Rigging Elbows and Arms?

I am rigging a model as per the instructions in the Blender 2.3.4 Handbook (“Rigging a Hand and Foot”). This question has been asked before but my n00b skills evidently need help before continuing.

The IK_arm handle on the wrist can move the arm and the elbow will be randomly positioned by the IK solver. Is it possible to control the wrist (IK solver style) and still be able to accurately specify the location of the elbow?

I had started with animation by keyframes and changing the IPO curves when needed and moved into more fully rigging my model. I hope this time spent playing with bones has not been all for naught. The angle of the elbows (the closeness to the body) needs to be controlled. Using the wrist IK solvers simplifies arm positioning greatly but I also need to control the elbows.

This has been a call for help from your local n00b,

Yes… this question keeps popping up over and over :stuck_out_tongue: put another null bone near the elbow and set a track to constraint on the upperarm bone that makes it point to the elbow null.

During testing of the above instructions, in sideview I moved the wrist IK and bent the elbow so that the arm formed a right angle. I then selected then newly placed elbow null and tried a grab & move (G) – nothing. I tried a rotation ® on the null – nothing. R on the upper arm rotated the upArm but broke it away from the lower arm.

I don’t want to have to use keyframe animation for this project but I need to be able to control the arm bones completely. Example: Form a right angle with your elbow – you can move your upper arm so that your elbow is a variable distance from your body. I need to be able to do this.

Can someone help explain this to me so I can find what part I’m obviously not learning about Blender? Is this something basic that I have to progress beyond before doing anything substantial?

N00b at heart,