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Now we have reached the point in our process where we need to skin the armature and the skin we are going to use is this mesh and this process is called skinning, when we actually take the mesh and we wrap it around the armature. Now as we did, we have mirrored this armature so that we have bones for the left and the right side. So far, this mesh, we have been using the Mirror Modifier. What we need to do is apply the Mirror Modifier so that now the mesh has effectively doubled in size and we have vertices on each side.
So that now this bone over here can control the right arm vertices and the left arm bone can control these left arm vertices. Now that we have done that, what we want to do is put this mesh under control of the armature and the way we put one object under control of another is through the parenting relationship. So we select the mesh, Shift+Right- click on any bone in the Armature, and then press Ctrl+P.We have three options; we can put the entire mesh under control of one bone namely that chest bone which is not what we want.
We want the entire mesh controlled by the entire armature that as the armature goes into these different poses, it drags that portion of the mesh along with it. Once we do that, we now have four options that go back to those vertex groups. As you recall, the vertex group is a way to sub-divide out the mesh, and the way in which Blender knows which vertices to move when a bone moves is by having a vertex group that is named the same as the bone.
What I want to do is have Blender guess from the envelope of the bone which vertices to include in that group. Here, if I choose this, it just creates empty groups. So I'm going to Create From Envelopes and once we do that apparently, nothing happens but recall from the bone discussion, we have these Envelopes that we can use to display the area of influence of each of these bones. So now when we Tab into Edit Mode and examine the mesh and I'm going to deselect here by pressing A. Now under Vertex Groups, instead of those helmet and ears, we now have a vertex group for every bone in the armature.
And now unfortunately, we begin the very tedious manual process of making sure that Blender knew what it was doing and it did it pretty well. What I would like to do is I like to start small and work my way up to the larger groups. So I'm going to start with the thumb. So coming over here and clicking on the left thumb, I now select those vertices and now I have to zoom in on the thumb to make sure it grabbed all of the right ones and it tried but it wasn't that good.
So in this case, we want the ring of the thumb and up to the first joint. So what we have to do is select only those vertices that make up that part of the thumb. Make sure we grab at least this middle edge ring and then click Assign. After we have done that, we press A, and move on to Thumb.L.001 which is that second bone in the thumb and click Select, and then that should select the tip of the thumb and as you can see, it doesn't quite do that.
We need to grab maybe, just a few more around here and then click Assign. Now if I come out here to my bone and I right-click on a bone, now when I move this bone, this thumb moves. So that's what we need to do. We need to go through each bone, like the fingertips and then we work our way up to the hand and then to the lower arm and the upper arm and I usually work in one side of the body and then down the other. So I like you go ahead and keep doing that, practice on making those groups and modifying those groups to contain the appropriate vertices.
Some things to look out for. If you are in here and you are modifying the pinky fingertip group and you do something like this, then you come over to the Pinky.L and you click Assign. You just made a boo-boo, because it forgot to look over here into front view, and saw that when you selected in side view, you also selected the right most pinkies. Now unfortunately, what you are going to end up with is when you move this bone, you are actually going to end up moving both pinkies and that's not going to be good.
So when you get down testing, after you skin a bone, go ahead and move that bone to make sure that all of the vertices that you need to move actually move and that not accidentally some other vertices and some other part of the mesh were left selected and in fact, are being moved by the bone. That's skinning in Blender and we'll check back after you have gone through and verified and tested that every bone moves the appropriate vertex group.
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