How well blenders rigging tools stuck against competition?


(drgci) #1

I mean what is the weaknesses and strength of blender rigging system ?


(Michael W) #2

Firsly the good: Blender rigging is quite good and competitive in possibilities… an animator friendly rig’ s requirements have been well defined for years and blender can achieve them all.

Rigify has a modular approach that is great and extendable so it really is a fantastic tool if you want to dive into the depths . If the stock modules don’t work you can extend it with some python knowledge and have pretty much anything you can imagine in a quick re-usable artist friendly setup.

The weight paint tools are solid and I actually prefer them to maya for weight paint.

Bone heat weighting is pretty strong too!

Using armatures and vertex groups is a nice design. It makes iteration of models after rigging pretty easy and you can always use the transfer weights modifier.

Bendy bones are a great idea and can simplify lots of things

The meh:

Out of the box The constraints system works but is a bit clunky. Offsets are unstable. It hurts a user’s brain to try and figure out which space they want to operate in (world to world, world to local, local to local… local with parent? Endless combinations in the modifier panel… track to… axis etx It’s just all a bit convoluted and tricky… more complicated than it needs to be.

Drivers are very powerful but the setup feels like a hidden secret and from a go point of view editing them is done in a tiny panel tucked away in a secret mode of the graph editor…

The depsgraph has no fine control so you can’t work around some cyclic dependencies…

Blender is based on bones rather than joints. This makes a lot of things harder than they need to be sometimes. Joints are what Maya uses and it adds a ton of flexibility as your bones’ default orientation and rotation axis is independent from the hierarchy. The hierarchy is what determine bone length in a joint based system but the orientation can be arbitrary… as an example in maya you could set the clavicles to rotate mirrored so if you multi select them and rotate they both shrug rather than one raising and the other lowering…

Maya has ik/fk switching built in to the ik chain, the constraints are simple and just work… the relationship editor allows easy art driven linkingof anything to anything. You can create these features in your rigs in blender but it’s often going to be 20 steps rather than two…

So in summary blender is very capable and competitive on possibilities for rigging but often feels like you have to jump through lots more hoops than Maya to do the same task. Blender does have unique features (armature and bendy bones) that are really innovative.


(drgci) #3

Thanks this is the kind of answer i was waiting for !


(softdraw) #4

I hope someday Blender will have relationship editor for Riggers, Its such a useful way of visualizing the connections inside the rig!


(pixel master) #5

Michael_W, that was a great breakdown. I hope the developers reference this as they work on the animation 2020 project.