Blender 3D News and Training

Bow and Arrow Rigging – Part 1

Posted by Chris Plush on Jul 31, 2012

If you don’t have your own bow to work with, download the start file for this tutorial below.

This tutorial series will take you through rigging and animating a bow and arrow. The goal for this series is to use this rig in a game to aim and shoot arrows with, but the rig in this tutorial is made for general animation as well. In this first part, we’ll rig the bow so that it bends back automatically when you pull back just one bone. We’ll do this by using IK constraints and a super awesome Limit Distance constraint. Thanks to Lee for helping me get past some obstacles finding the most accurate and efficient way to rig this.

Download the start file
Download the finished file

Chapter List –

00:53 – Adding bones to the top and bottom of the bow, and adding a string bone
02:40 – Parenting the mesh to the rig
05:20 – Creating a main bone to parent the whole rig to
06:40 – Creating the top_ik bone to be the ik solver for the top of the bow
07:30 – Adding the IK constraint to the top of the bow
08:40 – Why the Limit Distance constraint doesn’t work on its own
09:42 – Creating a workaround to this problem by creating a new rotation bone
10:18 – Parenting the top_ik bone to the new rotation bone
11:25 – Adding a Limit Location constraint to the string bone
13:05 – Adding a new top_limit bone
14:00 – Parenting the top_limit bone and new rotation bone to the main bone
14:20 – Adding Limit Distance constraint to the top_limit bone
14:50 – Adding a Track To constraint to the rotation bone
15:47 – Duplicating and flipping the new top bones to the bottom
16:30 – Adding an ik constraint to the bottom of the bow
17:37 – Animating