I have a 70,000 poly mesh of a winged creature that i've rigged up as best i can (intermediate artist here). I don't get it. I've triple checked everything - having made sure the mesh is 'closed' (no holes), removed all double verts, cleared the scale and rotation values to zero (mesh at perfect center facing the front), left and right sides are symmetrical, bones point in the correct axis direction (as far as i can tell anyway), naming syntax is all correct, etc, and my armature still won't bind to the mesh after applying automatic weights. I've tried Rigify, the Auto Rig Pro addon, and have manually created my own armature and still no joy (haven't tried BlenRig, but why should it be any diff). So, my question is: Are there cases whereby automatic weights (ctrl+p) won't work no matter what you do, if for example, the poly count is say over 50 - 70k? If the mesh is fairly complex (a non-typical biped with dragon wings), will the auto weight procedure fail even if everything is 'in order'? And if this is the case, what do you do when the bind fails? ..skin everything manually?? That would take forever, seeing that blender doesn't have mirroring when you weight paint. I think Maya has mirrored weight painting so that would no doubt save some time, but who wants to go there, right?! Thanks for whatever info you can offer on this!! (i've attached a screen grab of the bones & front view and will upload the .blend file if needed, but it's info on 'what' i need to do (procedure) at this point more than on 'how' i need to do it. I'm using v2.79). Thanks again..

Tim Here's the blend file link:

  • $\begingroup$ Wait nvm ignore this comment. $\endgroup$ Jan 16, 2018 at 2:03
  • $\begingroup$ Auto weights isn't perfect so doesn't always give a perfect result. The more complex the model the more chance you need to do some manual weight painting after auto-weights. $\endgroup$
    – sambler
    Jan 17, 2018 at 7:03
  • $\begingroup$ Yes i knew that, but the thing is is that after auto weights was applied the mesh was totally blue in pose mode. Seems like it would have at least shown SOME red/yellow. I'm thinking of buying the Voxel Heat Diffuse Skinning addon, as i heard it blows away blender's default auto weights algo (either that or pay someone here to help me find the culprit). Thanks for the reply. $\endgroup$ Jan 17, 2018 at 7:34
  • $\begingroup$ The link to the blend file is broken. Don't use Dropbox, but upload to blend-exchange.giantcowfilms.com $\endgroup$
    – dr. Sybren
    Jan 18, 2018 at 18:12
  • $\begingroup$ Oh ok, yeah i was wondering which is the best storage site to link up with. $\endgroup$ Jan 18, 2018 at 20:37

2 Answers 2


There is non manifold mesh in your model. Go to edit mode, make sure you are in vertex select mode, deselect all, from the menu select->select all by trait->non manifold (shift-ctrl-alt-m). There's a lot of geometry in the head, lips, teeth, nose etc. If the model is not going to have complex facial animation or speech, delete all that wasted geometry inside the head. The other areas you will have to just attack piece by piece. Having selected the non manifold mesh you can ctrl-numpad+ a couple of times to select the surrounding verts, ctrl-i to select inverse and 'h' to hide most of the mesh. This will clear the field for you to work on isolated parts.

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  • $\begingroup$ Wow, of all the tuts i've seen so far i don't think i've ever seen anyone mention this "select all by trait" feature in blender. I bet this will reveal the culprit. Gone to work on it now. Much MUCH thanks d8sconz! ..and everyone else. $\endgroup$ Jan 20, 2018 at 2:31

In short: your model is not too complex to rig. There must be some other reason that you see this behaviour. More details indeed require us to see the blend file.

  • $\begingroup$ use the comment section... $\endgroup$
    – user1853
    Jan 16, 2018 at 20:55
  • $\begingroup$ Well that's one relief. Thanks doc :). I've included a link to the blend file. $\endgroup$ Jan 16, 2018 at 22:44

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