Rigify and Vertex Groups

This is a workflow question. I’m using Blender 2.57b

To rig a character I’ve made, I added the Rigify meta-rig, aligned its bones to appropriate places on my character and then hit “Generate” to add the complete control rig. No problems.

To bind the mesh to the armature, I select my mesh, shift-select the rig, hit control-p and choose to parent “with automatic weights.” At this point I get this warning:

“Bone Heat Weighting: failed to find solution for one or more bones.”

Which makes sense because the character is made up of several meshes and some bones may not have any vertices near them.

The problem is this: the auto-weighting does not assign any vertices to any vertex groups. Vertex groups are created for each deformation bone exactly as I would like but each group is empty. If I select the mesh, enter edit mode and select a vertex, I can see that it doesn’t belong to any vertex groups. Entering Weight Paint mode, the entire mesh is unweighted.

This behavior is unique to using Rigify. If I extrude a cube and add some bones inside its mesh and auto-weight it, vertex groups and weights are added correctly.

Has anyone else encountered this behavior when using the new Rigify system? Have you been able to generate vertex groups for your mesh?

I haven’t used rigify, but the solution may be to use only the deformer bones ( place them in a separate layer ) when applying the armature. controller bones are not needed and often overlap with deformer bones.