Rig a Skeleton With Blender and Rigify (video Course)

In this step-by-step video course, you’ll learn how to rig a Skeleton 3d model. We’ll be using Blender – the free and open-source 3d content creation suite – and the free auto-rigging system Rigify.

NOTE: If you purchased my other Rigify course “Rig Anything with Rigify“, before July 18, 2022, you can get this course for FREE as a thank you gift! Just contact me with a screenshot of your invoice and I’ll set things up!

What you’ll learn

By the end of the course, you’ll have a fully rigged skeleton model, animated using mocap and retargeting. Just like the one you see in the product images. You can even get it ready for export to a game engine, should you wish to.

Why rigging a skeleton is Difficult

The rigging and weight painting techniques you learn in most tutorials are meant for “standard” characters with skin and clothing.

Rigify offers amazing features such as twist bones (aided by Blender’s bendy bones)…

Automatic Weights and advanced add-ons such as Voxel Heat Skinning help us quickly skin connected meshes…

However, when applied to a Skeleton, many of these techniques are not just useless …but they cause more problems than they solve. πŸ™‚

How this Course can help you

In the course, you’ll learn:

  • how to tweak the default Rigify settings and make Rigify suitable for rigging a Skeleton. Mastering the Rigify rig type settings will help you rig versatile characters.
  • special weight painting techniques to quickly and efficiently bind the mesh bones to the rig bones. Some parts of the skeleton need to stay solid at all times (leg bones, upper arm, cranium, etc.) while others need to bend or twist (lower arm bones, spine, ribcage, etc). Weight Painting is an essential part of rigging!
  • custom rigging techniques. You can rig almost the entire skeleton with simple Rigify building blocks. But to achieve certain advanced effects we’ll need to create custom rigs from scratch. I will show you how to create those. But also, how to seamlessly integrate them with the other Rigify parts.

Simple or Advanced: The choice is yours

Whenever possible, I tried to give you a choice between simple and advanced techniques.

  • The “simple” techniques will help you achieve good results with minimal effort.
  • The advanced techniques will show you how to get even better results with some additional effort

Course Structure

Part 1: Intro & Resources

Just saying “hi”, and introducing you to the course, resources, and ways to contact me.

Part 2: Mesh Prep

“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. We’ll prepare the model and organize the scene. This will make our rigging work much easier

Part 3: Metarig

We’ll quickly align a standard metarig to the skeleton. It will need a lot of customization down the line but it’s a start.

The next 5 parts will each focus on the rigging and weight painting of a specific section of the skeleton.

Part 4: Legs, Feet, Toes

Part 5: Arms, Hands, Fingers

Part 6: Torso (Pelvis, Spine, Ribcage)

Part 7: Clavicle and Scapula

Part 8: Head, Neck, Jaw

With that, the skeleton rigging is done but I have included additional chapters that you may enjoy.

Part 9: Custom Rigify Script

We’ll be using a new feature of Rigify (Blender 3.0+) which allows us to run a script as soon as we generate the rig. This way we can customize the rig even further and in ways that are not possible otherwise.

Part 10: CleanUp

An important but often neglected part of rigging: clean up your scene, and double-check that everything works!

Part 11: Props

We’ll give the skeleton Props that it can hold (a shield and a sword, how original!)

Part 12: Retargeting

I’ll show you my workflow for retargeting using the Rokoko addon (free) to correctly transfer mocap data to the Rigify rig (including IK retargeting)

Part 13: Game Engines export

Out of the box, the Rigify rig is not meant for export to game engines. But I’ll show you a solid workflow to export a clean game rig to any engine.

Part 14: Conclusion

For the superstitious among you who would feel uneasy if the course was 13 parts. πŸ˜€

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English subtitles (auto-generated)

I strive to speak clearly but to aid comprehension I have included subtitles for all videos in the course (srt, sbv, and vtt formats). The subtitles are fairly accurate but since they are automatically generated there may be slight inconsistencies such as “rigify” being subtitled “rigidify” or “pose mode” = “pause mode” etc. πŸ™‚

I am here to help

If you are ever stuck while following the course, you can always email me and I’ll try to help you. You’ll find my contact information when you purchase the course.

FAQ

  • Is the Skeleton 3d model included?

Yes, you’ll have access to the same 3d model that I am using in the videos. You can also use your own model if you prefer.

  • What version of Blender will I need?

The version I use in the video is 3.1 and I recommend that you use the same or later. However, you will be able to follow along with older versions such as 2.93 or even 2.83 LTS. In the videos, I try to anticipate that people may be using different versions of Blender and try to suggest what to do.

  • Are the skeleton and rig anatomically correct?

Not in a scientific sense. We will be rigging a skeleton model for animation, games, etc. While the result is fairly realistic, it is not a simulation of real skeletal anatomy.

The tone of the course is casual and you will rarely hear me use the Latin name of bones etc. (because I don’t know them … Wait, did I say that out loud? )

  • Can I rig a cartoony skeleton with the same techniques?

I think so but I can’t guarantee it. If it’s just the looks and proportions that are cartoony, then it should be fine. But if you need, say, extreme limb bending, you may need to improvise and change the setup somewhat.

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