Rigging Wings and parenting to mesh with automatic weights

Hi there!
I’m new to Blender. I have a project to rig, pose and animate wings.
I have added bones, created an IK constraint - now the step when I parent with automatic weights control-P.
It works, but, it leaves out half of the mesh and looks and behaves terrible.
I’ve researched weight painting and played with that to no avail. I tried to remove doubles.
I’m stuck at this point. How do I get all the mesh responding to the bones?
I have included the .blend if you could take a look and kindly advise me with your expertise.
I thank you in advance for your help! :yes:
AlexAngel Sky Wings 1 - New.blend (6.6 MB)

Welcome to BA!

OK - I have examined your blend file. I note the following:

A) You have a huge number of vertex groups that do not have any association with a bone in the armature. The vertices that are assigned to these groups are not assigned to any bone group from the armature so will not move with it. Can you tell me why you have all these groups?

B) You have a primary Armature Modifier on the Right wing that is no longer in use and an unassigned Armature Modifier on the left wing, you should remove these modifiers. When you change your armature, I am guessing you had a more complex armature at some stage, you should do the following:

  1. Remove the parent setting from the wing object in its object panel - click the Cube icon.
  2. Remove ALL vertex groups - click the Triangle icon then click the black arrow icon and choose “Delete All Groups”, unless you need the groups for other purposes, in which case only remove the unwanted groups one at a time.
  3. Remove the Armature Modifier in the Modifiers panel - click the spanner icon.

C) Your wing is made entirely of Tris (three sided faces) Ideally it should be made of Quads (4 sided faces). You will find the mesh much simpler to construct if you make the overall vertex count MUCH lower and use a Sub-Division Modifier to get the required smooth shape. For the Sub-div I use values of 2 for the View and Render settings and check the Optimal Display checkbox. Then in the Left side menu on the 3D view - click the Smooth" button. You can achieve the same results or better than you have by using a far lower poly count and the Sub-div Modifier.

D) Ideally your two wings should be one mesh, with the bones duplicated and mirrored in the armature and use the Mirror modifier to make the opposite wing. You can then either Apply the mirror modifier (click the Apply button on this modifier in Object Mode) or when you get more advanced, use the Mirror Vertex Group options when you rig the second wing - this is a more advanced way to do the rigging and keeps your poly count lower.

E) You have unapplied rotations and scales on the wing objects - you can see these by looking in the wings Object panel (click the cube icon) - you have the following rotations; X 48.38… Y 19.93… Z 41.7 and the following scales X Y & Z 0.106 - this is not good. I can tell from this that you have scaled and rotated the wing mesh in Object mode. Don’t scale or rotate an object in Object mode - do all the scaling and rotating in EDIT mode - this is how Blender is written to work. If you do scale or rotate in Object mode, select the object in Object mode and key CTRL+A and then select “Rotation and Scale” from the popup to Apply these values - you will then see that the settings in the Object Transform Display (in the Object panel) are now 0 for all rotations and 1 for scale. You also have an unapplied scale on the armature as well - select the Armature - go to its object panel to see this - to correct this select the Armature in Object mode and repeat the CTRL+A operation as described previously. Remember - do ALL editing in Edit mode, not Object mode.

F) The root bone is not far enough away from the wings to prevent Blender assigning vertices to it - your root bone should be flat on the floor as a general rule.

G) All, or nearly all - I haven’t checked the lot, of your flight feathers are disconnected from the main wing profile - this will cause tremendous problems for Blender to assign Automatic Weights, the only way to do it would be by weight painting and then I am not sure it would work at all.

I have tried correcting most of the problems and it still does not assign weights correctly - this is due to underlying issues in the mesh, like how you made it and the fact that it is all Tris and there are many disconnected sections.

To be honest with you - I would remake the wing meshes using quads only and make them far simpler in nature by then using the Sub-div modifier to achieve a smooth design. I can tell you have put a huge amount of work into this, but I don’t think you can rescue it in less time than it would take to remake it - sorry, but that is the case. If you read the Gus tutorial in Blender help:


and this one to animate it:


you will see the best method to produce your wing, i.e. start off with a cube and subdivide it or add loops (CTRL+R in Edit mode) then extrude out the feathers so they are connected to the wing profile - then use a Sub-div modifier to get it smooth. You can also experiment with a Displace Modifier and a “Clouds” texture to get more of a feathery feel to the wing later on - see the manual pages for this, I think it is also covered in the Gus tutorial, they use the texture on the material, you can also use it on a Displace Modifier.

Better still - work through the Gus tutorials first - then start again with your Angel - you will have a much better technique for modelling and rigging after you have made Gus. Weight Painting is NOT beginner work - get the basics right first then learn weight painting - there are many wiser than me who still, like me, struggle at times with weight painting.

Sorry to be the bearer of sad tidings, but it’s better you hear it now rather than spend weeks trying to put this right! I will of course continue to support you in this project, just ask here. You may notice it takes some time to see your posts here, your first ten post will be moderated. You can of course speed up this process by making MEANINGFUL observations to work in the Work In Progress section of the forum.

Cheers, Clock.

PS you have learnt the first essential of getting help here - posting a blend file… The blend file need not always be your entire project - you can post a small blend file that demonstrates the problem your are having.