Rigging Section

  • Add Custom Shapes: Add custom shapes and arrange bones on separate layers
  • Add Simple IK: Add a simple IK rig to the active rig.
  • Convert To MHX: Convert the active rig to an MHX rig.
  • Convert To Rigify: Convert the active rig to Rigify.
  • Create MetaRig: Do the first part of Rigify conversion, where a metarig is created from the Daz rig.
  • Rigify MetaRig: Do the second part of Rigify conversion, where the previously created metarig is converted to a Rigify rig.
  • Add Mannequins: Create a collection of meshes, which are parented to the armature's bones and don't have armature modifiers. For faster posing.


Add Custom Shapes

 This button adds custom shapes to the bones, to make them easier to recognize during posing.

 It also moves the bones to new layers and opens up a new panel called Simple Rig, where named bone layers are displayed.

The new bone layers are layers 16 - 30.

 By only selecting the named bone layers that we are currently working on the rig becomes less cluttered.

Add Simple IK

This tool adds IK (Inverse Kinematics) bones to the existing DAZ rig. This simple IK rig is not as powerful as the more complex MHX and Rigify rigs, but can be an alternative for simple posing. The Add Simple IK button is only enabled for armatures to which custom shapes have been added. An alternative could be to use Auto IK for posing the original FK (Forward Kinematics) bones.

When we press the Add Simple IK button a dialog pops up, asking us if we want to add pole targets to the IK rig.
Here are the new IK bones. There are IK effectors for hands and feet (red ellipses), and pole targets for posing the elbow and knees (blue boxes). There are also stretch bones that connect the pole targets with the bones they control.
In the Simple Rig panel we can control the IK influence below the named bone layers. Here we have pose the left arm and leg with IK and the right side with FK.
The snap buttons convert an FK pose to IK or vice versa. Here we snapped the FK bones on the left sides to the IK pose, and the IK bones on the right side to the FK pose. The pose is the same as in the previous picture (almost at least), but the IK influences have been reversed.

Convert to MHX

The MHX rig was originally developed by myself when I was working on the MakeHuman project.The acronym stands for MakeHuman eXchange, although the DAZ version has nothing to do with MakeHuman anymore. The MHX rig has been greatly improved in version 1.6 of the DAZ Importer, thanks to input from Engetudouiti and Alessandro Padovani. 

The MHX Runtime System has been split off as a separate Blender add-on, which is distributed together with the DAZ Importer. There are several reasons for this. People who don't use the MHX rig don't have to enable the MHX RTS, saving some memory and space in the UI panel. More importantly, the BVH Retargeter was also MHX aware, so there were two versions of the same code, which essentially did the same thing but were slightly different. Documentation for the MHX Runtime System.
Press Convert to MHX. There are a number of options.
  • Tweak Bones: Add tweak bones to fine-tune poses.
  • Show Link Bones: Add bones which link IK pole targets to the joint they control (elbow or knee).
  • Finger IK: Generate IK controls for fingers (experimental).
  • Keep DAZ Rig: Keep existing armature and meshes in a new collection.
  • Elbow Parent: Parent of elbow pole target.
    • Hand: Parent elbow pole target to IK hand.
    • Shoulder: Parent elbow pole target to shoulder.
    • Master: Parent elbow pole target to the master bone.
  • Knee Parent: Parent of knee pole target.
    • Foot: Parent knee pole target to IK foot.
    • Hip: Parent knee pole target to hip.
    • Master: Parent knee pole target to the master bone.
  • Rename Face Bones: Rename face bones from l/r prefix to .L/.R suffix.
Aiko is now controlled by an MHX rig. It starts out in IK (Inverse Kinematics) mode, and the IK layers are enabled.

Face bones carry over to the new rig, so it is still possible to do facial posing in the Face Units, Expressions and Visemes panels. Expressions can be tweaked with the face bones on the Face layer (armature layer 9), provided that the Make All Bones Poseable was invoked before the rig was converted to MHX. If the face bones are not poseable, the Face layer is empty.

When an MHX rig is selected, the MHX RTS tab contains controls that are useful for posing it. See the Documentation for the MHX Runtime System for more details.

Convert to Rigify

DAZ characters can also be rerigged with the popular Rigify add-on by Nathan Vegdahl and others. Links to documentation about Rigify in general:

Official Rigify documentation
Blenderartist thread

First we must make sure that the Rigify add-on is enabled. It is bundled with Blender and is found in the Rigging category.
Press Convert To Rigify.

After a short time the rig is converted to Rigify.
  • Auto Align Hand/Foot: Auto align hand and foot (Rigify parameter).
  • Delete MetaRig: Delete intermediate rig after Rigify.
  • IK Fix: Add limits to IK bones, to prevent poor bending.
  • Finger IK: Generate IK controls for fingers.
  • Custom Layers: Display layers for face and custom bones. Not for Rigify legacy.
  • Keep DAZ Rig: Keep existing armature and meshes in a new collection.
  • Rename Left-Right Bones: Rename bones from l/r prefix to .L/.R suffix.
Runtime controls for Rigify are found in the Item tab in the UI panel to the right of the viewport. The Rig Main Properties panel depends on the active bone.

Here are the properties for the hip,

for the arms,
and for the legs.
Facial bones and rig properties are copied to the Rigify rig, so face units,  expressions and visemes continue to work, including the extra layer of tweak bones.
 The face bones are found on the Face (detail) layer (bone layer 2) in the rigified armature.
The gaze bones are the same as the MHX rig gaze bone. They are controlled by the Gaze properties in the DAZ Rigify Properties panel.
The two last buttons in the Finishing section splits the Rigify button into two steps: Create Metarig and Rigify MetaRig. Having access to the metarig can be useful for tweaking it before the rigify step. 


Add Mannequins

DAZ characters often have quite a large polygon count, which may affect viewport speed. This is especially true if you try to animate scenes with several characters or you use an old computer. Replacing meshes with low-poly versions helps to some extent, but the viewport can still be painfully slow. It appears that the main obstacle is deforming meshes with an armature modifier and vertex groups.

This is where mannequins come in. A mannequin is a collection of meshes that don't have armature modifiers, but instead are parented directly to bones. Tests indicate that posing with mannequins is much faster than with normal characters. If the meshes and the mannequin belong to different collections, the meshes can be excluded from the scene during posing, which vastly improves viewport performance.

The suggested workflow is thus:

  1. Exclude the meshes from the scene.
  2. Animate your scene with mannequins.
  3. Include the meshes and exclude the mannequin.
  4. Fine-tune the poses with the proper meshes in place.
  5. Render.
Select the meshes (not the armature) that you want to make a mannequin for, and press Add Mannequin. 
The options are
  • Head Type. How to split up the head into chunks. This is most relevant for Genesis 3 and Genesis 8 rigs, where the head has a face rig with many bones.
    • Solid. Keep the entire head as one mesh.
    • Jaw. Split the head into a head and a jaw mesh. Thus is usually the default.
    • Full. Split the head fully. This is usually a bad idea for characters with a face rig.
  • Add To Collection. Add the new meshes to a collection (group in Blender 2.7x).
  • Collection. Name of the collection/group.
After Add Mannequins has been pressed, there are many new meshes parented under the rig. These meshes are parented to different bones and named rig-name_bone_name
Because the meshes and the mannequin belong to different collections, we can quickly exclude the meshes from the scene and pose the mannequin. The viewport is usually very responsive at this point, because no vertex groups have to be evaluated.
When we are happy with the pose, we exclude the mannequin and bring back the proper meshes f or rendering. Usually the pose has to be tweaked a little at this point.