A while back I got an e-mail asking about where someone could start to learn rigging in Blender. I thought the e-mail was good enough that I should probably post it for people looking for a few links and thoughts. Here is the slightly edited version of my response mentioning four main places to find rigging material:
- The first is something you might be more interested in which is tutorials: One on rigging which can be downloaded as a pdf here.
- Another good one (probably better then the one I just mentioned) is here which is part of the character animation overview. The pdf version of the whole animation tutorial can be found here. This last one is my FAVORITE beginner rigging tutorial.
- There is a BlenderNation post linking to a bunch of rigs. Each rig is a lesson in itself, but they are all as-is with little instruction on how they were done.
- The fourth is a rig done by one of the elite: animator Daniel Martinez Lara. This rig looks simple, but there are hidden bone layers. It does however control a leg with only two bones. You can find these and more goodies on his site. Find the .blend here and the demo video here (mpg).
If you’re looking for seven things to think about when rigging, think about how the rigs can be made:
1) Using bones to control vertex groups (I cover that in animating box flaps)
2) Using weight painting to control how bones move vertices (I cover that in the fake muscle video)
3) Using envelopes to control how bones move vertices (and in the SVN, heat weighting)
4) Using constraints to make bones do different things under different circumstances (IK solver, limit constraints, etc.
5) Making use of the bone layers in the Armature panel
6) Using the ipo/action/NLA editor to make your life easier
7) Using drivers to make controllers for your rigs.