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Armatures are the way you make characters move in Blender and in every other animation package. Armatures is a special kind of object, and so what we usually do is we add it inside the character that we're going to be animating. Now what we want to do is we want to start out with what's called the Root bone, and the Root bone is right here at the base of the back in humanoid features. Depending on the creature you're animating, I've animated game characters that are from other worlds and so you can do some very bizarre shapes of creatures.
So you just have to kind of figure out. Well if I was a skeleton, where is the base of the skeleton, where does the skeleton sort of originate from? And in humanoids it originates at the base of the spine. So to add an Armature, it's very simple. We just go Space, Add and Armature. Now once we do that a bunch of different things happen. One thing is we have this first bone and the bone name, if we press N, is shown when we go into Edit Mode, and we select the bone by clicking on the bone itself.
So we have the Armature overall, which is going to be his overall skeleton and then we have bones that make up pieces of that Armature. So we're going to rename this first bone to be Root. And over here under Editing Options we have now information about the armature. We can change the way it's displayed, for example, clicking X-Ray here, shows the Armature all of the time. For very complicated armatures we have Bone layer, so this bone right now is on this layer.
I can move it to different layers and therefore hide it from view if I want to. I can show the bone as different kinds of shapes, either as a Stick, or as a what's called a B-Bone a bendy bone, Box bone, or as an Envelope, which gives me a little better idea of where this bone is positioned and what vertices it's influencing. We can show the Axes of the bone, as well as the Name of the bone. So these different Display Options allow you to just easier editing and easier control.
To add on a new bone, we select the tip of the parent bone and just E to extrude out another bone, and then we can change this to let's say Spine. If we select the bone itself and not just the tip or the root of the bone, we can see down here under Armature Bones that this selected bone is called Spine and that's a child of Root. This means that when we leave Edit Mode and we enter what's called Pose Mode, which is very special for armatures, as we move the Root bone, the Spine bone is connected to the Root bone, so the Spine Bone moves along with the Root Bone.
Now the Pose Mode changes the poses of the character. The Object Mode actually moves the entire Armature. So if we wanted to work on the armature outside the body we could just move it over here to the right, and that changes the object location. Most of the times you want to change the location of the Root bone in Pose Mode, so that any vertices that are assigned to it or any meshes that it's controlling also move along with the bone. Edit Mode is used then to actually change the length of the bones or the position of the bones, or to add additional bones.
So those are the three different modes and what there are used for. So in conclusion an Armature is the skeleton that's inside a mesh that makes the mesh move.
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