Rigify elbow problem

Hello, I’ve used rigify in the past but I’m having problems with my current setup.

If I add the meta-rig and click “generate”, of course everything works fine, but if I match the bones to my mesh —a very plain human mesh— when I click “generate” the elbow pole appears in the front and the arm and so, in IK mode, makes the arm bend the wrong way.

Even if I exaggerate a bit the bend at the elbow still the pole comes out backwards:

How does rigify know which way the pole should go? Is there some magic regarding the placement of the shoulder, etc…???

Thanks for your help,

Hi, you see that little ball attached to the stick coming out of the elbow? That’s essentially the “pole target” for the elbow deformation, if you grab that ball in pose mode and drag it to behind the elbow it will then bend the right way. You can move this ball around as with any bone, it’s useful for making sure the arm’s bend right in certain situations.
Hope this helps :slight_smile:

Hi Enigma246,

Thanks for your help. But because the generated rig generates the pole towards the front of the character when I move it to where it should be, the arm distorts horribly.

Here’s how the rigify puts the pole normally,

But for some reason, with my bone configuration it puts it the the pole wrong way (I even exaggerated the bend to see if that worked)

and when I turn it around, and when I move it in pose mode:

… bad things happen : (

Hmm that is weird, any chance you can post the .blend file so I can have a look at it?? :slight_smile:

Hi Enigma, thanks for your time!

I’m uploading a new blend file which shows the problem. I’ve just added the metarig and rotated the left arm down a little bit on the Y axis, no other rotations applied, no weird pose, just lowering the arm a bit. When I click generate the pole for that arm is at the front. The pole on the other side is correctly towards the back.

Maybe I should’ve modeled my mesh with the arms higher up?

Thanks again,

rigify-elbow-problem.blend (1.54 MB)

When you orient the bones of the meta-rig, try placing the elbow joint further back so there’s a distinct bend in the arm. It doesn’t have to be a huge bend, just distinct. If the arm is too straight, Rigify can’t read your intentions and makes a guess.


I’ve tried to bend back the elbow a bit… and a lot. Strangely, it seems that it’s the shoulder angle that causes the problem. On a new file I added the meta rig, and I just lower one of the arms, not touching the elbow at all, just lowering the arm from the should, rotating strictly on the Y axis. When I generate, I get that arm’s pole at the front while the other arm’s pole is pointing to the back.

It would seem like I should’ve modeled the mesh with the arms higher up : /

rigify-elbow-problem.blend (1.54 MB)

Sorry the double post; hadn’t noticed that the forum was moderated and just post the same thing twice thinking that I’d missed a click or something. Moderator, if you want to disregard this one and the last post it’d be best : ) thanks. BF.

I’ve always used Rigify in a standard T-pose, so I can’t give you any insight on that.

Have you tried just dropping in the meta-rig and hitting generate to see if the problem is still there? You know, don’t touch the meta-rig at all. If it still happens, there’s definitely something wrong with your Blender set-up.

Hi rontarrant, yes, as you say, with a fresh meta-rig everything goes well.

I discovered that as soon as I touch the bones on the arm the roll of the bones flip! Even if I don’t move them at all. Select them, G to move, and immediately Esc to cancel, the roll flips and the Z points in the opposite direction and, of course, the generated rig is wrong for that side.

If I Ctrl R and restore the rolls manually then, even with the arm lower down, the rig seems to work. Annoyingly, though, as soon as I touch the arm bones again the rolls flip and I need to readjust them again. If I have bone fingers selected as well, those too will flip : (

Okay, try moving them with the manipulator, one axis at a time, instead of ‘g’ for a general grab. I’ve had better luck moving them into position that way.

Hey rontarrant, thanks for the tip!

Not so lucky here, still getting the problems with the axis flipping around even with the manipulators…

But I found that after I’ve positioned the bones (rolls all messed up and all) I can still set the view to front (1 on the numpad), select the bones of the arm and with the bones selected Ctrl + N => Recalculate Roll => View Axis. That points the Z axis towards the front which is what rigify needs. Still I need to manually select the hand bone and Ctrl + R to correct the bone so that the Z axis on that particular bone points down.


You’re totally welcome.

I’m out of ideas… Maybe you’re not holding your mouth right. :slight_smile:

Okay, sounds familiar. I find I have to do a lot of futzing with hands, especially the thumb, to get rotations right. If you just keep at it, eventually it’ll become clear what’s going on.