sculpted characters barely animate

I have created a couple of characters using the sculpting method. Both of them have very limited range in motion. I can pose the character so it looks very distorted inside blender, but when I render it, it has hardly moved from its original position. I have tried changing the envelopes of the bones to encompass more area and I have tried moving the limbs to extreme positions, but neither of these seem to make any difference. Is there something I am doing wrong or is this a limitation in Blender?

Hopefully you parented your sculpture to an armature and weight painted the bone influence on the mesh. Your problem is that you probably have a keyed pose. Bring up the NLA editor and delete the key then make the desired pose and render.

AFAIK you can’t directly animate a sculpted mesh with a high poly count even if do parent and weight paint etc., this isn’t because the animation tools are defective … It’s just that there are too many polygons for Blender/your computer to calculate to generate an animation … My computer slows to a crawl in the 3D view with 20K polys (with subsurf on) when trying to animate (and that’s with a mesh that was made without sculpt) … A sculpted mesh can far exceed that easily .

If you want to use the sculpted mesh results in an animation bake a tangent UV map on a low res mesh and then use that for the animation, not the direct sculpted mesh .