Parenting Vertex Groups To Bones

Rather than having to separate my mesh into different objects, how would I parent a vertex group to a bone?

Name the vertex group the same name as the bone and add an armature modifier to the mesh.


What if your bones are all in the same group. How do you rename them and assign them to the vertex group? For me when I right click on them in the outliner it doesn’t give me the option to rename it in edit, pose, or object mode. I can rename the entire armature though. When I do add the modifier the only option it gives me is to assign a vertex group to an entire armature which isn’t what I am looking for. I will post the .blend file below as I feel it will be more helpful to look at that than pictures in this circumstance.

turbine.blend (549 KB)

Basically what I am trying to get the panels(I call them this because I really don’t know what they are called and this model is completely off of the top of my head so I don’t really know what I am doing) to retract back into the slots I have made for them. This is only a learning exercise, or at least I think that’s all it is. Any help is greatly appreciated.

Ok, I’m thinking you’re a bit new to the rigging, but everyone else was at one point in time or another. In the outliner, you can click on the + sign by the name panels.000 to expand it, then expand the armature, then expand the bone, and you can keep expanding and blah blah blah, it’s not a very good place to work. Instead I’d rather work in the bone properties panel (icon looks like a bone), also you make life maybe a little easier by going to the armature panel (icon looks like a stick figure) and under ‘display’ check the x-ray option to see the bones thru the mesh. Anyhow, you can find the bone’s name in the bones panel. So to use vertex groups to get this to work, you’ll have to create a vertex group for the part of the mesh you want controlled by the bone and assign a weight of 1 to all vertices that you want controlled by that bone. Since you’ve named them panel.01-.23 would be easier to just rename each bone after the vertex group (didn’t notice the vertex groups at first)… Then in the armature modifier, enter the name of the armature, panels.000 in this case, and uncheck envelopes. And it should work.

As to getting them to retract, I’d have to think on that one a bit, as there is probably and easy way to automate it…

Normally, using vertex groups and bones with and armature modifier is what I do when rigging an organic object that will deform and twist/bend. Mechanical objects like this, I just separate out each part to it’s own mesh object, then parent the mesh object to the bone that will control it. Really, in the end it’s about the same amount of work.

Looking at automating it, that would be easy, but there needs to be some corrections made to the bone’s roll angles. To see the bone’s axis, click on axis check box in the armature panel. I’m not sure how you want to animate this - which bones you want to move… the set connected to the panel bones, or the other set further down inside the turbine… But with a little work on correcting the axis and you could easily just animate 1 set of bones and all the others could follow it’s motion…

It’s a bit late, and explaining how to correct the axis so they all match is a bit more than I want to do ATM…

Maybe in the morning I’ll relook at it…


Thank you! This is exactly what I was looking for!

And yes I am quite new to rigging and I have some newbie questions to go along with that.

I think I see what you by the bones’ roll angles being off. I have learned some constraints you can put on bones in pose mode on my own, so I think I know how to make all of the bones follow the motions of the first. This is where I can see the problem of the axis not being the same as the first set of bones come in. As for the bones I want to move, I want the top bones and the bones just under those ones to move to get the retracting motion. I also want to rotate the bottom bone to make the panels spin along with the ring that is surrounding them. I’m not sure how to fix it but I will experiment for a while and if I can figure it out I will make another post saying so. If I don’t post I haven’t figured it out and I will probably have more questions in the morning.

Okay, I think I figured it out. In edit mode, after I selected all of the bones, I went to Armature > Bone Roll > Recalculate Roll and then recalculated the roll on each axis. To me this looks like it fixed the problem but I’m too tired to rename all of the bones and test it. I’ll post the .blend. Please let me know if it is correct or not.

I suppose I should have posted the blend file.

Here it is:turbine.blend (546 KB)

One more question. Which constraint would I use to get all of the bones to mirror the movements of the first? I know which constraints I want on the first one but not which one to use on the others.

Use copy rot constraints set to local space, see attached file. In it. I created a bone group, in the armature panel called control and assigned a red color to it and added 3 bones to this group. This was only done so you can see which bones control. Then on another set of bones, I added copy rot constraints to them, now they will move as the control bones will. There is a command to copy constraints from one bone to another, or a group of bones. It’s in the pose menu in the 3d view when in pose mode. I think you select all bones you want to copy constraints to, then lastly select the bone with the constraint and select the option from the menu. Play around with it, I’m sure you’ll figure it out.



turbine.blend (547 KB)

Once again, thanks a lot for the help!