Whatever Has Becometh of Thee, Rigify?

When Is It Time to Break Up?

1 After the fifth time trying to re-create the corrective shape keys for her knees, with all its fiddly impossibilities (this vertex goes 5 pixels per trackpad swipe, that one goes 500 pixels for the same motion… WTF), I got super impatient and thought to myself: there has to be a better knee, elbow, ankle (, shoulder) rig method out there.

But I forgave Rigify and just stuck with her.

Why does he say the same thing over and over? Because I keep rewinding and watching the same 8-second segment of the video over and over.

But after I forgave Rigify… Verachantesse’s hips… something was totally wrong with them. I realised I’d put the hip joint a little too high and back. So I tried to move them.

Recall, I’ve totally lost the metarig due to all the tweaks I’ve done on her generated rig.

I cannot for the life of me move those joints. Whenever I manage to click all the fiddly little joint ends, helper bones, etc (10-12 of them?) and move them slightly forward and down, suddenly all the deforms go insane, and her body turns into mush, and I feel sad.

What’s happening? I don’t know.

So then for real I decided to see about making my own rig. Sorry Rigify. You were good to me, but there comes a time…

I did yet another search and came upon this genius: Royal Skies, LLC with his 35k subscribers (35.001k now?). He has a bunch of really annoying 60-second tutorials on things, including a better knee rig.

Don’t get me wrong. He is annoying, but damn he packs the info in there like nobody’s business. And he’s pretty well a genius, as I actually unironically stated in the last paragraph.

Hard to stop raving. That Royal Skies dude. Wicked smart.

I’ve watched about six hours of him saying the same thing over and over. Why does he say the same thing over and over?

Because I keep rewinding and watching the same 8-second segment of the video over and over, of course.

Before we talk too much more about that, let’s look at the fiddly Rigify “two hundred hours wasted on corrective shape keys” method, shall we?

Look at the picture at the start of this section. Niice! Except, what’s that with her knees?


What have I wasted my life on?

The Royal Skies Era

1 Now let’s look at about twenty hours of watching Royal Skies LLC and his weird accent, and hacking together our own ugly rig with no widgets.

We’re concentrating on the knees. And hips. And elbows. And shoulders. And her neck. And the new face rig. Mainly those. Is there anything else?

The knees. Oh, my God, her insanely lovely knees. I can’t stop staring.

I can’t stop staring.

But also, check out those shoulders, and the deform when her arms come forward. Her clavicles and neck muscles have good definition.

But that isn’t enough! Hips. Let’s look at her promising hips next.


1 Hips! Amazing hips!

Well, okay, they aren’t amazing, but they’re pretty good, promising, even.

And I think I will be able to get them to near-perfection with just modifications to the underlying rig.

And, while you’re here, look at her knees again. Why not? Obsess over those beautiful joints.

I’ll do that the same time I add the knee squash.

For the sort of pose where her gluts are pressed into her ankles, I think I will even be able to solve the squashing-to-the-side of her thighs and calves using some drivers.

But even with no drivers (and I still can barely believe it, no corrective shape keys!), the knees look pretty convincing.

Hard to stop raving. That Royal Skies dude. Wicked smart. Go subscribe to his channel and watch his vids and donate some cash on his Patreon.

The New PhiloRig

1 This rig has most of the bone structure of her hips/pelvis in place, in a nice loop over the leg. It seems to make things mostly-correct. The tops of her gluts on the outside edges are still incorrect, but I think a glut stretch will fix that.

Here are the main bones/controls, to the right.

…the shoulder rig is much improved [but] she has no foot roll.

I have a muscle system for pecs, lats, neck, traps, all reworked to better reflect actual anatomy of a human. I’ll put together a tutorial eventually and remove the last one, because the shoulder rig is much improved.

The elbows are about 90% done, but the elbow rig didn’t work as magically as the knee rig, and I will have to put a driver to add the squash on the inside of the fold. I’ll do that the same time I add the knee squash.

I have (static) bones in her cheeks, skull, sternum, and ribs (at least) to help hold the correct form.

I setup bone groups with colours to make everything sensible and comprehensible.

There are all sorts of copy location/rotation/scale and stretch and limit and whatever constraints all over her body. Master controls to control many things at once. And I’m just getting started, I think.

She has no foot roll. Everytime I tried to do that, somehow I got a cycle that would make things go wonky.

Also, I couldn’t do the spine control the way Mssr Skies suggested. When I did, her entire rig went insane and all over the place, so I had to do something else.

In all, I don’t think my rig will make animators happy, because it’s kinda weird, but it definitely works for me for now.

This is the first time in my 15-20yr of using Blender where I finally have a character rigged where I can pose her in about 95% of anatomically-correct poses, and all the deforms look relatively okay. Yeah. I’m amped.

The Final Result

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Yeah… hair. Hair is still an unsolved problem. Sorry for hair going through her skin and other crazy stuff. I don’t think Blender is well-suited for animating hair yet?

I tried a few things, but none worked, so I’m back to the drawing board.

Until Next Time, Keep the Flash Out of your Face