Learn how to set up ActionPoser and the essentials of how to use it to create your own rigs.
Actions and Keyframes
Actions in Blender represent animation objects. If you have ever set a keyframe then you have been using Actions already as Blender will automatically create a new action and assign it to the object you keyframe. Actions are at the core of ActionPoser’s functionality. You should have the basic familiarity with setting and modifying keys in Blender before using ActionPoser.
This is a constraint that allows the user to “playback” the motion from an action on a bone. The idea is that you create an animation, then remove it from the object and create the action constraint. Lastly assign the action to the constraint. By doing this, the animation is disconnected from the timeline and instead it is driven by the constraint.
The “playback” of the action can be controlled using another object’s transform channel, or using the constraints Evaluation Time property. It is not required to have experience with this constraint to use ActionPoser but it will help understand why the add-on is structured the way it is.
ActionPoser in action
In this video you can see an example of a simple start to finish action pose setup. The purpose of this quick demo is to give you a better understanding of what ActionPoser is and what the workflow looks like. Don’t worry about understanding everything that is going on. That will be explained in detail later on and in other tutorials.
- Follow this LINK and download the ActionPoser.zip file attached to the latest release. DO NOT unzip the files.
- In Blender go to Edit>Preferences and in the Preferences window switch to the add-ons section on the left side.
- Find the Install button in the top right area. Click on it then navigate to the downloaded zip file and open it.
- Click on the checkbox next to the ActionPoser name to enable the loaded add-on
The file contains a very simple example of a corrective shape setup made with ActionPoser. When you open the file, rotate the lower arm bone to see how the corrective bones are reacting and dig through the ActionPoser UI to get a better understanding of how something like this is made.
This section will guide you through the creation of your first action pose. This should give you a better idea of how the tool is intended to be used. I suggest doing this once before diving into the rest of the tutorials.
Create two bones. Move one so they are not sitting on top of each other. Name one bone “driver” and the other “driven”.
Open the side panel (N) in the 3D view and switch to the Rig Tools tab. This is where Action Poser lives. Click on the + button at the top. You have created your first action pose. It can be renamed by double clicking on it in the list and entering the new name. Rename it to “Test pose”.
The driver bone we created earlier will be the one that is going to trigger the animation of the driven bone. To set the driver up, assign it to the Driver Target field. You can quickly assign it by selecting it and using the Use Active Bone option from the drop-down menu.
Then choose which transformation channel will be the one driving the animation. I chose Location Y.
Next we need to create the motion for the driven bone. To do so, first click on the New Action button.
Next click on Edit Action. Then add a keyframe to the driven bone on frame 0, move to frame 10, add some transformation to the driven bone.
Click on Finish Editing.
The purpose of the last section of the UI, Bones, allows us to define which bones are to be driven by this action pose.
In this example, we want the action pose to drive the driven bone. We can add it to the list in many different ways. An easy way to do this is to use the Add From Action button. It will look at the assigned action and find any bone that are animated, and proceed to add them to the list.
All the pieces are in place now. To create the actual constraints and apply everything we have set up, press the Execute button.
If the driver is now moved on the Y axis, the driven bone will play the action.