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Blender For Dummies®, 2nd Edition by Jason van Gumster

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Animating with Armatures

If you're already used to object animation, using armatures to animate using the Dopesheet extends naturally from that base. When I animate, I like to use the following process:

  1. Plan the animation.

    I can't emphasize this point enough:. Know what you're going to animate and have an idea about the timing of the motion. Act out the action. If you can, sketch out a few quick thumbnail drawings of the sequence. Even stick-figure drawings can be really helpful for determining poses and figuring out how things are going to look.

  2. Set your Timeline at frame 1 and create the starting pose for your character by manipulating its rig.
  3. Select all visible bones (A) and Insert a LocRot keyframe for everything (IimageLocRot).

    Granted, there's a good chance that most of the bones can't be grabbed, but only rotated, so setting a location keyframe for them is kind of moot. However, setting a keyframe for all the bones is faster than going through and figuring out which bones can be keyed for just rotation and which bones can be keyed for both rotation and location.

  4. Move the timeline cursor forward to roughly when you think the next major pose should happen.
  5. Create your character's second pose.

    If the next pose is a hold, or a pose where the character doesn't change position, you can duplicate the keys of the previous pose by selecting them in the Dopesheet and pressing Shift+D. ...

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