Animating

warning|This part of the tutorial needs to be reworked. TODO: Action Editor, Inverted Keyframes

Now you are going to create a four seconds long idle animation for your statue. Have a look at this video to learn the basics of a good, natural animation.

 
split screen

Prepare:

  1. Split the 3D View area ( at the right side ) to add two other editors just above the Timeline Editor. First add and set a Dope Sheet Editor then a Graph Editor on top below the 3D View.
  2. In the Properties Editor -> Render tab -> Dimensions ->
    • Frame Range: -> Start Frame: 60
    • Frame Range: -> End Frame: 300
    • Frame Rate: 30 FPS
  3. Switch to the Object Mode and select the bones object in the 3D View then switch to the Pose Mode.
    • Add Bone Constraints to the base bone and the bone(s) of your statue's base foot to lock their transforms. These bones won't be able to rotate, scale or move at all.
      • Select the bone you want to lock.
      • Properties Editor -> Bone Constraints tab -> Add Bone Constraint -> Limit Rotation
      • Enable Limit X, Limit Y, Limit Z
      • Convert: Local Space
      • Properties Editor -> Bone Constraints tab -> Add Bone Constraint -> Limit Scale
      • Enable Minimum X, Minimum Y, Minimum Z, Maximum X, Maximum Y, Maximum Z and set their scale limit to 1.
      • Convert: Local Space
      • Properties Editor -> Bone Constraints tab -> Add Bone Constraint -> Limit Location
      • Enable Minimum X, Minimum Y, Minimum Z, Maximum X, Maximum Y, Maximum Z and set their location limit to 0.
      • Convert: Local Space
  4. In the menu bar of the Timeline Editor enable the Automatic keyframe insertion for Objects and Bones to automatically set the keyframes after you've rotated or scaled a bone and set the Active Keying Set to RotScaleRecordAnimation2.JPG ( Scroll down with the mouse wheel if you don't see RotScale in the upper part of the list. )

Create:

It may seem a little bit weird to start the animation with frame 60 but you want a seamless looping idle animation. Normally when you start with frame 1 and end at frame 240 the first and last frames don't know each other so this will cause a hiccup when the animation loops from frame 240 to frame 1. To terminate this behavior you need to create some kind of intro and outro animation just by copying and pasting some parts of your animation before the start and after the end of your used animation length of 60 to 300.

  1. Set Current Frame to 60 in the Timeline Editor's menu bar.
  2. Select the whole armature object with all bones ( A ) and add keyframes for all these bones with the Active Keying Set OM ActiveKeyingSet.JPG button. The animation interpolation should be set to F-Curve -> Bezier by default. You can check this in the Properties panel ( N ) of the Graph Editor in the Active Keyframe section after you've selected any bone(s) in the 3D View. The Handles should be set to Auto Clamped.
  3. Set Current Frame to +60 in the Timeline Editor's menu bar and select a certain bone to change its rotation and / or scale. These changes are saved automatically.
    • Use the R key to rotate bones. Switch between the Transform Orientations e.g. local and global for different rotation behaviours. RotationBehavior.JPG
    • Use the S key to scale bones.
  4. Repeat the previous step until you reach frame 240.
  5. To make the animation loopable you need to copy the keyframes from the start frame (60) to frame 300, the end of the animation.
    • Select the whole armature object with all bones ( A ) and then select the start frames' keyframes with a left click in the Dope Sheet editor to frame 60 of the Dope Sheet Summary row.
    • Then copy these keyframes with CTRL + C, select frame 300 and paste the keyframes with CTRL + V.
       
      Start to End
  6. To get the seamless looping idle animation mentioned at the beginning:
    • Copy and paste all keyframes at frame 120 to 360.
    • Then copy and paste all keyframes at frame 240 to 0.
  7. For a more organic look select keyframe(s) at frame 120, 180, 240 and use the G key to move selected keyframes in the timeline between frame 90 - 270 of the Dope Sheet Editor.
  8. Finally you need to normalize the weights of each bone in the 3D View to make sure the vertices don't get influenced by too much bones at the same time with Tool Shelf -> Tools -> Weight Tools -> Normalize All.
  • Save the project as StatueSkeletalAnimated.blend.