Introduction to Rigging!

A complete beginner’s introduction to rigging, presented by Lee Salvemini.

90 minutes
Blender 2.5
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 4.9/5 (442 votes cast)

The video is in three parts. Part 1 is above and Part 2 and 3 are below.

In this Part 1 you will discover how to:

  • Create a skeleton
  • Make it deform a character
  • Add/modify vertex weight groups

It is with great pleasure that I present to you this special guest tutorial from Lee Salvemini!

"Ladies please, there's enough Lee to go around!"

If you’re new to Blender, welcome! Lee Salvemini is kind of a big deal. He worked on Sintel, Elephants dream and spent two years on Star Wars video game titles for LucasArts.

Today he has transcended his magical cloud of fame to present us with a complete introductory rigging tutorial for free.

This mammoth of a tutorial has been split up into three parts (because I know you guys don’t like long videos).

Part 1 is at the top of the page, and you will find Part 2 and 3 below.

Part 2

In Part 2 you will discover how to:

  • Make the head and neck animation ready
  • Make the shoulders and arms animation ready
  • Create a hand and fingers rig
  • Mirroring a rig from one side of the body to the other

Part 3

In Part 3 you will discover how to:

  • Create an IK leg rig
  • Create a heel/toe roll foot rig
  • Make the hips and torso animation ready
  • Apply custom bone shapes
  • Manage bone layers

Download the starting .blend Download the finished .blend

“Thank” Lee

I very rarely promote stuff on this site (especially other people’s stuff), so I’m hoping you won’t reach for your pitchforks when I mention that Lee’s actually selling some training DVDs.

His training DVDs are appropriately titled ‘Character Creation’, and it teaches (you guessed it) how to make a character. A lot of people have been looking for tutorials on this stuff, and if you ask me there’s no more of an experienced person than Lee when it comes characters. With experience on Sintel, Elephants Dream and Lucas Arts, he’s certainly knows his stuff.

Volume 1 walks you through the modelling process and Volume 2 shows you an in-depth rigging walkthrough.

The usual price of Volume I & II is $120, but Lee has been nice enough to offer Blender Guru readers a 25% discount. Bringing the total price for both volumes down to $90.


>>Click here to access the discount<<

NOTE: The discount is only available on the above link.

He’s also created an impressive trailer that’s worth watching:

Woooo yeah.

If you have a minute, please leave a comment thanking Lee for presenting these free tutorials :) He’s done the community a great service by making these available to everyone.

Introduction to Rigging!, 4.9 out of 5 based on 442 ratings

About Andrew Price

User of Blender for 9+ years. I've written tutorials for 3d World Magazine and spoken at three Blender conferences. My goal is to help artists get employed in the industry by making training accessible and easy to understand. I'm an Aussie and I live in South Korea ;)
  • Samuel Martin

    Hi, thank you for the tutorial.
    I got a question. If I follow the exercice with your model, there’s is no problem, but when I do it with one of mine, when I rotate an arm, it moves vertices and parts from the head for exemple (and so on) and if I check the “weight paint” generated, it’s kind of weird in comparaison to yours. Why?? Is that a problem of topology? I hardly believe it. A friend of mine with more skills found the topology quite good. I didn’t “sculpted” my model in sculpt mode.

    The coordinates of the armature and the body match, as I said, when I do it “quickly” with the shaolin, it works, but with mine and with more accuracy, it doesn’t. I can’t find so much other tutorials for rigify for the moment, anyone can help me ?? (I used quads almost everywhere too).

    • Sam

      I fixed the problem. If you encounter the same issues and you already removed double vertices and modifiers, the other thing to do is to recalculate the normals and that’s it. The weight paint is correctly done now. Finally !! :-D

      And by the way, thank you again, all the team and everyone who works here for the blenderguru website.

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  • blender contortionist

    Thanks for the tutorial Lee

    • Lee Salvemini

      Hahahahah oh man that is absolutely fantastic. Day made! :D

      Happy Blending!

  • Captain

    Thank you So much

  • Jan-Niklas Bogatka

    Very cool tut, would be great if there would come more of this stuff in the next time for free, because for a student who only animates for fun, 90$ are much money ;)

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  • Ailin Chambers

    Fantastic tutorial. I do have one issue though. Whenever I use/lift the IK_main.L Or R to move the leg, The knee bends in the wrong direction. I tried to sort this by Rolling the Axis via Edit mode on the leg bone. Works fine, but I discovered the mesh twisted with the bone. Sorting this out with the pole rotation makes the leg bend the wrong way again…. What do I need to do? I’m pulling my hair out :)

    • Ailin Chambers

      It’s ok I sorted it. Knees where slightly bend back in edit mode, So I guess the IK thought thats the direction they go in :) This tutorial was a god send :)

  • Andrew Silviu

    Thanks a lot Lee i finally managed to learn to rig and this is the best rigging tutorial and easy to follow that i have seen.(the image means thx)

    • Lee Salvemini

      That’s one of the most fun things about having a new rig, all the crazy things you can do with it! haha this is fantastic, thanks for the kind words :D


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  • Edd

    Do you use a screen cast key in your DVD`s? It’s hard to follow you sometimes.

    • Edd

      i mean “screencast key software”

  • Warren D. M. Reed

    After this super clear tutorial I know the dvds are going to be excellent. thanks for sharing this; finding clear info is such a battle sometimes! U rock, man, love the ninja in the trailer, too.

  • Warren D. M. Reed

    After this super clear tutorial I know the dvds are going to be excellent. thanks for sharing this; finding clear info is such a battle sometimes! U rock, man, love the ninja in the trailer, too.

  • Ragwin

    Just a note, in the second video when copying the left hand bones over to the right, make sure that the cursor is not only snapped to the selected object but also the pivot point is also set to the 3D cursor. Otherwise the right bones are mirrored around the left bones.

  • MP

    Absolutely, Excellent. Created an animal-rig on it, without using the meta-rig [Details in it like 'a Tail'], and suddenly I ask myself: “How do I save the Rig”? Secundary: How does one create a ‘Meta-rig’? – like the Human within Blender?
    Just ‘My next question’ to answer, within my adventure on Blender: Any info on it does wonders… [Blender comes up with a human meta-rig, but I needed an animal, uc? 'd Be nice if there'd be one, with tail and all.]

  • Shane Johnson

    Thank you very much. You guys make this a cake walk, I am very pleased with your results and I hope that each in every one of you guys make it very far in life, I cannot stress enough my satisfaction.