Blender 3D: Noob to Pro/Advanced Tutorials/Relative Vertex Keys

  • Letters in brackets i.e.:(z) mean there is addition information at the bottom of the page.

Introduction: edit

This tutorial is meant to stop all the RVK (Relative Vertex Keys) questions.

Window Layout: edit

Set the left half of the screen as 3D View. The other half is divided in two. The top is Action and the bottom is IPO (set to vertex display).

Setting your Neutral Pose edit

Make sure you are on the first frame (a). With the cursor over the 3D View, select the mesh you want to animate. (mesh in object mode) and press the I key. Select Mesh from the pop up menu then Relative Keys from the next pop up menu. A line will appear in the IPO view. This line is your neutral pose.

Setting up your additional Pose Lines edit

Now, figure out how many key frames you will need. If you want to move both eyebrows up and down then you will need 4 additional IPO lines.

Left Brow Up Left Brow Down Right Brow Up Right Brow Down

Press the up arrow (cursor key) to move to forward 10 frames. Press the I key while over the 3D View and select Mesh. Repeat until you see a total of 5 lines in the IPO window.

Set your Poses edit

Right click on the Neutral pose line in the IPO window. This sets the mesh to the neutral pose. Now Right click on the next line up in the IPO window. Enter edit mode in the 3D View and move the vertices as desired (in this case you will be moving verts to get the left Brow up pose). Press Tab to exit edit mode. Now right click your Neutral pose line in the IPO window. You will see your object in its neutral state. Right click the next line up and you should see the changes you just made to your object. Set up all your mesh poses following the above instructions.

Name your Poses edit

RIght click on the Key names in the Action window. Change the name and click OK.

Time to Animate (b) edit

Click on the arrow next to the Sliders text. This will give you access to the pose sliders. Move to frame 20 to start your action. Move the pose slider but release the mouse when set to 0. Now move 10 frames forward and move the same slider to 1.00 (maximum). Use this method to set up all your actions(c). Remember to add a 0 value frame to end the pose.(d).

Adjust your Slow in & Out edit

In the IPO View select from the menu to find the IPO curves. You can get back to the Pose lines by selecting KeyIPO from the same menu. Right click the spline you want to edit and press TAB to enter edit mode. Move the handles to adjust slow in/out.(e)

(a) In this case moving to a frame has nothing to do with animation. It is done so that your pose lines are separate from each other. (b) Select your key frame marker and use the usual commands to move <g> and duplicate <d> them. (c) Be subtle by not pushing the slider all the way to 1.00. (d) Try overlapping your poses. (e) When setting slider values they can sometimes go into the negative value. This will give you weird results. Although sometimes they can make your animation more interesting. To fix this edit the IPO, select the point where the line dips below zero and press the V key. Do the same at the other end of the curve if needed.

Warning! Blender has a limit to the number of verts you can use.

Click here to read the advanced animation tutorial guided tour.