Question about armatures

Hello,
I’m fairly new to blender, and have been experimenting with animating characters via armatures. i was following a guide in the manual, but have come across a problem, where the manual isn’t specific. i know this may seem like a very simple question that everyone should know, but I’m confused on it. if you are creating a skeleton, and you place one armature, do you extrude the next in edit mode, or add another in object mode? also, how would you effectively link it to a mesh, let’s say you have 30 bones, if they have to be added as separate objects, then would you need to add 30 modifiers to effect the mesh?
Also, on a similar topic, how would you build in armatures for facial expressions, such as eye movement, lip movement, tung movement, blinking, etc.?
any help is appreciated, thanks

  1. you add/extrude additional bones in Edit Mode for per armature object

  2. if you have separate objects/meshes and you want to link them to an armature bone you can simply parent them by selecting the object then shift-select the bone you want to link to and hit Ctrl-P in Pose Mode(Ctrl-Tab with the armature selected) - no modifiers needed … though in future versions you will have the child of constraint …

  3. most people use shape keys to animate facial expressions etc. though you can through vertex groups in conjunction with hooks/ armature bones/ whatever to animate them as well … you should look at the manual for more details …

I tried that, however the mesh was not moved correctly, instead of it looking like the limbs were moving naturally, it seemed to distort to fit around the bone. it also did not drag other parts with it. for example, i had a bone for the hand, when i went to rotate that after parenting, the hand moved, but the tips of the fingers did not, staying on the same place.

do you know of a guide that goes into that in detail? so far i have yet to see anything about hooks, or specifying vertex groups in the manual.

BSoD/Introduction to Character Animation will probably answer most of your questions about rigging and using shape keys for facial expressions. Once you’re familiar with the basics, take a look at Calvin’s Simple Page for rigs to download and experiment with, and additional rigging and animation tutorials. Calvin works with armatures rather than shape keys for facial expressions. Finally, for that distortion to fit around the bone problem, take a look at Bone Roll Angles and Joint Deformation in my sig for a discussion of that particular topic.

If your mesh isn’t deforming properly there could be many different reasons for it … first of which is that your mesh and armature don’t have the same “up” axis … to check that tab into Object Mode and hit N to bring up the Transform Properties sub window … if there are any values for RotX/Y/Z greater then 0.000 for either mesh object or armature then you need to unparent your mesh from the armature and apply the current scale and rotation with Ctrl-A and then reparent …

And it seems you are not using seperate objects/meshes but a single one … what I said in 2) was for seperate objects not for a single mesh/object with seperate mesh parts … that you have to do with vertex groups …

Your problem with the parts of the fingers not moving with the bones tells me that you probably have envelopes enabled in your set up and they are not “catching” some verts with their area of influence … you can either just turn the envelopes option off or tab into Edit Mode for the armature … switch the display mode to “Envelope” and edit/adjust the area of influence to cover the stray vertices …

And here : http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Manual/Vertex_Groups to get started on vertex groups … Really it is just a good way to organize your mesh … I just happen to like to use it for animation testing when I model …

You seem to be fairly new to animation try and follow http://wiki.blender.org/index.php/BSoD/Introduction_to_Character_Animation for most of the basic stuff … (Orinoco beat me to it …)

Thanks for the links, the BSoD/Introduction one goes through what i wanted to know about facial expressions. however i am still having problems with bones and the mesh. what seems to be confusing me the most are the vertex groups. the BSoD/Introduction talks about creating the groups by painting the mesh with weight, this seems to make sense to me. Though when i enter that view, i am unable to see my bones, and therefor unable to select them. is there a way to make them show from under the mesh? i also tried moving the bones on top of the mesh, i was still unable to see them directly above.

In F9 buttons, Armature tab, turn on X-Ray.

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thanks for the reply, with that helping to weight paint the mesh, i was able to successfully assign the vertex groups, and it seems to distort correctly, slightly unnatural, however that is due to the position of the bones. Thanks for the help.