I am new to Blender. I have made strides learning modeling and material creation, but now looking to take my modeling a little further.

I want to be able to create a complex model with multiple interacting parts, but create "Rules and Limits" to posing the model. I do not know enough yet to know if I should look into "Rigging" and learn that... or learn about constraints and using empties... or maybe even something else that I'm unaware of.

SPECIFICALLY: Imagine a drummer's Cymbal Stand. There will be individual parts like the tripod base... the telescoping upright tubes... a rotating ratchet where the extension boom can rotate on an axis, the extension arm that is held by the ratchet, the upper elbow and spindle that holds the cymbal... etc.

EACH of those will have specific constraints; The telescoping tubes and move up and down (within limits) on the Z-axis and rotate fully on that same z-axis, the rotating ratchet pivot point can rotate on its own axis, and also rotate on the Z-axis of its parent upright tube, the extension arm can extend or retract (with limits) into and out of the ratchet pivot based on the pivots rotation, but also rotate on it's own (local) Z-axis... etc. etc. etc.

The end result I seek is having both-ends of the heirarchy able to be manipulated individually, but the interim parts adjust and accommodate appropriately within their constraints.

I move the Cymbal Stand base close to the drums, the entire stand (and cymbal) move with it. If I grab the cymbal and adjust it's height, angle, etc... the arms & hinges react appropriately to accommodate the movement but the base stays put.

It SEEMS to me that it's similar to Inverse Kinematics and character rigging... but I need no deformations - just hard-surface mechanical constraints.

Can anyone please point me in the direction for me to go learn and research...? I appreciate your assistance.

I am obviously using my drums as inspiration to learn Blender. enter image description here

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1 Answer 1


If you want to make something with hard surface such as a drum as referred in the question and don't want any deformation or bending( as in the muscles should get deformed when a human figure folds hand) of things while changing things then you should see in parenting things to empty so that the things get manipulated when you move empty and you don't have to move the hold thing and then finally constraining the empty ( constraints are used when you want to limit things, for example if you want to move the drums which are attached on the outer edge you'll only want to move them on their local z-axis so that they seem attached to inner drums, then you can limit its movement to only local z-axis by constraining or when you want to make something controlled by another thing for example moving drums with empty which is constrained on the particular axis giving you flexibility to move drums separately anywhere you like but still can be controlled on the important axis. ) On the other hand if you wanna create something like a human figure and want to move it then you'll have to create a rig which can control custom part of mesh and keep it look attached, this can further be combined with constraints for example, limiting the rotation of hand only in forward direction and not allowing it to go further, you can also constrain a joint to an empty so that you don't have to move the joint and can just use empty to modify the same thing which is non-destructive as you can reset the empty location or even delete that constraint completely. The best way to go is to learn rigging and rigging your drums then you can learn constraining and constrain the rig to be organised, here you can even use an empty to instead of bones, both constraining are rigging are really wide and also work best if combined.


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