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I tried to position the hand bones of my rig / armature, but it was SO difficult to get all those little bones to align in 3D space accurately, even when I was using Quad View. After working on it for quite a while, I was SO frustrated I was ready to give up because I just couldn't get the bones positioned at all. Is there any way to do this quickly and easily?

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Quick and Precise Bone Placement using Snap To

Positioning bones in a model can be quickly and easily achieved using two of Blender's Snap To commands:

  • Snap Selection to Cursor: this moves/snaps the selected object to the 3D Cursor ( enter image description here )
    SHIFTS -> Snap Selected to Cursor

  • Snap Cursor to Selected: this snaps the 3D Cursor to the selected object
    SHIFTS -> Snap Cursor to Selected

    enter image description here

For this method of bone placement, you will also want to enable two Interface preferences:

  • Zoom to Mouse Position: When enabled, the mouse pointer position becomes the focus point of zooming, instead of the 2D window center.

  • Rotate Around Selection: When enabled, the selected object becomes the rotation center of the viewport.

    enter image description here

One other option that is very important is to make sure you can see your rig's bones even when they are inside the mesh. This is done by enabling X-Ray for your rig:

enter image description here

With these preferences enabled, you can now very easily examine your figure's mesh and begin to position the bones.

Positioning the Bones

There are 3 parts of a bone:

  • the Head (or Root)

  • the Body

  • the Tail (or Tip)

    enter image description here

The key to this technique is to:

  1. Find and select 2 vertices on opposite sides of your mesh's surface where you want to position the bone's tail:

    enter image description here

    NOTE: In order to see through the mesh, make sure "Limit Selection to Visible" is disabled:
    enter image description here

  2. Now, with those 2 points selected, use Snap 3D Cursor to Selected
    SHIFTS -> Snap Cursor to Selected

    enter image description here

    This positions the 3D Cursor directly between the two selected vertices, exactly where we want to put the bone tail.

  3. Now select the bone tail and snap it to the 3D Cursor:

    enter image description here

  4. Now we want to position the head of the bone at the tip of the finger. To do this, we select one vertex on the fingertip and snap the cursor to it:

    enter image description here

  5. Next, we snap the bone head to the 3D cursor:

    enter image description here

    The bone is now perfectly positioned.

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