Blender Rigify or own rig for physical and facial animations ?

Hi there, (warning and apology : my english is not so good)

Using Blender 2.79 and the UE4 version 4.21.2, I’m having some problems with using the rigify add-on for rigging my Skeletal Mesh.
Importing the SM itself and the animations to UE4 works fine.
When rigging the eyes it gets problematic.

After parenting the body and the eyes to the generated rig the eyes get deformed. Unparenting the eyes from the rig and
parenting them to the ORG-Bones solved the problem inside Blender.
If anyone else is having this problem, here are two posts that I found helpful:…-rigify/666202

But then the next problem occurred:
When exporting the Skeletal Mesh from Blender to the UE4 I have to make sure that the “Only Deform Bones” -option is unchecked. Otherwise the eyes wont get
exported at all.
Inside the UE4, when the characters walk, the eyes don’t follow the mesh.
And since I want to be able to control the eyes at runtime just spawning the eyes and attach them to the body wont work for me…

Unchecking both - the “Only Deform Bones” and “Add leaf bones” -option still imports a lot of bones, so this “eye”-problem lead to another, more general problem:

Are these tons of bones bad for the performance or do they make any other problems ? I want to do ragdolls. Would all these extra bones be
problematic to accomplish that ? Or does it nothing have to do with it? (I never know which bone to choose for creating a body.)

And I would also need facial expressions:

Does anyone have some experience with the facial bones from the rigify version? Is it a good idea to use it or should I use shape keys (what about performance) ? And if using shape keys: Would I still need for example a bone for the left and the right side of the face to handle hit events on the face?

Concerning facial expressions: It is for a 3D shooter where the enemies sometimes say some short sentences (when having a conversation or see the player) and for cutscenes.

Or should I forget the rigify-method and try to make an entirely own rig and keep the hierarchy like the one from the mannequin (and add some bones for the eyes) ?

These are a lot of questions…but I can not find any tutorials that handle these topics. All the tutorials that I found never explain how to handle eyes or facial expressions (for creating a skeletal mesh in Blender and using it for the UE4).


I haven’t tried to do facial animation with rigify yet, but it’s on my list…
I too have found that I shouldn’t leave the eyes as org bones and move the deform to the mch

I highly recommend this script:…

it will strip the rigify rig from all the control bones and will create a new armature to export to unreal. it will also bake the rigify animations to this new rig.

it is customizable and works with pitchipoy too: for exmple you can tell which bones it should keep other than the base deform bones. I have edited this script to my needs, one thing for sure I removed the validate function otherwise it’s very strict: if the bone numbers are not exact for pitchipoy it migth not run at all… so I made a version which just asumes it’s a pitchipoy rig and runs always.

I’d also recommend this topic for tips, and there is also a useful script, though that’s not free.

Rigify puts in a lot of extra unnecessary bones right in the middle of the deform bone hierarchy. This means you can not export just the deform bones without exporting a lot of useless mechanism bones that don’t do anything in the engine. The problem is specially compounded if you use rigify’s facial rig that has 87 deform bone before you start counting all the junk bones.

I made a script for Blender 2.8 that deals with all of these problems and offers a simplified way to get rigify working with UE4. As mzprox mentioned it is a paid product but do check it out anyway.

Thanks for the fast reply! I will check out the chichige-bobo-script.

I also found this one:

Looks very promising.

Cool! In which video do we learn how to rig the eyes ? I’m still having nightmares of not functioning eyes, I’m sorry :stuck_out_tongue:

I watched this video:

So that means, that joint based facial animation is better than shape keys? Not sure if I got it right…

The script will correctly rig the eyes for you, along with automatically removing all the unnecessary extra bones. You will need to adjust the weight paint for the eyes, but that is easy. Just flood fill the eyeball to the provided eye bone.

It is my understanding (mind you I am not an expert) that shapekey based animation is more expensive than joint based animation. So that might matter if your resource budget is tight. Though at the same time I should point out that fortnite uses shapekeys or its equivalent for their facial animations.

The point I was trying to make in the video is that using this system you can do both. Have primary joint based animation with no need to keep track of curve values or really go all out and have shapekeys enhance your joint based animations. Another reason I prefer joint based animation is because as you saw in the video other tools already exist that can help quickly get characters talking. I don’t need to do anything other than to rig the character.