Blender Character Rigging

Character rigging in Blender doesn't need to be difficult. These are my recommendations to get started.

For many who are learning 3D, character rigging is often one of the biggest stumbling blocks since, once you get beyond the basics, the process can become very technical.

In my Into the Ocean: Character Animation Essentials class, I cover all of the basic character rigging skills which are required to build a rig for the fish character.

Whilst this offers a great introduction to the basics of rigging, there is still far more to learn in order to create a full character rig for a complex bipedal or quadrupedal character.

For those animators who hope to work in a studio environment, a small amount of rigging knowledge can be extremely valuable but it is by no means essential. The time that it takes to learn rigging to competent level can often be better spent creating animation for your showreel using pre-rigged characters.

For those who wish to create characters of their own, either for a showreel or a short film project, rigging is obviously a subject which you will need to tackle but you still don’t need to learn, or understand, all of the technical details of constructing a rig from scratch.

A simpler alternative

For the majority of people, it is far easier to use a pre-built rigging system than to build a rig from the ground up.

These systems typically allow a simple guide rig to be matched to the dimensions of your character and then a full character rig can be generated with all of the options that you define.

Once you know how to use these systems, a full character rig can be generated in a matter of minutes.

There are a number of different rigging systems available and Blender already includes one called Rigify in its built in add-ons.

Rigify is a fantastic place to start for those who need to rig their own characters but it is not without a learning curve.

Learning Rigify

If you search for lessons on how to rig a character in Blender, you will undoubtably find dozens of videos claiming to show how to use Rigify, but few of these go beyond showing how to enable the add-on, create a basic human guide rig, and build a full rig from it.

As soon as you want to know how to customise anything, these lessons fall short.

Unfortunately, if you start trying to modify things yourself, you can quickly run into errors.

Sadly, the end result is that many simply dismiss Rigify and look for alternatives.

The truth is, Rigify is actually an extremely powerful system with building blocks that enable you to build almost any custom rig that you require. You just need to understand how to unlock that power.

Fortunately, there’s an excellent series on YouTube by CGDive which breaks down exactly how everything works.

CGDive also sell a full course on Rigify but the YouTube series alone is more than enough to get fantastic results out of the system.

Character rigging classes

I have been asked a number of times to create a character rigging class and, whilst I have a fair amount of character rigging experience, having even built my own rigging system which was used on several TV series, for now, this is a subject which I don’t intend to cover in more detail.

For the majority of people, I feel it is far simpler to make use of a system such as Rigify.

Whilst I could teach people how to use Rigify, I feel that CGDive have already done such a good job that I wouldn’t have anything to add or improve upon. If you are interested in learning more about Rigify, I would highly recommend checking out their training.

Inbetweens by Into Animation

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