I have zero knowledge of Blender or 3D modelling, but I'd like to know if this is possible and how difficult would be.

I have several 3D characters models rigged with the same armature, so I can swap armor pieces in Unity. I have other 3d models, similar but with a different armature. Is it possible/easy to import one armature into the other models, so that I can swap armor pieces using the same base human model?

In the end I'm using Unity to do all this in my game.

Thanks Cheers


2 Answers 2


Yes, but this only saves you the work of modeling (with two exceptions)

The process is exactly the same as modeling your own character and rigging it. If you need an explanation of that, you can google around for some tutorials on how to do that.


If you already have another skeleton, you might save some work if and only if

  • The joints are in the correct place on the Armature
  • The vertex groups on your model are preserved on your mesh, and match the names of the bones of said skeleton

Picture of some Vertex groups a character might have

If you don't have the vertex groups, you will need to weight paint them on as you would any character rig.

Because you mentioned Unity, I would be remiss to mention that Unity has a concept called Model Avatars . Basically, this is a way to tell Unity that a model is sharing a Armature rig, and that concepts can be shared across models.

When importing a model, you can generate an Avatar or use a pre-existing one. You can share assets for the armature of the original Avatar (such as poses and animations) to the new model, if they share avatars.
Unity's Avatar import dialogue

Unity has rules for what can have shared Avatars, please look to Unity's Documentation for that.

  • $\begingroup$ That works when applying animations to different characters. However in my case I have different parts of the same equipment (e.g. torso and legs) derived from different skeletons in the original blender file. It would seem that these skeletons have slightly different bones names/structure, so I'd have to go back to the original blender and import one armature into the other, and re-rig. It's not something I'm willing to do on my own, I would hire an expert 3d modeller, my question is mainly if it's possible, and how difficult it would be (10 mintutes vs 5 hours of work?) Cheers $\endgroup$
    – LordNedox
    Jan 2, 2019 at 6:58
  • $\begingroup$ Weight painting and rigging is easily at least a third of the time I spend on a character model. If your armatures are substantively different from one another, they will probably need to be completely redone at least once. If just the names are different, you might get away with just renaming the vertex groups to match the bone names, but if you are this far, that is a lot to hope for. $\endgroup$
    – Kirbinator
    Jan 4, 2019 at 6:42

Yes, you can use a skeleton for another model. You'll need to skin your mesh to that armature. But this is the same for any rigging you do in blender. Google about skinning in blender.
If your rig doesn't fit your new model, you have to adjust it. If it's a simple rig with no complex constraints, hidden bones' layers, it would be an easy task, but if it's something like rigify rig, makeHuman rig, or any other complex rig, it would not be so easy. Those complex rigs are made with metarigs, then generated with scripts. So you will need to fit the source metarig to your new model, then re-generate the actual rig.


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