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So i'm getting into some 3d modeling and learning to rig characters. Using rigify is pretty easy, but I'm trying to figure out how to add additional bones. I noticed by default the rig seems to lose volume in quite a few places so wanted to add some more bones for better control around some of those important areas.

This short video shows an interesting idea for preventing knee or elbow volume loss. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JbQX8C3lrHE

My deal is when I try this I get the following rigify error.

Blender File: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1rLOcRHm5gFsLCtbnDMAHBSxwnsvvgoZs/view?usp=sharing

RIGIFY ERROR: Bone 'thigh.L': Heel bone not found. Incorrect armature for type 'leg'

Is there a way to make this concept play nicely with Rigify? Seems like it would be easier in the long than floating bones to add volume or manually painting a bunch of weights.

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You can add knee bones to a Rigify rig but you need to do this to the generated rig, not to the meta rig.

(The meta rig is used by Rigify to define the location, shape, and size of the generated rig.
The generated rig will eventually be used for posing. It consists of numerous bones, such as deform bones (that deform the mesh and start with DEF- prefix in their names), control bones (for IK/FK), and mechanism bones, etc. All these bones can be found on the different bone layers.)

But Rigify has a custom property named "Rubber Tweak" for the shins (knees) and elbows that can give those areas more volume.

For comparison: comparison image

If you want to add an extra knee bone you can find the deform bones on bone layer 30. Add a knee bone between the thigh and the shin bone as described in the video:

  • Clear Parent (Alt+P) to separate them
  • select the ends of the bone, F to add the knee bone
  • rename it to DEF-knee.L
  • parent the shin bone to the new knee bone and check the connected checkbox

Additionally, you need to add 2 bone constraints to the new knee bone (switch to Pose mode, see for details).

rubber tweak option Rubber tweak option (right leg), extra knee bone (left leg)

Note: There is a bug (Blender 2.91), that makes Rigify not generate all needed layers. The bug happens now and then when you have edited the bones and press the Generate Rig button. Check if all layers are there before you proceed. Are Arm.R (IK) and Arm.L (FK) present? If they are missing have a look here:
Rigify->Generate Rig doesn't create all rig layers in the properties ui

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  • $\begingroup$ The problem with the extra knee bone technique is that if you need to modify your metarig and regenerate, you lose your corrective knee bones :-( Do you know a way to implement this extra knee bone instead in the metarig, without using a limbs.leg but others Rigify elements (aka "building blocks" ;-) ) $\endgroup$ – loopkin Mar 27 at 14:15

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