Arcane University: Animation

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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]

Videos[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: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-NkbrmG5po

Maya[edit]

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.

Blender[edit]

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

Nifskope[edit]

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