Planning an animation for an IK system

Now that the mechanical arm and cargo box are fully set up for animation it’s a simple matter to pose the arm and set keyframes. Prior to setting any keyframes you should take a few moments to plan the action for the scene.

Planning the action usually involves sketching a simple storyboard, and writing out a brief timeline for the action for each component. In this lesson we’ve provided a simple version for you. The basic premise for the action is as follows:

The table below breaks down the action indicating what action occurs for each object at the specified keyframes.

Frame Mechanical Arm Cargo Box


Collapsed position

Initial position


Vertically extended position

Initial position


Vertically lowered so that cargo magnet is positioned on top of cargo box

Initial position


Vertically lifted to extended position with cargo box

Cargo box lifted with mechanical arm


SwivelBase rotated along with arm to side

Cargo box repositioned along with mechanical arm


Vertically lowered along with cargo box to second position above surface

Cargo box is lowered along with mechanical arm to second position


Vertically lifted to extended position

Second position


SwivelBase rotated with arm to original position

Second position


Collapsed position

Second position

To pose the mechanical arm you select either the ArmControl or SwivelBase nodes and set a keyframe depending on which component you want to pose: