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I've created a very basic character so that I can learn to do basic rigging and animation, but I'm struggling with areas of the mesh that will bend.

This will be easier to show. In the first picture, you can see the leg is bent, however, I want the mesh to remain as boxy as possible. I don't mind some deforming, but in the picture, it's way too much, but am unsure what to do next. I tried adding more loop cuts around the joint (1 above, and 1 below), but I seemed to make it a lot worse.

Is this a case where I may have to have an upper and lower leg that are separate parts?

enter image description here enter image description here

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One way would be to make pseudo joint on the mesh, where you expect it to bend (like knee) by making 2 additional edge loops and merging them on one side like this: enter image description here

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A) You could add a *_fix bone to the joint that is perpendicular to the parent of the one that is moving, and points in the direction of the joint bending (Track To constraint towards the pole target of the joint) Then weight paint the problematic-vertex to it.

That way the vertex is being held in place by the parent of your joint amd turns with it.

But thats basically a dirty "preserve volume"-like hack.

B) Another way is to add a shapekey that deforms the mesh to look right when fully bent.

That shapekey would be controlled by a driver that translates the rotation of the moving bone into 0-1 values for the shapekey, that tweaks the joint vertex to stay in place by using an f-curve you can manually tweak in the drivers section of the F-Curve editor.

If you can do that for that voxel-character you also learn how 'organic' deformation can be tweaked to look right on "realistic" characters.

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    $\begingroup$ Point B) is very helpful. You may use corrective shapekeys as shown in this tutorial: youtube.com/watch?v=f3JWNIkwBZ8 $\endgroup$ – Paul Gonet Oct 22 '16 at 13:25
  • $\begingroup$ When I read this answer, most of it went right over my head, as I'm still a beginner with Blender, but after watching that video, it made it really clear, and I'll definitely be giving that a try. $\endgroup$ – JacketPotatoeFan Oct 22 '16 at 14:04

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