Unity’s mecanim is a create state-machine for animations. In this tutorial I will show you, using our cartoon dog we designed in the previous lessions, how to create a rig in Blender in a way, that we can export our rigged character to use it in Mecanim.
In the following video on youtube you can watch me adding a humanoid rig to our dog model:
You can add a human rig by pressing Shift + A and selecting Armature. Here are the steps you need to do for assigning the model to the rig:
Position the rig
This is very simple. Just select the armature you created and move it to position X=0, y=0, z=0 in the location panel of Blender. You can open the panel by pressing the N-key.
Align the bones
This part is a bit tricky. Select the model and switch to Edit-mode. Then you enable to X-Axis mirror so each modification is done for both sides of the rig. A good technique is to grab the end-points of the bones and move them via the axis-indicators in Blender so that the bones are placed inside of the mesh. Turn on the X-Ray mode in the armature tab to see the rig through the mesh. Try to position the joints were they would be located in a natural body.
Some bones are not needed so we can remove this. For example some fingerbones are superfluous for a cartoon model. Change to Edit-mode, select a bone you want to delete and press Delete-Key, that’s all.
Parent the model
Select all parts the model in Object-mode, in our case the body and the eyes. After that select the rig also in Object-mode. Then press Ctrl-P and choose with automatic weights. When you change to Pose-mode now, you can select a bone and rotate or move it, the mesh should follow along.
Export to Fbx
The last thing you need to do is to export the model to a file-format Unity-3D can work with. This is the fbx-format. Select Export->Autodesk (Fbx) and make sure you select the Mesh- and the Armature-Tab.
In the next tutorial I will show you how to import the fbx-file to Unity4 and how to use Mecanim for controlling and animating the model in Unity-3D.