Which rig do I use or do I just rig myself?

Maya user trying to make the switch to Blender if that matters.

Im used to using autorigs in maya that get the job done pretty well. As far as I know blender has rigify pitchyboy (sorry if i mispelled), blenrig, and auto rig pro (tried the github version).

Ive followed each of those tutorials and thus far, failed each one. I just cant grasp blender rigging, I dont know what it is. In maya its simple but something in blender is confusing me. Cant exactly pinpoint it. I got pretty far in blenrig until the model collapsed on itself. No clue why.

Which one should I even be using or should I just make my own rigs? I like blender. I LOVE its stability and I love cycles. Rigging is my bane when it comes to blender sadly. If I can get over that, its blender all the way for me.

Rigging purpose, humanoids and quads. Im thinking of maybe just using maya for rigging and inputting that in blender but Id love to keep it all one program if possible.

Would you kindly… help a newbie blenderer?

First off - Welcome to BA!

Now, starting your first animation/rig in Blender with a complex character and a very capable rig might not be the best way to go. I see no images or blend file in your post to help me help you. I know you are an experienced modeller/rigger, but I would start real simple and work up, at a pace in your case, so you understand the workflow in blender. There is a simple exercise here https://wiki.blender.org/index.php/Doc:2.6/Tutorials/Your_First_Animation/2.Animation that I stated with, having had many years (over 30) modelling in various 3D packages. It saved me hours of frustration as I then understood what Blender expected of me. Now I think rigging in Blender is easy, but it is not, if you don’t know what is expected of you by Blender.

Various things cause problems with meshes imploding, etc. Things like unapplied rotations and scales on either mesh or armature can really screw things up, along with many others, like poor topology, etc. Blender likes rigged objects to share common origin with their armature, but it is not necessary (largely) it does not like unapplied scales…

Post some images or a blend file, being new here you may have to post your blends to pasteall.org in the blends section, then post the URL to your file here. We need to see what has gone wrong, not just guess at it.

Many Youtube tutorials are not very good and assume you know more than you really do, I tend to stick to known experts, like @Danpro, @Norvman, @SkpFX, @Hadriscus (sorry to anyone I didn’t mention…) and others on here, along with Nathan Vegdahl’s “Humane Rigging” series. You can also try cgcookie.com. Some tutorials you pay for, some you don’t, there is also the Tips and Tutorials section on here, and search threads for similar issues.

Cheers, Clock.

What an honor to be in your list Clock :slight_smile:

Hi and welcome SeeTheSky. I’m afraid I cannot be of much help with autorigs, I practically never use them, but I think Rigify (from which Pitchipoy is derived) is pretty much a state of the art tool. Otherwise what clock said.
Some common pitfalls :

  1. unapplied transforms on your objects can screw things up - it’s the maya equivalent of freezing transforms before binding to a skin cluster, to solve hit ctrl+a ->apply loc, rot, scale
  2. conflicting constraints ie childof constraint that hasn’t been inversed (set inverse in the constraint panel, maya equivalent of “keep offset”) but I would assume the autorig takes care of that sort of thing
  3. cyclic dependencies, ie object a depends on object b but object b depends on object a


Hi, SeeTheSky,

I just thought I’d add a bit to the very good posts above. But it’s not clear how far you have delved into the Blender rigging toolset.

Don’t give up on Blender rigging yet. It’s seriously great. And I certainly wouldn’t recommend trying to import rigs made in Maya. They use complexly different systems. Even if you did manage somehow to get a Maya rig to transfer over, it would never be stable and you would also not be able to save and mix animation files on to it.
I’ve also always had very good experiences with Blend rig and found it very straight forward and robust. So there must be a simple place where you are going wrong.
I came to Blender quite recently after many years working mainly with Maya and Max. Blender was a bit different in some areas but I came to love its approach. In particular how you can lay out an armature almost as a 3D plan while in edit mode.

I’m wandering if some of the confusion comes from the fact that within Blender a single rig is classed as one object. Where as in Maya one rig is made from multiple separate grouped objects. It was certainly the first thing I got confused by when I started in Blender.
The best introduction to Blender rigging I know of is Nathan Vadgule’s Humane Rigging course. All of the videos and source files are on the Blender cloud.

The most basic thing to know before starting is that Blender rigs, called ( armatures ) are classed as a single object. Everything inside ( the bones ) are like sub object’s or nodes within the core of this single armature object. To access and work with these sub objects there are three work modes. Object Mode, which is the most basic mode where the armature is a closed single object when selected. Edit Mode where most of the building and editing work is done. Then Pose mode. This is the mode where the armature needs to be for posing and animation. But you also need to be in this mode to add any constraints and drivers. So when building a rig you would normally need to jump between edit and pose modes quite a bit.
Armature objects also have their own internal layers system.
In Blender you would normally start with a single bone. This would normally become your root node and you would then build out from that. Bones in the Blender rigging system have multiple uses and also work as control objects and also driver objects. In the exact same way you would commonly use groups and locator objects in Maya. The bones can also be given custom properties and take on the appearances of other objects in the scene. So the controller objects that would normally be nurbs spline’s in Maya are simply bones with custom shapes applied in Blender.

I’m not sure how much custom rigging you might have done in the past, but after years with Max and Maya before coming to Blender. I certainly find Blender the easiest and fastest for custom rigging and it’s also capable of great complexity and flexibility. It’s even innovating in some areas too, like the new stretchy twist B bone system. So it’s really worth sticking with.

Im not sure exactly what my problem is with it. Its just confusing to me. Extra frustrating since Mayas rigging is easy to me but I see potential in blender. Thanks for the clarification.

I didnt attach any files. It was more of a general experience with random toss-away simple models. I’ll try that tutorial thanks.

I’ll just add to the great advice above.

The answer to the question I quoted above is, Yes. :slight_smile:

Use an auto rigging program and also make your own. I cannot recommend one auto rigging addon over another. They are all very good. Two questions you need to ask is which has the rigging features you like, and which allows you to customize that rig if there are other features you would like to add to the rig.

I use Rigify because I know how the all of the inner workings of the rigify rigs work, and therefore I can save time by having the rig auto generated, then I can change the generated rig to fit my rigging needs. Knowledge of how to create a rig from scratch is absolutely vital to this approach.

I will plug Humane Rigging by Nathan Vegdahl as the tutorial that you should start with. I also want to point out that Nathan is the author of Rigify. By the end of Humane Rigging, you should know how to create all of the different parts of the original Rigify rig from scratch and then you will be free to change that rig to your liking. Also, Nathan covers many of Blender’s oddities and things that will be different from other programs like Maya.

The main differences will be the use of armatures for rigging and animation, (Toka, explained this very well above) and how animation data is created and stored. (Explained very well in Human Rigging.)

Good luck!

Hi SeeTheSky

I’m still a blender beginner but I had the same question half a year ago. In the meantime I tried several different (auto) rigging rigs. Imho there are two categories of rigs: Based on mesh deform (Blenrig) or normal rigs (Auto Rig Pro, Rigify etc).

Blenrig (mesh deform approach) gave me pretty natural deformations already out of the box. What I liked in addition was that I only had to tweak the mesh deform cage (with shape keys) to correct ugly distortions of the base mesh.

I noticed that with the normal rigs (Auto Rig Pro, Rigify etc), precise placing of bones is key and lots of weight painting is needed but still some pretty ugly distortions occur (maybe I’m a bad weight painter ;-)). To correct these, adding corrective shape keys to the base mesh is much more time consuming then tweaking a mesh deform cage.

As I said I’m just a beginner. Maybe I used the normal rigs in the wrong way…