How does he make it?

Hello there!

I have been alway for some time now and it seems that I lost something. I just watched this movie at the peach blog and I simply can’t figure out what he does to move the character with those shapes and controllers.

After a little research, I discovered a new features in Blender that explain part of the trick: armature layers. However, I didn’t find anything about the mysterious shapes.

Does anyone knows where I can find some information about this particular new feature?

Those are just custom draw types for armature bones . I think it was implemented from 2.42a (?) on . Now you can select any mesh object to “stand in” for the various bone draw types .

Just go to the Editing context (F9) in the Buttons window and look in the Armature Bones panel . In the last OB: field if you type the name of a mesh object your bone will look like that object instead of looking like any of the bone draw types .

you need to buy the book Intro to Character Animation with Blender. Those are called driven shape keys. I just used them to make a dragon blink, snap his jaws, close his claws, etc.

Basically, you define the mesh shapes. Then you add a driver that references another object, and an IPO curve. As you move the driver, the correstponding effect takes place. Sorta like operating an animatronic, or a crane. You make a set of levers that controls what the mesh or armature does.

I believe it is keyboard shotcuts that you are refering to.

He is simply using the S-G-R keyboard shortcuts, then clicking on the controllers so he does not have to use the tool icons.

I haven’t taken a look at the movie you linked to, but I think that regardless of whether he uses driven shapekeys or bones or lattices, the thing you are looking for is the pose mode of an armature. Then select a bone, and in the edit buttons there will be a new tab, “Armature bones” where there is a field: OB:
fill in the name of your object you want that bone to look like in that field.
Remember that the bone’s shape/object will automatically be scaled accordingly to the scale of the bone itself. (so if your bones length is 1, the object’s display scale is 1, if your bones length is 0.5, the object’s display size is 0.5)

workflow: make armature and rig and all that.
make display objects, parent them to an empty, scale that empty down a lot and hide in somewhere within your character or something.