How to Make a Custom Character w/ Bones

Hey everyone! In this tutorial you’ll learn how to make a custom, animated character using bones. (Please note that I will only briefly show how to create and rig that character, i will have links to videos on how to do that.)

  1. Making your character. I am using Blender3d. (Click here to see Blender’s official video on character workflow.)
    I recommend having a sketch of your character to work off of. The main tools i used are Extrude, Move, Scale, and Inset Faces. The max triangles is around 21,000. To see your triangle count, go to the top left corner, click Edit, Preferences, Go to Interface, Status Bar, and check Scene Statistics. When you are done hit a and then s and scale it down to be very small.
    My model is pretty low poly as she is a deep-sea mermaid and I’m not planning on adding much lighting. The animations will be the main thing about this character. This is the character i came up with.

  1. Rigging your mesh. Rigging is like adding bones to your mesh. Actually that is exactly what rigging is. I’m not going to try to explain how to rig, but click here for a video on custom rigging in Blender. this is what my rig looks like. (sorry its so zoomed out i couldn’t find an angle that fit the whole thing. Shes very large.)
  2. Exporting your mesh to Roblox Studio. Remember to only have 21,000 at most, if you have more you cant import it. To Export go to File, Export, FBX,and give it a name, and put it in a file of your choice (Or just put it wherever you find best for you). Next open Roblox studio and open the Plugins tab. Go to Avatar (This plugin is in Roblox Studio when you first join.) and hit R15.
    Your mesh should then load in if you have done everything right.
  3. Animating. Animating a bone rig is mostly the same as a normal rig, however you have to select the Plus at the top right corner on the box on the left and hit Add All. You then have to select your bones from the list on the side.
  4. Adding your animation to your character. (I’m not sure on how to add it to only this character, so this will apply your animation to all characters, if you know how to feel free to say so in the comments.) Past this code into a Local Script inside StarterCharacterScripts, StarterPlayer. Set your animationId where it says YourId.(Note: Make sure the WalkId and the RunId are the same or it wont work.)
--PUT THIS SCRIPT INSIDE OF STARTERCHARACTERSCRIPTS
local Character = script.Parent
local Humanoid = Character:WaitForChild("Humanoid")
local pose = "Standing"

local currentAnim = ""
local currentAnimInstance = nil
local currentAnimTrack = nil
local currentAnimKeyframeHandler = nil
local currentAnimSpeed = 1.0

local runAnimTrack = nil
local runAnimKeyframeHandler = nil

local animTable = {}
local animNames = { 
	idle = 	{	
		{ id = "http://www.roblox.com/asset/?id=YourId", weight = 1 },
		{ id = "http://www.roblox.com/asset/?id=YourId", weight = 1 },
		{ id = "http://www.roblox.com/asset/?id=YourId", weight = 9 }
			},
	walk = 	{ 	
		{ id = "http://www.roblox.com/asset/?id=YourId", weight = 10 }
			}, 
	run = 	{
				{ id = "http://www.roblox.com/asset/?id=YourId", weight = 10 }
			}, 
	swim = 	{
		{ id = "http://www.roblox.com/asset/?id=YourId", weight = 10 } 
			}, 
	swimidle = 	{
		{ id = "http://www.roblox.com/asset/?id=YourId", weight = 10 } 
			}, 
	jump = 	{
				{ id = "http://www.roblox.com/asset/?id=YourId", weight = 10 } 
			}, 
	fall = 	{
				{ id = "http://www.roblox.com/asset/?id=YourId", weight = 10 } 
			}, 
	climb = {
				{ id = "http://www.roblox.com/asset/?id=YourId", weight = 10 } 
			}, 
	sit = 	{
				{ id = "http://www.roblox.com/asset/?id=YourId", weight = 10 } 
}

-- Existance in this list signifies that it is an emote, the value indicates if it is a looping emote
local emoteNames = { wave = false, point = false, dance = true, dance2 = true, dance3 = true, laugh = false, cheer = false}

math.randomseed(tick())

function configureAnimationSet(name, fileList)
	if (animTable[name] ~= nil) then
		for _, connection in pairs(animTable[name].connections) do
			connection:disconnect()
		end
	end
	animTable[name] = {}
	animTable[name].count = 0
	animTable[name].totalWeight = 0	
	animTable[name].connections = {}

	local allowCustomAnimations = true
	local AllowDisableCustomAnimsUserFlag = false

	local success, msg = pcall(function()
		AllowDisableCustomAnimsUserFlag = UserSettings():IsUserFeatureEnabled("UserAllowDisableCustomAnims2")
	end)

	if (AllowDisableCustomAnimsUserFlag) then
		local success, msg = pcall(function() allowCustomAnimations = game:GetService("StarterPlayer").AllowCustomAnimations end)
		if not success then
			allowCustomAnimations = true
		end
	end

	-- check for config values
	local config = script:FindFirstChild(name)
	if (allowCustomAnimations and config ~= nil) then
		table.insert(animTable[name].connections, config.ChildAdded:connect(function(child) configureAnimationSet(name, fileList) end))
		table.insert(animTable[name].connections, config.ChildRemoved:connect(function(child) configureAnimationSet(name, fileList) end))
		local idx = 1
		for _, childPart in pairs(config:GetChildren()) do
			if (childPart:IsA("Animation")) then
				table.insert(animTable[name].connections, childPart.Changed:connect(function(property) configureAnimationSet(name, fileList) end))
				animTable[name][idx] = {}
				animTable[name][idx].anim = childPart
				local weightObject = childPart:FindFirstChild("Weight")
				if (weightObject == nil) then
					animTable[name][idx].weight = 1
				else
					animTable[name][idx].weight = weightObject.Value
				end
				animTable[name].count = animTable[name].count + 1
				animTable[name].totalWeight = animTable[name].totalWeight + animTable[name][idx].weight
				idx = idx + 1
			end
		end
	end

	-- fallback to defaults
	if (animTable[name].count <= 0) then
		for idx, anim in pairs(fileList) do
			animTable[name][idx] = {}
			animTable[name][idx].anim = Instance.new("Animation")
			animTable[name][idx].anim.Name = name
			animTable[name][idx].anim.AnimationId = anim.id
			animTable[name][idx].weight = anim.weight
			animTable[name].count = animTable[name].count + 1
			animTable[name].totalWeight = animTable[name].totalWeight + anim.weight
--			print(name .. " [" .. idx .. "] " .. anim.id .. " (" .. anim.weight .. ")")
		end
	end
end

-- Setup animation objects
function scriptChildModified(child)
	local fileList = animNames[child.Name]
	if (fileList ~= nil) then
		configureAnimationSet(child.Name, fileList)
	end	
end

script.ChildAdded:connect(scriptChildModified)
script.ChildRemoved:connect(scriptChildModified)


for name, fileList in pairs(animNames) do 
	configureAnimationSet(name, fileList)
end	

-- ANIMATION

-- declarations
local toolAnim = "None"
local toolAnimTime = 0

local jumpAnimTime = 0
local jumpAnimDuration = 0.31

local toolTransitionTime = 0.1
local fallTransitionTime = 0.2

-- functions

function stopAllAnimations()
	local oldAnim = currentAnim

	-- return to idle if finishing an emote
	if (emoteNames[oldAnim] ~= nil and emoteNames[oldAnim] == false) then
		oldAnim = "idle"
	end

	currentAnim = ""
	currentAnimInstance = nil
	if (currentAnimKeyframeHandler ~= nil) then
		currentAnimKeyframeHandler:disconnect()
	end

	if (currentAnimTrack ~= nil) then
		currentAnimTrack:Stop()
		currentAnimTrack:Destroy()
		currentAnimTrack = nil
	end

	-- clean up walk if there is one
	if (runAnimKeyframeHandler ~= nil) then
		runAnimKeyframeHandler:disconnect()
	end
	
	if (runAnimTrack ~= nil) then
		runAnimTrack:Stop()
		runAnimTrack:Destroy()
		runAnimTrack = nil
	end
	
	return oldAnim
end

function getHeightScale()
	if Humanoid then
		local bodyHeightScale = Humanoid:FindFirstChild("BodyHeightScale")
		if bodyHeightScale and bodyHeightScale:IsA("NumberValue") then
			return bodyHeightScale.Value
		end
	end
	
	return 1
end

local smallButNotZero = 0.0001
function setRunSpeed(speed)
	if speed < 0.33 then
		currentAnimTrack:AdjustWeight(1.0)		
		runAnimTrack:AdjustWeight(smallButNotZero)
	elseif speed < 0.66 then
		local weight = ((speed - 0.33) / 0.33)
		currentAnimTrack:AdjustWeight(1.0 - weight + smallButNotZero)
		runAnimTrack:AdjustWeight(weight + smallButNotZero)
	else
		currentAnimTrack:AdjustWeight(smallButNotZero)
		runAnimTrack:AdjustWeight(1.0)
	end
	
	local speedScaled = speed * 1.25

	local heightScale = getHeightScale()	
	
	runAnimTrack:AdjustSpeed(speedScaled / heightScale)
	currentAnimTrack:AdjustSpeed(speedScaled / heightScale)
end


function setAnimationSpeed(speed)
	if speed ~= currentAnimSpeed then
		currentAnimSpeed = speed
		if currentAnim == "walk" then
			setRunSpeed(speed)
		else
			currentAnimTrack:AdjustSpeed(currentAnimSpeed)
		end
	end
end

function keyFrameReachedFunc(frameName)
	if (frameName == "End") then
		if currentAnim == "walk" then
			runAnimTrack.TimePosition = 0.0
			currentAnimTrack.TimePosition = 0.0
		else
			local repeatAnim = currentAnim
			-- return to idle if finishing an emote
			if (emoteNames[repeatAnim] ~= nil and emoteNames[repeatAnim] == false) then
				repeatAnim = "idle"
			end
			
			local animSpeed = currentAnimSpeed
			playAnimation(repeatAnim, 0.15, Humanoid)
			setAnimationSpeed(animSpeed)
		end
	end
end

function rollAnimation(animName)
	local roll = math.random(1, animTable[animName].totalWeight) 
	local origRoll = roll
	local idx = 1
	while (roll > animTable[animName][idx].weight) do
		roll = roll - animTable[animName][idx].weight
		idx = idx + 1
	end
	return idx
end

function playAnimation(animName, transitionTime, humanoid) 	
	local idx = rollAnimation(animName)
	local anim = animTable[animName][idx].anim

	-- switch animation		
	if (anim ~= currentAnimInstance) then
		
		if (currentAnimTrack ~= nil) then
			currentAnimTrack:Stop(transitionTime)
			currentAnimTrack:Destroy()
		end

		if (runAnimTrack ~= nil) then
			runAnimTrack:Stop(transitionTime)
			runAnimTrack:Destroy()
		end

		currentAnimSpeed = 1.0
	
		-- load it to the humanoid; get AnimationTrack
		currentAnimTrack = humanoid:LoadAnimation(anim)
		currentAnimTrack.Priority = Enum.AnimationPriority.Core
		 
		-- play the animation
		currentAnimTrack:Play(transitionTime)
		currentAnim = animName
		currentAnimInstance = anim

		-- set up keyframe name triggers
		if (currentAnimKeyframeHandler ~= nil) then
			currentAnimKeyframeHandler:disconnect()
		end
		currentAnimKeyframeHandler = currentAnimTrack.KeyframeReached:connect(keyFrameReachedFunc)
		
		-- check to see if we need to blend a walk/run animation
		if animName == "walk" then
			local runAnimName = "run"
			local runIdx = rollAnimation(runAnimName)

			runAnimTrack = humanoid:LoadAnimation(animTable[runAnimName][runIdx].anim)
			runAnimTrack.Priority = Enum.AnimationPriority.Core
			runAnimTrack:Play(transitionTime)		
			
			if (runAnimKeyframeHandler ~= nil) then
				runAnimKeyframeHandler:disconnect()
			end
			runAnimKeyframeHandler = runAnimTrack.KeyframeReached:connect(keyFrameReachedFunc)	
		end
	end

end

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

local toolAnimName = ""
local toolAnimTrack = nil
local toolAnimInstance = nil
local currentToolAnimKeyframeHandler = nil

function toolKeyFrameReachedFunc(frameName)
	if (frameName == "End") then
		playToolAnimation(toolAnimName, 0.0, Humanoid)
	end
end


function playToolAnimation(animName, transitionTime, humanoid, priority)	 		
		local idx = rollAnimation(animName)
		local anim = animTable[animName][idx].anim

		if (toolAnimInstance ~= anim) then
			
			if (toolAnimTrack ~= nil) then
				toolAnimTrack:Stop()
				toolAnimTrack:Destroy()
				transitionTime = 0
			end
					
			-- load it to the humanoid; get AnimationTrack
			toolAnimTrack = humanoid:LoadAnimation(anim)
			if priority then
				toolAnimTrack.Priority = priority
			end
			 
			-- play the animation
			toolAnimTrack:Play(transitionTime)
			toolAnimName = animName
			toolAnimInstance = anim

			currentToolAnimKeyframeHandler = toolAnimTrack.KeyframeReached:connect(toolKeyFrameReachedFunc)
		end
end

function stopToolAnimations()
	local oldAnim = toolAnimName

	if (currentToolAnimKeyframeHandler ~= nil) then
		currentToolAnimKeyframeHandler:disconnect()
	end

	toolAnimName = ""
	toolAnimInstance = nil
	if (toolAnimTrack ~= nil) then
		toolAnimTrack:Stop()
		toolAnimTrack:Destroy()
		toolAnimTrack = nil
	end

	return oldAnim
end

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-- STATE CHANGE HANDLERS

function onRunning(speed)
	if speed > 0.5 then
		local scale = 16.0
		playAnimation("walk", 0.2, Humanoid)
		setAnimationSpeed(speed / scale)
		pose = "Running"
	else
		if emoteNames[currentAnim] == nil then
			playAnimation("idle", 0.2, Humanoid)
			pose = "Standing"
		end
	end
end

function onDied()
	pose = "Dead"
end

function onJumping()
	playAnimation("jump", 0.1, Humanoid)
	jumpAnimTime = jumpAnimDuration
	pose = "Jumping"
end

function onClimbing(speed)
	local scale = 5.0
	playAnimation("climb", 0.1, Humanoid)
	setAnimationSpeed(speed / scale)
	pose = "Climbing"
end

function onGettingUp()
	pose = "GettingUp"
end

function onFreeFall()
	if (jumpAnimTime <= 0) then
		playAnimation("fall", fallTransitionTime, Humanoid)
	end
	pose = "FreeFall"
end

function onFallingDown()
	pose = "FallingDown"
end

function onSeated()
	pose = "Seated"
end

function onPlatformStanding()
	pose = "PlatformStanding"
end

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

function onSwimming(speed)
	if speed > 1.00 then
		local scale = 10.0
		playAnimation("swim", 0.4, Humanoid)
		setAnimationSpeed(speed / scale)
		pose = "Swimming"
	else
		playAnimation("swimidle", 0.4, Humanoid)
		pose = "Standing"
	end
end

function animateTool()
	if (toolAnim == "None") then
		playToolAnimation("toolnone", toolTransitionTime, Humanoid, Enum.AnimationPriority.Idle)
		return
	end

	if (toolAnim == "Slash") then
		playToolAnimation("toolslash", 0, Humanoid, Enum.AnimationPriority.Action)
		return
	end

	if (toolAnim == "Lunge") then
		playToolAnimation("toollunge", 0, Humanoid, Enum.AnimationPriority.Action)
		return
	end
end

function getToolAnim(tool)
	for _, c in ipairs(tool:GetChildren()) do
		if c.Name == "toolanim" and c.className == "StringValue" then
			return c
		end
	end
	return nil
end

local lastTick = 0

function stepAnimate(currentTime)
	local amplitude = 1
	local frequency = 1
  	local deltaTime = currentTime - lastTick
  	lastTick = currentTime

	local climbFudge = 0
	local setAngles = false

  	if (jumpAnimTime > 0) then
  		jumpAnimTime = jumpAnimTime - deltaTime
  	end

	if (pose == "FreeFall" and jumpAnimTime <= 0) then
		playAnimation("fall", fallTransitionTime, Humanoid)
	elseif (pose == "Seated") then
		playAnimation("sit", 0.5, Humanoid)
		return
	elseif (pose == "Running") then
		playAnimation("walk", 0.2, Humanoid)
	elseif (pose == "Dead" or pose == "GettingUp" or pose == "FallingDown" or pose == "Seated" or pose == "PlatformStanding") then
		stopAllAnimations()
		amplitude = 0.1
		frequency = 1
		setAngles = true
	end

	-- Tool Animation handling
	local tool = Character:FindFirstChildOfClass("Tool")
	local requireHandleCheck = not UserSettings():IsUserFeatureEnabled("UserToolR15Fix")
	if tool and ((requireHandleCheck and tool.RequiresHandle) or tool:FindFirstChild("Handle")) then
		local animStringValueObject = getToolAnim(tool)

		if animStringValueObject then
			toolAnim = animStringValueObject.Value
			-- message recieved, delete StringValue
			animStringValueObject.Parent = nil
			toolAnimTime = currentTime + .3
		end

		if currentTime > toolAnimTime then
			toolAnimTime = 0
			toolAnim = "None"
		end

		animateTool()		
	else
		stopToolAnimations()
		toolAnim = "None"
		toolAnimInstance = nil
		toolAnimTime = 0
	end
end

-- connect events
Humanoid.Died:connect(onDied)
Humanoid.Running:connect(onRunning)
Humanoid.Jumping:connect(onJumping)
Humanoid.Climbing:connect(onClimbing)
Humanoid.GettingUp:connect(onGettingUp)
Humanoid.FreeFalling:connect(onFreeFall)
Humanoid.FallingDown:connect(onFallingDown)
Humanoid.Seated:connect(onSeated)
Humanoid.PlatformStanding:connect(onPlatformStanding)
Humanoid.Swimming:connect(onSwimming)

-- setup emote chat hook
game:GetService("Players").LocalPlayer.Chatted:connect(function(msg)
	local emote = ""
	if (string.sub(msg, 1, 3) == "/e ") then
		emote = string.sub(msg, 4)
	elseif (string.sub(msg, 1, 7) == "/emote ") then
		emote = string.sub(msg, 8)
	end
	
	if (pose == "Standing" and emoteNames[emote] ~= nil) then
		playAnimation(emote, 0.1, Humanoid)
	end
end)



-- initialize to idle
playAnimation("idle", 0.1, Humanoid)
pose = "Standing"

-- loop to handle timed state transitions and tool animations
while Character.Parent ~= nil do
	local _, currentGameTime = wait(0.1)
	stepAnimate(currentGameTime)
end

And your Done! I hope you found this tutorial useful!

28 Likes

One thing to add is that the process of modeling skinned character models isn’t exactly the same as modeling static ones. You have to make sure that there are enough faces at joints so that those areas don’t end up looking stretched when the limbs are at weird angles. This is especially important for areas such as hands where you have many joints affecting the same vertex.

21,000 triangles is too much for characters. That limit was more meant for large map models. The maximum I’d go for humanoid characters is 10,000 if they’re very complex. You’ll probably have to add additional models such as accessories, potentially deteriorating performance.

Also, thanks for showing that model. That image will be engraved in my brain for a while.

10 Likes

As I said This wasn’t a model tutorial the link i gave to blenders official video goes over this. Thank you for mentioning it though! I was saying the max for in general. Also Youre welcome :>

2 Likes

Does this work in moon animator? I trying to animate it but the bones arnt showing up.

Unfortunately from what I’ve found, Moon animator does not support bones yet. Hopefully in the future they can update the plugin with this ability.

for now you will have to use the inbuilt animation editor then export the animation, use this script to play it in the ‘game’

local character = script.Parent

local humanoid = character:WaitForChild("AnimationController")

local idle1 = "http://www.roblox.com/asset/?id=0000000000" -- enter the animation id here
local anim = script.Animation

local AnimTrack --= humanoid:LoadAnimation(anim)

anim.AnimationId = idle1
AnimTrack = humanoid:LoadAnimation(anim)
AnimTrack:Play()

I recommend using Shift + P to go into freecam mode if you are recording and want camera movement, unless you know how to animate the camera in ‘game’ (which I don’t)