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Blenrig 4: Automatic Skinning and Rigging for Bipeds


Juan Pablo Bouza has updated his BlenRig rigging system for blender 2.57b. For those who haven't seen previous versions, BlenRig is an automatic rigging system that uses an armature and a mesh deform cage to produce a ready to use rig with nice deformations and a wealth of animator friendly controls, as the following video demonstrates:

You can download the BlenRig addon and pre-made rigs here.

Tutorials on rigging with and using BlenRig.

BlenderArtists thread.



  1. new to this rigging thing and this makes me excited.
    but why does the model have to have a dong?
    very awkward for a newbie like me, lol.
    can't watch it also while family members are casually looking at my screen :)
    is it needed after rendering? :)

  2. This is truly awesome,
    another reason for me to Switch the 2.5.
    I am a big fan of your work, you are indeed amazing.

  3. how do you install on 2.57b? I tried extracting to the scripts/add-ons, but its not coming up when you access add-ons in the menu. Clues?

  4. There can'r be many things you don't know about rigging. You have made Blenrig great for every blender version since 2.4x something. I can't image the amount of bones, and how you keep track of everything.

  5. This is exactly want I've been looking for!!
    I really hope someone makes a in depth tutorial on this with a voice talking might help. The video here was good but a voice explaining it is always better. Blender Cookie or someone do this please:)

  6. To theDude

    There are 4 lessons on the tutorial page indicated below the Blenrig intro video.

    One of the lessons is "how to apply the blenrig to your own meshes". Very good vid. I just went through the tutorial myself, and for the same reason.

    In a nutshell its very well conceived for this, but I won't be able to speak with authenticity until I have done it myself.

    As to Blenrig, I have a question as to what format can it export out to, aside from Blender.

    Its a fantastic tool, with an immense amount of time put into the building of the animated rig. I would just like to be able to use it outside the blender domain, such C4D.

  7. I just watched it and not to sound mean but its not the best tutorial. Maybe its because I'm still learning. The vid is pretty fast. Some stuff isnt explained. Like what hes clicking on on something because its too small to see. Still great work for what those guys have done:)I just hope to see some other tutorials.

  8. I knew someone was going to complain about the "no audio" thing :p
    Anyway, I preferred to do the videos with subtitles cause there may be deaf people out there who may need to read the instructions, and because It would be redundant to say the same things that are written down :p

    Now, theDude, the video instruction cover everything I do, there was nothing left out, so there shouldn't be any problem. On the other hand, the videos are in HD, you could watch them at Full Screen resolution to see what the mouse is doing. You could also download the videos from youtube with some firefox addon too :)

    Well, if you have any trouble just email me or write in the blenderartists thread and we can clear out the doubts.

  9. To kick in an open door to make a joke? Is the dong rigged too?

    But it's a great feature which I hope will be included into new versions of Blender.

  10. I could see what the mouse was doing but there was just a few things I wasnt too sure on what u clicked. Not too much of a problem:) Its a really good tutorial I'm just saying I prefer audio tutorials because they say every little thing they click and so on. I did download them but now that u mention it I didnt choose 720p so all is good now thanks. Keep up the great work.

  11. I've been looking at videos and reading about the latest blenrig 4.0, it looks very promising, and I want to try it. I do think those tutorials with subtitles only, could be much more helpful if they included more information in the text.

    Has anyone made a tutorial for using this Blenrig on a fully clothed model with hair?

    jpbouza, thanks for sharing your rig, and providing your tutorials. : )

  12. To Mysteriousblend

    There are 5 tutorial lessons that can be accessed by the link on this page just below the Blenrig intro video.

    One of the lessons is “how blenrig can applied to your own meshes”. Very good vid. I just went through the tutorial myself, and for the same reason.

    To best view the video there is an option to view it on Youtube or download. Both are preferred over watching it on the tutorial page itself, as those options allow for 720P HD. the 720P HD is essential to view the video in better detail.

    Moreover, the video moves very quickly through various points, so I paused the video repeatedly to study the menu tabs/windows in the program which were being utilized. Its a pretty detailed and fairly straightforward tutorial.

    It also shows that although the rig has much complexity and tremendous breadth of applied animation it is fairly simplistic in execution. Straightorward is a good word.

    You load up the Blenrig file, import the biped mesh you want to animate. I think that's the workflow. Could be the other way around, load the character mesh and then import the blenrig animate file. LIkely works both ways.

    Next retarget the pre-made Blenrig UK/IK armatures/constraints, and then shrink wrap the Blenrig deformation cage around the desired mesh, so that your biped mesh acquires all the animated abilities of the Blenrig.

    Very, very cool. But like any in depth procedure, it'll take time to get competence.

  13. to Jpbouza

    I have a question: How do you access the deformation cage view?

    I went through the video several times and am ferreting out the information, but that one point I seem to keep missing. I can't get the cage to appear in the workscreen.

  14. Richard, this CC license is for commercial use too, the only special characteristic it has is that if you do a modification of the project, like doing a new character, and you want to distribute it, you should publish it with the same free license. It's similar to GPL.
    Anyway, if you do any commercial work with it, I would gladly receive a kind donation :p

    FXR, the character model is in Layer 1, the mesh deform cage is in Layer 2 and in the two layers below you can find the armatures. In the first one the main BlenRig Armature, and in the second one the option facial rig.
    Is that what you were asking?

    Kike sanz, anton, I don't really understand why you make the cloth question. You could rig a dressed character with this rig as with any other rig, there's no problem with that. Now, if you asked me for cloth rigging techniques, well, there would be a lot of different ways of doing that... One of the things I can imagine is that you could initially rig the cloth with Mesh Deform and after that you could add a cloth modifier, graduating the simulation effect with a vertex group...
    But well, cloth simulation and rigging is a topic that isn't entirely solved in blender, there is no automatic way of doing it, a lot of tweaking is necessary to make it look alright.

  15. Dang, this combined with make human will make creating digital doubles for actors in indy films a real viable option :-)

  16. Well my characters usually wear clothes.
    Its fantastic what you made but how will it look with clothes on is not such a strange question.

  17. Juan pablo

    I understand the collapsing of the cage to form to the existing mesh, including limbs clothing, etc. But what about other gear, equipment, or clothing?

    Like a cloak, scabbard, backpack. Can those be worked into the animation?

    Or ... does the Blenrig animation have to be exported out in collada to another, non-desctructive animation program where those elements can be built in.

  18. Anton, I thought you were talking about cloth sim.
    Well, if your characters have clothes modelled and there is no inside body, there shouldn't be any problem, just adjust the cage around the cloth and it will be OK. :)

    If there is an inner body, you could see if the cage works for both, the body and the cloth model. If it doesn't fit both things, what I usually do is to duplicate the Mdef cage and to adjust that duplicate to the clothing. Then, I bind the clothes to the new cage and it all works well.

    FXR, the same applies to your question, you can duplicate and tweak the cage to the need of your clothes. You can add extra bones and everything, just like normal rigging. Hehe, actually BlenRig is a normal rig, nothing fancy about it. There is no hardcoded stuff, just drivers and constraints.
    Once you adjusted the rig to the character you can do whatever you want, erase or add bones, etc etc. (In the blenderartists thread I explain a bit how the drivers of the rig work)

    About a backpack, just add a bone and parent it to the spine. You can also add a copy location constraint pointed to a vertex group in your model to get a kind of rigid body simulation... I don't know, just rig whatever you need and however you like, there are no restrictions.

  19. JP, Verrry good work, and interesting establishment of the highest-watermark use of blender2.57.
    Looking forward to doing something with it, and will of course credit your work.
    WE can see now farther, because we are "On the Shoulders of Giants," indeed!

  20. Juan Pablo

    working with the rig.

    Attempted initially to adjust the deformation cage to my character mesh, but that was awkward. So I went to course of action 2.

    I exported ZPAM mesh and deformation cage to object mode, and imported both into Silo as obj files.

    Then using the deformation cage and the Blenrig model mesh as templates, I remodeled my mesh, using some of the Blenrig re-done mesh mixed with parts of mine.

    I used my face and hair, and various pieces of kit, belt, boots etc. But I refashioned the Blenrig's legs, chest, and arms to match my model's clothing. That way there will likely better conformity.

    Also I wire stripped a lot of the mesh to lighten the geometry, yet retain the shape.

    Throughout, I've checked the size and volume against the constraints of the deformation cage, so that when I re-import into Blenrig the components will need very little re-adjustment to fit.

    As to adding other clothing and hair, since your video demonstrates that your finalized rig seems to be able to handle mesh changes without destroying the animation sequences and armatures. This appears to be the case with the stretching, squashing and changing proportions of the mesh in any and ll directions. Meaning it likely can be edited.

    Question: Can add-on parts be added to the rig after it is baked? Such as equipment components that might be weight painted in. Or as I asked earlier items such as cloaks, ponchos, etc, using cloth deformations. I know you suggested adding bones so that the gear can t the equipment to. But most of the equipment I plan on adding should be assigned to the pelvic girdle or the chest/torso.

    What I am planning to experiment with, (after I've done a successful conversion without added gear) will be to flatten the end goal components against the mesh in their correct locations. Then after conversion, the intention would be to extrude those parts, re-inflating the components as it were. I think this will be the case of the hair as well, to recover its volume.

    Question: Can you re-target Bvh files to Blenrig?

    Question: Are the animation files destructible, or can they be adjusted on the fly and re-saved?

    Sorry, a lot of questions, but ... I got to say, after watching the demo the function of the hands, I was sold. Incredibly smooth action and articulation.

    All in all I think my intentions will pan out.

    Thanks greatly for your labor.


  21. FXR, most of the things you are asking can be easily done. It's just general Blender knowledge, it has little to do with BlenRig itself... You can add whatever you like and whenever you like. It will surely be more convenient to add new bones for the equipment after you've fitted the rig to the final model. It's just about adding bones and constraints, the technique that you use depends on your blender rigging skills...

    About the Bhv files, you could certainly use those, but with a little extra work... First you should import the Bhv file into blender, and then you should make BlenRig's controllers follow the Bhv skeleton parts... That could be done with some Copy Transforms constraints. Then you should bake the animation of the BlenRig rig and erase the constraints.... It may be a painful job...

    About the animation files, in Blender you have things called Actions, and those actions can be copied, edited and mixed.. but well, again, that's Blender knowledge.

    FX, maybe you should register to the blenderartists forums and open a thread there. You could also connect to IRC, freenode server, channel #blendercoders, there you will find me and other guys that might help you.

  22. Hi Juan Pablo,
    My name is Rodrigo and I'm from Uruguay, and I'm trying to find a tutorial explaining skin collision detection. In VIctor's rig I tried to understand your rig, but as I am new to blender I can't understand. Also I watched your rig tour in Blender Cloud, as it mentioned it is only a tour.


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