If you’re completely new to animation in Blender, this blender animation tutorial will help you get started. Hopefully by the end of this tutorial, you will be able to go into Blender and animate something!
Animating in Blender is actually surprisingly easy. If you want to make a box move from point A to another point B in 3 seconds, all you have to do is move the box to point A and then set a ‘key’. 3 seconds down the timeline, move the box to point B and then set another ‘key’. When you play back the animation, you will see your box move from point A to point B in 3 seconds. You can do a lot more than that, though! Apart from just animating where to box moves, you can animate how it rotates, as well as how big or small it scales. You just need to set ‘keys’ accordingly. I’ve been quoting ‘keys’ a lot but haven’t explained it properly. A key (or keyframe) pretty sets the properties of the object at that specific time. So at the 5th second, if I set an object to have a particular location, rotation and scale, then I pretty much have set a key (or keyframe) there. If I change the location, rotation or scale at another point in time, it will still have the same location, rotation and scale as earlier if I move at the 5th second mark of the timeline. Here is a tutorial that covers keyframing better in case I explained it horribly! I guess it’s nice to know that Blender can do all of this, but exactly HOW do you do all this?!?
There are 2 different ways you can animate in Blender:
Pressing the i key
To set a key (or keyframe) in Blender, you simply press the i key on your keyboard. You may be presented with a number of options. Depending on whether you want to animate the location only, rotation only, scale only, or a combination of the others, then you select the option that corresponds. Suppose you will regularly need to animate location, rotation and scale all at once. You would then select ‘LocRotScale’. This would set keys for the location, rotation and component properties of the object. If you’re a serial animator and you hate having to select an option every time you press i, you can set the Active Keying Set (found in the bottom of the Timeline next to the red circled button) to LocRotScale. Just press that key looking image inside the textbox and you’ll find those options. Now every time you want to animate your object, you simply press i without having a dropdown option to annoy you!
Automatic keyframe insertion
Another way to animate in Blender (and a personal favourite of mine!) is to use the automatic keyframe insertion! This is that red-circled button I mentioned earlier found in the Timeline. Once clicked, it will assume you are animating with the option LocRotScale. If you want to change this to something else, change the Active Keying Set (the box next to it) to another option that you prefer. To set a keyframe, you simply work with your object directly. Say you move an object to point A, a keyframe should already be set (you should see a yellow line indicating a key in the Timeline). If you go to another point in the timeline, and move somewhere else, another keyframe would automatically be inserted. Blender detects any change in the objects properties and sets a key if a property has changed.
Now it’s your turn! Try and spend some time animating some stuff in Blender. Here are some easy tasks you can try out:
- Animate a sphere moving from one location to another while scaling up.
- Make a box scale up, then down, rotating while doing so.
- Make an object move in a circular motion.
Please watch the Blender animation tutorial video above if anything in this tutorial confused you! This was just a basic Blender animation tutorial, later posts will get into more detailed animation tips and techniques!