One Model - Multiple Armatures?

Hi there!

I’ve been thinking of trying to combine armatures - I started with a public domain human model that I’ve attached below, and created my own simpler armature to animate the body. Now I’m thinking of combining that with the armature that came with the model. Is this possible? Is this a good idea?

One thing I see useful about the armature that came WITH the model is the ability to use shape keys to animate the face with moving eyes, mouth, etc. BUT maybe it’s better that I had just stuck with the armature that came with the model in the beginning?

I mainly was creating my own armature for the sake of exercising the rigging/animation of a character from ground up.

Make face rig. Shapekeys are very limited to make poses. Rig give you much more freedom.
Also joining armatures is possible nothing difficult. Just make sure to put bones of your armature to layer which is empty in armature you want join to. Select your armature in object mode, then select armature you want to join in object mode. Press ctrl+J voila your armature joined. Also you can use constrants to make your armature bones follow specific bones of another armature without joining. I think copy transform constraints will be good for that task. Only thing you have to do is align bones to match position and rotation to target bones.

Thanks @CYNIC78! I guess the big question is - should I maybe join the eyes and mouth that came with this model into a single model again, or do it differently?

The biggest thing I notice is that when I join the face rig that came with the model after making poses, etc the weight painting appears to have been completely lost. Wondering if there’s a way I could avoid that happening.

You have to check vertex groups of mesh. Vertex groups related to face bones should have same names as face bones you merged into rig. If your bones were automaticly renamed while joining armatures they won’t affect mesh. All you need is match names of vertex groups and corresponding bones which should deform mesh. Sorry for bad english. Hope you got what i was trying to say. :slight_smile:

Not long ago i have made similar work - joined custom armature with rigify rig. It worked very well. I just matched rigify metarig to my armature so each bone have same pivot point and orientation. Next i generated rigify rig and after that joined both armatures into single one. And i just parented new bones to corresponding deform bones of rigify. Names of new bones remaned the same so my mesh deformed by these bones without problem.

As for mouth and eyes it really doesn’t make any big difference if eyes are sparated objects or part of main body. If eyes are driven by eyes bones all you have to do is assign weight for each eye to it’s bone. And your eyes will move with these bones. Same for mouth.

Hi @CYNIC78 … hope you had a great New Year!

So, I’m taking your advice into account. But I guess my big thing is, I’m wanting to make what appears to be a mesh that SHOULD’VE been the original armature for the model into an armature joined to my existing simple armature.

So in other words, I want to make the existing hand “inside finger mesh” a part of my armature as a BONE. Is that possible in Blender these days? Or do I need to go about using “shape keys” as you originally suggested?