Blender: Create vertex groups for multiple meshes (rigging)

These days during my free time I’m trying to transfer some of my knowledge from Maya to Blender. Even though Maya is a standard in the game industry, for my personal projects I find it quite expensive. Considering that Blender offers a wide amount of tools for free, it might be a more than suitable alternative for me.

I found Blender fantastic so far! Modelling is straightforward, the PBR node system is awesome and really intuitive, rigging is handled in a very similar way to Maya, making also some complex steps a bit easier.

The problem

First of all, what are vertex groups? They are also called “weight groups”, they basically allow you to assign a tag to a group of vertex. They allow you to do the same thing you are doing while painting weights in the Maya world.

The only step that got me stuck for a while, was when I tried to create vertex groups for multiple meshes. Usually, what people say around “the Internet”, is that you have to merge all meshes into one before creating the vertex groups. That’s easily achievable, you have just to select all the meshes and press CTRL+J. Considering I was rigging a low poly model, that wasn’t a possible solution. What happens if you try to rotate a cube by 90°? That’s simply horrible!

The solution

Select each of your bones (not controllers/poles, just the bones!) and be sure that they have the tick on deform. Might seem counter-intuitive, but that’s gonna work.

Be sure to tick deform

Then, (left) click on your mesh and CTRL+(left) click on your rig. The order is important!

Select your mesh and then your rig

Move to the viewport, and press CTRL+P in Pose Mode. Choose the option shown on the picture, “With Empty Groups”.

Click on “With Empty Groups”

Then go back in Edit Mode, select all your vertex/edges/faces that you want to link to that specific vertex group, and then press “Assign”. You should select the vertex group with the name of the bone you want to associate the selected mesh with.

Assign the mesh to the correct vertex group

If you go back on Pose Mode, you can see that when you move your controller your mesh will follow. That’s all you need to do!

Conclusions

That was a short guide with a problem I faced while rigging with Blender. Considering I did not find the proper solution on the Internet, I thought that would’ve been cool to share it with you. Let me know if that worked for you, or if you know a better way to achieve the same result please let me know. See you soon!

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