Arcane University: Animation

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< Arcane University
AULabel.png AU Disciplines
3D Art
Concept Art
Level Design
Music Composition
Project Management
Sound Effects
Voice Acting

Animation in Skyrim has two sub-categories: character animations, rigged to a creature or npc skeleton; and static animations, like doors and chests. Creating new creature/npc animation files is challenging, but doable. More commonly, an existing animation file is being used on a new skeleton, that has mostly the same bone count and proportions. Static animations are much simpler.

Specific Tutorials[edit]

Character and creature animations[edit]

Static object animations[edit]


General hints[edit]

  • It is not recommended to place a lot of meshes in regions with a lot of movement, like armpits, thighs and so on as glitching (surfaces being visible where they should not) is more common to happen.
  • Keep disconnected meshes at a minimum, as it will increase the effort to rig the mesh.
  • Cover body parts that have different proportions (Argonian head, Khajit head, human head) to cut work for unique variants.
  • Prefer booleans to insert meshes to avoid complex clipping.
  • The quality assurance of your work must happen with the animations loaded. Expect that you have to go back and iterate on the movement a few times.
  • The left thigh of humans moves more than the right.

Information by 3D software[edit]

3DS Max[edit]

Click here for the main 3DS Max page.

Here you can see a tutorial of animating a skeleton for FO4, which uses the same engine as Skyrim:


Click here for the main Maya page.

Outfit Studio[edit]

Click here for the main Outfit Studio page. Rigging within Outfit Studio is documented on the page Rigging in Outfit Studio.


Click here for the main Blender page. Rigging Tools within Blender is documented on these pages:


Click here for the main NifSkope page.

  • You have to enable each of these boxes in BSDismemberSkinInstance or NiSkinInstance of every skinned mesh:
    • Partitions: BodyPartList
      • Part Flag: PF_Editor_Visible, PFStartNetBoneSet BSPartFlag
      • Body Part: SBP_32_Body BSDismemberBodyPartType