar armature’s bone chain got stretched out straight, rather than staying at a right-angle. Any ideas how I can get it back to the right-angle?

You can get the file here (0.65mb).

I actually linked to the wrong file before (a previous version), so sorry if you looked at it and it didn’t make any sense… I’ve changed it to the correct one now.

UPDATE: I think I’ve fixed the problem - I simply deleted the bone with the head tip connecting to the bone controlling the oar, and it seems to have worked. Hopefully the absence of that bone won’t cause any problems…?

Your issue made me think of this article from Animation Mentor:
(You can just scroll down to the part where it says: TIP #16: Constrain TO Props, Not To The Character!)