Want to watch this Lesson?

Join CG Cookie and gain access to 100's of Blender Courses

Watch course trailer Get Started

Rigging & Animating Melvin's Wave

  • Software:Blender 2.8 Beta  ·
  • Difficulty:Intermediate

Experience the potential of rigged Grease Pencil characters!

Now, we will add the armature to rig and animate our 2D character

Adding the Armature

Alright so let's add our armature now. So I'm just inside object mode. Shift-A, add a single bone for now. I want it to be in the same location so I'm just going to Shift-S, cursor to select it, Shift-S, selection to cursor. And now, because I like to be neat, I'm gonna name our object here. This is gonna be out Melvin armature. So Melvin ... It's gonna be, rig. That's the naming convention that I like to use. Gonna copy that, make sure that we paste it over the data name. 

Naming, Renaming

                    And now it's time to name our bone so ... I think I'm finished with this here so let me drag that down so we got a bigger view. This bone, I'm going to call, underscore zero one. And I'm in edit mode, I'm gonna position it. I'm gonna guess where our shoulder is gonna be. Which would probably be about there. Grab the end, drag this down, position it to where the pivot point of the two joints are going to be, and the main one that I wanna pay more attention to, is the forearm. So I need the forearm to kind of pivot around here. I'm gonna guess that it's gonna be about there and we'll see how we go later. Then I'm gonna hit E to extrude all the way to the end there. And rename this bone, from arm one to arm two. 

Let's Constraint our Character to his Armature

                    Alright, So let's constrain our Melvin character to this armature. So back into object mode. I'm gonna select our Melvin first, and actually I've got proportional editing on. I've selected our Melvin, and then I'm going to Shift-Select our armature. Hit Control-P and then apply with empty groups, is the one that I wanna chose there. Empty groups.

Vertex Groups

                    So now I have inside our Melvin character, when I go down to data, I can go down to vertex groups and I got two vertex groups here. And then I can jump into edit mode and can assign those specific verts to this vertex group. So let's jump into edit mode and do that now. So I'm gonna select all the ... Actually, let me turn off the parts that I don't want. So body, off. Body, off. Body, off. It's just these parts. I was a little bit wrong with that job but I'll fix it later.

Selecting the Shadows

                    I wanna select, body highlights ... No, not body highlights. Arm shadow, and let's start with the arm first. So here is going to be all of my arm points that I want to constrain. I've actually already had them selected. So let's constrain that to arm one. So select arm one, weight will be 100%, and click assign. And while we're here, let's jump over to the arm shadow. And make sure that I select this guy, and then go, assign to arm one. SO when the bicep moves, that shadow is gonna move with it. Let's do the same thing for our other shadow. Actually our strokes are getting in the way, let's clean up all our boundary strokes. I want to select this, this, this, this ... Is that all of our shadows? It is, yup. Shadows and highlights. I want to constrain that 100% to the arm two. 

Cleaning up

                    And then I wanna go to our arm and I wanna select all of these one ... Actually let's do the same thing, clean up. Clean up our boundary strokes. Okay so select this guy, this guy, this guy, this guy, this guy. Actually, I think I can just go ... Actually, I'm just gonna go, lasso select. Let's isolate the l ... Lasso select all those. And then hit L. I think that's all of those selected. Assign that to that bone there, bone two. And let's start to move it.

Selecting the Armature

                    So I'm gonna go back to object mode. Select our armature. And in pose mode, let's just test this out. Yes. Alright, and so the important thing is, I want these lines to match up. And I've done a pretty good job. So here are our limitations. We can kind of go to about there, before it starts to get looking a little bit weird. And then we can go all the way to about there. Which is some great range of motion. Let's just fix this pivot point here. I'm gonna move that to be there. 

"Time to Animate this Guy!"

                    Time to animate this guy. Let's jump back to selecting. Let's turn on all our relevant parts. I think I'm done with out rough layer. Yup. And all our body parts are turned on now. Now before we animate ... Ah, I can see a problem. I've made a little bit of an error where I have drawings on different frames. So it will disappear. So what I wanna do, is ... So I wanna delete this body frame and select everything. Why can't I delete that? Because it's locked, that's why. So I'm gonna delete this frame. And then I wanna select everything and move it back. So everything won't work if I have it locked. Move it back to frame one. So now, no body parts are going to disappear during the course of this animation. It's lucky I spotted that, otherwise I would've been scratching my head a little bit later on. 

Jumping into Pose Mode

                    Okay so let's animate this guy. Let's change this to be, dope sheet, and jump into pose mode. Now, I wanna change the display settings of these bones.Just to show you something before we start. So over here in display, I'm going to click on, B bones. And you see these are kind of now rectangular objects. And I wanna change the amount of segments in this bone here. So let's go over to the bone settings, and in the bending bones, I'm gonna drag this up to be the top amount, which is 32. That'll give me a nice bend. But you'll notice something weird's happened. We've got this really weird curve happening in our elbow here. We can remove that by going back into edit mode and then just down here in the relations. I don't want this bone to be physically connected to our forearm here. So that it won't bend in the way that it thinks it's going to bend. We're gonna do all the bending manually. 

Starting the Animation and Setting up Frames

                    Alright, let's start the animation. So, pose mode. We are going to select both of our bones here and hit I, to insert a rotation key. And now I'm going to turn on automatic keying for now. Okay, so this is our first key frame. Let's go four frames later. One, two, three, four. I'm going to key both of our frames here. So this is gonna wave a little bit out. Let's make him like that. I'm gonna flip him now. Yup. He's waving pretty good. Let's go back to one, two, three, four, four frames later. I'm gonna copy what I've got here. And I'm gonna edit it. So this is the frame where he's waving in. I'm just gonna drag this a little bit lower, and then rotate this a little bit further in. Right now, I'm gonna duplicate this a couple of times. I want him to wave about three times. So let's go four frames later. One, two, three, four, duplicate. And then one, two, three, four ...

How Many Waves?

                    I can actually copy more than one at a time. So, one wave, two waves, three waves. And I want him to return to his default position. So ...Oh, I've gone too far. One, two, three, four. Let's keep it all the same timing. Okay? Yeah that's what I want. So he's gonna wave three times and then stop. 

Adding the Bendy-ness

                    And now let's add the bendy-ness to his forearm here. So I'm gonna go halfway, which is two frames. And I'm gonna manually edit these curves here. So which one am I? One? Okay, this is gonna be the elbow, kind of bend. And I want to do ... Okay, that's about a point two. I'm gonna copy that, paste it into the out. Actually, yup, they're both on the Y axis for that particular bone. And then I'm gonna make sure that I key frame this. I'm gonna hit I, over the top of that. I, over the top of that. And ... Oh, okay, I also need to make sure we're at zero at these frames as well. Otherwise it's not gonna work properly.

                    I have bent that the wrong way. Not to worry. What I'm gonna do is flip it with the negative key. So I'm just gonna hit negative. And then negative. And let's see if that's ... Yup. So this frame, that's flipped it and that's the way that I want it to bend. Here, I want it to be zero. And zero. Two frames later, I want it to bend the other way. Actually, let me undo that. Because I'm gonna flip it again. So watch this. Flip, flip. It's a cheaters way. Halfway, kind of flip it again. Flip, flip. Flip it one more time. Flip it real good. This way, flip, flip. And then flip, flip. I actually, probably don't want that to be so full there. I'm gonna half that bone. Just hit divide by two. And then divide by two. 

Flip it and Reverse it

                    And then, I want it to bend back to normal so ... Actually, I want it to go passed and then come back to normal. Two ... So here, I'm gonna flip it. Bang, bang, flip it, and reverse it. And then return to normal. This one, I probably don't want ... It's so flipped there, or so bent. So two frames later, I'm gonna return it back to zero. And I might as well key everything. Key the rotation. Oh, I haven't keyed our arm here, our bicep. I'm gonna do this. There we go. Let's play this animation. I want it to stop about 35, drag our cursor there and then hit Set End Frame. And play this animation.

Getting rid of the Wobble

                    Okay that wobble at the end isn't working. So I might get rid of that. Yup. And so that wobble, this bit here ... So what I might do, turn back on our thing here. I want now ... Let's try zero. And zero. Let's undo that. I just want maybe this one to be a little bit rotated and then come back. Still too far. Let's just half this. Because I just want it to be a slight bend, just to give it a little bit of a wobble. Yeah, that'll do. It's just a bit of movement. We're not trying to make a feature film here. 

Drag and Repeat

                    Now, I wanna copy this a couple times so I can repeat my animation. So let's just drag it about there. Drag it about there. And then end my animation around here. Okay. Let's play this. So I want it to pause a little bit between waves. Hello, hello. Yeah, I don't like that little wobble. Let me just get rid of it. So that's gonna be the second to last ... Copy over that spot. And copy over this spot. When in doubt, delete it. It's still there. Ah, it's the rotation. That's why. Let me just delete that key frame altogether. And I think I've fixed it now. There, that's looking better. 

Centering the Character

                    Alright so that is our animation. There's one more thing I wanna do. Two more things, I wanna center the character and then give it a little bit of a background. So let's do the centering in object mode. I'm just gonna grab our whole armature object. So when I grab him, I'm just gonna constrain him across here. Put him in the middle. That's good enough. I've accidentally added a key frame, let me just delete it. And turn off auto keying, in case I do the same thing. 

Adding the Background: The Final Touch

                    Alright let's have another good look at our animation here. Let's turn off this. Let's play it. Yeah. He's looking pretty happy. Hello. And there's one final touch I wanna do before rendering this. And that is to add a background. So I'm gonna do that in object mode. I'm gonna create a new object. A grease pencil object. I'm gonna go, Shift-A. Create blank. And then I'm gonna draw with my square tool, just draw around this whole object here. Hit Enter to confirm. And then change my materials. I'm gonna call this, BG. And I want the fill. I want increase the opacity. Turn off the stroke. And my color, I'm gonna choose ... I'm gonna start with one of the colors here. And then just edit it a little bit. So I want this to be probably a little bit, maybe a little bit lighter. Yeah, just a little bit lighter than my color here. 

Ready to Render our Character

                    So now I am ready to render. So I'm going to go, render. Render animation. And here we have our final rendered animation. You can see it's a pretty simple 2D drawing, with some simple animation on top. So hopefully you've had a lot of fun following along. And I really look forward to seeing what you guys can create on your own.