BlenRig vs. Rigify?



You’ve had a couple of weeks to try them since your first post so you must have come to some conclusion yourself in that time while you’ve been trying both of them out.


I think it’s a fair question… I’m not sure that anyone has used both of them enough to give a really full reasoned opinion though.

I haven’t used both of them, but here is my take:

If your rig is human, and you are heading for a realistic look, you are better using BlenRig – assuming you have the time to put into it. The setup isn’t nearly as easy. The advantage though is that it is not just a rig, it is also a skinning system – whereas Rigify is more of a general purpose rigging tool that relies on Auto-Weights to do much of the work of skinning. And, my experience with autoWeights is very hit and miss. I really never use them any more. It just caused more problems than it was worth.

Of course, you can hand paint your weights with rigify, but that is easily as much work as letting BlenRig handle the skinning for you.

As for the controls, that is almost a matter of preference. I sort of like BlenRig’s approach to the controls, but Rigify has a lot of cool controls, as well – and some things well suited for cartoonish (ala Pixar) meshes.

The main advantage that Rigify has is that is is sort of endorsed by Blender Foundation. I mean, it was used for Sintel, and it does ship as an add-on in Blender. That means that you will probably be able to find more people who know it, and can help you with it… as well as possibly finding a tutorial on it, etc.

But if you are trying to make a human mesh move, and you are aiming at realism, BlenRig would be the way to go, IMHO.


Well, i’s just one man’s opinion… I tell you what would be cool… would be if we could get Cessan and jpbouza to chime in on what they think the strengths and weaknesses are… It might seem strange in any other world, but I’ve noticed that each have contributed to the other’s threads… there doesn’t seem to be any real competition there… and it is great when the authors give opinions…

Here’s hoping they stop by!

I was just about to ask the same question and found this thread. I agree that it would be very helpful if the authors chimed in with more context. That said, the information that’s already been provided is very useful - thanks!

HI! I don’t know if I have much to say apart form what MarkJoel60 has said. :slight_smile:

Rigify is a general purpose template based system and it will let you create custom rigs for any character without really needing to know the mechanisms behind the rig. After the rigging part, you’ll have to deal with the skinning part on your own. So, in general terms, I think it is a really cool system that would enable you to create huge rigs with no effort, and the good thing is that anyone can create rig templates for it.

On the other hand, BlenRig has a more limited use, cause it is (for now) intended for humanoid characters. So, any other rigging procedure would have to be made manually. In other words, if your character has 4 arms, you will have to duplicate BlenRig’s arms in Edit mode manually, there is no “add arm” button.
But then, the strongest point of BlenRig is that it is not only a rigging system, but also an autoskinning system. Apart from the rig itself, BlenRig comes with a mesh deform cage that will make your character achieve realistic deformations out of the box, so practically no skinning of the mesh is needed. After 4 years of work and an annual release I can say that the topology of the mdef cage has proven to work really well in the projects I’ve used it.


Rigify = automatic rig generation based on templates, valid for any kind of character / manual skinning of the character

BlenRig = automatic Humanoid rigging, autoskinning of the character by adjusting the mdef cage / any change to the rig would need to be done manually

Now, as for the controls, as Mark said, that’s just a matter of preference, I think both rigs can achieve any kind of movement for animation. Both are still lacking of cartoony specific controls, you would have to tweak the rig yourself if you need cartoony extra features.
The good thing is that both systems rely just on constraints and drivers, so with that knowledge anyone is able to alter the rig’s functionality.

Finally, are these systems compatible between each other??

Well, In theory they are, cause rigify is a template system, so it would be cool for me to get BlenRig parts into the rigify template system. But then, that would just cover the rigging part, the auto-skinning part would have to be solved somehow so that when you generate a BlenRig part in rigify, the mdef cage of that part is also generated along with the rig.
But well, I’m not a programmer, maybe some day I’ll be able to do it with some help :). I’m counting on Crouch for that, hehe but all programming help is welcome. Bassam also showed interest in making some kind of retargetting system that would include rig and mdef cage. He is actually using a slightly modified version of BlenRig’s mdef cage for his ongoing project, Tube. I think that he is even using a modified version of the base rigify rig on it too, so he has actually kind of fused both projects :p. But well, there’s is no retageting system from Bassam for now, apart from rigamarule, which again is lacking from the mdef cage retargeting thing I would need and it is still not too user friendly (poke slikdigit :p).

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Great insight, thanks jpbouza! Quick question: How long does it take you to rig and skin a new humanoid character now? And how long do you think it would take someone who has never user Blenrig before?

I really need to get some time to spend with the Blenrig system. In fact, I have two different characters (one cartoonish, one humanoid) that I need to rig,and I can use rigify and Blenrig on them, and then give a more informed opinion.

Now if only my day job lets up enough for me to have a couple of days free!


Mark, I can rig a character in 1 day with BlenRig, a long day :yes:. The body rigging can take me from 1 to 3 hours, depending if the character has already been weight painted or not. I rigged the character of Nick Zuccarello in less than 2 days with the video recording and everything (body + facial rig). Actually I think I spent more time painting the weights of the inner mouth than painting the rest of the body! That’s a tedious task…
If I remember well, the whole video recording had less than 5 hours of lenght.

For someone who has never used BlenRig, If you’ve watched the videos it shouldn’t take you more than a couple of hours to get the rig in the right place and to adjust the mdef cage.
Then, you would have to start testing the binding of the mdef cage to the character and the deformation. I usually have to bind a character 2 or 3 times until I’m statisfied with how it deforms. The binding process in level 7 (which is production level) might take 20 to 40 minutes.
The good thing is that there is patch for the mesh deform modifier in graphicall:

With that patch, the binding process can go from 30 minutes to just 5 or so… really nice!

So, in general, rigging the character might take you 1 day or 2 if it is your first time.
Then the facial rig is another story, hehe, but well, you could use BlenRig’s facial rig or just make some shapekeys and get it done your way. That is up to you.


About the rigging technique, yes, this is the technique you must have seen in the book. In Blender it is called mesh deform modifier.
Here is the Pixar’s paper it is based on.

About the cartoony thing I meant exactly that, no squashing body parts or curvy things. BlenRig does have stretch though, it could be use form animating, but its main purpose is rig retargeting. Cartoon character may have many different deformation approaches, so it would be very difficult to create a setup that satisfied everyone’s needs. I just try to keep the rig simple so that it can be re-used, but you can add whatever you like to it if you know how to do it.

Rigify is intended to be/become a very general solution for creating the armature and controls of any character via a building-block/template paradigm. What Rigify does not do, and is not intended to do, is set up the skinning/deformations of the character.

My impression of Blenrig is that it is a much more complete solution for the specific case of humanoid characters. Unlike Rigify, it does not create an armature or a rig, but instead is itself a pre-made rig that is designed to be easy to adapt to many characters. Also unlike Rigify, it does handle the deformation of the character for you.

So it really depends on your use-case. I am, of course, a fan of Rigify, since I built it for myself and how I like to work. But that doesn’t mean that it fits everyone.

…and it seems we are now spoilt for choice. :cool:

Why don’t you all just dump both and make the rig yourself? Save you the hassle of choosing… which seems to be a complicated task. :wink:

Cessen, thanks for adding your comments! We all seem to be in agreement about where BlenRig is good and where Rigify would be better.

Hey, I may have missed this somewhere… but is there any documentation for how to set up the building blocks for adding my rig to Rigify’s library? I think the idea of a reusable template that you can pick and choose your own rig from is way cool. Even better will be if some day we get the point where we have a library of parts that we can pick and choose from before calling Rigify up… so I could pick a three finger-hand with IK/FK arm, and a special spine, a less complicated foot, etc… and then the set-up rig is made to order from pre-established parts. This is always what I thought would be the ideal set up…

And this is a good thing, as I am sure you’ll agree! The fact that Cessen and jpbouza put all of the hard work into these solutions and then released them to the public domain is really amazing, and one of the reasons I love Blender!

I guess if I were trying to get a job as a rigger, that would be a good idea, because I would want to show off how great I was at rigging something. But if all I want to do is take something I modeled and rig it to I can start working on the animation, why wouldn’t I want to start with the RIg of Rigify or BlenRig and save myself about 4 days of setup?

Have you looked at the rigs these two systems generate? Both are VERY nice rigs with good animators controls. Why re-invent the wheel?

Mark, I think that the documentation about rigify is in /scripts/addons/rigify inside the Blender directory :slight_smile:

About spending 4 days setting up a character rig… hehe, let me tell you that you might just be getting a little short with that!! It all depends on the level of detail you want to achieve, but if you really want to create a rig from scratch that can handle all types of animation and then you want that rig to deform the character in a correct way… well, you might be spending a couple of weeks or even more, hehehe. The time you spend will also depend on your knowledge, that’s for sure, but it’s a hard job to get things right.

See you!

Wonderful info in this thread, thank you all. I didn’t know Riggify could be used for any character. I’ll be using it for animating fish, or a tree “blowing in the wind”. For humanoids, BlenRig. Brilliant! :slight_smile:

Ahhh… see, I said I probably missed it.

Yeah… you are right. Especially to re-invent the drivers and nice touches that are used to make the rig more accessible. That’s one of the reasons I really appreciate the work that you and Nathan have done. I HATE RIGGING! So to be able to get something that has a better rig than I have the patience to make, and have it adapt to my model… that’s practically a perfect scenario to me…