Issues with rigging a sword and scabbard

I have one last major hurdle to get over for my character and that is rigging the sword to switch between attaching to the hand and following the scabbard.

Here is my set up.

Scabbard - Has a bone and via various constraints is parented to the character and works well.

Sword - There are three main bones. 1-The sword bone, which allows me to easily animate the sword and when the IK hand is attached will move the arm as well. 2-sword slide bone which allows me to slide the sword bone along the length of the sword changing it pivot. This also allows a nice sliding motion when the character pulls it out of the scabbard. 3 - A sword attach bone which is the target for the hand IK bone to attached to.
The sword currently is also parented to the scabbard for when the character is not using it. This allows the sword to move with the scabbard.

Hand - via the IK bone, is attached to the sword attach bone with a copy transforms constraint. When the influence is turned down the hand and sword are separated and move independently. When turned up they are attached. Animating the sword moves the IK hand/arm.

For the sword and hand I followed CGMasteres ninja rigging tutorial series.

My challenge comes when I want to switch between the sword following the scabbard and attached to the hand.

When i turn down the influence between the sword and scabbard the sword returns to it rest position and if the hand is attached it will follow.

What I need is a way that the sword will follow the scabbard. the hand attaches to the sword and some how turn of the influence between sword and scabbard but the sword stay in the same location. I have tried a number of things, but am at a loss. I feel like there needs to be something similar to a IK/FK snap for an arm or leg, but for the sword instead.

Any ideas? I have looked several times for tuts on this, but people seem to only cover attaching the hand to the sword.

Anyway, hope someone can help.

I can’t be 100% sure this will work without seeing a file, but here is a good guess…

For the animation if you want the switch to occur at frame 50, go to frame 49 and add keys to the influence of the sword constraints that are controlling the IK hand. (Value should be 1.00) Also, snap the FK arms to the IK arms and key those rotations on the FK arms. (Don’t switch to FK.) Next on frame 50 key the influence to 0.0 on the constraints that are making the IK hand follow the sword. The IK hand will wander to never never land. No problem…Snap the IK hand to the FK bones and add keys.

Basically all you need to do is a coordinated one frame switch. When turning on/off the constraints over a single frame any weird movement should be masked.

I hope that helps.

Good luck!

Hey DanPro - I will try this out. I also found this little plugin ( which allows you to copy the location etc. from one object to another. When in pose mode I can copy the “visual” location of the scabbard bone to the sword bone and the sword will move to the scabbard location. Even thouhgh the scabbard bone does not have any transform data of its own because of a copy transform constraint. So I am hoping to key the sword with its influence witth the scabbarf at 1. Then on the next frame key the influence to 0 , copy the scabbar visual location to the sword and key the swrord in place.

I’ll try and both and see if either works and which is easier.

Thanks again.