I'm working on a project that requires using many instances of the same character and rig in a scene, which I've created using BlenRig 5 (working great).

How do I go about instancing the character and rig multiple times so that I can apply different animations to all the instanced characters? Any advice or tips on the best workflow for this would be much appreciated!

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    $\begingroup$ As far as I know this is a known limitation of the current system. You would have to have multiple copies of said rig, I think. $\endgroup$ – Duarte Farrajota Ramos May 31 '17 at 18:46
  • $\begingroup$ Ah that's a real bummer, in this case I might end up re-rigging my character with rigify... I noticed that you can duplicate characters and armatures with Shift+D if they already exist in the file (not linked). But unfortunately BlenRig uses a Mesh Deform modifier which still links back to the original overlay mesh so I think I would have to unbind, then re-bind a new copy of that mesh for every duplicate... really hope a multiple character instancing feature is added sometime in the future. $\endgroup$ – Dan May 31 '17 at 21:49
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    $\begingroup$ I think this is being worked on for the upcoming 2.8 series. For now, as far as I know, the only way to do this is to physically have either multiple independent copies of the same rig in the same file, or have multiple copies of the file in the hard drive. $\endgroup$ – Duarte Farrajota Ramos May 31 '17 at 22:13
  • $\begingroup$ Do you know if one or the other of these options is more intensive for the scene? It would be a lot easier if I didn't need to re-do all the rigging work, but I may need 20+ copies of the character in a scene so would having that many linked files cause problems? $\endgroup$ – Dan May 31 '17 at 22:17
  • $\begingroup$ Well it will certainly consume more memory, but I don't think the rig geometry alone would make a very significant difference, compared to say all independent animations you will have. Both solutions might end up being the same, chose whichever is more practical to you. I must say I have never done any rigging myself, so I am not really the right person to be talking about this. $\endgroup$ – Duarte Farrajota Ramos May 31 '17 at 22:21

Since Blender 2.81, a new feature has been added in order to overcome the limitation of one same rig per scene: library overrides.
It's only the first implementation and officially considered as experimental, it is still limited and it's planned to be enhanced in the future.

enter image description here

You can learn more on the manual


Simple example:

Scene consists of a mesh(character) and it's skinned rig.

When you duplicate a lot of the same objects using Shift+D, blender creates new mesh-data for every instance. All of these mesh-data has to be load into the memory before rendereing, but if you do not change anything on a dupli-mesh, the mesh-data dupli is unnecessary.

To 'fix' this, you can manually change the mesh data in the properties panel: enter image description here

Or you can use the shortcut Alt+D (instead of Shift+D)! This way will also 'link' your meshes: if you move a vertex in one, it will change in every linked mesh.

Also when rendering a lot of objects in Cycles, a good way to handle memory is to use the 'Adaptive-subdivisions' option:

enter image description here

This feature is currently still under 'experimental' though.

  • $\begingroup$ The user asks how to independently pose and animate different characters using the same base rig, this doesn't seem to address that issue. $\endgroup$ – Duarte Farrajota Ramos May 31 '17 at 18:48
  • $\begingroup$ He asked about instancing the objects and armatures as well though? $\endgroup$ – Bert VdB May 31 '17 at 19:07
  • $\begingroup$ It doesn't include the animating part that's correct $\endgroup$ – Bert VdB May 31 '17 at 19:08
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the info Bert VdB but what I am specifically needing to do is link in multiple instances of the same character so that I can individually animate each character $\endgroup$ – Dan May 31 '17 at 21:44
  • $\begingroup$ ... should of added, with the same rig duplicated and applied to those instances $\endgroup$ – Dan May 31 '17 at 22:00

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