How to make sense of bones of an imported character?

Almost every free fbx or gltf file I’ve ever tried has the bones come in looking like this:

i can’t make sense of this. What are we supposed to do when this happens?

Also, where can I find proper instructions for linking a rigged character to a file and posing it?

Most of the time the pose is not saved and I have to resort to appending the rigged character which means bloating the file size unnecessarily. (I should mention that I haven’t even bothered with a rigged character since 2018 because the poses not being saved was so frustrating)

That happens because the concept of “tails” is something specific to Blender. The .fbx’s don’t have bone tails, and when they get imported, they need to be created; in the cases of end bones, the importer doesn’t know how long to make them.

If you’d like, you can enter edit, lasso select all long bones, change pivot point to individual origins, and scale them down.

If I want to link a rigged character, I drag and drop the file into the Blender window, choose “link”, specify in the file dialog the collection containing the character and its armature, and hit okay; then I select the linked object and, from the search menu, “make library override”.

To pose a character, I select its armature, enter pose mode, select a bone, and ‘r’ to rotate. If I want to “save” this pose, there are a few different things we could talk about as saving, but presumably you’d want to keyframe the bone: with the bone still selected, ‘i’ ->location/rotation/scale is generally what I would do.

Thanks. One more thing. This model is like 90 meters tall and I typically like to scale things down to real world dimensions and apply scale. Will doing that with a rigged model break something? Should I not bother and just scale the armature down and not apply anything?

Is there a way to automatically select all end bones?

Scale the armature. (Not sure what you were comparing that to.) Scaling the armature might break things, depending on the armature, but on a barebones, unedited .fbx import, it shouldn’t. Definitely don’t apply anything.

Don’t know of any way to select all bones without children, sorry. That’s probably what you mean by “end bones.” Those are the ones with whacko tail positions. Might be an addon or a script you could find by googling. But it’s not so hard to see which ones those are in your picture, and you could just lasso select their tails and ctrl + .

Edit: I suppose it’s possible your fbx has some location keyframes directly on the armature, in which case scaling the armature would screw up your animation. In that case, best to parent the armature to an empty at the same location, and then scale the empty.

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