Learning basics of Animation in Blender

This article is for You: you know Blender this much: how to move around, create objects; go to the Edit mode for twiddling with the individual points (vertices) of meshes of your chosen Objects, and render still images.

But you don’t exactly know how to make animation. What are the minimum things needed to animate something, to begin with. Just the bare bones! Trust me, I know the feeling..

Learning Blender is fun – at times. The problem that I had was that whenever I tried opening up the box of Pandora just a little bit, a swath of things came bouncing out. I had too much at a time. And I thought that GIMP was bad! Well, I have to say that actually Blender has brilliant work behind it. It’s a gem of free software. Just hold on, be patient and read on.

Grasping clear concepts and doing some Blender kata with repeatable knowledge seemed obfuscated. At least I felt often that there was simply so many concepts pushing through windows that learning Blender was like poking your face between two mirrors and trying to see where your face copies end.

What are droids I need right now?

I know your pain. You want to animate. Animation happens by making Objects follow a Path. So, let’s roll the sleeves and make that!

Start as usual: open Blender.

  • make 2 things: An object you want to animate, and one Path
  • for Path making: <space bar> + Add Path
  • make one Camera, too
  • open a Graph Editor pane
  • the Graph Editor (pane) is your main tool for animation. More here.
  • To animate, you need to have a Object selected
  • Learn to use the Graph editor’s keyframe view (timeline)
  • Whilst an active keyframe is chosen, move your Object to desired position.
  • Save the new position of the Object by pressing ‘i’ (keyboard i) and choose ‘Location’ to be saved.
  • Now if you go between the two keyframes in Timeline (drag the cursor in Timeline by holding left mouse button), you will see a automatically created smooth (linear) axis-wise transformation from situation A to situation B.

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