Giving An Object Control Structures

Rigging is the process of giving an object control structures to animate it. There are several ways of doing that and depending on the needs and the object the most suitable has to be chosen.


Armatures are similar to bones in the human body. An armature can be added like an object. Then it needs to be linked to the object it should deform through an armature modifier. The deformation is based on moving the vertices, thus it is important to have vertices at the key positions where the object needs to be bent. It is also possible to restrict the effect of a bone to a vertex group. For an armature three different modes exist.

Object Mode

The first one is the object mode, where the armature is placed in the right position and scaled to make it the easiest to animate.

Edit Mode

Edit mode is where an armature can be extruded, which makes it possible to construct an entire skeleton. Thus armatures are always used to animate body motions.

Pose Mode

The last mode is the pose mode, this is the mode where changes on the armature (rotating, scaling, etc.) cause the object to deform.

Weight Paint

To make smooth motions possible one has to weight paint the deformed object. A weight paint value of one (red) means that this part of the object completely follows the bone. On the other hand a value of zero (blue) lets the bone not at all have an effect on the object.

Shape Keys

As its name indicates shape keys are savings of shapes. That means that the position of vertices can be stored. By adding a shape key for the first time the current shape is saved as the base-shape of the object. When further shape keys are added, the object at first does not change, because every added shape key is initially a copy of the base. Then the object can be manipulated.

Shape Key Driver

To animate shape keys it is necessary to add a driver. That is an object which changes in scale, rotation or position, affecting the value of the shape key. A value of zero means there is no effect and a value of one means the current key is fully applied. All the intermediate steps are interpolated by Blender.


Another method to deform an object is to use a lattice. In principle it is a surrounding low-vertex box, which deformation causes the linked object to deform. So it gets possible to easily modify an object with even more than one thousand vertices only by changing an object with eight vertices. The deformation may also be restricted to certain vertex groups.
weight paint
Weight-paint of a box
Deformation caused by weight-paint and armature
shape keys
Shape Key values f.t.l.t.b.r. 0, 0.2, 0.4, 0.6, 0.8, 1
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