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Armature is the object type used for rigging and it borrows many ideas from real life skeletons.

Your first armature

In order to see what we're talking about, let's try to add the default armature in Blender.

(Note that armature editing details are explained in the armatures editing section).

Open a default scene, then:

  • in the Button window,
    • press F9 to see the Editing context (so you can see the Armature panel appearing)
  • in the 3D view,
    • delete any object in the scene
    • make sure the cursor is in the world origin with ⇧ ShiftC
    • press 1 NumPad to see the world in Front view
    • add an armature with ⇧ ShiftA   »  Add » Armature
    • press ↖ Home to see the armature at maximum zoom
Toolbox: Add » Armature
The default armature

The armature object

As you can see, an armature is like any other object type in Blender:

  • It has a center, a position, a rotation and a scale factor.
  • It has an ObData datablock, that can be edited in Edit mode.
  • It can be linked to other scenes, and the same armature data can be reused on multiple objects.
  • All animation you do in Object mode is only working on the whole object, not the armature’s bones (use the Pose mode to do this).

As armatures are designed to be posed, either for a static or animated scene, they have a specific state, called “rest position”. This is the armature’s default “shape”, the default position/rotation/scale of its bones, as set in Edit mode.

In Edit mode, you will always see your armature in rest position, whereas in Object and Pose mode, you usually get the current “pose” of the armature (unless you enable the Rest Position button of the Armature panel).

Armature chapter overview

In the "Armatures" section, we will only talk about armatures themselves, and specifically we will talk about: