How do I link in this Rigify-based rig (CG Cookie FlexRig) in Blender 2.8?

I’m going through the Character Animation Toolkit tutorial on CG Cookie. Near the end of this video (You must be a CG Cookie member to see this), they are linking in the rig from another file in a pre-Blender 2.8 version. The rig is the CG Cookie Flex Rig, and appears to use Rigify behind the scenes.

I have been able to successfully link in my own Rigify-based characters in Blender 2.8+, but things don’t appear to work as they should when using the .blend file supplied for the CG Cookie Flex Rig. I can’t determine if it’s not working because the file I’m trying to link in was created in a pre-2.8 Blender version or if there’s something that I’m doing wrong.

First, here is a zip archive of the file I am trying to link in. Specifically, the file within this archive I’m trying to link in is cookieFlexRig-1.2.2.blend.

Here are the steps I took to import the rig:

  1. The tutorial says to change the group names cookieFlexRig and cookieFlexRig.lowRes so that cookieFlexRig is the name of your character:

Because the concept of groups has disappeared with Blender 2.8 and collections are now in its place, there is no UI like this in Blender 2.8 when you go to the Object Properties tab. I wonder if the change from groups to collections is the root of the problem that I’m seeing.

Interestingly, I can see cookieFlexRig and cookieFlexRig.lowRes as collections when I try to link them in from another file:

However, when I have the original rig file open, I was not able to find them in the Outliner when set to View Layer – which is normally where I would expect to see collections:

image

Instead, I can see cookieFlexRig and cookieFlexRig.lowRes if I change the Outliner to Data API view:

Anyway, I didn’t change the name of the cookieFlexRig and cookieFlexRig.lowRes groups in the Data API view, because I wasn’t sure that might break some sort of internal reference, so I left those as-is.

  1. After saving the original rig file, I created a new Blender file and linked in the cookieFlexRig collection. (I’m not bothering with the cookieFlexRig.lowRes collection at the moment, though I have tried linking in that too and have had no luck.)

  2. I linked in the Text\rig_ui_panels.py element from the original file, which is required for importing Rigify rigs – and appears to be required for the CG Cookie Flex Rig as well.

  3. I selected cookieFlexRig in the Outliner and in the 3D View menu went to Object → Relations → Make Library Override…

  4. I picked rig from the popup, since that’s the name of the rig that cookieFlexRig uses behind the scenes.

  5. I went to the script editor and ran the linked Python file, rig_ui_panels.py

Normally, when I take these steps with a Rigify rig I’ve created, I now can select the rig armature, switch to Pose Mode, and start posing the character. In this case, though, I just get a weird state that doesn’t allow me to pose the character:

There is a collection called cookieFlexRig that is disabled. I’m not sure why. Inside that collection is a rig armature – which is also disabled. I am unable to go into Pose Mode when I select either of these things in the Outliner.

Any idea on what’s going on?