How can I duplicate a geometry with rigging and animation?

I have an animated character with bones, but I need to duplicate it just like a mirror, without messing up or ruining the model.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ How about using a mirror for the mesh, and then mirror the rig(blender.stackexchange.com/questions/24026/…)? $\endgroup$
    – Humilton
    Commented Feb 3, 2015 at 14:10
  • $\begingroup$ Will i need to re-skin the character? $\endgroup$
    – beavoru
    Commented Feb 3, 2015 at 17:57
  • $\begingroup$ I don't know. I've never skinned a half-finished mesh before. $\endgroup$
    – Humilton
    Commented Feb 3, 2015 at 18:13
  • $\begingroup$ But if that's your issue, I doubt it's difficult if you copy the vertex groups as well =) But that's out of my field. $\endgroup$
    – Humilton
    Commented Feb 3, 2015 at 18:16
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @X-27 wanna put that as an answer so we can get this off our unanswered list? Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – ruckus
    Commented Feb 6, 2015 at 4:20

3 Answers 3


In Blender 2.8a, put everything that belongs to the character into a collection. In object mode, right-click on the collection -> "Duplicate Collection".


You can use Blender's group linking system:

  • select both your mesh and its armature
  • hit CTRL + G to put them in a group (and eventually hit F6 to name that group)
  • If you need a clean scene, you can create a new empty scene (in the "info" toolbar (at the top of the default UI layout), the + button)
  • hit SHIFT + A and select "Group instance", then choose the group you just created
  • repeat the last step as many of time you need duplicates
  • play the animation, all the groups should be animated the same.

If you need one group instance to play the animation mirrored, you can scale it on X and Y axis with value -1 (S > SHIFT+Z > -1)


I was just looking at this for duplicating a rigged character without duplicating key frames... but... it did duplicate the key frames. Here's how I figured it out and here's how it went (Blender 2.74) after some trial and error...

I made sure I was in object mode, shift selected the armature and character mesh. Duplicated (shift+D) the selected items and dragged them out (pressing Y in my case to constrain the transform to the Y axis). This created a copy with all key frames in place but displaced from the original along the Y axis.

I wanted the copy facing the original but rotating the entire selection 180 around the Z axis caused some really weird problems. The solution was to select the armature only, skip into pose mode, select the root of the armature (the one bone that the whole thing will transform around) and then rotate (R Key, Z key, 180).

I'd set up the armature with some IK control bones (hands and feet), pole targets (knees and elbows) and the hip bone being the root parent for the rest. All of these were children of the main "root" bone that would move the whole armature. This was the root bone that I had to rotate.

Another stumbling point was when I tried to delete the existing key frames from the copy (because they had been copied faithfully) and managed to delete the keys from both characters. Stupid mistake (because all the keys were on the dope sheet) but something to watch out for. The cursor icon in the header (next to the ghost thing) isolates the selected items and might help in this respect.

I'm not sure if this will help you directly but this thread did get me there in the end.


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